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coin

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    2002,0102.4960

  • Denomination

    • denarius
  • Description

    Silver coin.(obverse) Herald, in long robe and feathered helmet, standing left, holding winged caduceus in right hand and round shield on which six-pointed star in left hand.
    (reverse) Head of deified Julius Caesar, laureate, right; above, comet with four rays and a tail.

  • State

    • Roman Empire
  • Authority

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 17BC
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Weight: 3.74 grammes
    • Die-axis: 5 o'clock
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        obverse
      • Inscription Language

        Latin
      • Inscription Content

        AVGVST DIVI F LVDOS SAE
      • Inscription Comment

        anti-clockwise
      • Inscription Type

        inscription
      • Inscription Position

        reverse
      • Inscription Language

        Latin
      • Inscription Content

        M SA[NQVI]NIVS III VIR
      • Inscription Comment

        clockwise
  • Curator's comments

    This type is in commemoration of the "Ludi Saeculares", the Saecular Games celebrated by Augustus in 17 BC to mark the commencement of a "New Age" inaugurated by the Divine Julius and now brought to fruition by his heir.

    The youthful head on the reverse has usually been interpreted as that of a rejuvenated Caesar, on the evidence of the comet ("sidus Iulium") which surmounts the portrait. However, there is clearly no resemblance to the late dictator and it seems more satisfactory to regard it is a personification of the "New Age" itself, endowed, like so many of the divine images of Augustus' reign, with the features of the emperor

    The star with the top of the head of the divine Julius, representing the comet which was visible shortly after its assassination by Brutus and its accomplices with Ides of March.

    SUETONIUS, Life of the twelve Caesars, Caesar, LXXXVII: “… during first plays which celebrated in its honour, after its apotheosis, Augustus, its heir, a comet, who appeared around the eleventh hour, shone during seven days consecutive and it was believed that it was the heart of Caesar admitted with the sky: for this reason it is represented with a star above its head.”

    More 

  • Bibliography

    • RIC1 340, p.66 (type) bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    2002

  • Department

    Coins & Medals

  • Registration number

    2002,0102.4960

Silver coin.

Obverse & Reverse

Image description

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Object reference number: CGR219932

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