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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Imperators ▸ Julius CaesarView Options:  |  |  | 

Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

Gaius Julius Caesar is one of the most famous men in history. At the end of his brilliant military and political career, he had gained control of the Roman state. His puppet senate heaped more and more honors upon him. In February 44 B.C. the senate named him dictator for life. Many senators, however, feared that he wished to become king, ending the Republic. On the 15th of March 44 B.C., 63 senators attacked him with knives they had hidden in the folds of their togas. This most famous of assassinations plunged the Roman Republic into 17 years of civil war, after which it would re-emerge as the Roman Empire.


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

Click for a larger photo
"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar; but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH85584. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/16, Sydenham 1067, Sear CRI 111, RSC I Julius Caesar 9, BMCRR I Rome 4185, SRCV I 1415, aVF, toned, weight 3.464 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, moneyer C. Cossutius Maridianus, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, veiled and wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse C MARIDIANVS, Venus standing left, Victory in extended right hand, resting left arm on shield at side on right; $1350.00 SALE PRICE $1215.00


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This type was a special military coinage produced by Caesar during his final campaign. This campaign against the Pompeian forces in Spain culminated in the battle of Munda on 17 March 45 B.C. The obverse refers to Caesar's mythical descent from the goddess Venus. The reverse refers to Caesar's victories in Gaul and the male Gaulish captive may be Vercingetorix.
SL74867. Silver denarius, Crawford 468/1, Sydenham 1014, RSC I 13, BMCRR Spain 89, Sear CRI 58, SRCV I 1404, NGC XF, strike 4/5, surface 4/5 (2490379-001), weight 3.987 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 90o, Spanish mint, 46 - 45 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Venus right, small Cupid behind; reverse trophy of Gallic arms; on left, Gallia seated left with hand to head in attitude of morning; on right, male (Vercingetorix?) captive seated right, hands bound behind, looking back and up; CAESAR in exergue; $800.00 SALE PRICE $720.00


Click for a larger photo
Minted after his invasion of Italy and crossing of the Rubicon on 10 January 49 B.C. until his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus, this was the first coin type issued in Caesar's name. The obverse was long described as an elephant trampling a snake, symbolizing good triumphing over evil. For the Romans, however, the snake was a symbol of healing, not evil. The image to the right (click it to see a larger photo) is ornamentation on the side of the Gundestrup cauldron depicting three Celtic warriors sounding their carnyx war trumpets. Clearly, Caesar's elephant is trampling a carnyx and the obverse symbolizes Caesar's victory over the Celtic tribes of Gaul. The reverse refers to Caesar's office of Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, a title now held by the Pope.Persian Empire

SL77511. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, NGC VF, strike 4/5, surface 1/5 (2490379-003), weight 3.549 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a carnyx (Celtic war trumpet) ornamented to look like a dragon, CAESAR below; reverse implements of the pontificate: culullus (cup) or simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), securis (sacrificial ax), and apex (priest's hat); NGC certified (slabbed); $480.00 SALE PRICE $432.00







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

CAESARDICTINPERPETVO
CAESARDICTPERPETVO
CAESARDICTQVART
CAESARIMP
CAESARIMPER
CAESDICQVAR
CCAESARCOSTER
CCAESDICTER


REFERENCES

Babelon, E. Monnaies de la Republique Romaine. (Paris, 1885).
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Carson, R. Principal Coins of the Romans, Vol. I: The Republic, c. 290-31 BC. (London, 1978).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappťes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Crawford, M. Roman Republican Coinage. (Cambridge, 1974).
Grueber, H.A. Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum. (London, 1910).
Russo, R. The RBW Collection of Roman Republican Coins. (Zurich, 2013).
Rutter, N.K. ed. Historia Numorum. Italy. (London, 2001).
Seaby, H.A., D. Sear, & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Volume I, The Republic to Augustus. (London, 1989).
Sear, D. R. The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators 49 - 27 BC. (London, 1998).
Sear, D. R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sydenham, E. The Coinage of the Roman Republic. (London, 1952).

Catalog current as of Saturday, February 17, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Caesar