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HOME : Roman Coins : Archive : Silver Denarius of Emperor Augustus
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Silver Denarius of Emperor Augustus - LC.134
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 27 BC to 14 AD
Weight: 3.5Grams
Collection: Roman Coins
Medium: Silver

Additional Information: SOLD
Location: Great Britain
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Caius Octavius, the future emperor Augustus, was born on September 23, 63 BC. He was the great-nephew of Julius Caesar and was adopted as Caesar’s son according to his will which was revealed just after his assassination on the Ides of March in 44 BC. Caius Octavius now became known as Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus. When Octavian achieved victory at the battle of Mutina in 43 BC the Senate refused him due honors and his legionaries forced the Senate to appoint him as consul. It was also in this year that Octavian entered into an agreement with his rivals in power Marcus Antonius and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus known as the Second Triumvirate in which Octavian received control of the provinces of Africa, Sicily, and Sardinia and governed Italy as well. In 42 BC Octavian, along with his fellow triumvirs, avenged the murder of his father Julius by defeating the assassins Brutus and Cassius at the Battle of Philippi. Julius Caesar was also deified in this year after which point Octavian came to be known as divi filius “son of the Divine (Julius)”, a title which is strongly evident on the coins of this period. Soon the Second Triumvirate began to deteriorate. In 36 BC Octavian defeated Sextus Pompeius at which point Octavian won over the forces of his colleague Lepidus, forcing him into retirement. Marc Antony, who had married Octavian’s sister Octavia, openly divorced her and married the Ptolemaic queen of Egypt Cleopatra. This act not only angered Octavian but much of the Roman aristocracy as well and helped Octavian to receive the support which he needed to defeat his remaining rival Antony and assume supreme power in Rome. The forces of Octavian and Marc Antony met head-to-head at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC with Octavian emerging as the victor and Antony and Cleopatra fleeing towards Egypt. In the following year Octavian seized the city of Alexandria. Antony, having lost the support of his forces, committed suicide. Cleopatra, fearing the prospect of being led as a hostage through the streets of Rome as part of Octavian’s triumphal procession, committed suicide as well. With his major opponents eliminated Octavian was now able to assume control over the Roman Empire. In January of 27 BC, Octavian handed control of the state back into the hands of the Senate and Roman People who insisted that the state be governed by him. It was also at this time that he received the honorific title of “Augustus” which proclaimed his superior position in the state. In 23 BC he received proconsular imperium (powers as commander-in-chief of military forces) and the tribunician power for life which were seen as the definitive powers of his supreme authority as emperor of the Roman Empire. The reign of Augustus was generally a peaceful and prosperous one and was marked by the prestigious Secular Games (for description see RE 11C) of 17 BC. The only serious setback Augustus faced during his reign was the defeat of the legions led by the Roman general Varus in AD 9. Three legions were massacred in the Teutenberger Wald of Germany at the hands of the forces led by the German general Arminius. Augustus died in AD 14 at Nola at which point the Senate of Rome decreed that Augustus should be included among the gods of the state. Augustus was known for bringing peace and prosperity to the Roman Empire and the state passed peacefully into the hands of his adopted son Tiberius. - (LC.134)


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