Novaesium, alias Neuss

Roman coins, republic and empire

von Carol Humphrey Vivian Sutherland   
I. The beginnings V. Early imperial mint policy
II. Introduction of the denarius VI. Portraits and types
III. Control and content of the coinage VII. The 4th century and after
IV. Caesar and after VIII. Literatur

IV. Caesar and after

In the last year of his life, Caesar developed personal control of the coinage to a point at which it lay ready to hand for Augustus to use later as a fully imperial instrument. Already, from 46 BC, coinage in gold had been instituted in Rome by Caesar's lieutenant Hirtius. Caesar's seizure of the treasury and his expansion of the annual board of moneyers from three to four members indicated his intention to deal absolutely with the coinage. In 44, denarii were issued in considerable quantity by his quattuorviri, bearing the portrait of Caesar on the obverse, with such inscriptions as DICT(ator) QVART(um) or DICT(ator) PERPETVO, and Venus Victrix or other semipersonal reverse types. For the token coinage a new alloy was now first struck - yellow orichalcum or brass, a copper-zinc alloy. Caesar may have enjoyed a monopoly of zinc from mines in Cisalpine Gaul.

From 44 to 31, bronze coinages were struck at various non-Italian mints, notably in or around Sicily, by officials attached to the cause of one or other of the members of the second triumvirate - Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus. But the principal issues of these years were of gold and silver. The mint of Rome continued its regular series until c. 37 and then ceased. Antony's coinage emanated at first from Gaul, then increasingly from eastern mints, including his cistophori and denarii (some showing his head conjoined with Cleopatra's) struck in Asia: his vast issue of often base denarii showing warships and military standards, shortly before the naval battle of Actium, was eastern. Octavian coined mainly in Gaul, Italy, and Africa. The piratical movement of Sextus Pompeius was reflected in the activity of a mint or mints in Sicily.

It was characteristic of most of the gold and silver after 44 that it showed portraits of the rival statesmen on the obverses, with reverses that alluded to their achievements or policies. This was true even of the "liberators" who murdered Caesar, for a famous eastern issue in the name of Brutus showed his portrait, with BRVT(us) IMP(erator) on the obverse, with reverse EID(ibus) MAR(tiis) - the fatal Ides of March - and daggers flanking a cap of liberty. By the close of the Roman Republic, three factors had entirely transformed the originally simple idiom of the early denarial coinage: gold was freely struck in addition to silver; the types of both were personal to military leaders and included living portraiture; and coinage could be produced elsewhere than at Rome.



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