Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 101   |   24 October 2017 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 99

Estimate: 20'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 16'000 CHF Price realized: 16'000 CHF
Tiberius, 14 – 37 AD. Aureus, Lugdunum 14-16, AV 7.78 g. TI CAESAR DIVI – [AVG F AVGVS]TVS Laureate head of Tiberius r. Rev. DIVOS AVGVST – DIVI F Laureate head of Augustus r., six-pointed star above. C 3. BMC 29. RIC 24. CBN 1. Calicó 311.
Very rare and in exceptional condition for the issue. Two magnificent
portraits of superb style, obverse slightly off-centre,
otherwise virtually as struck and almost Fdc
Ex NAC sale 41, 2007, 39.
This aureus testifies to the definitive adoption and the ensuing appointment of Tiberius as Augustus’ heir. It is worth mentioning how the minting of this extremely rare issue occurred so shortly before the death of the emperor, of whose demise various leading inferences have been made. We indeed know from sources that Augustus retired to Nola and, suspicious of his entourage, would eat only figs from his gardens. All the same, this cautious diet did not save him from a possible death by poisoning. Some have suggested the involvement of Livia, a powerful and controversial personality who may have been the shadowy orchestrator behind at least some of the inexplicable deaths of many heirs previously appointed by Augustus. The first to succumb to a sudden and questionable disease, in 23 BC, was his nephew Marcellus, son of the emperor's sister Octavia and most loved potential heir. Next in line for succession was now Agrippa, but he also was not to outlive the Emperor, for an untimely albeit natural death took him in 12 BC. Then it was the turn of Agrippa's sons Lucius Caesar, who died of a suspicious illness in Gaul in 2 AD, his brother Gaius having died two years previously of a fatal wound while at war in the East. Agrippa Postumus, younger brother of Gaius and Lucius, thus became the last male descendant of the Emperor who, if the truth be told, despised him for his intractability and madness, to the point of promoting a "senatus consultu" to have him transferred to an island, in perpetual isolation and surrounded by a body of soldiers (Suet., Augusti Vita, 65). However, after Augustus death the position of Agrippa, next of blood, as legitimate heir – madness notwithstanding – could not be challenged and so he was immediately disposed of by one of his guardians. Tiberius path to the throne was finally clear.

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