Senatorial AureusL. Cestius and C. Norbanus (43 BC). AV aureus (20mm, 7.96 gm, 12h). Rome, January-April 43 BC. Draped bust of Africa right, wearing elephant skin headdress over helmet, border of large dots / L · CESTIVS / EX · S · C - P R, curule chair with legs decorated with eagles; C · NORBA in exergue. Crawford 491/1a. Sydenham 1153. CRI 195. Calicó 3a. Scarce! Well centered on a broad, round flan, with full borders. NGC AU 4/5 - 4/5.
This intriguing gold aureus belongs to the 12 months immediately following the assassination of Julius Caesar, which produced a chaotic situation in Rome when the Senate briefly regained its preeminence and a host of unlikely alliances were formed and broken up. Octavian, Caesar's young heir, allied himself with Cicero and the Senate against Mark Antony, who following the end of his Consulship on January 1, 43 BC took an army north to attack Decimus Albinus Brutus, one of the assassins, who had been appointed by the Senate as governor of Cisalpine Gaul. The new Consuls Hirtius and Pansa, in turn, raised a Senatorial army and set off to attack Antony, ostensibly with Octavian's support. Lucius Cestius and Gaius Norbanus, both Caesarians and supporters of Octavian, were elected Praetors for 43 BC and ordered the striking of this issue of gold aurei to pay the Senatorial soldiers. Two of the new legions were raised in Africa, reflected by the personification on the obverse of this piece. The curule chair on the reverse reflects the authority of the Consuls and Praetors. The alliance between Octavian and Senate would proved short-lived and the latter's renewed authority was swept away when Octavian, Antony and Lepidus formed the Second Triumvirate.
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