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    Rare Clodius Macer Denarius

    Clodius Macer, usurper in Africa (AD 68). AR denarius (18mm, 3.11 gm, 6h).  Carthage, April-October AD 68. L CLODI MACRI, draped bust of winged Victory right, seen from front, flanked by S - C /  LI-B AVG LEG - III, legionary aquila (eagle) between two vexilla. BMC 4. RIC 17. CBN 4. RSC 4. Hewitt, NC 1983, 26-27 (these dies). Extremely rare. Well struck and beautifully toned. Nearly Extremely Fine.

    Ex S.C. Markoff Collection (Numismatica Ars Classica 62, 6 October 2011), lot 2024 (CHF40,000); Classical Numismatic Group 72 (14 June 2006), lot 1404. 

    Coins of Clodius Macer are not only among the rarest of all Roman silver coins; they are also important historical documents that throw light on an otherwise obscure period of Roman history. Little is known about the early career of Lucius Clodius Macer, but by AD 68 he had been appointed by Nero as provincial governor of North Africa. By April of AD 68, Nero's corrupt regime was collapsing and the governors Vindex in Gaul and Galba in Spain were in open revolt. As chaos gripped the Empire, Macer threw in his lot with the rebels and threatened to cut off the African grain supply to Rome. Initially, he declared his support for the Roman Senate, but following Nero's suicide, Macer abandoned his idealistic pose and began plotting to seize power himself. Galba, who had been proclaimed emperor by the Senate, attempted to win over Macer, but the latter refused to recognize the new ruler and instead struck new coins identifying himself as "pro-praetor of Africa." When Macer began raising two new legions, Galba ordered his arrest and execution, an order carried out by loyalist officers. His coinage was immediately recalled and melted down, accounting for its extreme rarity today. 

    Macer controlled the Legio III Augusta in Numidia, and used it to take over Carthage, where this coin was presumably struck. The obverse type commemorates this 'Victory,' while the letters S C, "Senatus Consulto," were a nod to the authority of the Roman Senate. The reverse type is modeled on the well-known legionary coinage of Marc Antony and suggest the coin was specifically struck to pay Macer's troops.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Sep-Oct, 2013
    25th-1st Wednesday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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