Denarius of Caesar, Replica
The denarius is the small Roman 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 denarius is derived from the Latin d?n? "containing ten", as its value was 10 asses. It is the origin of several modern words such as the currency name dinar and the Italian common noun for money: denaro.
Julius Caesar was the first emperor who depicted himself on a Roman coin while alive. Only in the beginning of February of the year of his death, in 44 BC, the Senate granted him the corresponding right, yet, Caesar had a large amount of 'his' coins minted during the short time before his death. An estimated 22.5 million pieces were minted from the original of our replica, making this coin the third most minted one in the Republican era and adequate to pay eight legions. This coin is often dated to 49 B.C., which coincides with the time Caesar took large quantities of gold and silver bullion from the Temple of Saturn treasury in Rome. The date is one among the questions about the coin that continue to be debated. Other undecideds include what the elephant is standing on.
The elephant may symbolize Caesar's Gallic campaign against Ariovistus in the year 58 [Battle of Vosges] or more generally, it may symbolize victory over the Gauls, especially if the object on which the elephant treads is a Gallic war trumpet. In such a case, the coin might date from the 50s B.C., or before the civil war-launching Rubicon crossing. If the object on which the elephant strides is a snake or dragon, the coin might symbolize the overcoming of evil and it could have come later. Among other propagandizing purposes, it could have been intended to humiliate the self-important Pompey, who had, earlier in his career, tried to associate himself with Alexander the Great by riding one of Alexander's symbols, the elephant, in his triumphal procession. Pompey had embarrassingly failed to fit the beast into the city. The elephant is walking on a snake or the like, which could be an element familiar to the users of the coins from the imagery of Ceres or Juno Sospita. It might represent the snake as a natural enemy of the elephant.
The religious symbols associate Caesar with his prestigious pontifical position as the head of Rome's religious hierarchy. Caesar had been Pontifex Maximus since 63 BC. Augural symbols include the lituus (curved staff or crozier) and jug. Because Caesar did not become an augur until 47 BC, and since the coin is dated to, at the earliest, the 50s, or more likely 49 (or possibly 48), the symbols would not be augural.
Gaius Iulius Caesar
* July 13, 100 BC in Rome; d. 15 March 44 BC. Caesar was a Roman statesman, military commander and an author. He was instrumental in the destruction of the Roman Republic and involved in its subsequent transformation into an empire.
Caesar conquered Gaul among others. After Caesar was appointed dictator for life he was assassinated. And yet, his legacy of an empire lived on with his name becoming henceforth the title of all subsequent Emperors of the Roman Empire. In late Antiquity and the Byzantine Empire the title 'Caesar' referred to the fellow ruler or heir to the throne. In the borrowed forms of “Kaiser” and “Tsar”, the name was later also the title of the rulers of the Holy Roman, of the Austrian, German, Bulgarian and of the Russian Empire.
This is a replica of an ancient Roman coin of the generals Gaius Julius Cäsar.
- Diameter: approx. 20mm
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