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

Livia (Julia), Augusta, 14 - 29 A.D., Wife of Augustus, Mother of Tiberius, Grandmother of Claudius

Livia was the wife of Augustus, mother of Tiberius, paternal grandmother of Claudius, paternal great-grandmother of Caligula, and maternal great-great-grandmother of Nero. When Octavian and Livia met, both were already married, Livia already had a son, Tiberius, and was pregnant with a second, Nero Claudius Drusus. Legend says that Octavian fell immediately in love with her. Octavian divorced Scribonia, on the very day that she gave birth to his daughter Julia. Tiberius Claudius Nero was persuaded or forced by Octavian to divorce Livia. Augustus and Livia married, three days after her second son was born. Tiberius Claudius Nero gave her away at the wedding, "just as a father would." There are probably more political explanations for the union. Nevertheless, Livia and Augustus remained married for the next 51 years. They had no children. Livia always enjoyed the status of privileged counselor to her husband, petitioning him on the behalf of others and influencing his policies, an unusual role for a Roman wife. Living very simply and frugally, Livia set an example of Roman virtue which made her quite popular with the people. According to some ancient historians, however, Livia poisoned Augustus' potential heirs and then Augustus himself to make her son emperor. When he was emperor, Tiberius and Livia had a falling out. On her death in 29 A.D., he did not see fit to have her consecrated. When Claudius came to power, he argued that every god needed a consort (referring to the deified Augustus). The Senate accepted this logic, and she was declared a goddess.


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The countermark NCAPR was applied to numerous orichalcum coins of the reigns of Tiberius and Claudius. NCAPR is most often explained as "Nero Caesar Augustus Populo Romano." Others believe NCAPR abbreviates "Nummus Caesare Augusto Probatus" or "Nero Caesar Augustus Probavit" (probavit means approved). Excavations of the Meta Sudans and the northeastern slope of the Palatine Hill in Rome indicate that this countermark was applied for Nero's congiarium (distribution to the people) in 57 A.D., which supports the Populo Romano interpretation. Varieties of this relatively common countermark are identified by some authors as applied in either Italy, Spain or Gaul. The countermark is not found on coins bearing the name or portrait of Caligula. Clearly any coins of Caligula that were still in circulation and collected for application of the countermark were picked out and melted down, in accordance with his damnatio, rather than being countermarked and returned to circulation. A NCAPR countermark has, however, been found on a Vespasian dupondius which, if genuine and official, seems to indicate the N may refer to Nerva, not Nero.
RB88864. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC I T43 (S); BMCRE I T98; BnF II T74; Hunter I T26; Cohen p. 170, 1; SRCV I 1741; countermark: Pangerl 60a, Werz 138, aF, well centered, bumps, scratches, porosity, corrosion, weight 12.614 g, maximum diameter 28.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 22 - 23 A.D.; obverse veiled, draped bust of Livia or Livilla as Pietas right, wearing stephane, PIETAS below; reverse DRVSVS CAESAR TI AVGVSTI F TR POT ITER, legend around large S C (senatus consulto), countermark: NCAPR in a rectangular punch; scarce; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


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In 22 when Livia fell ill, Tiberius hastened back to Rome from Capri in order to be with his mother. This coin was probably issued to thank Salus for her recovery. Ancient historians say, however, the reason Tiberius retired to Capri was because he could no longer endure his mother. Livia fell ill again in 29. Dying, she held out several days in hope of his coming but he remained on Capri and sent Caligula to deliver the funeral oration. Tiberius vetoed divinity and all the other honors the Senate granted her after her death.
SH76396. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC I Tiberius 47 (S), BMCRE I Tiberius 81, BnF I Tiberius 63, Cohen I 5, SRCV I 1740, Hunter I -, Choice VF, near black patina, well centered, nice style, small closed flan cracks, weight 14.582 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, struck under her son Tiberius, c. 22 - 23 A.D.; obverse SALVS AVGVSTA (arcing counterclockwise below bust), draped bust of Livia (as Salus) right, her hair waved and knotted behind; reverse TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVG P M TR POT XXIIII, legend around large S C; from the Jeff Michniak Collection; rare; SOLD


Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D., Tribute Penny of Matthew 22:20-21

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Jesus, referring to a "penny" asked, "Whose is this image and superscription?" When told it was Caesar, He said, ''Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:20-21). Since Tiberius was Caesar at the time, this denarius type is attributed by scholars as the "penny" referred to in the Bible
RS86432. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon, group 1, 144; RIC I 26 (C); BMCRE I 34; RSC II 16; SRCV I 1763, EF, nearly as struck, centered on a tight flan, some die wear, weight 3.698 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, early 'plain' fine style, c. 15 - 18 A.D.; obverse TI CAESAR DIVI F AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse PONTIF MAXIM (high priest), Pax (or Livia as Pax) seated right on chair with plain legs set on base, long scepter vertical behind in her right hand, branch in left hand, no footstool; SOLD







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

PIETAS
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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.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).
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.B. Monnaies de l'Empire romain, I Auguste. Catalogue Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. 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.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sutherland, C.H.V. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
Toynbee, J.M.C. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Sunday, May 19, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Livia