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My first JULIUS CAESAR coin ... and Valentine's Day theme


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Valentine's Day is coming so what better present to get ... than a coin? Saw this beauty and although it wasn't my main target (lost my main targets without a chance) the reverse design really charmed me and I managed to win it. Not a rarity, not extremely expensive, but not the cheapest RR on the market either. 


L. JULIUS L. F. CAESAR. 103 BC. AR, Denarius. Rome. 15.8 mm, 3.51 g
CAESAR, helmeted head of Mars left, [S (retrograde) above] / [L IVLI L F], Venus driving biga of Cupids left, holding reins and sceptre; [lyre to left], S (retrograde) above.
RSC Julia 4a; Crawford 320/1; BMC 1406; Syd. 593a

NOTE - sorry for the clickbait - but I never said Gaius Julius Caesar!

It's his relative Lucius Julius Caesar (c. 134 – 87 BC) a statesman and general, consul in 90 BC, in times of the Social War. A competent general, one of the best measures he took was to grant Roman citizenship to all the members of the revolt who did not participate in it, but also to the ones who did, but were ready to immediately lay down their arms. This was a major step in calming the Social War and was one of the stepping stones in unifying the state.

He found his death in 87 BC, during the CIvil War, when Marius executed his political enemies, Lucius Julius Caesar and his brother,  Gaius Julius Caesar Strabo Vopiscus, being amongst them. 

He had two children - Lucius Julius Caesar (consul 64 BC) - who was a supporter of his cousin, the better known Gaius Julius Caesar; and a daughter, Julia, mother of Marc Antony. 

Now regarding the reverse of the coin (they had quite an imagination if they pictured a biga of cupids!) - Cupid/Eros is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection.

Although Eros is generally portrayed as a slender winged youth in Classical Greek art, during the Hellenistic period, he was increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy (quite visible on my coin also). During this time, his iconography acquired the bow and arrow that represent his source of power: a person, or even a deity, who is shot by Cupid's arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire.

In Latin literature, Cupid is usually treated as the son of Venus without reference to a father. Seneca says that Vulcan, as the husband of Venus, is the father of Cupid. Cicero, however, says that there were three Cupids, as well as three Venuses: the first Cupid was the son of Mercury and Diana, the second of Mercury and the second Venus, and the third of Mars and the third Venus. This last Cupid was the equivalent of Anteros, "Counter-Love", one of the Erotes, the gods who embody aspects of love. The multiple Cupids frolicking in art are the decorative manifestation of these proliferating loves and desires.
In the later classical tradition, Cupid is most often regarded as the son of Venus and Mars, whose love affair represented an allegory of Love and War. The duality between the primordial and the sexually conceived Eros accommodated philosophical concepts of Heavenly and Earthly Love even in the Christian era.

Quite pleased with my coin - although I would have preferred a smaller price, as usually - and the only thing I don't like about it is the small flan - losing the exergue and the lyre in the left - but there are definitely unimportant aspects since Venus and Cupids are completely in the flan ... and I also liked the detailed obverse helmet. 

Please post 
- coins from personalities with famous names, even if the fame of the name doesn't fully belong to them
- Eros/Cupid coins
- bigas featuring fantastic creatures
- ... any coins 🙂 

Edited by ambr0zie
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23 minutes ago, ambr0zie said:

coins from personalities with famous names, even if the fame of the name doesn't fully belong to them

This Romulus was not raised by a she-wolf



Follis, AD 308 - AD 310
Obv.: DIVO ROMVLO N V BIS CONS, Bare head of Romulus r.
Rev.: AETERNAE - MEMORIAE Domed shrine with six columns, one door half open, eagle standing on roof, RBQ in exergue.
AE, 5.04g
Ref.: RIC VI Rome 207


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@ambr0zie...That's a great looking coin!...Really do like the toning and still holds nice detail...

My chubby boy is with his mum...normal_PLAUTTOGETHER(1).jpg.657937a6d6f3695349c0bc65f12b8cbe.jpg


Plautilla AR Denarius. 20mm/2.66gr minted 204 AD

Obverse-PLAVTILLA AVGVSTA, draped bust right

Reverse- VENVSVICTRIX, Venus standing left holding apple (pomegranite) & palm, leaning on shield,winged Cupid at her feet holding apple or pomegranite or helmet?

RIC# 369

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Great coin and perhaps evidence for an early advertisement of the divine origin of the Gens.

"As it became the fashion in the later times of the Republic to claim a divine origin for the most distinguished of the Roman gentes, it was contended that Iulus, the mythical ancestor of the race, was the same as Ascanius, the son of Aeneas, and founder of Alba Longa. Aeneas was, in turn, the son of Venus and Anchises.

The dictator Caesar frequently alluded to the divine origin of his race, as, for instance, in the funeral oration which he pronounced when quaestor over his aunt Julia, and in giving Venus Genetrix as the word to his soldiers at the battles of Pharsalus and Munda; and subsequent writers and poets were ready enough to fall in with a belief which flattered the pride and exalted the origin of the imperial family."

You'll also find Cupid on the Prima Porta statue of the divine Augustus for the same reason!


Edited by Steppenfool
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Wonderful coin, @ambr0zie, and informative write up! Coingratulations on the new acquisition!

Here's a Roman Republican featuring a biga pulled by unusual creatures -- goats!

C Renius denarius Juno Caprotina driving biga of goats LAC.jpg
C. Renius, 138 BCE.
Roman AR denarius, 3.84 g, 16.3 mm, 1 h.
Rome, 138 BCE.
Obv: Helmeted head of Roma, right; X behind.
Rev: Juno in a biga of goats, right, wearing diadem and holding scepter and reins in left hand and whip in right hand; C·RENI below; ROMA in exergue.
Refs: Crawford (RRC) 231/1; RSC Renia 1; Sydenham (CRR) 432; Sear (RCV) 108.

And for the upcoming Valentine's Day, here are a couple of Venus and Cupid coins.

Plautilla,  202-205 CE.
Roman AR denarius, 3.25 g, 19.6 mm, 6 h.
Rome, 204 CE.
Obv: PLAVTILLA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust of Plautilla, right.
Rev: VENVS VICTRIX, Venus standing left, holding apple in extended right hand and palm in left hand, resting left elbow on shield; at feet, left, Cupid.
Refs: RIC 369; BMCRE 429; RSC 25b; RCV 7074; CRE 437.

Julia Mamaea, 222-235 CE.
Roman AR denarius, 3.36 g, 20.1 mm, 6 h.
Rome, third emission, 223 CE.
Obv: IVLIA MAMAEA AVGVSTA, draped bust, right, wearing stephane.
Rev: VENVS GENETRIX SC, Venus standing left, holding apple in extended right hand and vertical scepter in left hand; at feet, Cupid standing right, reaching upwards.
Refs: RIC 355; BMCRE 152-3; Cohen 72; RCV 8215; CRE 509.

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Back again Valentine? I will need more arms, where do children come from?

Faustina II

FAVSTINA AVGVSTA : draped bust right, wearing stephane

TEMPOR FELIC : Fecunditas standing left, holding an infant on each arm; two children standing facing her to either side below, the inner children raising their arms to her;     S-C across fields

Sestertius. Rome, AD 161-176, RIC III 1674


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Nice acquisition, @ambr0zie.  This thread gives me an opportunity to post a pair of recent quasi-Julius Caesar finds - issued for his 46 B.C. Quadruple Triumph, and featuring Venus and Eros.  They are different - the Dioscuri are laureate on one, fillet'd on the other.  These were issued in enormous quantities and are usually wretchedly struck, as seen here: 


Roman Republic Denarius Mn. Cordius Rufus (46 B.C.) Rome Mint

RVFVS·III·VIR, Jugate heads of Dioscuri r., in laureate pilei, [stars above] / MN·CORDIV[S] Venus Verticordia standing left holding scales and scepter, Cupid perched on shoulder. Crawford 463/1a; Cordia 2. (4.12 grams / 19 x 16 mm) eBay Jan. 2023


Roman Republic Denarius Mn. Cordius Rufus (46 B.C.) Rome Mint

RVFVS(·)IIIVIR, Jugate heads of Dioscuri r., in filleted pilei, stars above / [MN·CO]RDI, Venus Verticordia standing left holding scales and scepter, Cupid perched on shoulder. Crawford 463/1b; Cordia 1. (3.85 grams / 16 mm) eBay Nov. 2022

"The final years of Caesar′s supremacy in Rome were busy ones for the Capitoline mint and full colleges of three moneyers were appointed for each of the years 46 and 45. All six moneyers struck the entire range of denominations in silver...Demand was especially high at the time of the quadruple triumph in 46 BC...The large issues of Cordius Rufus and T.Carisius were clearly intended to meet a major part of that.'' numista


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Here is a cupid biga, and a coin with Eros. 🙂


Caracalla Æ 18mm of Hadrianopolis, Thrace. AD 198-217.
Obv: ΑVΤ Κ Μ ΑVΡ CΕΥ ΑΝΤΩΝEΙΝΟC, laureate head to right
Rev: ΑΔΡΙΑΝΟΠΟΛΕΙΤΩΝ, Eros standing to right, resting on torch set on altar.
Youroukova, Hadrianople 390; Varbanov 3526, CNT 5217; SNG Copenhagen 571.
3.25g, 18mm, 1h.
ROMA 2021. 

Edited by happy_collector
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Love your Hadrianopolis Eros, @happy_collector. His face really says "oh boy, this time I screwed it. Badly".

I also have one with a similar reverse design (badly centered though). Very difficult to identify and appears to be unpublished. 


Thrace, Hadrianopolis. 2.74g 18mm  Assarion. Geta (Caesar, 198-209). Λ CE (?) CΓETA CK, laurate, draped and cuirassed bust right / AΔΡIANOΠOΛITΩN (?), Thanatos or Weary Eros, winged, standing right leaning on burning torch. Unpublished. similar to Varbanov 3657 (obv and rev legend). Another possible city – Dionysopolis (also unpublished)

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This guy seems to experiment different animals to ride, indeed, ~40 years before your coin he was caught riding a goat 


Mn. Fonteius C.f. 85 BC. AR Denarius 3.72gr. Rome

MN·FONTEI – C·F Laureate head of Apollo Veiovis r.; below, thunderbolt and below chin, RA ligate. Rev. Cupid on goat r.; above, pileii. In exergue, thyrsus. The whole within laurel wreath. FFC 717. B. Fonteia 9. Syd. 724. Cr. 353/1a.

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