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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Twelve Caesars| ▸ |Augustus||View 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.


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The brothers, Caius and Lucius, were the sons of Agrippa and Julia, daughter of Augustus. They were due to succeed Augustus but predeceased him in 4 and 2 A.D. respectively. Gaius, the elder of the two brothers has his shield placed in front of that of his younger brother and the ladle above him marking him as Pontifex. Lucius has lituus above marking him as augur. Gaius should have the more prestigious position on the left but this variety has him on the right.
SL93567. Silver denarius, RIC I 212 (R), RSC I 43d, BMCRE I 538, BnF I 1665, Giard Lyon 86, SRCV I 1597, NGC XF, strike 3/5, 4/5 (4682654-002), weight 3.66 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 2 B.C. - 5 A.D.; obverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS DIVI F PATER PATRIAE, laureate head right; reverse C L CAESARES AVGVSTI F COS DESIG PRINC IVVENT, Caius and Lucius Caesars togate stand facing, each resting hand on a round shield with spear behind, X in center, above center on left a lituus right and on right a simpulum left; rare; $600.00 (€528.00)
 


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D., Divus Augustus Reverse

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Tiberius left his estate and the titles of the principate to Caligula and to Tiberius' own grandson, Gemellus, who were to serve as joint heirs. Although Tiberius was 78 and on his death bed, some ancient historians still conjecture that he was murdered. Tacitus writes that the Praetorian Prefect, Macro, smothered Tiberius with a pillow to hasten Caligula's accession, much to the joy of the Roman people. Suetonius writes that Caligula may have carried out the murder himself, though this is not recorded by any other ancient historian. Seneca the elder and Philo, as well as Josephus, record that Tiberius died a natural death. Caligula had Tiberius' will nullified with regards to Gemellus on grounds of insanity, but otherwise he carried out Tiberius' wishes.
SL88182. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. RIC I 2, RSC I 11, Lyon 157, BnF II 3, BMCRE I 4, SRCV I 1808 (official, silver, Lugdunum, 37 A.D.), NGC VF, strike 4/5, surface 1/5, core visible (2490386-001), weight 3.336 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 315o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, 37 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR POT COS, bare head of Caligula right; reverse radiate head of Divus Augustus right, flanked by two stars; rare; $380.00 (€334.40)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Seleucis and Pieria, Antioch(?)

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"C•A" on the reverse has been interpreted several ways, including Caesaris Auctoritate, Commune Asia, and Caesar Augustus. RPC notes the mint, the meaning of ΛT, and the date are all uncertain. The mint was certainly in Syria, where nearly all examples have been found and the type shares a countermark which otherwise only found on Antioch SC bronzes. ΛT could be the Greek numeral 330, but, if a date, it does not fit any known era for Syria.
RY92807. Bronze AE 22, McAlee 197 (R), RPC I 4106 (26 spec.), BMCRE I 743, Butcher 61 , VF, porosity, some obv die wear, edge crack, weight 6.338 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Syrian mint, 16 Jan 27 B.C. - 19 Aug 14 A.D.; obverse AVGVST TR POT (from upper right), laureate head right; reverse C•A, smaller ΛT above, all within a laurel wreath with eight bunches of leaves, the wreath between an inner and outer linear border; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 8 (29-30 Jun 2019), lot 799; rare; $200.00 (€176.00)
 


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

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Sestos was an ancient town of the Thracian Chersonesos, the modern Gallipoli peninsula in European Turkey. Situated on the Hellespont opposite Abydos, it was an Aeolian colony, founded by settlers from Lesbos, and the home of Hero in the legend of Hero and Leander.
CM89992. Bronze AE 18, RPC I 1740 (2 spec.; RPC online 6 spec., 2 with c/m), Varbanov III 2967 (R7); c/m: Howqego 460 (1 spec., same coin type, same placement), VF, tight flan, reverse a bit flattened opposite countermark, weight 3.485 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Sestos mint, obverse CEBACTOY, bare head right, countermark: six pointed star in a 7mm round punch; reverse CHCTI, lyre; very 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)
 


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)
 


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.
RP89364. Bronze AE 17, RPC I 2359; SNG Cop 467; BMC Mysia p. 139, 248; AMC I 1229; McClean 7718; SNG Paris -; SNGvA -, F, two deep closed flan cracks, porosity, weight 3.426 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 0o, 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; $125.00 (€110.00) ON RESERVE


Kingdom of Thrace, Rhoemetalces I, c. 11 B.C. - 12 A.D., Augustus Reverse

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When the Cotys VII, King of Thrace, died about 48 B.C. Rhoemetalces I became the guardian of his nephew Rhescuporis I, his brother's young son and heir. In 13 B.C., Rhescuporis I was defeated and slain in battle by Vologases, chief of the Thracian Bessi, who was leading a revolt against Rome. As Rhescuporis I had left no heir, Rhoemetalces became king. An ally of Augustus, the Roman Historian Tacitus described Rhoemetalces as attractive and civilized. After his death, Augustus divided his realm, half for his son Cotys VIII and the other half for Rhoemetalces' brother Rhescuporis II. Tacitus states that Cotys received the cultivated parts, most towns and most Greek cities of Thrace, while Rhescuporis received the wild and savage portion with enemies on its frontier.
RP88895. Bronze AE 20, RPC I 1718; Youroukova 194; BMC Thrace p. 209, 7; SNG Cop 1192; SNG Tüb 974; SNG Evelpidis 1124, VF, well centered, green patina, weight 4.515 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Heraclea Perinthos (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, c. 11 B.C. - 12 A.D.; obverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ POIMHTAΛKOY, diademed head of Rhoemetalces I right; reverse KAIΣAPOΣ ΣEBAΣTOY, bare head of Augustus right; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


Roman Civil War, April 68 - December 69 A.D., Restitution of Augustus

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This type was struck in Spain or Gaul during the Roman civil war of 68 - 69 A.D., begun as a revolt against Nero and continuing through The Year of the Four Emperors, when Rome was ruled in rapid succession by Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian. The type copies a denarius type struck by Augustus, at Caesaraugusta (Zaragoza, Spain) in 19 - 18 B.C. A comet, "The Julian Star," appeared in the sky during the funeral games for Julius Caesar in July 44 B.C. The Romans believed it was a divine manifestation of the apotheosis of Julius Caesar.The Roman Civil War AD 68 - 69
RS89182. Silver denarius, RIC I Civil War 92 (R3); RSC II Civil War 98a; BMCRE p. 301, 49 - 50; Martin AM A10; BnF -, Fair, weight 2.594 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, Spain or Gaul mint, Apr 68 - Dec 69 A.D.; obverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS, head of Augustus left, wearing oak wreath (corona civitas); reverse comet of eight rays, a central dot and flaming tail upwards, DIVVS - IVLIVS horizontal divided flanking across the field at center; very rare; $90.00 (€79.20) ON RESERVE


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Julia Traducta, Hispania Baetica; Hammered Edge - Protocontorniate

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A protocontorniate is a normal, large bronze coin, typically a sestertius, which was altered in antiquity by an individual hammering the edge to create raised rims. A common assumption is that protocontorniates were used as game counters. Andreas Alföldi argued that protocontorniates were New Year's gifts in the fourth century before proper contorniates were struck at the Rome mint. Augustus was among the favorite emperors for these.

Julia Traducta struck coins only during the reign of Augustus. It is not possible to precisely date this type but it may have been struck when Augustus visited the region in 15 - 14 B.C.
RP91039. Bronze Protocontorniate, cf. Villaronga-Benages 3357, RPC I 108, SNG Cop 459, Burgos 1760, F, edge hammered up in antiquity, weight 9.513 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 90o, Julia Traducta mint, 15 - 14 B.C.(?); obverse PERM CAES AVG, bare head left; reverse IVLIA TRAD, inscription in two lines within oak wreath; $80.00 (€70.40)
 




  



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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 Sunday, October 13, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Augustus