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

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

Caius Caesar was born in 12 A.D., the son of Germanicus and Agrippina Sr. He was nicknamed Caligula, meaning "little boots," by the legions because as a child his mother dressed him in military uniforms (including little boots). Initially, he was very popular, succeeding Tiberius in 37 A.D. and for a few brief months ruling very well. However, an unknown disease drove him mad and his reign soon degenerated into debauchery and murder. He was murdered by the Praetorian Guard in 41 A.D.


Caligula, 16 Mar 37 - 24 Jan 41 A.D., Nero and Drusus Caesars on Obverse

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This type was issued by Caligula for his two deceased brothers, Nero Julius Caesar and Drusus Julius Caesar Germanicus. Nero Caesar was Tiberius' oldest adoptive grandson and was the emperor's most obvious successor until 29 A.D. when he was accused of treason along with his mother, Agrippina the Elder. He was exiled to the island of Ponza where he was either induced to commit suicide or starved to death before October 31. In 30, his brother Drusus Caesar was also accused of treason and exiled and imprisoned. He starved to death in prison in 33, reduced to chewing the stuffing of his bed. In Suetonius', The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Claudius IX we learn that Caligula ordered his uncle and co-consul Claudius to commission statues of his deceased elder brothers. The statues appear on dupondii, immortalized in a pose recognizable as the Dioscuri. The marble statue in the photo right was found in or near Rome during the fifteenth century, and is now in the British Museum. The pose differs from the image on the coins but restorations include the youth’s arms and three of the horse’s legs. Is it one of the two statues commissioned by Claudius? Click the photo to see additional photos and information.Marble Sculpture

RB91358. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC I Gaius 34 (S), BMCRE I Gaius 44, Cohen I Nero et Drusus 1, BnF I Gaius 52, Hunter I Gaius 18, SRCV I -, gVF, centered on a full and heavy flan, green and red-brown patina, scattered light porosity, smoothing and cleaning marks, weight 16.011 g, maximum diameter 29.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 40 - 41 A.D.; obverse NERO ET DRVSVS CAESARES, Nero Julius Caesar and Drusus Julius Caesar Germanicus riding right, cloaks flying behind them; reverse C CAESAR DIVI AVG PRON AVG P M TR P IIII P P, legend around large S C; ex CNG e-auction 437 (6 Feb 2019), lot 398; rare; $850.00 (€722.50)
 


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D., Amphipolis, Macedonia

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Amphipolis was on the Via Egnatia, the principal Roman road crossing the southern Balkans. In 50, the apostle Paul visited Amphipolis on his way to Thessaloniki. Many Christian churches were built indicating prosperity, but the region grew increasingly dangerous. In the 6th century, the population had declined considerably and the old perimeter was no longer defensible against Slavic invasions. The lower city was plundered for materials to fortify the Acropolis. In the 7th century, a new wall was built, right through the bath and basilica, dividing the Acropolis. The remaining artisans moved to houses and workshops built in the unused cisterns of the upper city. In the 8th century, the last inhabitants probably abandoned the city and moved to nearby Chrysopolis (formerly Eion, once the port of Amphipolis).
RP89133. Bronze AE 16, RPC I 1638 (2 spec.); BMC Macedonia p. 54, 87; SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; Varbanov III -; AMNG III -, F, dark patina, scratches, weight 4.250 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 180o, Amphipolis mint, 16 Mar 37 - 24 Jan 41 A.D.; obverse AMΦIΠOΛITΩN, laureate and bearded head of Zeus(?) right; reverse Γ KAICAP ΓEPMAN, Caligula on rearing horse right, raising right hand in salute; ; extremely rare; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


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Vesta was originally a household spirit. Later she was personified as the goddess of the hearth and given the stature of her Greek equivalent, Hestia. In the temple of Vesta her flame was kept alive by Vestal Virgins.
RB91004. Copper as, RIC I 38, Cohen I 27, BMCRE I 46, Hunter I 20, BnF II 54, SRCV I 1803, F, rough corrosion, minor edge chips, weight 8.405 g, maximum diameter 27.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT, bare head left; reverse VESTA, Vesta enthroned left, patera extended in right, long scepter transverse in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D., Philadelphia, Lydia

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At least 15 different magistrates are named on the coins of Philadelphia, Lydia during the four-year reign of Caligula. They were probably members of a board. The individuals describe themselves variously as priest of Germanicus, Olympic victor, philopatris, grammateus, and in a number of cases philokaisar. The magistrate named on this coin, Attalikos, identifies himself as philokaisar (friend of Caesar) on a larger denomination.
RP88186. Bronze AE 15, RPC I 3026 (3 specimens); Imhoof-Blumer LS p. 118, 20, aF, well centered, porous, light earthen deposits, weight 3.147 g, maximum diameter 14.8 mm, die axis 90o, Lydia, Philadelphia (Alasehir, Turkey) mint, magistrate Attalikos, 16 Mar 37 - 24 Jan 41 A.D.; obverse ΓAIOC KAICAP, bare head right, lituus below chin; reverse winged thunderbolt right, ΦIΛA/∆EΛΦEWN in two lines above, ATTAΛI/KOC in two lines below; very rare; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D., Philadelphia, Lydia

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The magistrate's unusual title, Philokaisar, literally translates, "friend of the emperor." Philadelphia was in the administrative district of Sardis. In 17, the city suffered severely from an earthquake, and Tiberius relieved it of having to pay taxes. In response, the city granted honors to Tiberius. Evidence from coinage reveals that Caligula also helped the city. Under Vespasian, Philadelphia received his cognomen, Flavia. Under Caracalla, Philadelphia housed an imperial cult; its coins bore the word Neokoron (literally, "temple-sweeper," meaning caretaker of the temple). A small theater located at the northern edge of Toptepe Hill is all that remains of Roman Philadelphia.
RP88164. Bronze AE 19, RPC I 3028 (4 spec.), Waddington 5136, Imhoof-Blumer LS p. 118, 18, & Taf. V, 9; BMC Lydia -, aF, dark patina, light scratches, weight 4.339 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, Lydia, Philadelphia (Alasehir, Turkey) mint, magistrate Kleandros, 16 Mar 37 - 24 Jan 41 A.D.; obverse ΓAIOC KAICAP, bare head right; reverse capricorn left, with cornucopia on its back, monogram left, ΦIΛOKAICAP (Philokaisar) above, ΦIΛA∆EΛΦEΩN (Philadelphia) over KΛEAN∆POC (Kleandros) below; rare; $85.00 (€72.25)
 


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D., Philadelphia, Lydia

Click for a larger photo
The magistrate's unusual title, Philokaisar, literally translates, "friend of the emperor." Philadelphia was in the administrative district of Sardis. In 17, the city suffered severely from an earthquake, and Tiberius relieved it of having to pay taxes. In response, the city granted honors to Tiberius. Evidence from coinage reveals that Caligula also helped the city. Under Vespasian, Philadelphia received his cognomen, Flavia. Under Caracalla, Philadelphia housed an imperial cult; its coins bore the word Neokoron (literally, "temple-sweeper," meaning caretaker of the temple). A small theater located at the northern edge of Toptepe Hill is all that remains of Roman Philadelphia.
BB91046. Bronze AE 18, cf. RPC I 3028 ff., aF, porous, corrosion, weight 3.220 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 0o, Lydia, Philadelphia (Alasehir, Turkey) mint, obverse ΓAIOC KAICAP, bare head right; reverse capricorn left, with cornucopia on its back, monogram left, ΦIΛOKAICAP (Philokaisar) above, ΦIΛA∆EΛΦEΩN (Philadelphia) over magistrate's name below; rare; $40.00 (€34.00)
 







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

CCAESARAVGPONMTRPOTIII
CCAESARAVGGERMANICVS
CCAESARAVGGERMANICVSPONMTRPOT
CCAESARAVGGERMPMTRPOT
CCAESARDIVIAVGPRONAVGPMTRPIIII
CCAESARDIVIAVGPRONAVGSC
CCAESARAVGPONMTRPOTIIICOSIII
CCAESARAVGGERMPMTRPOT


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 & suppl.).
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. "Les emissions d'or et d'argent de Caligula dans l'atelier de Lyon" in RN 18 (1976), pp. 69-81.
Giard, J-B. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon, des origines au règne de Caligula (43 avant J.-C. - 41 après J.-C.). (Wetteren, 1983).
Giard, J-B. Monnaies de L'Empire Romain II: De Tebère à Néron. Catalogue Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1988).
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 Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
Toynbee, J. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, May 22, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Caligula