Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 97   |   12 December 2016 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 58

Estimate: 7'500 CHF   |   Starting price: 6'000 CHF Price realized: 6'500 CHF
The Roman Republic
M. Antonius and Cleopatra. Denarius, mint moving with M. Antonius 32, AR 3.64 g.
Description: ANTONI· ARME[NIA·DEVICTA] Head of M. Antonius r.; behind, Armenian tiara. Rev. [CLEOPATRAE ·REGINAE· REGVM·FILIORVM·REGVM] Draped and diademed bust of Cleopatra r. References: Babelon Antonia 95
C 1
Sydenham 1210
Sear Imperators 345
RBW 1832
Buttrey, Essays Russo, p. 303, 52
Crawford 543/1 Condition:Rare. Two lovely portraits with a magnificent old cabinet tone. Irregular flan and minor areas of weakness, otherwise about extremely fine Provenance: Dupriez sale 23 October 1934, 48
UBS sale 78, 2008, 1210 Note: As the struggle between Marcus Antonius and Octavian dragged on in the 30s B.C., the geographical and political lines became ever more defined. Antonius had become entrenched in the Eastern Mediterranean, and in doing so had allied himself with Cleopatra VII, queen of Egypt, whose original supporter in Rome, Iulius Caesar, had been murdered years before. She had his son, Caesarion, at her side, but she needed an ally like Antonius if she hoped to preserve Egypt from the ever-widening grasp of Rome. Importantly, Antonius was easier to manipulate than Octavian, who had no sympathy for Cleopatra’s motives. Although this woman of blinding intellect may have found her marriage to Antonius a degrading experience, personally, she was crafty enough to realise it was her only chance at survival. Hence, she was probably eager to issue dual-portrait coins, such as the denarius offered here. Little more indication is necessary to recognise that Cleopatra had effectively dominated her husband, the Roman warlord Antonius.

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