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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Twelve Caesars| ▸ |Livia||View Options:  |  |  | 

Livia (Julia), Augusta, 14 - 29 A.D., Wife of Augustus, Mother of Tiberius, Grandmother of Claudius

Livia was the wife of Augustus, mother of Tiberius, paternal grandmother of Claudius, paternal great-grandmother of Caligula, and maternal great-great-grandmother of Nero. When Octavian and Livia met, both were already married, Livia already had a son, Tiberius, and was pregnant with a second, Nero Claudius Drusus. Legend says that Octavian fell immediately in love with her. Octavian divorced Scribonia, on the very day that she gave birth to his daughter Julia. Tiberius Claudius Nero was persuaded or forced by Octavian to divorce Livia. Augustus and Livia married, three days after her second son was born. Tiberius Claudius Nero gave her away at the wedding, "just as a father would." There are probably more political explanations for the union. Nevertheless, Livia and Augustus remained married for the next 51 years. They had no children. Livia always enjoyed the status of privileged counselor to her husband, petitioning him on the behalf of others and influencing his policies, an unusual role for a Roman wife. Living very simply and frugally, Livia set an example of Roman virtue which made her quite popular with the people. According to some ancient historians, however, Livia poisoned Augustus' potential heirs and then Augustus himself to make her son emperor. When he was emperor, Tiberius and Livia had a falling out. On her death in 29 A.D., he did not see fit to have her consecrated. When Claudius came to power, he argued that every god needed a consort (referring to the deified Augustus). The Senate accepted this logic, and she was declared a goddess.


Dion (or Pella?), Macedonia, c. 22 - 30 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
The Pietas obverse type is copied from a imperial dupondius struck at Rome in 22 - 23 A.D. (RIC I 43). That portrait has been traditionally described as depicting Livia as Pietas, based on Cohen. Even if as early as 1880, A. Colson was proposing that the portrait is actually Livilla, Drusus' wife, but that was not in time for Cohen to consider it for his catalog. On the dupondius, Pietas is paired with a reverse naming Livilla's husband, Drusus. At the time, Livilla was praised for piety over the sickness and death of her husband. Later it would become clear that she had poisoned Drusus for her lover Sejanus.
RP89332. Leaded bronze provincial as, Kremydi-Sicilianou Dion p. 271, pl. 38 - (E7/O8, unlisted die combination); RPC I 1543; AMNG II p. 60, 4; Varbanov -, VF, areas of light corrosion, earthen deposits, weight 10.519 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 180o, Dium (or Pella?) mint, reign of Tiberius, c. 22 - 30 A.D.; obverse veiled and draped bust of Pietas (Livilla or Livia as Pietas?) right, PIETAS below; reverse L RVSTI/CELIVS / CORDVS / II • VIR / QVINQ / D D (L. Rusticelius Cordus, duovir quinquennalis, decreto decurionum) in six lines; ex CNG auction 420 (9 May 2018), lot 361; ex Belgica Collection; ex CNG e-auction 181 (6 Feb 2008), lot 671 (realized $330 plus fees); ex the Patrick Villemur Collection; rare; $250.00 (€220.00)
 


Click for a larger photo
In 22 when Livia fell ill, Tiberius hastened back to Rome from Capri in order to be with his mother. This coin was probably issued to thank Salus for her recovery. Ancient historians say, however, the reason Tiberius retired to Capri was because he could no longer endure his mother. Livia fell ill again in 29. Dying, she held out several days in hope of his coming but he remained on Capri and sent Caligula to deliver the funeral oration. Tiberius vetoed divinity and all the other honors the Senate granted her after her death.
SH89838. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC I Tiberius 47 (S), BMCRE I Tiberius 81, BnF I Tiberius 63, Cohen I 5, SRCV I 1740, Hunter I -, VF, well centered, brown and blue-green patina, weight 12.418 g, maximum diameter 28.23 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under her son Tiberius, c. 22 - 23 A.D.; obverse SALVS AVGVSTA (arcing counterclockwise below bust), draped bust of Livia (as Salus) right, her hair waved and knotted behind; reverse TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVG P M TR POT XXIIII, legend around large S C (senatus consulto); rare; SOLD


Click for a larger photo
In 22 when Livia fell ill, Tiberius hastened back to Rome from Capri in order to be with his mother. This coin was probably issued to thank Salus for her recovery. Ancient historians say, however, the reason Tiberius retired to Capri was because he could no longer endure his mother. Livia fell ill again in 29. Dying, she held out several days in hope of his coming but he remained on Capri and sent Caligula to deliver the funeral oration. Tiberius vetoed divinity and all the other honors the Senate granted her after her death.
SH76396. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC I Tiberius 47 (S), BMCRE I Tiberius 81, BnF I Tiberius 63, Cohen I 5, SRCV I 1740, Hunter I -, Choice VF, near black patina, well centered, nice style, small closed flan cracks, weight 14.582 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, struck under her son Tiberius, c. 22 - 23 A.D.; obverse SALVS AVGVSTA (arcing counterclockwise below bust), draped bust of Livia (as Salus) right, her hair waved and knotted behind; reverse TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVG P M TR POT XXIIII, legend around large S C; from the Jeff Michniak Collection; rare; SOLD







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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

PIETAS
SPQRIVLIAEAVGVST


REFERENCES|

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry & P.P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (London, 1992 and supplement).
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. One: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. One: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. I: De Pompeyo Magno a Matidia (Del 81 a.C. al 117 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Giard, J.B. Monnaies de l'Empire romain, I Auguste. Catalogue Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol 1: Augustus to Vitellius. (London, 1923).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. I. Augustus to Nerva. (Oxford, 1962).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sutherland, C.H.V. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
Toynbee, J.M.C. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Saturday, January 18, 2020.
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Roman Coins of Livia