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The name Ostia was derived from the Latin "ostium" - river mouth. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Construction of the port facilities began under Claudius and was likely completed just before this sestertius was struck in 64 A.D. Trajan and Hadrian expanded the facilities. The port was abandoned due to silting and now lies 3 km from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics.SH86120. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC I 178, BMCRE I 131, Cohen I 37, Mac Dowall WCN 120, BnF I -, VF, well centered, nice portrait, near black patina, scratches on obverse lower right field, some porosity and tiny pitting, weight 26.031 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverseNEROCLAVDCAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVGVSTI above, S - C divided by POR OST below, bird's-eye view Ostia harbor: pharos lighthouse with Neptune statue on top at far side center; crescent-shaped pier with building and figure sacrificing at far end, crescent-shaped row of breakwaters or slips on right with figure seated on rock at far end, 7 ships within port; river god Tiber reclining left holding rudder and dolphin below; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 195 (7 Mar 2011), lot 405; $4000.00 (€3400.00)
Mark Antony and Octavia, 39 B.C., Ephesos, Ionia
The obverselegend abbreviates Consul Designatus, Iterum et Tertium, meaning Consul Elect for the second and third time. The reverselegend abbreviates Triumvir Reipublicae Constituendae, the title adopted in November of 43 B.C. by the three Caesarian leaders (Mark Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus) when they formed the Second Triumvirate to oppose the tyrannicides Brutus and Cassius.SH86609. Silver cistophorictetradrachm, RPC I 2202, Sydenham 1198, Crawford 263, RSC Octavia and M. Antony 3, Sear CRI 263, BMCRR East 135, SRCV I 1513, Choice gVF, toned, well centered, some die wear and rust, scratches, weight 11.723 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, summer - autumn 39 B.C.; obverse M ANTONIVS IMP COS DESIGITER ET TERT (Consul Elect for the 2nd and 3rd time), conjoined head of Antony and bust of Octavia right, Antony nearer and wreathed in ivy, Octavia draped; reverse Dionysus standing half left on cista mystica, in his right hand, thyrsus in his left hand, flanked by two interlaced snakes with heads erect, III VIR (triumvir) downward on left, R P C (Reipublicae Constituendae) upward on right; $3000.00 (€2550.00)
Sextus Pompey, Imperator and Prefect of the Fleet, Executed 35 B.C.
In Greek mythology, Scylla was a monster that lived on one side of Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily, opposite her counterpart Charybdis. The two sides of the strait were within an arrow's range of each other - so close that sailors attempting to avoid Charybdis would pass dangerously close to Scylla and vice versa. Scylla made her first appearance in Homer's Odyssey, where Odysseus and his crew encounter her and Charybdis on their travels. Later myth gave her an origin story as a beautiful nymph who gets turned into a monster. The idiom "between Scylla and Charybdis" has come to mean being forced to choose between two similarly dangerous situations. SH87414. Silver denarius, RSC IPompeia 3a (same ligatures), Crawford 511/4d, Sydenham 1348, BMCRRSicily 20, Sear CRI 335b, SRCV I 1393, gVF, beautifully toned, edge cracks, legends not fully struck, weight 3.566 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 225o, uncertain Sicilian mint, 40 - 39 B.C.; obverse MAG•PIVS•IMP•ITER, pharos (lighthouse) of Messana, topped with stature of Neptune standing right holding trident and rudder, his left foot on a galley ram; quinquereme (war galley) sailing left in foreground below adorned with aquila on prow and scepter at the stern; reverse PRAEF ORAE•MARIT•ET•CLAS• S•C• (AEs and MAR ligate), the sea monster Skylla, her upper body a nude human female torso, lower body of two fish tails and three dog foreparts, attacking to left with a rudder wielded as a club in both hands raised overhead; ex Nomos Obolos 10, lot 349; rare; $2100.00 (€1785.00)
Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria
Gaius Licinius Mucianus (named on this coin) was governor of Syria. When he failed to put down the Jewish revolt, Vespasian was sent to replace him. After the death of Galba, Mucianus and Vespasian both swore allegiance to Otho. Mucianus persuaded Vespasian to take up arms against Vitellius, who had seized the throne. They agreed Vespasian would settle affairs in the East, while Mucianus made would attack Vitellius. On his way to Rome, Mucianus defeated a Dacian invasion of Moesia. Mucianus reached Rome the day after Vitellius' death. Mucianus never wavered in his allegiance to Vespasian and was appointed consul for the third time in 72. As no mention is made of Mucianus during the reigns of Titus or Domitian, he probably died during the reign of Vespasian.RP85562. Bronze AE 28, McAlee 319 (ex. rare, same dies), cf. RPC 4316 (not specifying obverselegend direction), aVF, nice portrait, dark patina with buff earthen highlighting, spots of light corrosion, obverselegend mostly weak or off flan, weight 11.757 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse [IMP M OT]-HO - [CAE AVG] (counterclockwise from upper left), head laureate right, dot in field behind; reverse EΠI / MOYKIA/NOY AN/TIOXEΩ/N ET ZIP (legate Mucianus, of Antioch, year 117) in five lines within a linear circle in a laurel wreath; this variant with a counterclockwise obverselegend is extremely rare; ex Gemini auction XIII (6 Apr 2017), lot 158, ex Jyrki Muona Collection; $1810.00 (€1538.50)
Roman Civil War, Vitellius, c. 69 A.D.
This coin is M71 in Butcher, K. & M. Pointing, The Metallurgy of Roman Silver Coinage: From the Reform of Nero to the Reform of Trajan (Cambridge, 2015). There is a tiny drill hole on the edge where silver was extracted for testing. This was an important coin in the study, with test results indicating 93.9% silver bullion and Gallic isotope ratios strongly suggesting similarity with other Vitellius coins from Gallia, not coins minted for Galba.RS86684. Silver denarius, Butcher-Pointing M71 (this coin), RIC I Civil Wars 121, BMCRE I 65, RSC IGalba 363, BnF I 75, Martin 7, EF, toned, tight flan, light corrosion, test drill hole on edge, weight 3.127 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Southern Gaul(?) mint, c. 69 A.D.; obverse clasped hands, FIDES above, EXERCITVVM below; reverse clasped hands, FIDES above, PRAETORIANORVM curving along the edge below; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Helios, auction 4 (Munich, 14 Oct 2009), lot 270; ex Coll. A. Lynn collection; ex Classical Numismatic Group, auction 54 (14 June 2000), lot 1484; ex P. DeVicci collection; rare; $1800.00 (€1530.00)
Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.
In Feb 44 B.C. the senate named Julius Caesardictator for life. Fearing that he wished to become king, on the 15th of Mar, 63 senators assassinated him with their knives. His assassination plunged the Roman Republic into 17 years of civil war, after which it would re-emerge as the Roman Empire.SH82705. Silver denarius, Alföldi Caesar, type III, 115 (this coin); BMCRRRome 4147 (also I); Crawford 480/3; RSC I 34; Sydenham 1056; Sear Imperators 100; RBW 1678 (H) , gVF, toned, banker’s mark on obverse, areas of flat strike, attractive deep old cabinet toning, with hints of iridescence around the devices, weight 3.607 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 30o, Rome mint, moneyer M. Mettius, Jan - Feb 44 B.C.; obverseCAESAR·IMP, wreathed head of Caesar right, cymbium (boat shaped cup used as a wine ladle) and lituus (augural wand) behind; reverse M METTIVS, Venus standing left, Victory in her extended right hand, long transverse scepter in left hand, resting left elbow on shield which rests on globe, I (control letter) in lower left field; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 23 (9 Jan 2016), lot 376; ex Andrew McCabe Collection; ex CNG e-auction 237 (21 July 2010), lot 344; ex Professor L Fontana Collection; rare; $1800.00 (€1530.00)
Agrippina Senior, died 33 A.D., Wife of Germanicus, Mother of Caligula and Agrippa Jr.
Wife of Germanicus, mother of Caligula and Agrippina Jr., mother-in-law and sister-in-law of Claudius, and grandmother of Nero. Agrippina Senior was born in 14 B.C., daughter of Julia and Agrippa. She accompanied her husband Germanicus on all his military campaigns. She was banished by Tiberius in 29 A.D. and died of starvation four years later. SH87192. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC IClaudius 102, BMCRE IClaudius p. 194, 219; BnF IIClaudius 236; Cohen I 3; von KaenelType 78, SRCV I 1906, Choice VF, excellent portrait, well centered, nice green patina on obverse, reverse with darker patina, corrosion and smoothing, weight 27.525 g, maximum diameter 34.3 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, issued by Claudius, 42 A.D.; obverseAGRIPPINA M F GERMANICI CAESARIS, draped bust right, hair waived and tied in queue in back, a corkscrew curl on neck; reverse TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG GERMP M TR P IMP P P, legend around large S C; $1800.00 (€1530.00)
Maximus of Barcelona, Usurper in Hispania, 410 - 411 A.D.
At the same time Honorius was clashing with the Visigothic King Alaric (who would sack Rome in 410), Picts invaded Britain, and Vandals, Alans and Suebi devastated Gaul. Honorius, in Ravenna, no longer even ruled the city of Rome; Visigoths had forced the Senate to appoint Priscus Attalus emperor. Out of desperation, the remnants of legions in the Britain elevated Constantine III and his son Constans II to the purple. Although Iberia was initially spared, in 409 Vandals and other barbarians laid waste to that land too. Constans II, who had been in Hispania, fled back to join his father in Gaul. Their general, Gerontius, remained in Spain, allied with the Vandals, and appointed Maximus as his own puppet emperor. Maximus was probably a senior staff officer, and may have also been a relative, possibly his son. Maximus was one of six men claiming to be Emperor in 410: Honorius (in Ravenna, the legitimate emperor of the West), Theodosius II (in Constantinople, the legitimate emperor of the East), Priscus Attalus (in Rome), Constantine III (in Arelatum), Constans II (in Vienne), and Maximus (in Barcino). Gerontius besieged, defeated and executed Constans II at Vienne. The general then besieged Constantine III at Arles, but the forces of Honorius joined the fight and defeated him. Gerontius was trapped and committed suicide. Maximus fled to his barbarian allies in Hispania who protected him until he was pardoned by Honorius. In 420, Maximus Tryannus rebelled in Hispania (it's uncertain that this was the same Maximus), but was quickly captured, taken to Ravenna, and executed by Honorius 422. SL87405. Silver siliqua, RIC X 1601, RSC V 1b, Balaguer 1-37, King Fifth p. 291, Villaronga-Benages 4437, SRCV V 21081, NGC VG, strike 3/5, surface 2/5, clipped (4372590-001), weight 0.82 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 180o, Barcino (Barcelona, Spain) mint, 410 - 411 A.D.; obverse D N MAXIMVSP F AVG, diademed, draped and cuirassedbust right; reverse VICTOR-IA AVGGG, Roma seated left on cuirass, Victory offering wreath, holding palm and standing on globe in Roma's right hand, inverted spear in her left hand, SMBA in exergue; ex Ira & Larry Goldberg auction 103 (20 Feb 2018), lot 2225; ex Edgar L. Owen; ex Gerhard Hirsch auction 284/285 (26 - 29 Sep 2012), lot 3076; very rare - only about 50 coins known of this emperor!; $1600.00 (€1360.00)
Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.
Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. The earliest certain cult to dea Roma was established at Smyrna in 195 B.C., probably to mark the successful alliance against Antiochus III. In 30/29 B.C., the Koinon of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to honorAugustus as a living god. "Republican" Rome despised the worship of a living man, but an outright refusal might offend their loyal allies. A cautious formula was drawn up, non-Romans could only establish a cult for divus Augustus jointly with dea Roma. In the city of Rome itself, the earliest known state cult to dea Roma was combined with Venus at the Hadrianic Temple of Venus and Roma. This was the largest temple in the city, probably dedicated to inaugurate the reformed festival of Parilia, which was known thereafter as the Romaea after the Eastern festival in Roma's honor. The temple contained the seated, Hellenised image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.SH82657. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC I 330, Cohen I 271, BnF I 417, Mac Dowall WCN 163, Hunter I 100, SRCV I -, BMCRE I –, gVF, excellent portrait, finestyle, dark green and brown patina, some corrosion, gently smoothed, weight 24.425 g, maximum diameter 34.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 66 A.D.; obverse IMP NEROCLAVDCAESAR AVG GER P M TR P P P, laureate head left with light beard; reverseRoma seated left on cuirass, one round and one oblong shield behind, wearing crested helmet, right foot drawn back and resting on helmet, Victory offering wreath in Roma's extended right hand, her left hand rests on parazonium, ROMA in exergue, S - C (senatus consulto) at sides; Numismatica Ars Classica, auction 94 (6 October 2016), lot 127; ex Classical Numismatic Group 783132 ($1750); $1570.00 (€1334.50)
Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D.
The wreath on the reverse is the corona civica, the oak wreath awarded to Roman citizens ex senatus consulto (by special decree of the Senate) for saving the life of another citizen by slaying an enemy in battle. It became a prerogative for Roman emperors to be awarded the Civic Crown, originating with Augustus, who was awarded it in 27 B.C. for saving the lives of citizens by ending the series of civil wars. SH86121. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC I 37, BMCRE I 38, Cohen I 24, BnF II 50, Hunter I 15, SRCV I -, Choice VF, Tiberpatina, centered and struck, attractive young portrait, some marks and corrosion, weight 26.709 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVSPON MTR POT, laureate head left; reverseS P Q R / P P / OB CIVES / SERVATOS in four lines within Corona Civica oak wreath; rare; $1560.00 (€1326.00)
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