Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich

Auction 114 - Part I

Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich, Auction 114 - Part I

Greek, Roman and Byzantine Coins

Tu, 07.05.2019, from 11:00 AM CEST
The auction is closed.


C. Caesar Octavianus and P. Clodius. Denarius 42, AR 3.71 g. CAESAR – III VIR R P C Bare head of Octavian r., with slight beard. Rev. P CLODIVS – M F Mars standing facing, head l., holding sword in scabbard and resting on spear. Babelon Clodia 21 and Julia 78. Sydenham 1122. Sear Imperators 155. RBW –. Crawford 494/18.
Of the highest rarity, among the finest specimens of the very few in private
hands. A lovely portrait struck on a full flan and a with light iridescent
tone, extremely fine / good extremely fine

Ex Gemini sale II, 2006, 297.

Apollo became the deity that Octavian was most closely associated with following the Battle of Actium (31 BC), but during the civil war between the Second Triumvirate of Octavian, Mark Antony, and Marcus Lepidus and the assassins of Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus and L. Cassius Longinus, Octavian associated himself with Mars, specifically in his aspect as Ultor (”the Avenger”). Following the defeat and death of Brutus and Cassius at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC, Octavian vowed to erect a temple to Mars Ultor in thanksgiving for his success in avenging his deified adoptive father. The depiction of Mars on this denarius, which was struck in 42 BC, seems to advertise this solemn vow, although it may also represent the more general motivation of revenge behind the triumvirs at Philippi. A parallel issue depicting Antony was also struck by the same moneyer with the same Mars reverse. In both cases the portraits of Octavian and Antony are both shown unshaven to reflect their vow to avenge Caesar. Once Brutus and Cassius were dead the beards came off. It is unclear when work began on the Temple of Mars Ultor, but it was a long time before Octavian’s vow was fulfilled. The temple was only inaugurated in 2 BC, but even then it was not fully complete. By this time he was no longer known by this name, but had long taken up the name of Augustus and ruled as the first Roman Emperor. Augustus made the temple the place of ritual military significance. The Temple of Mars Ultor became the place where decisions of the Senate were to be made in matters of war and the official location from which Roman generals were to set out on new campaigns. Likewise it was the place where youths received the toga virilis as a sign of their coming of age and the beginning of their eligibility for military service. In addition to the interest of this coin as a wonderfully preserved work of art and a historical document of the civil war that followed Caesar’s murder, the piece is one of the greatest rarities in the late Republican series and missing from most collections.

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Price realized 115'000 CHF
Starting price 20'000 CHF
Estimate 25'000 CHF
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