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    Agrippa: Augustus' Loyal Sidekick

    Augustus (27 BC-AD 14) with Agrippa (died 12 BC). AE dupondius (12.36 gm).

    Gaul, Nemausus, AD 10-14. IMP P - P DIVI. F., adduced heads of Agrippa, left, wearing Rostral Crown, and Augustus, right, laureate / COL NEM, crocodile chained to palm tree, laurel wreath to left, ties to right. RPC 525. RIC 159. Beautiful deep blue-green patina. Good extremely fine.

    From the Rubicon Collection.

    Brilliant, multi-talented and unswervingly loyal, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa is perhaps history's greatest sidekick. He was born in 63 BC, the same year as Gaius Octavius, with whom he struck up a close friendship in adolescence. Agrippa hailed from a relatively humble Equestrian family that had settled in Dalmatia, while Octavius was the grand-nephew of Julius Caesar, so Agrippa came to see his role as subordinate and supportive to his friend. Octavius, for his part, recognized Agrippa's remarkable qualities as a soldier and statesman, and relied heavily on him as the facilitator to put his various plans into action. When Caesar was murdered in 44 BC, Agrippa accompanied Octavius to Rome in the young heir's quest to claim his inheritance. Joined by the PR man and bon vivant Maecenas, the three young men formed a mini-triumvirate that steered the career of Octavius toward supreme power. Agrippa's mastery of military strategy on land and sea secured the naval victory over the hitherto invincible Sextus Pompey at Naulochus in 36 BC, and the defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at Actium five years later. After his patron assumed the title of Augustus in 27 BC, Agrippa was clearly regarded as second-in-command and the likely heir to the throne. His many building projects, financed out of his own purse, helped transform Rome from a city of brick to one of marble, and his commemorative inscriptions survive on many important monuments, including the Pantheon. Augustus suffered a severe illness in 23 BC and handed his signet ring to Agrippa, but he soon recovered and may have felt his friend had been a tad overeager during the crisis, for their relations cooled. But in 21 BC, Agrippa married Augustus' daughter Julia, a union which produced five children, including Gaius and Lucius Caesars, who became favorites of Augustus. Agrippa spent the next eight years on military campaigns in Spain, Gaul and Dalmatia as well as a critical diplomatic mission to the East. He returned to Rome in 13 BC, but suffered a sudden illness and died the following year at the age of 50, depriving Augustus of his loyal lieutenant.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2011
    7th-12th Wednesday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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