Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 94   |   6 October 2016
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Lot 59





Estimate: 5'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 4'000 CHF Price realized: 11'000 CHF
The Roman Empire
Octavian, as Augustus 27 BC – 14 AD
Denarius, Colonia Patricia circa 19 BC, AR 3.76 g. CAESAR – AVGVSTVS Bare head r. Rev. MARTIS – VLTORIS Round domed tetrastyle temple within which stands Mars helmeted and cloaked standing l. holding Aquila in r. hand and trophy over l. shoulder. C 205. BMC p. 65 note *. RIC 72. CBN 1104.
Rare and in exceptional condition for the issue. A bold portrait and a superb old cabinet
tone, an unobtrusive metal flaw on reverse, otherwise good extremely fine
Ex Bourgey 25-26 March 1974, 129 and Lanz 94, 1999, Benz, 51 sales.

This is a really nice coin for this very historically important type. The returned Roman standards long held by the Parthians were placed in the temple of Mars Ultor (Mars the Avenger). I have also written, for the Celator, about this subject. The temple to Mars Ultor was promised by Augustus in 19 BC but was actually only dedicated in 2 BC. That temple, whose foundation still exists in the forum of Augustus, is rectangular in shape. Here the temple is clearly shown as a round structure. Speculation as to whether this was a temporary home for the standards is mixed with the possibility that the original temple design envisioned by Augustus may have been round but was later changed to fit into the location where it was built. In either case we know the final resting place for the returned standards was a temple with a rectangular base. This temple would become the departure point for Roman troops departing for battle after proper prayers/sacrifices were completed. MSG.

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