Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 101   |   24 October 2017 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 43

Estimate: 12'500 CHF   |   Starting price: 10'000 CHF Price realized: 18'500 CHF
Cleopatra with Marcus Antonius. Denarius, mint moving with M. Antony 32, AR 3.81 g. CLEOPATRAE ·REGI[NAE·REGVM·FILIORVM·REGVM] Draped and diademed bust of Cleopatra r. Rev. ANTONI· ARMENIA·DEVICTA Head of M. Antony r.; behind, Armenian tiara. Babelon Antonia 95. C 1. Syden­ham 1210. Sear Imperators 345. RBW 1832. Crawford 543/1.
Very rare. Two lovely portraits and a light iridescent tone, obverse
slightly off-centre, otherwise about extremely fine
Ex Künker sale 77, 2002, 341.
As the struggle between Marc Antony and Octavian dragged on in the 30s B.C., the geographical and political lines became ever more defined. Antony 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, Julius Caesar, had been murdered years before. She had his son, Caesarion, at her side, but she needed an ally like Antony if she hoped to preserve Egypt from the ever-widening grasp of Rome. Importantly, Antony 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 Antony 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 Antony.

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