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  1. thisistheshow, I am not an expert on this point, but from my researching it appears that the coins produced by military mints, especially during the and Imperatorial periods were produced in all major metals/denominations (e.g., bronze, silver, gold) and were of the same size, shape, mass, and artistry, an used the similar motifs as official produced coins. It is pretty amazing for the time to think how practical and efficient the Romans were, given that they could accomplish a mobile mint which required, at minimum, infrastructure required to produced the coins, namely skilled workers to set up, maintain, and operate the equipment, and the workers to strike the coins, not to mention dealing with storage and security related to carry around a large mass of precious metals! For a general background, I found the following information interesting and informative... https://www.academia.edu/35950471/Travelling_with_Roman_Military_Mints ...and, adding to the debate over who was the first living Roman on coinage, the author of that link posits it may have been Scipio Africanus!?
  2. Kohaku

    Et Tu, KOSON?

    deposito, Indeed XRF is the next frontier for studying ancient coinage. Since I am a scientist, and actually employ XRF (not for examining purity of metals, but rather carbon and silicon materials) I found that paper particularly fascinating. I am also intrigued about the sources that describe the link between Brutus and Polemocratia. I am not sure any definitive conclusions can be made from that, but is at least suggestive of a link between Brutus and those staters. If you are interested, here are some pics of my other KOSON/Brutus stater posted below. It is hard to tell from the pics (I always have trouble taking photos of coins), but in hand I get the distinct impression that my monogram coin is comprised of higher quality gold than my non-monogram coin, consistent with Constantinescu et al.
  3. The question of slabbing is even more hotly contested when it comes to ancient coins. For me, I appreciate the security on having an ancient coin protected within the slab, as well as confirmation of attribution and condition (even if I don't always like the result for the latter!). Having said that, I have some ancient coins that I decided not to slab, for various reasons.
  4. desposito, I'm not sure about the timing for that movie, but I definitely would love to see it! Yes, I agree that Sulla's early years carousing with entertainers and the story his girlfriend/benefactor would make excellent material for that (I didn't get too much of chance to discuss in my Owner's Comments since I had a lot to cover already regarding his military exploits etc). Thanks for your comment on my denarii. I think that Roman denarii are quite fascinating and reasonable to collect, although I only have a few, including the Fostlus denarii that I highlighted in an earlier Journal entry. Perhaps my most prized denarii is one issued by Lucius Marcius Censorinus, featuring Marsyas on the verso. Here are pics if you want to take a look...
  5. Newly Edited and Re-Posted Owners Comments posted on an ancient denarius struck by Lucius Cornelius Sulla, part of the Roman Empire Custom NGC Ancients Set... Julius Caesar may have been Rome’s most famous dictator, but he certainly wasn’t the first. Dozens held the title in the early Roman Republic, wielding varying degrees of absolute power, up until 202 BC. After that, the title was seemingly abandoned for more than a century, until someone rose up to claim it again: Lucius Cornelius Sulla (138 – 78 BC). Although he re-instated the role of dictator, Sulla did not wish Rome to evolve into an autocracy. In fact, Sulla relinquished his totalitarian power once he thought his actions had secured the Republic’s future. Even so, Sulla’s actions upset Rome’s powers structure to an extent that facilitated the ascent of Caesar and his successors. Intentionally or not, Sulla’s turn at dictatorship proved the prelude to Empire. Sulla hailed from a patrician family, and reportedly spent his youth consorting with Rome’s performance artists. It was not until his thirties that Sulla earned fame for his first significant accomplishment: the 107 BC capture of the Numidian usurper Jugurtha. After Sulla turned forty, he distinguished himself as administrator over Cilicia, battling pirates and thwarting a Persian invasion. After that, the rising general returned to Italy, joining the fight against several city-states that were former socii, or allies, but now sought separation from Rome. That conflict, known as the Social War (91-88 BC), secured Rome’s mastery over the Italian peninsula and propelled Sulla’s career even further. Sulla managed a series of impressive victories, including one after which the troops awarded him their very highest form of exaltation: a corona graminea, or grass crown. Sulla also managed to win the post of consul, Rome’s highest elected political office. Even while Rome outlasted its enemies in the Social War, another crisis brewed. To the east, Pontic King Mithridates VI planned and plotted his realm’s expansion. In a shocking development, Pontus launched a highly orchestrated massacre of many thousands of Roman men, women, and children residing throughout Asia Minor. Rome sought revenge, and Sulla was the Senate’s logical appointee for the task. However, Sulla’s military and political mentor-turned-rival, Gaius Marius, preferred his own glorification, and managed a popular assembly’s override of the Senate’s decision. The political unrest spawned violent protests and rioting, even within the Forum, the very center of Roman public life. Sulla, who had a long history with Marius, decided that Pontus could wait. He mustered his available forces (six formidable legions) and marched against Rome. It was the first time that a Roman general had ever stormed the Eternal City. The forces supporting Sulla (mostly the optimates, or “best men,” who championed oligarchic rule) battled those favoring Marius (mainly the populares, who preferred power via popular assemblies). Sulla’s battle-hardened forces proved stronger, and Marius barely managed to escape. Sulla proceeded to establish his power over Rome, at least to the extent he re-established the Senate’s authority. Having stabilized the situation in Rome, Sulla turned his earnest attention to Mithridates. He rallied his troops and merged them with Rome’s remaining eastern forces to wage the First Mithridatic War. For further support, Sulla also called upon the realm of Bithynia, whose ruler, King Nicomedes IV, had developed the habit of giving up his throne to Pontus, then seeking Rome’s assistance to regain it. Sulla and his Bithynian allies waged several epic battles against Mithridates’ forces; of particular note was a brutal siege of Athens. By 85 BC, Mithridates was forced to surrender his control over Greek territories, not to mention a large portion of his own personal wealth. Meanwhile back in Rome, Marius returned, and managed his re-election as co-consul for an unprecedented seventh time. It proved his last; he died just two weeks later. It was enough time, however, to launch a vicious purge of Sulla’s supporters. After Marius’ death, his co-consul, Lucius Cornelius Cinna, continued persecuting the pro-Sulla faction. With Pontus out of the way, Sulla returned his attention back to Rome and retribution against his domestic enemies. Cinna, perhaps fearing Sulla’s growing popularity, decided that the best course of action was to set forth from Rome with a pre-emptive attack force. Cinna’s men, not eager to engage Sulla’s battle-hardened veterans, decided to murder their leader instead. Although Marius and Cinna had both been eliminated, many of their followers (referred to as the Marians) remained, and still controlled much of Italy. But their power did not last for long. A highly determined Sula returned to Rome, and, with local supporters including future triumvirs Crassus and Pompey, he once again waged civil war. In 82 BC, he achieved final victory at the monumental battle of the Colline Gate. Subsequently, the Senate granted Sulla the title dictator legibus faciendis et reipublicae constituendae causa, meaning dictator for the making of laws and for the settling of the constitution. Apparently, no term limit applied, effectively bestowing perpetual, unlimited power. It was now the great imperator’s turn to carry out bloody proscriptions. Sulla reportedly killed thousands of Romans who he deemed had acted against the Republic’s best interests. Escaping the bloodbath was Julius Caesar, a potential target since he happened to be Cinna’s son-in-law. Sulla reportedly lamented his failure to deal with Caesar, foreseeing him as a future threat to Rome’s political system. Besides brutal proscriptions, Sulla issued many reforms to promote economic recovery, as well as renew the power and prestige of the Senate. Sulla also issued coins, including this well-preserved denarius, probably struck by his own travelling military mint. The obverse features the classic motif of a helmeted Roma, along with the inscription PROQ L MANLI T, indicating Lucius Manlius Torquatus, Sulla’s proquaestor during the Pontic war. On the verso, an exultant figure drives a quadriga (a four-horse chariot), while holding a caduceus (a winged staff), and being crowned by Victory (the Roman goddess personifying the same). Based on the inscription L SVLLA IMP, the scene was probably portrays Sulla celebrating a triumphus, or triumph (a public ceremony reserved for Roman military commanders who have achieved a great victory). It is not clear which victory is being represented, and it may be the case that Sulla issued the coin in anticipation of his final victory over the Marians. It is conceivable that Sulla approved of the design, despite the numismatic tradition that living Romans not be depicted on Rome's coinage. In 81 BC, Sulla, keeping his resolve to maintain Rome as a Republic, resigned as dictator and restored the Senate's power. He served as consul for a second term, then retired from public life in 79 BC. He died shortly thereafter. Sulla married five times, and sired several children, ensuring the continued political prominence of his clan for decades. More than descendants, precedents define Sulla's legacy: marching on Rome, reigning as dictator, and even issuing coins invoking his own image. These bold moves set the stage for similar actions by Caesar and the Republic’s subsequent transformation to an Empire. Like many figures of ancient Rome, Sulla's personal history is complex and subject to interpretation. His brilliant, yet brutal, tactics were enacted not merely for personal glory, but also out of a deeply-rooted patriotism and his own sense of justice. Sulla is perhaps best epitomized by his purported epitaph: "No friend ever served me, and no enemy ever wronged me, whom I have not repaid in full." Coin Details: ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Lucius Cornelius Sulla, died 79 BC, AR Denarius (3.94g), NGC Grade: MS, Strike: 4/5, Surface: 5/5, Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma right, L. MANLI. PROQ (L. Manlius Torquatus, proconsul), Reverse: Triumphator Sulla, crowned by flying Victory, in quadriga right, holding reins and caduceus; in exergue, L. SVLLA IMP, References: RRC 757; Crawford 367/5. (less...)
  6. deposito, You make an excellent point! It is indeed true that a denarius struck by Sulla shows on its verso a figure riding in a chariot, and that figure - while difficult to identify - almost certainly represent Sulla. Since it's not a portrait, Caesar's lifetime portrait coinage is often described as the first time a living Roman appeared on Rome's official coinage. But that doesn't take away from Sulla's appearance in the chariot, its just that you can not unambiguously see his face to identify him. In my Owners's Comment I make the statement that prior to The Coin That Killed Caesar "...Rome’s coinage had never portrayed the face of a living Roman". Since you make your excellent point, I decided to amend my comments to say "......Rome’s coinage had never portrayed the unambiguous face of a living Roman" Regarding my acquisition of the coin, I was lucky to win at auction (after several failed attempts on similar coins that ended up selling beyond what I was willing to pay!). Of course, I was thrilled by the results bestowed by NGC Ancients graders. Returning back to the Sulla denarius, I actually also own that particular coin, and it is an important part of my Roman Empire collection since Sulla's rise to power as Rome's dictator in many ways paved the way for Caesar's rise, which in turn paved the way for Rome's transition from Republic to Empire. My next Journal Entry will feature that particular coin (which I purchased already encapsulated by NGC Ancients).
  7. Kohaku

    Et Tu, KOSON?

    Newly Edited and Re-Posted Owners Comments posted on an ancient Dacian/Thracian stater mimicking Brutus' designs, part of the Roman Empire Custom NGC Ancients Set... Marcus Junius Brutus (85 – 42 BC) was the son of Brutus the Elder and Servilia Caepionis. Servilia was also mistress to Julius Caesar, prompting uncertainty regarding Brutus’ true biological father. The young Brutus started his career working for his uncle, Cato the Younger. He later held important political posts and made a fortune moneylending in the provinces, subsequently becoming one of Rome’s most influential Senators. In 49 BC when Caesar started a Roman civil war, Brutus initially aligned with Pompey (even though the pair were former enemies). After Pompey’s defeat, Brutus switched sides, and Caesar accepted him into his inner circle, even making him governor of Gaul. While Brutus appreciated Caesar’s confidence, he was troubled by colleague’s obsession with controlling Rome. He became even more disturbed as Caesar made himself non-impeachable, and gained censorial control and veto power over the Senate. By 44 BC when Caesar earned the title of Dictator for life, Brutus was alarmed to the point he took drastic action. Brutus was not alone. Many of Rome’s elite opined it was in Rome’s best interests - if not their own - to murder their dictator. On the Ides of March 44 AD, Caesar was stabbed to death by Brutus, along with dozens of other aristocrats led by Gaius Cassius Longinus. After the assassination, Brutus fled Rome, and soon became embroiled in civil war against Caesar’s co-consul, Marc Anthony, and heir, Octavian, later known as Augustus. In October 42 BC at Philippi, Rome’s latest civil war reached its climax. Brutus and his ally Cassius agreed beforehand that if victory escaped them, the best course of action would be to take their own lives. As it turned out, that suicide pact sealed their fate. As the epic Battle of Philippi unfolded, Brutus managed the upper hand against Octavian, at least to the extent he took the latter’s camp; Octavian managed to escape, according to one account by hiding himself in a marsh. Unfortunately for Cassius, he was unaware of Brutus’ achievement, and, even worse, he mistakenly thought that Brutus’ camp had fallen. Consequently, Cassius, fearing the worst, responded by dutifully committing suicide. Brutus managed to rally Cassius’ remaining forces, and fought a second battle weeks later. As it turned out, Brutus’ men were defeated, and he fled the battlefield. Realizing he would soon be captured, Brutus committed suicide. This gold stater was struck in Thrace or Dacia concurrent with these historic events. The obverse depicts three men wearing togas, walking to the left, two of them carrying objects over their shoulders. The figures are Roman lictors (bodyguards) carrying fasces (axe-like weapons), and the motif bears striking resemblance to coins issued by Brutus a decade earlier. In exergue is the enigmatic epithet KOSON. On the verso, an eagle stands on a scepter, facing to the left, its right claw raised, holding a wreath. This design also resembles earlier Roman coins. Attribution of this issue has been the subject of lively numismatic debate. According to one hypothesis (which has fallen out of favor over time) Brutus struck coins like this one after he fled from Rome to Greece, tapping into his enormous personal wealth combined with funds from sympathetic Senators. An alternate theory (which has gained favor over time) attributes a Thracian or Dacian King named Koson, who imitated Roman designs. According to this scenario, Brutus was not involved in the coins’ production besides providing numismatic inspiration. Adding to the perplexity, two versions of the coin exist, those with a mysterious BR monogram on the obverse, and those without. It has been postulated that the BR refers to Brutus. An alternate view is that the letters relates to BA(sileus), i.e, king, as in King Koson. Curiously, no other records mention a monarch by that name (although there was a King Kotison). Many modern scholars espouse the view that there was a local King Koson; perhaps he was Brutus’ ally. It is interesting to note that since ancient times, several large hoards of coins inscribed KOSON have been discovered in the land formerly known as Dacia. The largest group, comprising thousands of gold coins and other gold objects, was discovered in 1543. If there was indeed a Dacian King Koson, he apparently had access to vast wealth (adding to the mystery of his historical anonymity). Recently, both monogrammed and non-monogrammed versions of so-called Koson staters were examined for their composition. These studies provided a highly sensitive elemental fingerprint for each coin. It was found that all coins without the monogram were made from native alluvial gold, (i.e., had trace amounts of tin) the same composition found for other Dacian gold artifacts (i.e., bracelets) that were made at the time. In contrast, all the coins with the BR monogram lacked tin, and were of highly purified gold. This finding leads to an intriguing possibility – BR-monogrammed coins were produced by Brutus using highly refined gold, and non-monogrammed coins were imitations by Thracians or Dacians using their own methods and local alluvial gold. This particular coin is the non-monogrammed type. At the time it was graded by NGC Ancients, its was attributed according to the Brutus origin theory. An example of the monogrammed counterpart – which, perhaps ironically, was attributed to Thrace or Dacia – is present in another NGC Custom Set, The Ancient World Collection. Whether Brutus took part of the production of either, or neither, coin remains uncertain, illustrating the fascination and intrigue of ancient coin collecting. Additional Reading: B Constantinescu, D Cristea-Stan, A Vasilescu, R Simon, D Ceccato, “Archaeometallurgical Characterization of Ancient Gold Artifacts from Romanian Museums using XRF, Micro-PIXE and Micro-SR-XRF Methods,” Proc Romanian Acad 13:19-26, 2012. Coin Details: ROMAN – BRUTUS, 44-42 BC, AV Stater (8.52 g), NGC Grade: Choice Uncirculated, Obverse: Roman Consul with two Lictors, KOSON in exergue, Reverse: Eagle on scepter, holding wreath, References: RPC 1701B; BMC Thrace pg. 208, 2; BMCRR II pg. 475, 50.
  8. Interesting indeed! I hope this doesn't seem to be confusing, but to be comprehensive on this point, it should be noted prior to this time, there was one example wherein a living Roman was depicted on a Greek coin. That Roman was Titus Quinctius Falmininus, and the coin was a Greek gold stater that probably intended to honor Flamininus' 197 BC victory over Philip V of Macedon. There was also at least one provincial issue, from Corinth about 45 BC, that also shows Julius Caesar portrait, and also existed during his lifetime. So, when I say my denarius is an example of the first time a living Roman appeared on "Rome's coins", I mean first time a living Roman appeared on "official" Roman /Imperatorial/Imperial coins! Sorry to numismatically geek out here on the details here, but I thought I thought I would share more of my research!
  9. Newly Edited and Re-Posted Owners Comments posted on an ancient denarius struck by Julius Caesar when he reigned as Rome's Dictator for Life, part of the Roman Empire Custom NGC Ancients Set... The Coin That Killed Caesar is the dramatic epithet attached to denarii, such as this example, featuring a lifetime portrait of Julius Caesar. Before that time, Rome’s coinage had never portrayed the face of a living Roman. Beyond breaking from numismatic tradition, these coins also proclaimed Caesar as dictator-for-life. It plausibly comprised the final straw that compelled anti-Caesarians to take matters into their own hands. Given Caesar’s obvious political savvy, it is curious that he did not foresee his growing peril. Previously, he introduced propagandist masterpieces such as his elephant denarius and his Venus/Aeneas denarius, both featured in this NGC Ancients Custom Set. Interestingly, Caesar was not directly responsible for his lifetime portrait coinage. The quattuorviri monetales produced them. Those four men (whose numbers had recently been increased from the traditional three) were moneyers responsible for supervising Rome’s coinage. One of those moneyers was P. Sepullius Macer, the issuer of this historically important coin. Like much of Caesar’s lifetime portrait denarii, this coin’s strike is slightly weak and off center, suggesting haste and urgency in its production. The obverse infamously features the veiled head of Julius Cesar, depicted in a highly veristic style, consistent with Caesar’s actual age and literary descriptions of his appearance. Caesar’s veiled visage has led to some speculation that this coin was struck posthumously. However, the obverse inscription, CAESAR DICT•PERPETVO, strongly suggests that the strike occurred the last month of Caesar’s life. In this case, Caesar’s veil probably reflects his position as Rome’s highest pontiff (Pontifex Maximus). The verso artistically returns to a more traditional Caesarian theme, featuring Rome’s counterpart of the Greek goddess Aphrodite. That goddess, who Caesar claimed as forebear, was Venus, representing various related aspects such as love, beauty, sexuality, fertility, prosperity, and victory. Specifically portrayed in this coin’s reverse is the goddess’ latter aspect, namely Venus Victrix. She stands above a shield on the ground, with Victory (the divine embodiment of the same) in her extended right hand and a vertical scepter in her left. The inscription P SEPVLLIVS MACER encircles and completes the scene. It is widely discussed that Caesar’s lifetime portrait coinage may have reflected the dictator’s aspirations for kingship. Even so, Caesar adamantly eschewed any comparison of his regime to monarchy. For example, Caesar thrice rejected a crown offered to him by Marc Antony at the Lupercalia (a Roman religious festival) held on February 15, 44 BC. In the end, Caesar’s efforts to mollify his detractors backfired - his infamous murder transpired just one month after this coin’s debut. Coin Details: ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, The Caesarians, Julius Caesar, February-March 44 BC, AR Denarius (17mm, 3.92 g, 3h), Lifetime issue, Rome mint; P. Sepullius Macer, moneyer, NGC Grade: AU, Strike: 3/5, Surface: 4/5, Obverse: Laureate and veiled head of Caesar right, CAE[SAR DICT•PE]RPETVO, Reverse: Venus Victrix standing left, holding Victory in extended right hand and vertical scepter in left; shield set on ground to right, [P SEPVLLIVS] MACER, References: Crawford 480/13; Alföldi Type IX, 40 (A3/R28); CRI 107d; Sydenham 1074; RSC 39; RBW 1685.
  10. thisistheshow, A good question...I suppose at the time this coin was struck, Julius Caesar had already produced multiple other issues in his name. So I guess in that respect it wasn't uncommon seeing the CAESAR inscription. Over time, the term "Caesar" was applied generically as a title for the Emperor's heir, if not the Emperor himself (so seeing CAESAR as part of a longer inscription would actually become rather ubiquitous) . On this particular coin, I am personally struck by the size and placement of the legend CAESAR, and the complete lack of any other inscription (for example, there is no advertisement of his various titles, etc.)
  11. Revenant - I totally agree with your comment on go with your gut...if your adrenaline isn't pumping- in a good way! - when you pull the trigger / enter the bid / hit "buy," then, absolutely, something isn't right!
  12. Just Bob - Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it, and this particular coin is one of my favorites!
  13. Newly Edited and Re-Posted Owners Comments posted on an ancient denarius struck by Julius Caesar, part of the Roman Empire Custom NGC Ancients Set... Ancient coins provide us with a palpable link to a specific time and place in history. Their wondrous, diverse iconography frequently epitomizes the setting in which they were struck. More than a means for exchanging goods and services, they publicized - and even influenced – the very course of ancient history. A notable example is this famous denarius, struck by Julius Caesar soon after he triggered the Great Roman Civil War. Caesar probably struck this marvel of self-promotion in mid 49 BC, a crossroads in ancient history. Caesar had recently led his troops across the Rubicon, and arrived in a Rome deserted by his political enemies. He addressed the remaining Senators, and, with his growing political power and extraordinary charisma, managed to procure vast quantities of public precious metals. This silver and gold was used for striking coins, such as this so-called elephant denarius, the first coin directly attested to the Caesarian side during the civil war. These coins were struck by Caesar’s military mint in the millions - without formal Senate approval – to advertise both his own achievements and the shortcomings of his opponents. The obverse depicts religious implements associated with Caesar’s office of Pontifex Maximus: a culullus (a ritual cap), an aspergillum (a brush used to sprinkle holy water), a securis (a single-bladed, double-handed, and animal-headed axe), and a simpulum (a long-handled ladle used at sacrifices, for example to share libations). These religious symbols emphasize Caesar’s religious post as well as provide a reminder of his claimed relationship with the gods, such as Venus. The verso portrays an elephant facing right, with its trunk defiantly raised upwards, about to trample what appears to be a horned serpent, and, in exergue, the simple, yet striking, legend of CAESAR. This extraordinary imagery (the only instance Caesar employed an elephant) still draws attention today, the subject of intense debate among historians and numismatists alike. Interpretations range from a representation of good over evil to a play on the Punic term for pachyderm. However, the most satisfying explanation involves Caesar’s clever attack against his political opponents, notably Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, also known as Pompey the Great. The elephant motif as a numismatic device was employed on earlier Roman and Hellenistic coinage. Importantly, the large and powerful elephant had become associated with Alexander the Great, even though the Macedonian marauder did not actually employ them in battle. It was no coincidence that Pompey, wishing his reputation to be comparable to Alexander’s, encouraged his own association with elephants. During his first Triumph in 81 BC the great imperator attempted to impress the populace by driving his elephant-drawn chariot through Rome’s gates. Unfortunately for Pompey, the entrance was not large enough, forcing the chagrined hero to improvise a more mundane entrance. Pompey also employed elephants in the extravagant games for his theatre’s opening in 55 BC. Embarrassingly, the scene rallied the crowds’ sympathies against Pompey. If anything, Pompey had earned embarrassment for his attempts to exploit elephants. Of course, Caesar knew this, as he strove to promote himself above his ally-turned-enemy. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to theorize that Caesar’s elephant denarius was intended to mock Pompey. Regarding the snake, explanatory theories abound, including those positing an allegorical battle between good and evil. Interestingly, some Romans considered the snake and elephant as natural enemies. For instance, Pliny the Elder recounted their perpetual discordia in a tale of battle wherein the snake eventually kills the elephant, only to be crushed under the weight of its falling foe. While impossible to divine Caesar’s true intent, the possibility remains that Caesar was invoking the ancient rivalry between the two animals, presumably identifying himself with the elephant, whose figure dominates the coin’s flan. Intriguingly, the coin depicts the very moment before engagement; the final outcome of bestial battle, just like the Great Roman Civil War itself, is to be determined. Caesar’s ultimate fate, famously murdered by enemies nervous of his powers, parallels Pliny’s outcome for the serpent, rather than the elephant. Additional Reading: “Turning Points in Roman History: The Case of Caesar’s Elephant Denarius,” D. L. Nousek, Phoenix, 2008, 62:290-307. Coin Details: ROMAN IMPERATORIAL, Julius Caesar, April-August 49 BC, AR Denarius (19mm, 3.87 g, 3h), Military mint traveling with Caesar, NGC Grade: Ch AU*, Strike: 5/5, Surface: 5/5, Obverse: Elephant advancing right, trampling on horned serpent, CAESAR, Reverse: Emblems of the pontificate (simpulum, aspergillum, securis, and culullus), References: Crawford 443/1; CRI 9; Sydenham 1006; RSC 49.
  14. thisistheshow, That is a very good question, and tt is difficult to answer for certain. I can't seem to find a definitive reference on that (if anyone has any idea, please post, especially anyone with access to RPC vol 1, which I am sadly missing). I did search Coin Archives, a popular auction site for ancients, and, assuming I did the search correctly, I didn't find a single example of a Deiotarus coin (of any type) ever recorded being sold at auction, which surprised me . I searched Vcoins and MA-shops, which are perhaps the two most popular website for selling ancients, and at the moment for sale I found only a single coin for sale on the former site (similar, but not exactly like mine since that coin did not have the reverse monogram, which at least for me is extremely desirable), and I found no coins of Deiotarus' for sale at the latter site). It is hard to put in context...for what it is worth, I own a coin of Sejanus', and there are supposedly only 17 of that coin in existence, and I found more examples in auction than i did for Deiotarus' coins.. So, while I can't know for sure, I would say Deiotarus' coins are "extremely rare", I've only ever seen one with the reverse monogram, and I purchased it! It is interesting how extreme rarity is relatively accessible for the ancient coin collector compared to how extreme rarity is valued for modern coins, especially those that are avidly collected. I have several ancient coins where under 20 or even under 10 specimens are known to exist, and I have a few examples where my particular coin is probably unique. It is amazing to think the probability that some of my coins represent the last surviving example. Such rarity in ancient coins is relatively accessible, at least the values are not astronomical with extreme rarity, depending on the popularity of the attribution. For a relatively obscure ancient ruler like Deiotarus, such coins, even if extremely rare, are not desired avidly enough to run up the prices (luckily for me!). In a future post to my Journal, I will discuss this point some more, since it is a theme in several of my Owner's comments, stay tuned...
  15. Newly Edited and Re-Posted Owners Comments posted on an ancient bronze featuring Deiotarus, King of Galatia, part of the Roman Empire Custom NGC Ancients Set... In 3rd century BC, a conglomeration of Celtic tribes migrated from Europe into central Asia Minor, eventually founding their own realm of Galatia, the “land of the Gauls.” Due to their central location, Galatians factored in local power struggles, often opposing Rome. Of particular note was Manlius Vulso’s infamous 189 BC genocide at Mount Olympus. Tens of thousands of Galatian men, women, and children were massacred by Romans, with a similar number of survivors enslaved. When the First Mithradatic War began around 88 BC, powerful Galatia logically allied itself with Pontus against Rome. Even so, Pontic King Mithradates VI doubted Galatia’s loyalty, and increasing paranoia led to drastic action. Mithradates hosted Galatia’s leaders at a grand banquet, and took the opportunity to slaughter his guests. Among the handful of Galatia’s royalty absent, and thus fortuitously surviving the pogrom, was a prince named Deiotarus, the “divine bull.” Seeking retribution and possessing innate leadership and military skills, Deiotarus mustered an army that expelled Pontus from Galatia. Next, he challenged Mithradates’ forces in nearby Phrygia and Cilicia. As Fortuna would have it, he now shared a common goal with Rome. Over the next couple decades, the Galatians supported the Romans in a series of wars against Mithradates and his Armenian ally, Tigranes the Great. Eventually, Deiotarus achieved his revenge; Mithradates and his Pontic Kingdom were terminated. For his efforts, Deiotarus was acknowledged as King of an expanded Galatian realm. To celebrate and advertise his status, Deiotarus issued coins, such as this extremely rare bronze struck sometime in mid first century BC. Unlike the abstract artistry employed by many other contemporary Celts, Galatian designs reflect Hellenistic influence. On this coin, the obverse depicts a laureate Zeus, and the reverse an eagle standing on a thunderbolt. The eagle was also an important symbol to the Romans; for example, each Roman Legion bore a standard displaying the raptor's image, known as the Aquila. It is interesting to note that Deiotarus’ forces eventually formed Rome’s Legio Vigesima Secunda Deiotariana (the 22nd Deiotaran Legion). In addition to the eagle, the coin’s reverse also depicts Deiotarus’ monogram, completing the association of the Galatian leader, his forces, and their loyalty to Rome. Despite his track record supporting Rome, Deiotarus’ situation turned precarious when the Republic plunged into civil war. In particular, the Galatian King was renown as friend to Pompey the Great, who ultimately opposed Caesar as Rome’s dictator. After Pompey's demise, Deiotarus was summoned and brought before Julius Caesar on accusations of a murder plot. Luckily for Deiotarus, coming to his defense was none other than Marcus Tullius Cicero, one of Rome’s all-time greatest lawyers and orators. Circero presented a brilliant speech that provides fascinating reading, as illustrated in the following excerpt. Pardon Deiotarus, pardon him, I entreat you, O Caesar, if he, though a king, yielded to the authority of that man whom we all followed, and on whom both gods and men had heaped every sort of distinction, and on whom you yourself had conferred the most numerous and most important honors of all. Nor, indeed, does it follow that, because your exploits have thrown a cloud over the praises of others, we have, therefore, entirely lost all recollection of Cnaeus Pompeius. Who is there who is ignorant how great the name of that man was, how great his influence, how great his renown in every description of war, how great were the honors paid him by the Roman people, and by the Senate, and by you yourself? He had surpassed all his predecessors in glory as much as you have surpassed all the world. Therefore, we used to count up with admiration the wars and the victories, and the triumphs, and the consulships, of Cnaeus Pompeius. But yours we are wholly unable to reckon. True to his reputation, Cicero successfully defended Galatia’s King, stressing that the alignment with Pompey was to protect the authority of the Senate, the freedom of the people of Rome, and the dignity of the Republic (not to mention the savvy Cicero simultaneously manages to flatter Pompey and Caesar). Interestingly, Caesar invoked these same traditional Roman values as he launched the civil war that led to his establishment as Rome’s strongest dictator ever. On the ides of March 44 BC, Caesar was famously murdered, and Deiotarus became embroiled in the tumultuous aftermath. Deiotarus ensured his continued rule with a reportedly large bribe to Caesar’s ally, Mark Antony. Subsequently, Deiotarus provided support to Caesar’s murders, notably Brutus and Cassius. However, after the latter duo fell at the Battle of Philippi, Galatia changed its allegiance in favor of Caesar’s heir, Octavian. Deiotarus ruled over Galatia until his death, sometime around 40 BC. A quindecennium later, Octavian incorporated Deiotarus' Kingdom as a Province, and, for the next several centuries, the Galatians steadfastly strove for the glory of Rome. Additional Reading: M T Cicero “Speech in Behalf of King Deiotarus,” 45 BC. Coin Details: KINGDOM OF GALATIA, Deiotarus, Circa 62-40 BC, Æ (18-19 mm, 6.2 g), NGC Grade: VF, Strike: 5/5, Surface: 4/5, Obverse: Laureate head of Zeus facing right, Reverse: Eagle standing left, head right, on thunderbolt; monogram to left, References: E.T. Newell, Un monnayage de bronze de Déjotarus 2; SNG France -; RPC I p. 356, 2.