27 BC - AD 14
AE As. 6g, 25mm
MINTED: Sicily or Syria; countermarked during the time of Claudius (AD 41-54)
REF: cf. RPC 627 (SICILY, Tyndaris), RPC 4100 (SYRIA, Antioch), for host coin
OBVERSE: Head of Augustus right. Countermarks: S (for semis), AVC, and TICA (for Tiberius Claudius Augustus)
REVERSE: Wreath around legend.
Good/Fair. Green-brown patina. Host coin a provincial AE of Augustus, likely Sicilian or Eastern. Interesting example of the re-usage of extremely worn currency, with the countermarks applied signalling that they were still legal tender. In this case the crude "S" countermark on the obverse likely indicates that the coin was re-tariffed as a semis.
Augustus, known earlier in his life as Octavian, was the founder of the Roman Empire. He was 19 years old when he was named the heir of Julius Caesar, his grand uncle, when the latter was assassinated in March 44 BC by a group of senators. The inexperienced youth had to walk a perilous path during that tumultuous period, but with the loyalty of Caesar's veteran soldiers, he and his ally Mark Antony were able to inflict total political and military defeat upon Caesar's assassins. In the ten years that followed their victory, Octavian consolidated his power base in Rome and surrounded himself with able generals and faithful followers, while Antony was left to rule the Roman provinces in the east.
Full scale civil war erupted between the former allies in 31 BC, and Octavian had the Roman Senate denounce Antony as a traitor and declare war on him and his lover, Queen Cleopatra of Egypt. Antony and Cleopatra were defeated at the naval battle in 31 BC, and fleeing back to Egypt, they both committed suicide, leaving Octavian the sole ruler of the Roman world.
As Princeps Civitatis, or First Citizen of the State, Augustus, as he now called himself, carefully maintained the illusion of the old Republic, though he was in fact emperor in all but name. He spent the next decades overhauling the Roman bureaucracy, military, and economy, constructing public roads and buildings on an unprecedented scale. He expanded the borders and sphere of influence of his new Empire while establishing a long-lasting peace within. At the end of his life, he is said to have proclaimed, "I found Rome built of bricks; I leave her clothed in marble". He died in AD 14, at the age of 75, having ruled for 40 years.
AUGUSTUS . 27 BC - AD 14 . AE As . Countermarked and retarrifed under Claudius
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