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    Description

    Beard Of Mourning, or Battle?

    Octavian, as Triumvir and Imperator (19mm, 3.64 gm, 6h). NGC Choice XF 4/5 - 3/5. Rome, 40 BC, moneyer Ti. Sempronius Gracchus. DIVI IVLI · F ·, bare head of Octavian right, with slight beard / [Q · DESIG TI · SEMPR]ON GRACCVS III · VIR ·, legionary standard (signum), eagle (aquila), aratrum (plow), and decempeda (measuring staff). Crawford 525/2; CRI 326. RSC 523. Rare! Well struck and lightly toned, with an exceptionally handsome portrait for this fascinating Imperatorial issue.

    This remarkable denarius depicts Octavain, youngest member of the Triumvirate ruling Rome, with a slight beard, much against the Roman conventions of the day, which called for upper-class males to be clean-shaven. It could represent a beard of mourning, traditionally grown in the months following the loss of a loved one. In this case the mourning would be for Julius Caesar, Octavian's grand-uncle and adoptive father; however his death was four years previous to the striking of this coin and the mourning period would surely have passed. It was also traditional for Roman men to sport a beard when setting off for battle. In 40 BC, Octavian was engaged in a bitter "little war" against Fulvia and Lucius Antony, the wife and sister of his triumviral partner Mark Antony, which saw the rebels besieged and defeated at Perusia in central Italy. This may be the occasion for Octavian's beard, and the presence of a legionary eagle, standards, a measuring rod and a plow on the reverse may make reference to the siege of Perugia and its resettlement by retired soldiers of the Triumviral armies. 


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2017
    7th-12th Thursday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
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