AE23. 5.88g, 23.4mm
MINTED: MACEDON, Philippi, circa 42 BC. M. Paquius Rufus, legatus coloniae deducendae
REF: RPC 1647; HGC 3.1, 636 (R2); SNG Copenhagen 304
OBVERSE: [A] I C V [P], bare head of Antony right.
REVERSE: Q PAQVIVS RVF LEG C D, togate figure seated left on curule chair holding tablet; urn at feet to left.
Fine. Green patina with malachite and earthen deposits.
A rare and historically interesting portrait issue of Antony.
Philippi, located in eastern Macedonia, was the site of the great battle fought in October 42 BC between the forces of Brutus and Cassius, the leaders of the assassins of Julius Caesar, and those of Mark Antony and Octavian, who sought to avenge Caesar. The battle resulted in the defeat and deaths of Brutus and Cassius, and shortly thereafter, Antony founded a colony at Philippi to commemorate the victory. This coin was one of two types struck at Philippi bearing Antony’s portrait, issued by his legate, Q Paquius Rufus. The legend on the obverse reads A I C V P, for Antonii Iussu Colonia Victrix Philippensis (“By order of Antony, Colonia Victrix Philipensis”).
Roman general Mark Antony (Marcus Antonius), perhaps best known today as the ultimately doomed lover of Cleopatra of Egypt, was historically one of the most important figures in the momentous period that spanned the death of Julius Caesar in 44 BC and the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire in 27 BC. He served under Caesar during his prosecution of the Gallic Wars (58-50 BC), and thereafter, became his second-in-command during the Great Roman Civil War (49-45 BC) that saw Caesar emerge as the paramount power in Rome.
Antony narrowly escape Caesar's own fate when the conspirators debated about whether Antony along with Caesar's other supporters should also be killed. Brutus argued against the idea, and Antony survived to eventually forge an alliance against the Liberatores with Caesar's heir, Octavian, the future Emperor Augustus.
After the final defeat of the Liberatores in 42 BC, Antony, as part of the Second Triumvirate along with Octavian and M. Aemilius Lepidus, became one of the masters of Rome and its expansive foreign dominions. Antony, with arguably the most influence of the three, claimed all of Rome's eastern provinces, including the fabulously wealthy kingdom of Egypt. In 41 BC, he began his famous affair with Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, eventually marrying her and having three children with her.
In the years to come, his ambitions in the east with Cleopatra would bring him into an irreconciliable conflict with Octavian, who denounced Antony to the Senate as a traitor who would give away Rome's possessions to his Egyptian family. The civil war between them that followed climaxed with the Battle of Actium on 2 September 31 BC, where Antony and Cleopatra's naval fleet was defeated by Octavian's under the command of his trusted general, Agrippa. Antony and Cleopatra retreated to Egypt, where they were beseiged by Octavian in 30 BC. With nowhere else to flee to, Antony committed suicide, followed shortly thereafter by Cleopatra.
ROMAN IMPERATORS . Mark Antony, 42 BC . AE23 . *Rare and historic Philippi AE*
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