Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 101   |   24 October 2017 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 92

Estimate: 6'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 4'800 CHF Price realized: 5'500 CHF
Octavian as Augustus, 27 BC – 14 AD. Divus Augustus. Dupondius circa 22-23, Æ 16.14 g. DIVVS·AVGVSTVS·PATER Radiate head of Augustus l. Rev. S – C Hexastyle temple with sharply domed roof surmounted by standing figure and flanked by columns bearing calf on l. and lamb on r. C 251. BMC Tiberius 142. RIC Tiberius 74. CBN Tiberius 146.
Very rare and an issue of great interest and fascination. Dark green patina
somewhat smoothed, otherwise extremely fine / about extremely fine
Ex Lanz sale 109, 2002, 287.
This rare dupondius advertises the legitimacy of Tiberius (and indirectly that of his son Drusus) and the continuity of the Julio-Claudian dynasty by appealing to the memory of Tiberius' stepfather, the divine Augustus. Here the divinity of Augustus is visually underlined by the use of a radiate crown on his portrait rather than the laurel wreath that he commonly wore during his lifetime. The crown also serves as a denomination marker to distinguish the brass dupondius from the similarly-sized copper as in the reformed Roman aes system introduced in 23 B.C. The coin illustrates the descent of Tiberius' right to rule from his deified stepfather and to Drusus, with whom Tiberius shared his tribunician power (tribunicia potestas) in A.D. 22, as well as the emperor's expected pietas towards Augustus (identified as father – PATER – in the legend). Unfortunately, the pattern of continuity from (step)father to son was tragically broken shortly after this coin was issued when Drusus mysteriously died – probably the victim of a poisoning plot by Tiberius' ambitious praetorian prefect, Sejanus. The identity of the unlabeled temple on the reverse of the coin is somewhat controversial. Its round form has led come commentators to declare the type a depiction of a temple of Vesta – either the famous temple in the Forum or the small shrine erected by Augustus next to his house on the Palatine Hill. The latter possibility may be supported by the presence of the Palladium on the roof. On the other hand, considering the obverse type and the calf and lamb flanking the temple, it has also been argued that the temple must honour the divine Augustus. A calf and a lamb were standard sacrificial animals during ceremonies worshiping a deified emperor.

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