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    Description

    Roman Provincial . Tiberius, with Sejanus as Consul (AD 31). Æ 29 mm (as) of Bilbilis in Spain (11.33 gm). TI CAESAR DIVI AVGVSTI F AVGVSTVS, laureate head of Tiberius right / AVGVSTA BILBILIS TI CAESAR E L. AELIO SEJANO around wreath enclosing COS. RPC 398. Burgos 196. Rare! One of the few examples of this type to have escaped having had Sejanus' name obliterated following his "damnatio memoriae. Weakly struck at top of head, otherwise an attractive very fine.

    Lucius Aelius Sejanus, Praetorian prefect and Consul, was the right-hand man of Tiberius through much of his reign, fulfilling much the same role as Marcus Agrippa did for Augustus. Like Agrippa, Sejanus was of relatively low birth but rose high through his talent for military and administrative duties. Unlike Agrippa, he was utterly ruthless and not content to remain in the shadow of his imperial patron. As commander of the Praetorian Guard, he launched a reign of terror targeting all perceived enemies of the regime, including members of the imperial family. When Tiberius entered into semi-retirement and withdrew to Capreae in AD 26, Sejanus became virtual ruler of Rome. Ultimately, he aspired to seize the throne for himself, but was outmaneuvered, deposed and executed by Tiberius. A grateful Senate damned his memory. This rare coin was struck in Spain during his joint consulship with Tiberius in AD 31, a few months before his downfall on October 18 of that year, and carries his name along with that of Tiberius.
    From The W.B. and R. E. Montgomery Collection.


    More Information:

    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 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, he 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 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 "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.



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