Description

    Cleopatra conquered, Egypt Annexed

    Octavian as sole Imperator (30-27 BC). AR denarius (3.86 gm).
    Brundisium or Rome, 28 BC. CAESAR COS VI, bare head of Octavian right, lituus behind / AEGVPTO CAPTA, crocodile standing right, mouth open. RIC 275a. RSC 2. CRI 430. Choice very fine.

    From the Rubicon Collection. Ex NAC 8 (3 April 1995).

    Egypt had long presented both an opportunity and a potential trap for ambitious Roman politicians. Recognized as both rich and volatile, it was tacitly understood that any Roman gaining control of Egypt would gain immeasurable wealth and power, but that all other forces in Roman politics would immediately align against him. Upon arriving in Alexandria in 30 BC, Octavian expertly managed the situation by annexing it to the Empire, but maintaining it as a personal fiefdom under the control of a praefect of Equestrian rank appointed by himself. The huge riches seized from the Egyptian treasury enabled Octavian (soon to be Augustus) to pay off his war debts and retire thousands of soldiers with healthy stipends. The Augustan 'Golden Age' was thus largely financed with the gold of captured Egypt.




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    September, 2011
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