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    Description

    Gaius Caesar (20 BC-AD 4). AR denarius (3.73 gm). Uncertain mint, ca. 17 BC. CAESAR, bare youthful head of Gaius Caesar right, within laurel wreath / AVGVSTVS, candelabrum in wreath, patera to right. RIC 540. BN 1013. Rare. Nearly extremely fine.

    Gaius Caesar, eldest son of Marcus Agrippa and Augustus' daughter Julia, was born in 20 BC and almost immediately figured into his grandfather's plans for the succession. He and his younger brother Lucius were adopted by Augustus in 17 BC and given an advanced course in statesmanship from an early age. He assumed the Toga Virilis in 5 BC, was hailed as Prince of Youth and admitted to the Senate. He became Consul at the age of 21 in AD 1, and was sent to posting on the Eastern frontier to gain military experience. However, he suffered a wound while besieging the Armenian town of Artagira in AD 2. At first the wound seemed recoverable, but it led to a slow decline in his health and morale. He died 18 months later in February, AD 4, plunging Augustus into inconsolable grief and clearing the path for Tiberius' accession.
    Although some numismatic scholars have reattributed this rare type to Augustus himself, the portrait is clearly not that of Augustus as he appeared in 17 BC, about the time this coin was struck at an uncertain mint in Roman Achaia or Asia. The portrait is that of a pre-adolescent boy, and suggestions that this merely represents a "rejuvenated" Augustus are unsupported by any real evidence. The type does seem connected to the Ludi Saeculares of 17 BC, the year in which Augustus officially adopted Gaius and his newborn brother, so identifying the youthful portrait as that of the newly named successor remains the most plausible attribution.


    More Information:

    Gaius Caesar, eldest son of Marcus Agrippa and Julia, daughter of Augustus, was born in 20 BC and almost immediately figured into his grandfather's plans for the succession. He and his younger brother Lucius were adopted by Augustus in 17 BC and given an advanced course in statesmanship from an early age. He assumed the Toga Virilis in 5 BC, hailed as Prince of Youth and admitted to the Senate. He became Consul at the age of 21 in AD 1, and was sent to posting on the Eastern frontier to gain military experience. However became involved in the siege of the Armenian town of Artagira and suffered a wound which at first seemed recoverable, but led to a slow decline in his health and morale. He died 18 months in February, AD 4, plunging Augustus into inconsolable grief and clearing the path for Tiberius' accession.

    Although some numismatic scholars have reattributed this rare type to Augustus himself, the portrait is clearly not that of Augustus as he appeared in 17 BC, about the time this coin was struck at an uncertain mint in Roman Achaia or Asia. The portrait is that of a pre-adolescent boy, and suggestions that this merely represents a "rejuvinated" Augustus are unsupported by any real evidence. The type does seem connected to the Ludi Saeculares of 17 BC, the year in which Augustus officially adopted Gaius and his newborn brother, so identifying the youthful portrait as that of the newly named successor remains the most plausible attribution.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2011
    2nd-3rd Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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