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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.

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"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; $1500.00 (1275.00)


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

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This was the first coin issued in Caesar's name. It was minted after his invasion of Italy and crossing of the Rubicon on 10 January 49 B.C. until his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus. The symbolism on the obverse appears to be the triumph of good over evil. The reverse refers to Caesar's office of Pontifex Maximus (high priest of Rome).
SH85591. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, VF, old collection rainbow toning, choice obverse, light marks, reverse 1/4 off center, weight 4.024 g, maximum diameter 9.6 mm, die axis 0o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a dragon or 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); $900.00 (765.00)


Octavian/Augustus and Julius Caesar, Thessalonica, Macedonia, c. 28 - 27 B.C.

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Gaebler (AMNG, p. 125) believed the ∆ stands for 4 asses. Touratsoglou (p. 25) interprets it to indicate year four an era of beginning with the Battle of Actium, which would date the issue to 28 - 27 B.C.
RP86188. Leaded bronze AE 23, Touratsoglou - (V2/R4, unlisted die combination), RPC I 1554, Sear Imperators 675, SNG Cop 395, SNG ANS 824, Varbanov 5153, BMC Macedonia p. 115, 58, VF, nice green patina, cleaning marks, areas of light corrosion, small edge cracks, off center, weight 10.787 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, Emission I, 28 - 27 B.C.; obverse ΘEOΣ, wreathed head of Julius Caesar right; reverse ΘEΣΣAΛONIKEΩN, bare head of Augustus right, ∆ (year 4 of Actium era) below; $400.00 (340.00)


Octavian, Triumvir and Imperator, Augustus 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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In 38 B.C., Octavian, Mark Antony, and Lepidus signed the Treaty of Tarentum extending the Second Triumvirate until 33 B.C. On 17 January 38 B.C., Octavian married Livia. Octavian gained permission from the College of Pontiffs to wed her while she was still pregnant from another husband. Three months after the wedding she gave birth to her second son, Nero Claudius Drusus. The baby and his elder brother, the four-year-old Tiberius, lived in Octavian's household.
RB86123. Leaded bronze dupondius, SRCV I 1570, Crawford 535/2, Sear CRI 309, Sydenham 1336, BMCRR Gaul 108, Cohen I 95, RPC I 621, VF, well centered on a broad flan, some corrosion and pitting, weight 15.746 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 45o, southern Italian (Paestum?) mint, c. 38 B.C.; obverse DIVI F, bare head of Octavian right, star below chin; reverse DIVOS / IVLIVS in two lines within laurel wreath; ex Heritage, Long Beach Signature Sale 3035 (3 Sep 2014), lot 32167; $250.00 (212.50)


Julius Caesar and Octavian, Second Triumvirate, 36 B.C., Vienne, Gaul

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Vienne is in south-eastern France, 20 miles (32 km) south of Lyon, on the Rhone River. Before the arrival of the Roman armies under Julius Caesar, Vienne was the capital city of the Allobroges. RPC misspells the name, Vienna.

The denomination struck at Vienne was a dupondius and the type was frequently halved to make two asses.
RP84883. Bronze cut half dupondius (as), cut half of RPC I 517, SNG Cop -, aF, nice green patina, marks, some corrosion, weight 8.042 g, maximum diameter 29.7 mm, die axis 0o, Gaul, Vienne mint, 36 B.C.; obverse IMP / CAESAR DIVI F DIVI IVLI, bare heads of Julius Caesar left [and Octavian right (off flan)]; reverse C I V (Colonia Iulia Viennensis), prow right with superstructure; $155.00 (131.75)







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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).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes 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 Tuesday, November 21, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Caesar