The Roman Republic
Estimate: 10'000 CHF
Starting price: 8'000 CHF
Julius Caesar and L. Mussidius Longus. Denarius 42, AR 4.12 g. Laureate head of J. Caesar r. Rev. L·MVSSIDIVS·LONGVS Rudder, cornucopiae on globe, caduceus and apex. Babelon Julia 58 and Mussidia 8. C 29. Sydenham 1096a. Sear Imperators 116. RBW 1742. Crawford 494/39a.
Rare. Struck on a very broad flan and with a light iridescent tone. Extremely fine
Ex NAC sale 33, 2006, 380. The image of Julius Caesar was a powerful tool for the cause of Antony and Octavian, who were preparing to battle Brutus and Cassius when this denarius was struck in 42 B.C. When the great armies clashed at Philippi in October of that year, the Caesarians were victorious, and thus had avenged the murder of Caesar and moved the Roman world one step closer to monarchy. Though the portrait of the slain dictator is arresting, the reverse is equally symbolic. The cornucopiae-on-globe and the rudder allude to Caesar’s success as a commander who brought so much of the Mediterranean world under his control, the apex reflects Caesar’s position as Pontifex Maximus, and the winged caduceus may be seen as an emblem of the contentment his conquests had brought to the Roman world. A few minor exceptions aside, Octavian last used Caesar’s portrait as a main feature of his coinage in 38, when he issued impressive types to celebrate his descent from the deified Caesar.