Ancient Roman and Greek Coins:

Coins of the Roman Republic

L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi 90 B.C. Denarius Mint: Rome
Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo right; behind, control-mark; below chin, control-mark. Border of dots.
Reverse: L PISO FRVG[I] R: Horseman right with palm-branch in left hand and reins in right hand; above,
control-mark and control-mark. Border of dots.
References: C.340.1, S.665m, RRC 340/1. 1944.100.81386, C.340.1, S.655a,

          Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesoninus (c. 100 BC – 43 BC) was a Roman statesman and the father-in-law of Julius Caesar through his daughter Calpurnia.  He also had a son, Lucius Calpurnius Piso, known as "the Pontifex", who was Consul in 15 BC.  He was reportedly a follower of a school of Epicureanism that had been modified to befit politicians, as Epicureanism itself favored withdrawal from politics.

          In 58 BC, when consul, Piso and his colleague, Aulus Gabinius, entered into a compact with Publius Clodius, with the object of getting Marcus Tullius Cicero out of the way.  Piso's reward was the province of Macedonia, which he administered from 57 BC to the beginning of 55 BC, when he was recalled and the province was 

given to Quintus Ancharius.  Piso's recall was perhaps in consequence of the violent attack made upon him by Cicero in the Senate in his speech "De provinciis consularibus".
          Caesar mentions his father-in-law in his Gallic Commentaries.  Piso's grandfather, also named L. Calpurnius Piso, was killed by the same Gauls that Caesar would later conquer.
         On his return, Piso addressed the Senate in his defence, and Cicero replied with the coarse and exaggerated invective known as "In Pisonem".  Piso issued a pamphlet by way of rejoinder, and there the matter ended.  Cicero may have been afraid to bring the father-in-law of Julius Caesar to trial.  At the outbreak of the civil war, Piso offered his services as mediator.  However, when Caesar marched upon Rome, he left the city by way of protest of Caesar.  Piso did not openly declare support for Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus and remained neutral but is widely believed he secretly supported Pompey but still did not forfeit the respect of Caesar when Pompey was defeated.
          After the murder of Caesar, Piso insisted on the provisions of Caesar's will being strictly carried out and, for a time, he opposed Mark Antony.  Subsequently, he became one of Antony's supporters and is mentioned as taking part in an embassy to Antony's camp at Mutina with the object of bringing about a reconciliation with Octavian.
          He is believed to have been the owner of the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum.
          The maxim fiat justitia ruat caelum ("let justice be done, though the heavens fall"), used by Lord Mansfield in Somerset's Case and in reversing the outlawry of John Wilkes, and in the alternate form fiat iustitia, et pereat mundus by Ferdinand of Habsburg, is sometimes attributed to Piso (more often to Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso), but this is disputed.

Information was taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucius_Calpurnius_Piso_Caesoninus_(consul_58_BC)

Moneyer L. Cassius Longinus AR denarius 60 BC.
OBVERSE: Veiled and diademed head of Vesta left, kylix (drinking vessel) behind, letter before
REVERSE: LONGIN III V, togate male figure standing left, dropping voting tablet inscribed V (Vota)
into an urn to left.
Cr. 413/1; Sear 364; Cassia 10; Albert 1330; Syd 935

          Gaius Cassius Longinus Varus was a Roman consul in 73 BC (together with Marcus Terentius Varro Lucullus).  Cassius and his colleague passed the lex Terentia Cassia that ordered the state to buy up grain in Sicily and sell it for a low price in Rome.  As proconsul of Cisalpine Gaul in the next year, 72 BC, during the Third Servile War, Cassius tried to stop Spartacus and his followers near Mutina (now Modena) as the slave army was trying to break through to unoccupied Gaul, but suffered defeat and barely managed to get away alive.  Two years later, Cassius appeared as witness of the prosecution in the trial against the corrupt former governor of Sicily, Verres.  In 66 BC, Cassius supported the Manilian law that gave command of the war against Mithridates to Pompey; he was joined in this by Cicero, then praetor, whose famous speech in support of the same bill survives.
          This Cassius Longinus may have been the father of the more famous Caesar assassin, Gaius Cassius Longinus.



Cassius Longinus may refer to:

    Cassius Longinus (philosopher) (c. 213–273), a Greek rhetorician and philosopher
    Gaius Cassius Longinus (consul AD 30) (fl. 30–41), a Roman jurist and great grandson or nephew of Gaius Cassius Longinus, the tyrannicide
    Gaius Cassius Longinus (died 42 BC), usually known as Cassius, a Roman senator and one of Julius Caesar's assassins in 44 BC
    Gaius Cassius Longinus (consul 171 BC)
    Gaius Cassius Longinus (consul 124 BC), see Quintus Caecilius Metellus Balearicus
    Gaius Cassius Longinus (consul 96 BC)
    Gaius Cassius Longinus Varus, consul 73 BC
    Lucius Cassius Longinus (consul 107 BC)
    Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla, consul 127 BC
    Quintus Cassius Longinus, a tribune in 49 BC and supporter of Julius Caesar
    Longinus, also called Cassius in some traditions, a name in Christian tradition for the Roman soldier who pierced the side of Jesus Christ on the cross; see Saint Longinus

Information was taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaius_Cassius_Longinus_Varus#cite_note-5

Roman Republican, Anonymous As. 189-180 BC.
Obverse: Laureate head of Janus; I above / Prow of galley right;
Reverse: Victory and spearhead above, I before, ROMA below.
Crawford 145/1; Sydenham 293; BMCRR 497; Sear 676.


The Roman Republic As

          The as (plural asses), also assarius (rendered into Greek as assarion) was a bronze, and later copper, coin used during the Roman Republic and Roman Empire.

Republican era coinage:
          The Romans replaced the usage of Greek coins, first by bronze ingots, then by disks known as aes rude.  The system thus named as was introduced in ca. 280 BC as a large cast bronze coin during the Roman Republic.  The following fractions of the as were also produced: the bes (2/3), semis (1/2), quincunx (5/12), triens (1/3), quadrans (1/4), sextans (1/6), uncia (1/12, also a common weight unit), and semuncia (1/24), as well as multiples of the as, the dupondius (2), sestertius (2.5), tressis. 
An etching of a Roman Republican as.
          After the as had been issued as a cast coin for about seventy years, and its weight had been reduced in several stages, a sextantal as was introduced (meaning that it weighed one-sixth of a pound).  At about the same time a silver coin, the denarius, was also introduced.  Earlier Roman silver coins had been struck on the Greek weight standards that facilitated their use in southern Italy and across the Adriatic, but all Roman coins were now on a Roman weight standard.  The denarius, or 'tenner', was at first tariffed at ten asses, but in about 140 B.C. it was retariffed at sixteen asses.  This is said to have been a result of financing the Punic Wars.
          During the Republic, the as featured the bust of Janus on the obverse, and the prow of a galley on the reverse.  The as was originally produced on the libral and then the reduced libral weight standard.  The bronze coinage of the Republic switched from being cast to being struck as the weight decreased.  During certain periods, no asses were produced at all.

Information was taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_(Roman_coin)

Q Titius Denarius. 90 BC
Obverse: Head of Mutinus Titinus (Priapus) right, wearing winged diadem
Reverse: Pegasus springing right, Q TITI on base
Cr341/1, Syd 691


          Q. Titius is credited with the minting of this coin, but who is on the obverse side is not a given.  Q. Titius minted many coins of this type in the year 90 BC; during the Social war through Sulla's dictatorship (92-79 BC).

Information was taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severus_Alexander

C. Plutius, circa 121 BCE, Roman Republic, silver denarius, 18mm.
Obverse : helmeted head of Roma right, X behind.
Reverse : the dioscuri right, C. PLUTI. below, ROMA in ex. Ref.
Cr. 278/1 ; RSC 1


          The Roman Republic moneyer C. Plutius is credited with the minting of this coin.


Cordius Rufus. 46 BC. AR Denarius.
OBVERSE: Diademed head of Venus right
REVERSE: Cupid on dolphin right
Crawford 463/3; Sydenham 977; Cordia 3


          The Roman Republic moneyer Cordius Rufus is credited with the minting of this coin.

Lucius Appuleius Saturninus Denarius. 104 BC
OBVERSE: Helmeted head of Roma left
REVERSE: L SATVRN, Saturn in quadriga right; letter or dots above
Cr317/3a, Syd 578.

          Lucius Appuleius Saturninus (died December 100 BC) was a Roman populist and tribune; he was a political ally of Gaius Marius, and his downfall caused a great deal of political embarrassment for Marius, who absented himself from public life until he returned to take up a command in the Social War of 91 to 88 BC.
          As quaestor (104 BC) he superintended the imports of grain at Ostia, but was removed by the Roman Senate (an unusual proceeding), and replaced by Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, one of the chief members of the Optimates.  He does not appear to have been charged with incapacity or mismanagement, and the standard view is that the injustice of his dismissal drove him into the arms of the Populares.

First Tribuneship:
          In 103 BC he was elected tribune.  He entered into an agreement with Gaius Marius, and in order to gain the favour of his soldiers proposed that each of his veterans should receive an allotment of 100 iugera of land in the Roman province of Africa.  He was also chiefly instrumental in securing the election of Marius to his fourth consulship (102 BC).
          An opportunity to retaliate against the Nobiles was afforded him by the arrival (101 BC) of ambassadors from Mithridates VI of Pontus, with large sums of money for bribing the Senate; compromising revelations were made by Saturninus, who insulted the ambassadors.  He was brought to trial for violating the law of nations, and only escaped conviction by an ad misericordiam appeal to the people.  To the first tribunate of Saturninus is probably to be assigned his law on majestas, the exact provisions of which are unknown, but its object was probably to strengthen the power of the tribunes and the Populares; it dealt with the minuta majestas (diminished authority) of the Roman people, that is, with all acts tending to impair the integrity of the Commonwealth, being thus more comprehensive than the modern word "treason".
          One of the chief objects of Saturninus's hatred was Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus, who, when censor, endeavoured to remove Saturninus from the Senate on the ground of immorality, but his colleague refused to assent.  In order to ingratiate himself with the people, who still cherished the memory of the Gracchi, Saturninus took about with him Lucius Equitius, a paid freedman, who made himself out to be the son of Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus. Sempronia, sister of the dead Gracchi, refused to acknowledge her alleged nephew.

Second Tribuneship:
          Marius, on his return to Rome after his victory over the Cimbri, finding himself isolated in the senate, entered into a compact with Saturninus and his ally Gaius Servilius Glaucia, and the three formed a kind of triumvirate, supported by the veterans of Marius and many of the common people.  By the aid of bribery and assassination Marius was elected (100 BC) consul for the sixth time, Glaucia praetor, and Saturninus tribune for the second time.  Saturninus now brought 
forward an agrarian law, an extension of the African law already alluded to.  It was proposed that all the land north of the Padus (Po) lately in possession of the Cimbri, including that of the independent

Celtic tribes which had been temporarily occupied by them, should be held available for distribution among the veterans of Marius.  This was problematic, since the land was already the property of the provincials who had been dispossessed by the Cimbri.
          Colonies were to be founded in Sicilia, Achaea and Macedonia, on the purchase of which the "Tolosan gold," the temple treasures embezzled by Quintus Servilius Caepio (consul in 106), was to be employed.  Further, Italians were to be admitted to these colonies, and as they were to be burgess colonies, the right of the Italians to equality with the Romans was thereby partially recognized.  This part of the bill was resented by many citizens, who were unwilling to allow others to share their privileges.
          A clause provided that, within 5 days after the passing of the law, every senator should take an oath to observe it, under penalty of being expelled from the senate and heavily fined.  All the senators subsequently took the oath except Metellus Numidicus, who went into exile.  Saturninus also brought in a bill, the object of which was to gain the support of the people by supplying grain at a nominal price.  The quaestor Quintus Servilius Caepio declared that the treasury could not stand the strain, and Saturninus' own colleagues interposed their veto.  Saturninus ordered the voting to continue, and Caepio dispersed the meeting by violence.  The Senate declared the proceedings null and void, because thunder had been heard; Saturninus replied that the Senate had better remain quiet; otherwise the thunder might be followed by hail.  The bills (leges Appuleiae) were finally passed by the aid of the Marian veterans.

Downfall and death:
          Marius, finding himself overshadowed by his colleagues and compromised by their excesses, thought seriously of breaking with them, and Saturninus and Glaucia saw that their only hope of safety lay in their retention of office.  Saturninus was elected tribune for the third time for the year beginning December 10, 100, and Glaucia, although at the time praetor and therefore not eligible until after the lapse of 2 years, was a candidate for the consulship.  Marcus Antonius Orator was elected without opposition; the other Optimate candidate, Gaius Memmius, who seemed to have the better chance of success, was beaten to death by the hired agents of Saturninus and Glaucia, while the voting was actually going on.
          This produced a complete revulsion of public feeling.  The Senate met on the following day, declared Saturninus and Glaucia public enemies, and called upon Marius to defend the State.  Marius had no alternative but to obey.  Saturninus, defeated in a pitched battle in the Roman Forum (December 10), took refuge with his followers in the Capitol, where, the water supply having been cut off, they were forced to capitulate.  Marius, having assured them that their lives would be spared, removed them to the Curia Hostilia, intending to proceed against them according to law.  But the more impetuous members of the aristocratic party climbed onto the roof, stripped off the tiles, and stoned Saturninus and many others to death.  Glaucia, who had escaped into a house, was dragged out and killed.

          His daughter Appuleia married well despite the family disgrace, and was mother of two consuls, including the triumvir Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.  Another descendant Sextus Appuleius was consul in 29 BC, and his son Sextus Appuleius (consul in 14 BC) married (as her third husband) Claudia Marcella Major, a niece of Augustus, in or after 2 BC (when her second husband Iullus Antonius died).  Their daughter was Appuleia Varilla living in 17 AD.  The Marcus Appuleius who was consul in 20 BC may have been another descendant.

Information was taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucius_Appuleius_Saturninus


Roman Republic. L. Julius. 101 B.C. AR Denarius
Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma r.; behind, corn-ear
Reverse: Victory in biga r., holding reins; in exergue, L. IVLI
RRC 585. Crawford 323/1

          Lucius Julius Caesar (ca. 135 BC–87 BC) was a consul of the Roman Republic in 90 BC.  He was involved in the downfall of the plebeian tribune Lucius Appuleius Saturninus in 100 BC.
          He was elected praetor for 94 BC without having been quaestor and aedile.  Later he became governor of Macedonia.
          During his consulship, he defeated the Samnites.  Lucius proposed legislation (one of the Leges Juliae or "Julian laws") granting Roman citizenship to allies who didn’t participate in the Social War against Rome in 90 BC.  In 89 he became censor and due to the success of the Julian Law, became responsible for allocating new citizens into voting districts.  His colleague in this task was a former consul, Publius Licinius Crassus Dives (consul 97 BC) (father of triumvir, Marcus Licinius Crassus).
          Lucius and his brother, Gaius Julius Caesar Strabo Vopiscus, were killed together in 87 BC at the beginning of the Civil War by partisans of Gaius Marius.  They died fighting in the streets.  According to Livy, their heads were exposed on the speaker’s platform.
          His children, by his wife Fulvia, were Lucius Julius Caesar, who was consul in 64 BC, and Julia Antonia.

Information was taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucius_Julius_Caesar_(consul_90_BC)

C. Vibius C.f. Pansa. Ca. 90 BC. AR denarius, Roman Republic
OBVERSE: Laureate head of Apollo right, PANSA behind, control letters S: S:. under chin
REVERSE: Minerva in quadriga right,  VIBIVS. C. F in exergue.
Cr. 342/5b. Syd. 684b. RSC, Vibia 1d. RCTV 242


          Gaius Vibius Caii filius Pansa.  One of the first members of the gens Vibius to achieve political success, he was a Novus homo who rose through the cursus honorum as a result of his friendship with Gaius  Julius Caesar, under whom he served in Gaul.  He was the father of Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus (died 23 April 43 BC) who was consul of the Roman Republic in 43 BC.  Although supporting Gaius Julius Caesar during the Civil War, his son pushed for the restoration of the Republic upon Caesar’s death.  His son died of injuries sustained at the Battle of Forum Gallorum.

Information was taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaius_Vibius_Pansa_Caetronianus

L Aemilius Lepidus Paullus AR Denarius. 62 BC
Obverse: Veiled and diademed head of Concordia right, PAVLLVS LEPIDVS CONCORDIA around
Reverse: ER PAVLVS above and beneath L Aemilius Paullus standing to right of trophy, Perseus and his two sons captive on the left. Cr415/1, Syd 926
          Lucius Aemilius Lepidus Paullus (flourished 1st century BC) was the brother of triumvir Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and son to an elder Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.  His mother may have been a daughter of Lucius Appuleius Saturninus.
          He supported Cicero during the Catiline Conspiracy and never supported Pompey.  Paullus was quaestor in 59 BC, aedile in 55 BC, praetor in 53 BC and consul in 50 BC.
          During his consulship, Julius Caesar bribed him for his support.  He reconstructed the Basilica Aemilia in Rome, with part of his bribery money.
          According to Valerius Maximus: "When the senate decreed that the temples of Isis and Serapis be demolished and none of the workmen dared touch them, consul Lucius Aemilius Paullus took off his official gown, seized an axe, and dashed it against the doors of that temple", (I, 3.3; quoting Julius Paris (translation from Loeb edition).
          Paullus opposed the second triumvirate of Octavian, Mark Antony and Paullus' own brother, Marcus Lepidus.  He supported Cicero in condemning its members.  The triumvirs included him in their proscriptions. However, according to Cassius Dio, his brother allowed him to escape.  Lepidus' soldiers left him unhindered.  Paullus joined the political rebel Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger and after Brutus' suicide in 42 BC, Paullus was pardoned and lived his remaining years at Miletus.
          Paullus' son, Lucius Aemilius Lepidus Paullus, was consul in 34 BC, and in 22 BC he shared the office of censor with Augustus.

Information was taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucius_Aemilius_Lepidus_Paullus

Anonymous. 115/4 BC. AR Denarius Rome mint
Obverse: Head of Roma right, wearing crested and winged Corinthian helmet;
X (mark of value) behind, ROMA below
Reverse: Roma seated right on pile of shields, wearing Corinthian helmet, holding spear; 
bird flying right and left on either side, helmet below, she-wolf suckling the twins before. 
Crawford 287/1; Sydenham 530; Kestner 2478; BMCRR Italy 562; RSC 176
          In the Roman currency system, the denarius; plural: denari was a small silver coin first minted about 211 BC during the Second Punic War.  It became the most common coin produced for circulation but was slowly debased in weight and silver content until its replacement by the double denarius, called the antoninianus, early in the 3rd century AD.  The word d?n?rius is derived from the Latin d?n? "containing ten", as its value was 10 ass?s, although in the middle of the 2nd century BC it was recalibrated so that it was now worth sixteen ass?s or four s?sterti?.  It is the origin of several modern words such as the currency name dinar; it is also the origin for the common noun for money in Italian denaro, in Portuguese dinheiro and in Spanish dinero. Its symbol is (X a letter x with stroke).

Information was taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denarius

Roman Republic. Sex. Pompeius Fostlus. Silver Denarius,  c.133-126 BC. Rome Mint
Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma rt., X  below chin and jug behind. 
Reverse: SEX.  POM. FOSTLVS, wolf  rt. suckling the Twins, shepard on lt., birds  on fig tree behind,
ROMA in exergue
RSC  Pompeia 1


          In Roman mythology, Faustulus was the shepherd who found the infants Romulus and Remus, who were being suckled by a she-wolf, known as Lupa, on the Palatine Hill.  He, with his wife, Acca Larentia, raised the children.  In some versions of the myth, Larentia was a prostitute (in Latin a lupa, 'she-wolf').  The name Faustulus was later claimed by a Roman family, one of whom minted a coin showing Faustulus with the twins and she-wolf.  Sextus Pompeius Fostlus issued a silver denarius in about 140 BCE that showed, on the twins and she-wolf with Faustulus to their left.

Information was taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faustulus


MARK ANTONY. 32 BC. AR Legionary Denarius
Obverse: ANT AVG. III VIR. R. P. C, galley to the right
Reverse: LEG V, aquila and two legionary standards
Crawford 544/18; Sear, CRI 354; Sydenham 1221; BMCRR (East) 196; RSC 32

         Mark Antony's legionary issues are around coin silver purity.  US coins were 90% silver.  Here's what Wikipedia has to say: The silver content during republican times remained well above 90%, usually above 95% with the exception of Marcus Antonius's later coinage, especially the massive "legionary" issue of coinage of 32–31 BC just prior to the Battle of Actium (an example is shown on the right), rumored to be silver from Egypt provided by Cleopatra.
          I don't get the significance of it being 'rumored' to be Egyptian silver.  Their hasty retreat from the Battle of Actium was not just to stay alive, but to get away with as much of the wealth as well.  Anyway, silver purification wasand is not an art; it a production.  Where there was silver there were people who knew how to refine, produce, cast, smith, and forge.  Issuing coins with a lower purity of silver was Mark Antony's choice.

Information was taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Antony

          Antony was a supporter of Julius Caesar, and served as one of his generals during the conquest of Gaul and the Civil War.  Antony was appointed administrator of Italy while Caesar eliminated political opponents in Greece, North Africa, and Spain.  After Caesar's death in 44 BC, Antony joined forces with Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, another of Caesar's generals, and Octavian, Caesar's nephew and adopted son, forming a three-man dictatorship known to historians as the Second Triumvirate.  The Triumvirs defeated Caesar's murderers, the Liberatores, at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC, and divided the government of the Republic between themselves.  Antony was assigned Rome's eastern provinces, including the client kingdom of Egypt, then ruled by Cleopatra VII Philopator, and was given the command in Rome's war against Parthia.
          Relations among the Triumvirs were strained as the various members sought greater political power.  Civil war between Antony and Octavian was averted in 40 BC, when Antony married Octavian's sister, Octavia.  Despite this marriage, Antony carried on a love affair with Cleopatra, who bore him three children, further straining Antony's relations with Octavian.  Lepidus was expelled from the association in 36 BC, and in 33 BC disagreements between Antony and Octavian caused a split between the remaining Triumvirs.  Their ongoing hostility erupted into civil war in 31 BC, as the Roman Senate, at Octavian's direction, declared war on Cleopatra and proclaimed Antony a traitor.  Later that year, Antony was defeated by Octavian's forces at the Battle of Actium. Antony and Cleopatra fled to Egypt, where they committed suicide.
          With Antony dead, Octavian was the undisputed master of the Roman world.  In 27 BC, Octavian was granted the title of Augustus, marking the final stage in the transformation of the Roman Republic into an empire, with himself as the first Roman emperor.

Information was taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia at this URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Republican_currency

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