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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Roman Republic ▸ after 50 B.C.View Options:  |  |  |   

Roman Republic after 50 B.C.

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.
SH84733. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/13, Sydenham 1074, Sear CRI 107d, RSC I Julius Caesar 39, BMCRR I Rome 4173, SRCV I 1414, Vagi 56, Choice VF, full circle centering on a broad flan, obverse legend all on flan (highly desirable), toned, slightest porosity, weight 3.685 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, moneyer P Sepullius Macer, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, veiled and wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing left, Victory in extended right, long scepter in left hand, shield at feet right; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $2000.00 (1780.00) ON RESERVE


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

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This coin declares Caesar as dictator for the second time, consul for the third time, augur and pontifex maximus. The head of Ceres refers to the grain producing wealth delivered to Rome by his victory in Africa. The D (and on similar coins an M) indicates this type was struck to be distributed as a donativum (largess) or munus (gift) to his legions. Some may have been distributed at Caesar's quadruple triumph celebrated in 46 B.C., when celebrations included public banquets, plays and gladiatorial games, lasting forty days. Vercingetorix was paraded and executed. Also in 46 B.C., Caesar made his nephew Octavian his heir. Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt, Caesar's mistress, and Caesarion, his bastard son by her, moved into one of his residences on the Tiber. They would remain in Rome as Caesar's guests until his assassination on 15 March 44 B.C.
SH84609. Silver denarius, Crawford 467/1a, Russo RBW 1637, Sydenham 1023, RSC I 4a; Sear CRI 57, BMCRR Africa 21, SRCV I 1403, gVF, dark toning, some marks and scratches, reverse slightly off center, weight 3.283 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, African, Utica(?) mint, 46 B.C.; obverse DICT ITER - COS TERT (counterclockwise from lower right, dictator for the 2nd time, consul for the third time), head of Ceres right, wreathed with grain; reverse implements of the augurate and pontificate: simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), capis (jug), and lituus (wand), AVGVR (augur) above, below D (donativum = largess) to right, PONT MAX (pontifex maximus) below; from the James Campbell Collection, purchased in 2004 from Roma Numismatica (9A Via Barberini, Rome); $670.00 (596.30)


Roman Republic, Sextus Pompeius Magnus, 45 - 44 B.C.

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This type was struck while Sextus Pompey was free-booting in Spain following the Battle of Munda. Pietas was the Pompeians' battle cry at Munda and the reverse type refers to his vow to avenge the deaths of his father and elder brother. Babelon and Grueber interpret SAL as salutatus. Crawford and Buttrey identify it as a mintmark for Salpensa, but David Sear points out that such a prominent mintmark would be unprecedented on a denarius of the period and seems to be an integral part of the legend.
RR77515. Silver denarius, Buttrey Pietas Type 4 (6/D); Crawford 477/3a; Sydenham 1042a; Sear CRI 232b, RSC I Pompeia 13, gF, attractive old cabinet tone, banker's marks, light bumps and scratches, weight 3.331 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain Hispania mint, 45 - 44 B.C.; obverse SEX MAGN PIVS IMP SAL, bare head of Cnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) right; reverse Pietas standing left, palm branch in right hand, long scepter transverse in left hand, PIETAS downward on right; From the Andrew McCabe Collection, Roma Numismatics auction 23, lot 372, ex Gemini auction X (13 Jan 2013), lot 261, ex Randy Haviland Collection; very rare; $640.00 (569.60)


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

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Lyon was originally founded as the Roman city Colonia Copia Felix Munatia, a name invoking prosperity and the blessing of the gods. The city became increasingly referred to as Lugdunum by the end of the 1st century A.D. The etymology of Lugdunum is a latinization of the Gaulish place name Lugodunon. While dunon means hill fort, the source of Lug is uncertain. The most commonly offered meaning is the Celtic god named Lug. During the Middle Ages, Lugdunum was transformed to Lyon by natural sound change.
RR70870. Bronze dupondius, RPC I 515, Giard Lyon 7, SNG Cop 689, F, weight 16.797 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 36 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR DIVI F DIVI IVLI, two heads back to back: laureate head of Divus Julius Caesar to left and bare head of Octavian to right; between them palm branch with its tip bent to right over Octavian's head; reverse Prow of galley to right, ornamented with an eye and dolphin; star superimposed on globe and meta above deck, COPIA below; rare; $540.00 (480.60)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG XI

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This may have been a legion raised by Antony and disbanded by Augustus. The XI Claudia, an old legion of Caesar's, fought for Octavian (and won the title Actiaca at the battle of Actium).
SL79267. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/25, Sydenham 1229, BMCRR II East 203, RSC I 39, NGC F, strike 3/5, surface 2/5, banker's marks (2400602-008), toned, weight 3.48 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - XI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; NGC certified (slabbed); $450.00 (400.50)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG V

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This may have been the famous V Alaudae ('the larks'), a Caesarean legion which remained loyal to Antony but was later retained by Augustus. There are other possibilities, however: V Macedonica, a Caesarean legion about which little is known; V Urbana, disbanded after Actium (and therefore quite likely an Antonian legion); and V Gallica, a Caesarean legion that was probably the one that under Lollius lost its eagle to German raiders in Gaul in 17 B.C.
RS79795. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/18, Sydenham 1221, BMCRR II East 196, RSC I 32, Sear CRI 354, VF, obverse slightly off-center, banker's mark on obverse, weight 3.714 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT AVG III. VIR. R. P. C., galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - V, legionary aquila between two standards; $360.00 (320.40)


Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 5 - 4 B.C., Legate P. Quinctilius Varus

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Publius Quinctilius Varus was a Roman general and politician under Augustus. From 7 or 6 B.C. until 4 B.C. he governed Syria where he was known for harsh rule and high taxes. Josephus mentions the swift action of Varus in 4 B.C., against a revolt in Judaea following the death of Herod the Great. Varus occupied Jerusalem and crucified 2000 rebels. Varus is most infamous for losing three Roman legions in an ambush by Germanic tribes led by Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, at which point he took his own life. Upon hearing the news, Augustus tore his clothes, refused to cut his hair for months and, for years afterward, was heard, upon occasion, to moan, "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my Legions!" (Quintili Vare, legiones redde!).
RP84651. Bronze trichalkon, McAlee 87; Butcher 50c; RPC I 4252; SNG Cop 92; SNG Mnchen 640; BMC Galatia p. 159, 59; Cohen DCA 402 (S), F, centered on a tight flan, dark patina with red earthen highlighting, porosity, light corrosion, weight 5.501 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, legate P. Quinctilius Varus, 5 - 4 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse ANTIOXEΩ EΠI OVAPOV, Tyche of Antioch seated right on rocks, turreted, wearing chiton and peplos, palm frond in her right hand, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right below, his head turned facing, ZK (Actian Era year 27) in the right field; scarce; $220.00 (195.80)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG XV

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This LEG XV was probably raised by Antony and disbanded by Octavian. It is not likely to have been the XV Apollinaris, a legion that was reconstituted by Octavian.
RR90398. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/20, Sydenham 1224, BMCRR II East 198, RSC I 34, Fair, weight 3.154 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 315o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - XV, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; $120.00 (106.80)


Marc Antony and Lepidus, Triumvirs, 26 November 43 - 36 B.C.

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According to Crawford, this issue was struck sometime between 30 May 43 B.C. and early 42 B.C., during the time Antony was Proconsul of Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul and Lepidus was Proconsul of Narbonensis Gaul and Spain.
RR84164. Silver quinarius, cf. Crawford 489/3, RSC I Lepidus 3, Sydenham 1158, BMCRR Gaul 33, SRCV I 1500 (other varieties with legend variations), aF, many banker's marks, weight 1.651 g, maximum diameter 12.9 mm, die axis 90o, Transalpine Gaul mint, Jun 43 - early 42 B.C.; obverse M ANT IMP (or similar), implements of the augurate: lituus (wand), capis (jug), and raven; reverse LEP IMP (or similar), implements of the pontificate: simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (ladle), securis (sacrificial ax), and apex (priest's hat); $120.00 (106.80)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG XX

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Antony's XX must have been disbanded by Augustus. The well-known XX Valeria Victrix (which later took part in the conquest of Britain) was probably constituted by Octavian, perhaps after Actium.
SL70953. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/36, Sydenham 1243, BMCRR II East 215, RSC I 57, ANACS G4 (4756278), maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 90o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - XX, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; authenticated (slabbed) by ANACS; $100.00 (89.00)




  



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REFERENCES

Babelon, E. Monnaies de la Republique Romaine. (Paris, 1885).
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Hoover, O.D. Handbook of Coins of Sicily (including Lipara), Civic, Royal, Siculo-Punic, and Romano-Sicilian Issues, Sixth to First Centuries BC. HGC 2. (Lancaster, PA, 2011).
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 Friday, March 24, 2017.
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Roman Republic after 50 B.C.