Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 101   |   24 October 2017 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 82

Estimate: 15'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 12'000 CHF Price realized: 22'000 CHF
Octavian as Augustus, 27 BC – 14 AD. L. Marius C.f. Tromentina. Denarius 13 BC, AR 3.62 g. AVGVSTVS Bare head of Augustus r.; behind, lituus. Rev. C MARIVS TRO – III VIR Diademed and draped bust of Julia as Diana r., quiver on far shoulder. C 1. BMC 104. RIC 403. CBN 522.
Very rare and in unusually fine condition for the issue. Two lovely
portraits and a light old cabinet tone, extremely fine
Ex Sternberg XII, 1982, 527 and New York V, 2003, 257 sales.
Augustus, a man with few peers in terms of political success, suffered numerous setbacks in his family life: at least four of his chosen heirs – Marcellus, Agrippa, Gaius Caesar and Lucius Caesar – predeceased him, and for breaches of conduct he banished his daughter Julia and his last grandson, Agrippa Postumus.
Initially, Julia seemed an ideal Roman heiress. She was married, in sequence, to three of Augustus’ chosen heirs (Marcellus, Agrippa and Tiberius), and this denarius of 13 B.C. represents a peak moment of stability and success for the emperor’s family. The whole of the royal family converged in Rome to celebrate recent victories in Rhaetia, the consecration of the Ara Pacis, the first consulship of Tiberius, and the senate’s renewal of the tribunician power for Augustus and Agrippa. This latter honour was of great importance, for it confirmed the arrangement by which Augustus and Agrippa were virtual equals in power.
This dynastic declaration found form on the imperial coinage. The relevant issues portrayed Agrippa and Julia (on this issue in the guise of Diana) and their two sons, Gaius Caesar and Lucius Caesar and, of course, Augustus. Also of dynastic value were issues of the previous year that showed Augustus’ stepsons Tiberius and Nero Claudius Drusus handing branches to Augustus, who sits atop a podium.
Soon after the great occasion for which this denarius was issued, however, the Augustan family luck faltered; Agrippa died unexpectedly in the following year, causing the widow Julia to enter into a tragically unhappy marriage with Tiberius. Already having lost two husbands, and clearly incompatible with Tiberius, Julia’s behaviour became more extreme until it came to the notice of her father.

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