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This isn't really Caesonia, you know.

Roman Collector

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Modern numismatists believe the figure portrayed on this coin's reverse to be Salus and that the traditional attribution to Caesonia is fanciful. David Vagi (Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. Vol. 1, Coinworld, 1999, p.148) states:

"The bust of Salus (health) on aes struck at Cathago Nova ... by Caligula is often misattributed as a representation of Caesonia. In fact, it was struck before they were wed, and it more likely is an allusion to Antonia, whose health was failing as she neared the end of her life."

Caligula AD 37-41.
Roman provincial Æ 28 mm, 11.17 gm.
Carthago Nova, Spain, AD 37-38.
Obv: C. CAESAR AVG. GERMANIC. IMP. P.M. TR.P. COS., laureate head of Caligula, r.
Rev: CN. ATEL. FLAC. CN. POM. FLAC. II. VIR. Q.V.I.N.C., head of Salus r., SAL AVG across field.
Refs: SGI 419; Heiss 272, 35; Cohen 247, 1; RPC I, 185; SNG Cop 503.

This one (from RPC online) has a better claim to being Caesonia, but even this is not without controversy. There are very few examples of this coin in existence, none of which have a clear obverse legend. In fact, the reading of RPC and the identification as Caesonia are rejected by N. Kokkinos, Antonia Augusta: Portrait of a Great Roman Lady (London, 2002), pp. 101-3, 265-7. He prefers Antonia.

Milonia Caesonia(?), AD 39-41.
Roman provincial Æ 19, 5.77 g.
Caesaraea Panias, Syria. Dated RY 5 of Agrippa I (AD 40-41).
Obv: [ΚΑΙΣ]ΩΝΙΑ ΓΥΝΗ ΣΕΒΑΣΤΟΥ, Draped bust of Caesonia(?) left, wearing hair in long plait.
Rev: ΔΡΟΥΣΙΛΛΑ ΘΥΓΑΤΡΙ ΣΕΒΑΣΤΟΥ, Drusilla standing facing, head right, holding Nike and branch; LE in left field.
Refs: RPC 4977; Meshorer 3 corr., Burnett 6.
What do you think? Let's see your coins of Caligula!
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With the facts that it was made before they wed and Antonia's health failing at the time it sure seems as open and shut as Caligula's toga. 

I'd always wondered about this type. Thanks for sharing your research and incredible knowledge of ancient Roman babes.... empress.

The man(iac) himself:




a rare barbarous of Caligula:


And Antonia to show how similar her likeness is to that on the second coin:share2041331307380957005.png.59851985b18609eca5ea90a7a7a0f963.png


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Spain, Segobriga. Gaius (Caligula). AD 37-41. Æ As (28mm, 10.91g, 4h). Obv: C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS IMP; Laureate head left. Rev: SEGO/BRIGA; in two lines within wreath. Ref: ACIP 3246; RPC I 476. Very Fine, dark green patina, almost black, patina, nice for issue. Ex-CNG eAuction 286, Lot 199. Ex-The R. D. Frederick Collection.


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Nice coin, and thanks for the interesting read @Roman Collector. I have no educated opinion about the figure on your coin, however, it did remind me to see if Suetonius might mention her, and I found the following passage (via the site of Bill Thayer): 

"Though Caesonia was neither beauti­ful nor young, and was already mother of three daughters by another, besides being a woman of reckless extravagance and wantonness, he loved her not only more passionately but more faithfully, often exhibiting her to the soldiers riding by his side, decked with cloak, helmet and shield, and to his friends even in a state of nudity. He did not honour her with the title of wife until she had borne him a child, announcing on the selfsame day that he had married her and that he was the father of her babe."  (Ch. 25) 

That Gaius, gotta love the guy, right? I do read a case of affection by Gaius for Caesonia, but that it was made publicly after the date of the coin. Shortly after their marriage, both Gaius and Caesonia and their daughter were murdered. 

My two coins of Caligula. Unfortunately the AE As developed a serious case of BD on the obverse 😞 It's stable now. 




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There has long been what I consider a regrettable tendency of museum professionals to attribute statues to an emperor or famous person when the main reason for that is to bolster the interest in the item which might benefit the reputation of that institution.  In some cases, fine statues are pretty obviously who they are said to be but many upper class Romans affected the style/appearance of their rulers not all that unlike the way there was a time in the US that many women wore Jackie Kennedy hair styles.   How many unlabeled works were the ruler and how many were his fanboy?  I consider the best example of 'uplabeling' that huge statue of a naked charioteer or the like attributed to Trebonianus Gallus.  

Years ago when I fist came to the Richmond, Virginia, area area I saw a full length statue of Caligula in the local art museum which I believed was patched up from pieces that did not originate together.  The face seemed right but it did not sit right on the body.  A few years later the statue disappeared for a while and reappeared restored with the explanation that the head had been realigned based on the grain of the marble correcting the previous, erroneous reconstruction of the broken statue.  I am now able to accept the piece as one original.  I seem to have misplaced my images of the new display.  This is the old one.



Coins (I have few and all have been shown online too many times):


My favorite is the sestertius honoring the dedication of the temple of Divus Augustus showing Caligula sacrificing a bull. 


This as is pretty and green.


 I owned this one for years but did not give it an accession number because it was so rough and ugly.  It has less wear than the other so would grade higher than the green one by some standards but certainly would get a 1/5 for surfaces.  I kept it because it has the more scarce obverse legend honoring Augustus, his grandfather, rather than the usual Germanicus, his father.  I never was able to upgrade it. 


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