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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Imperators| ▸ |Octavian||View Options:  |  |  | 

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

Gaius Octavius Thurinus was adopted by his great-uncle Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., and between then and 27 B.C. was officially named Gaius Julius Caesar. After 27 B.C., he was named Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus. Because of the various names he bore, it is common to call him Octavius when referring to events between 63 and 44 B.C., Octavian (or Octavianus) when referring to events between 44 and 27 B.C., and Augustus when referring to events after 27 B.C. The first and possibly greatest Roman emperor, he founded the Roman Empire after defeating Mark Antony and Cleopatra. As emperor, he reformed the coinage and the military, and embarked on a huge building program all across the empire. After a long reign of 41 years, from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D., he died at the age of 77. The coins below were struck before he was renamed Augustus in 27 B.C.


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., Struck by Octavian

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According to Livy, the caduceus, a symbol of peace, was sometimes carried by diplomats sent to negociate a treaty. Antony and Octavian allied to defeat Caesar's assassins, but after defeating Brutus and Cassius, each was determined to obtain absolute power. While Antony was in Egypt, his brother and his wife gathered an army to remove Octavian but they were defeated. Antony and Octavian met with their armies at Brundisium, but the legions, both Caesarian, refused to fight. The two men reached an agreement. This is when this coin was struck by Octavian's mint with Antony's portrait on the obverse. It appeared that peace was finally reigning in the Roman world, but it only was a short calm before another storm.
RR89740. Silver denarius, Crawford 529/3, Sydenham 1328, Sear CRI 303, BMCRR II Gaul 94, Russo RBW 1817, RSC I Mark Antony 5, F, uneven toning, light marks, weight 3.488 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 270o, travelling mint with Octavian mint, 39 B.C.; obverse ANTONIVS IMP, bare head right; reverse CAESAR - IMP (counterclockwise below), winged caduceus; rare; $500.00 (€440.00)
 


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Rare and important type commemorating the defeat of Antony and conquest of Egypt.

In "The Coinage System of Cleopatra VII, Marc Antony, and Augustus in Cyprus, Matt Kreuzer attributes this type to Paphos, Cyprus. Kreuzer notes, "After Actium, Octavian took over Antony and Cleopatra's minting operations at Paphos on Cyprus. A steady output of similar style denarii was maintained." The portrait style of this coin is the same style as the CA coinage. Kreuzer attributes both types to Paphos. He also identifies the small Capricorn below the bust, as "an apparent symbol that the coin came from Cyprus the personal possession of Octavian himself."

A similar denarii without the Capricorn was also struck by a western mint, probably Rome (S 1564, RIC 275).
SH17094. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1565, RSC I 4, RIC I 545, Vagi 247, BMCRE I 653, gVF, superb eastern portrait, clear capricorn, nicely done crocodile, minor porosity, weight 3.808 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Asia, Paphos? mint, 28 B.C.; obverse CAESAR•DIVI F COS•VI, bare head right, capricorn right below; reverse AEGYPTO CAPTA, crocodile right; very rare; SOLD


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After defeating Antony and Cleopatra at Actium, Octavian removed the last obstacle to supreme power by invading and capturing Egypt in August 30 B.C. The crocodile was a symbol of Egypt and this coin commemorated that event.
SH16776. Silver denarius, RIC I 275a, BMCRE I 650, Sear CRI 430, RSC I 2, VF, slightly flat strike, weight 3.530 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 90o, Italian (Rome?) mint, 28 B.C.; obverse CAESAR COS VI (starting upward on left), bare head right, lituus behind; reverse AEGYPTO / CAPTA, crocodile right; obverse die crack, two scratches obverse at 3:00; rare; SOLD







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Catalog current as of Saturday, August 17, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Octavian