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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Twelve Caesars ▸ AugustusView Options:  |  |  |   

Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

Octavian Augustus, the first and possibly greatest Roman emperor, founded the Roman empire after defeating Mark Antony and Cleopatra. He reformed the coinage and the military, and embarked on a huge building program all across the empire. Augustus was succeeded by his stepson Tiberius after a long reign of 41 years. He was 77, having ruled from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D.


Revolt Against Nero, Gaius Iulius Vindex, Governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, c. Late 67 - May 68 A.D.

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Struck by Gaius Iulius Vindex, the Roman governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, who rebelled against Nero's tax policy and declared allegiance to Galba, the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, as the new emperor. Vindex was defeated and killed in battle near Vesontio (modern Besancon), but the military continued to support Galba. On 9 June 68, deserted by the Praetorian Guard, Nero stabbed himself in the throat.
RS88405. Silver denarius, Unpublished, civil war restitution of Augustus, only three examples known to Forum, all share the same obverse die, two reverse dies known, VF, rainbow toning, lamination defects, porosity, scratches, edge split, weight 3.280 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain (Lugdunum?) mint, c. late 67 - May 68 A.D.; obverse [CAESAR], bare head of Augustus right; reverse AVGVSTVS, young bull walking right, head turned facing; found in Spain; $1350.00 (€1188.00)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Antioch, Syria

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In 5 A.D., Tiberius conquered Germania Inferior. The Germanic Cimbri and Charydes tribes sent ambassadors to Rome.
SH91289. Silver tetradrachm, McAlee 187; Prieur 57; RPC I 4158; BMC Galatia p. 169, 147; SGICV 107; Cohen DCA 401, F, dark toning with bright silver areas, weight 14.947 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 5 - 6 A.D.; obverse KAIΣAPOΣ ΣEBAΣTOY, Augustus laureate head right; reverse ANTIOXEΩN MHTPOΠOΛEΩΣ, city goddess seated on rock, palm in right, river-god Orontes swimming right below, ςΛ (year 36 Actian era) above, ∆N (year 54 Caesarian era) over (Antioch) monogram right; ex Numismatik Lanz; $360.00 (€316.80)
 


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The reverse legend means "for citizens saved." The wreath is the corona civica, the oak wreath awarded by special decree of the Senate to Augustus in 27 B.C. for saving the lives of citizens by ending the series of civil wars. The shield in the center commemorates the golden shield awarded to Augustus by the Senate for his virtue, piety, justice and clemency, which was kept on display in the Curia Iulia.
SH91548. Silver denarius, RIC I 79a, RSC I 215, BMCRE I 381, BMCRR Rome 4393, BnF I 1144, SRCV I 1626, F, dark toning, banker's marks below ear, flow lines, lighter area on reverse, weight 3.804 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 210o, Colonia Patricia (Cordoba, Spain) mint, c. 19 B.C.; obverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS, bare head of Augustus right; reverse OB CIVIS / SERVATOS (for citizens saved) curving above and below, S • P • Q • R / CL • V in two lines inscribed on round shield within oak wreath; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; scarce; $300.00 (€264.00)
 


Julius Caesar, and Augustus, Thessalonica, Macedonia, After 14 A.D.

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Traditionally attributed to Thessalonica, but Touratsoglou rejected that attribution based on the style and die axis. We believe the style is not remarkably different from similar types from Thessalonica and, as discussed in RPC I, ΘE on the reverse may be an abbreviation of the ethnic.
RP88931. Bronze AE 20, RPC I 5421 (8 spec., uncertain mint); BMC Thessalonica p. 115, 61; SNG Evelpidis 1327; Varbanov 4154 (R5); SNG Cop -; Touratsoglou -, Choice aVF, glossy dark green patina, scattered light corrosion, weight 6.654 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonika (?, Salonika, Greece) mint, c. 14 A.D.; obverse ΘEOC (downward behind), bare head of Julius Caesar right; reverse CEBACTOY ΘE (clockwise from upper right), bare head of Augustus right; $260.00 (€228.80)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Antioch, Syria

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In 2 B.C. Augustus was proclaimed Pater Patriae (father of the country) by the Roman Senate. The title was the logical consequence and final proof of Augustus' supreme position as princeps, the first in charge over the Roman state. His personal life did not go so well. His daughter, Julia the Elder, was exiled to Pandateria on charges of treason and adultery; her mother Scribonia accompanied her.
RY89755. Silver tetradrachm, McAlee 185; Prieur 55; RPC I 4156; BMC Galatia p. 168, 144; Cohen DCA 400, F, dark toning, rough areas, scratches, weight 10.953 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 2 - 1 B.C.; obverse KAIΣAPOΣ ΣEBAΣTOY, laureate head right; reverse ETOYΣ Λ NIKHΣ (year 30 Actian victory era), Tyche of Antioch seated right on rocks, turreted, holding palm branch, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right below, his head turned facing, YΠA monogram IΓ (13th consulship) over (Antioch) monogram in the right field; $240.00 (€211.20)
 


Augustus and Livia, 17 January 39 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Antioch ad Maeandrum, Caria

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Antiochia on the Maeander (earlier named Pythopolis) was a city of ancient Caria, in Anatolia, located between the Maeander and Orsinus rivers near their confluence. It was the site of a bridge over the Maeander. The scanty ruins are located on a hill (named, in Turkish, Yeniser) a few km southeast of Kuyucak, Aydin Province, Turkey, near the modern city of Basaran. The city already existed when Antiochus I enlarged and renamed it. It was home to the sophist Diotrephes. It has not been excavated, but Christopher Ratte and others visited the site in 1994 and produced a sketch plan.
RP89904. Bronze AE 18, RPC I 2829 (5 spec.), Imhoof-Blumer KM p. 110, 14 corr., VF, slightly off center, a little porous, weight 4.573 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 330o, Antiochia ad Maeandrum (near Basaran Turkey) mint, 17 Jan 39 B.C. - 19 Aug 14 A.D.; obverse KAIΣAP ΣEBAΣTOΣ ANTIOXEΩN, laureate head of Augustus right; reverse AΓEΛAOY ΣNAPXIA (Agelaos, head of the Synarchy), draped bust of Livia right, hair in a bun at the back; only three sales of this type recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; rare; $180.00 (€158.40)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Southeastern Anatolia, Uncertain Mint

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This type was struck in 26 B.C. when Augustus was consul for the 8th time and, as we learn from the reverse legends of their coinage, T. Vomanius and M. Memmius Flam. were quinquennial douvirs, for the second time. RPC I notes that the humped bulls on the reverse of this type, and a twin goddess reverse type struck by the same douvirs, suggest the mint was in southeastern Anatolia, but the mint city remains uncertain.
RP89869. Bronze AE 22, RPC I 5412 (3 spec.), aF, porous, a little rough, weight 7.189 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Roman colony mint, 26 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR DIVI F AVGVSTVS COS VIII, bare head right; reverse T VOMAN M MEMM FLAM QVINQ ITER, two priests with yoke of two humped oxen right, plowing the pomerium (sacred boundary), founding the new colony; behind, aquila between two signa; only two sales of this type recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades; very rare; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


Cyprus, Time of Augustus, 27 B.C. - 14 A.D.

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Augustus' sun sign was Libra. We don't know why he selected the Capricorn as his emblem. Perhaps Capricorn was either his rising sign or his Moon sign. Popular astrology, of the newspaper kind, is sun sign astrology. The ancients tended to attach more importance to the Moon sign and rising signs. Perhaps Augustus selected the Capricorn because it is associated with stern moral authority. Tiberius (born Nov. 13) was a Scorpio.
RP88319. Bronze hemiobol, RPC I 3916; Bank of Cyprus 6; BMC Galatia p. 112, 4 (Commagene); SNG Cop -, F, dark patina, reverse off center, weight 2.487 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 270o, Cypriot mint, 27 B.C. - 14 A.D.; obverse capricorn right, star with six rays above; reverse scorpion left, star with six rays above (off flan); ex Ancient Imports; $145.00 (€127.60)
 


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The College of the Three Moneyers (IIIviri monetales) was a revived republican tradition. This coin was struck under the supervision of Marcus Salvius Otho, an ancestor of the future emperor Otho. Later, the number of moneyers was increased to four, but their names were no longer included on the coins.
RB91549. Copper as, RIC I 432, BMCRE I 233, BnF I 705, Cohen I 516, SRCV I 1685 var. (head right), VF, excellent portrait, dark patina, cut on reverse, weight 9.801 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, moneyer M Salvius Otho, 7 B.C.; obverse CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNIC POT, bare head left; reverse M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR A A A F F, legend around S C; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


Livia and Julia, Pergamon, Mysia, c. 10 - 2 B.C.

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Julia was Augustus' only natural child, the daughter of his second wife Scribonia. She was born the same day that Octavian divorced Scribonia, to marry Livia. Julia's tragic destiny was to serve as a pawn in her father's dynastic plans. At age two, she was betrothed to Mark Antony's ten-year-old son, but the fathers' hostility ended the engagement. At age 14, she was married to her cousin but he died two years later. In 21 B.C., Julia married Agrippa, nearly 25 years her elder, Augustus' most trusted general and friend. Augustus had been advised, "You have made him so great that he must either become your son-in-law or be slain." Agrippa died suddenly in 12 B.C. and Julia was married in 11 B.C. to Tiberius. During her marriages to Agrippa and Tiberius Julia took lovers. In 2 B.C., Julia was arrested for adultery and treason. Augustus declared her marriage and void. He also asserted in public that she had been plotting against his own life. Reluctant to execute her, Augustus had her exiled, with no men in sight, forbidden even to drink wine. Scribonia, Julia's mother, accompanied her into exile. Five years later, she was allowed to move to Rhegium but Augustus never forgave her. When Tiberius became emperor, he cut off her allowance and put her in solitary confinement in one room in her house. Within months she died from malnutrition.
RP89139. Bronze AE 18, RPC I 2359; SNG Cop 467; BMC Mysia p. 139, 248; AMC I 1229; McClean 7718; SNG Paris -; SNGvA -, aVF, closed flan crack, earthen encrustation, weight 4.195 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Pergamon (Bergama, Turkey) mint, grammateus Charinos, c. 10 - 3 B.C.; obverse ΛIBIAN HPAN CAPINOΣ, draped bust of Livia (as Hera) right; reverse IOVΛIAN AΦPO∆ITHN, draped bust of Julia (as Aphrodite) right; $130.00 (€114.40)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

AVGVSTVS
AVGVSTVSDIVIF
AVGVSTVSTRPOT
AVGVSTVSTRPOTVII
CAESARAVGPONTMAXTRIBVNICPOT
CAESARAVGTRIBVNPOTES
CAESARAVGVSTPONTMAXTRIBVNICPOT
CAESARAVGVSTVS
CAESARAVGVSTVSDIVIF
CAESARAVGVSTVS DIVIFPATERPATRIAE
CAESARAVGVSTVSSPQR
CAESARAVGVSTVSTRIBVNICPOTEST
CAESARAVGVSTVSTRPOT
CAESARAVGTRIBVNPOTES
CAESARCOSVI
CAESARDIVIFCOSVI
CAESARIAVGVSTO
CAESARIMP
CAESARIMPVII
CAESARIIIVIRRPC
CAESARPONTMAX
CCAESARIIIVIRRPC
CCAESARIMP
CCAESARIIIVIRRPC
DIVOAVGVSTO
DIVOAVGVSTOSPQR
DIVOAVGVSTOSPQROBCIVESSER
DIVVSAVGVSTVS
DIVVSAVGVSTVSPATER
DIVVSAVGVSTVSSC
DIVIIVLIF
GALVSMESSALLAIIIVIR
IMPCAESAR
IMPCAESARAVGVST
IMPCAESARAVGVSTTRPOTIIX
IMPCAESARDIVIF
IMPCAESARDIVIFAVGVSTVSIMPXX
IMPCAESARDIVIFCOSVILIBERTATISPRVINDEX
IMP CAESAR DIVI F III VIR ITER
IMP CAESAR DIVI F VIR ITER R P C
IMP CAESARI
IMP CAESAR DIVI IVLI
IMP IX TR POV
LAMIASILIVSANNIVS
OB CIVIS SERVATOS
PBETILIENVSBASSVS
PVLCHERTAVRVSREGVLVS
SCOBRPCVMSALVTIMPCAESARAVGCONS
S P Q R IMP CAESARI
S P Q R IMP CAESARI AVG COS XI TR POT VI
S P Q R PARENT CONSSVO


REFERENCES

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry & P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (London, 1992 and supplement).
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. One: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. I: De Pompeyo Magno a Matidia (Del 81 a.C. al 117 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Giard, J. Monnaies de l'Empire romain, I Auguste. Catalogue Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 1: Augustus to Vitellius. (London, 1923).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. I. Augustus to Nerva. (Oxford, 1962).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Vol. One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sutherland, C. The Cistophori of Augustus. (London, 1970).
Sutherland, C. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
Sutherland, C. & C. Kraay. Catalogue of Coins of the Roman Empire in the Ashmolean Museum, Part I: Augustus. (Oxford, 1975).
Toynbee, J. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Saturday, July 20, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Augustus