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    Description

    Cleopatra and Mark Antony, rulers of the East (36-31 BC). AR denarius (3.12 gm). Eastern mint moving with Antony, 32-31 BC. CLEOPATRAE [REGINAE REGVM]FILIORVM REGVM, diademed and draped bust of Cleopatra right / ANTONI ARMENIA DEVICTA, bare head of Antony right, small Armenian tiara behind. Crawford 543/2. CRI 345. Rare. A little weakly struck at highest points, otherwise a pleasing very fine.

    This remarkable coin type clearly illustrates the extent of Cleopatra's influence over Antony in the years following the failure of his invasion of Parthia. The appearance on a Roman coin of the portrait and titles of a foreign head of state certainly represented an unprecedented departure from convention and would have provided valuable ammunition for Octavian in his propaganda war against the eastern Triumvir. The occasion of issue can hardly be other than the celebrated and enigmatic "Donations of Alexandria" which took place following Antony's Armenian triumph through the streets of Alexandria in 34 BC (the triumph was itself the first time such a procession for a conquering Roman army had been staged anywhere but Rome). Silver denarii of this type were certainly issued to the soldiers and perhaps to the general populace as well. On the reverse, Antony is styled as "conqueror of Armenia," a title that rings rather hollow given the failure of his grand design to conquer Parthia. Even more imposing are titles given to Cleopatra on the obverse, although the clumsy Latin makes the legend somewhat difficult to parse. "Of Cleopatra, Queen of Kings and of her Sons who are Kings" seems the most likely interpretation. This is precisely the terminology used for the "Donations," a ceremony at which Antony bestowed upon Cleopatra and her sons vast territories then under the control of Rome or the hostile state of Parthia.
    From The W.B. and R. E. Montgomery Collection.


    More Information:

    This remarkable coin type clearly illustrates the extent of Cleopatra's influence over Antony in the years following the failure of his invasion of Parthia. The appearance on a Roman coin of the portrait and titles of a foreign head of state certainly represented an unprecedented departure from convention and would have provided valuable ammunition for Octavian in his propaganda war against the eastern Triumvir. The occasion of issue can hardly be other than the celebrated and enigmatic "Donations of Alexandria" which took place following Antony's Armenian triumph through the streets of Alexandria in 34 BC (the triumph was itself the first time such a procession for a conquering Roman army had been staged anywhere but Rome). Silver denarii of this type were certainly issued to the soldiers and perhaps to the general populace as well. On the reverse, Antony is styled as "conqueror of Armenia," a title that rings rather hollow given the failure of his grand design to conquer Parthia. Even more imposing are titles given to Cleopatra on the obverse, although the clumsy Latin makes the legend somewhat difficult to parse. "Of Cleopatra, Queen of Kings and of her Sons who are Kings" seems the most likely interpretation. This is precisely the terminology used for the "Donations," a ceremony at which Antony bestowed upon Cleopatra and her sons vast territories then under the control of Rome or the hostile state of Parthia.





    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2011
    2nd-3rd Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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