Roma Numismatics Ltd > E-Sale 103Auction date: 24 November 2022
Lot number: 921

Price realized: 4,600 GBP   (Approx. 5,585 USD / 5,365 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:


Cleopatra and Marc Antony AR Denarius. Uncertain Eastern mint, autumn 34 BC. CL[EOPATRAE]•REGINAE•REGVM•FILIORVM•REGVM•, diademed and draped bust of Cleopatra to right; prow to right at point of bust / ANTONI•ARMENIA•DEVICTA, bare head of Marc Antony to right; Armenian tiara to left. Crawford 543/1; CRI 345; BMCRR East 179-82; RSC 1. 3.34g, 19mm, 2h.

Near Very Fine.

From a private UK Collection.

Issued in the wake of the successful campaign against Armenia in early-mid 34 BC, this type proudly commemorates the victory with the legend 'Armenia Devicta' (Armenia vanquished).

In the execution of his war on Parthia in early 36 BC, Antony had followed the advice of the Armenian king Artavasdes to invade Parthia not from the West (which would have been the shortest route) but from the North, subduing the Parthian allied kingdom of Media Atropatene along the way, whose king was (conveniently) an enemy of Artavasdes. At the fortified town of Phraaspa however, the attack foundered and Artavasdes abandoned Antony in the face of the enemy, allowing his logistics train and two legions to be massacred in an ambush. Following a failed two-month siege of Phraaspa, Antony was forced to call off the campaign and effect a fighting retreat back to friendly territory, in the course of which no fewer than eighteen battles were fought. Antony arrived back in Syria by late 36 BC, having lost about 40% (some 80,000 men) of his original force.

In early 34 BC, after variously attempting to lure Artavasdes out to meet with him to discuss marriage proposals and renewed war on Parthia, pleasant inducements and entreaties through the king's companions, and then a forced march to the capital Artaxata and what Cassius Dio describes as 'aggressive use of his soldiers', eventually Antony convinced Artavasdes to come to his camp, where the king was promptly arrested. Antony proceeded to plunder the country as best he could, and returned to Alexandria with his captives: King Artavasdes, his wife, and his family. There he celebrated a mock Roman triumph - an eastern pastiche of Rome's most important military ceremony - wherein Antony paraded through the streets in a chariot with his captives walking behind him. Cleopatra watched, seated high above with Caesarion at her side. As a grand finale, the whole city was summoned to the gymnasium to bear witness to a political statement which became known as the Donations of Alexandria. Antony and Cleopatra, dressed as Dionysus-Osiris and Isis-Aphrodite, sat on golden thrones while Antony distributed kingdoms among his children by Cleopatra: Alexander Helios was named king of Armenia, Media and Parthia, his twin Selene was awarded Cyrenaica and Libya, and the young Ptolemy Philadelphus was given Syria and Cilicia. Cleopatra was proclaimed Queen of Kings, a title evidenced on the obverse of this coin type, which also names 'her Children, who are kings'. Most damaging of all to his relations with Octavian was the naming of Caesarion as a legitimate son and heir of Julius Caesar. This caused a fatal rupture of Antony's relations with Octavian, and Rome. When the triumvirate officially expired on the last day of 33 BC it was not renewed, and the Roman world again found itself at war.

Estimate: 1500 GBP