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    Caligula's Pate

    Gaius 'Caligula' (AD 37-41), with Divus Augustus (died AD 14). AR denarius (19mm, 3.66 gm, 12h). Lugdunum, AD 37-38. C CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR POT COS, bare head of Caligula right / Radiate head of Divus Augustus right between two six-pointed stars. RIC 2. RSC 11. BMC 4.  Rare! A pleasing example, with a pair of superior portraits. NGC Choice XF 4/5 - 4/5.

    This denarius, struck at the outset of Caligula's reign, pairs his portrait with that of his maternal great-grandfather, the divine Augustus, advertising his illustrious lineage. As the son of the popular general Germanicus and Augustus's granddaughter Agrippina, the 25-year-old 'Caligula' (a nickname meaning "bootikins") came to the Roman throne with a huge reservoir of public goodwill. He started off well enough by distributing cash and publicly burning Tiberius's enemies list (after discretely making a copy). But he fell seriously ill in October, AD 37, perhaps with malarial encephalitis, and was not expected to recover. While his health returned, the illness cost Caligula his hair and, by all accounts, his wits. Then began the bloodbath, starting with the execution of his loyal Praetorian Prefect Macro and the murder of his cousin Gemellus. Anyone mentioning his bald pate, or even looking down on his head, was subject to an immediate beating. He quickly squandered Tiberius's carefully hoarded wealth on useless projects and personal frivolity, condemned or exiled the most capable men in government, engaged in pointless military campaigns that left his soldiers baffled and humiliated, and demanded to be worshipped as a god. After three years of misrule a conspiracy formed among a small circle of Senators and Praetorians. On January 24, AD 41, he was lured into a corridor, surrounded, and cut down, becoming the first emperor to die by assassination. 


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2016
    3rd-4th Sunday-Monday
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