Classical Numismatic Group > Electronic Auction 560Auction date: 17 April 2024
Lot number: 661

Price realized: 475 USD   (Approx. 447 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:

Augustus. 27 BC-AD 14. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.69 g, 9h). Pergamum mint. Struck 27 BC. Bare head right / Hexastyle temple of Olympian Jupiter on three-tiered base with round shield in pediment and palmettes on top; IOVI OLV across field. RIC I 472; RSC 182. Toned, marks and scratches, edge flaw and associated flan crack. Good VF.

From the Mesogeios Collection. Ex Classical Numismatic Group Electronic Auction 525 (19 October 2022), lot 1025; Classical Numismatic Group 61 (25 September 2002), lot 1615.

This coin provides one more intriguing piece of evidence of the paradoxical relationship regarding Augustus' conscious crafting of his public image. While the reverse clearly features the temple of Zeus Olympios, it is unclear whether it is the one in Athens, or more likely, that at Olympia. During the years following Actium, Octavian spent much time in the East, reinforcing his control over Antony's former power base, as well as helping to alleviate the suffering of its cities following the Civil War. When he received the epithet Augustus, these cities, including Pergamum, sought to honor him and allude to his increased divinity, not only as the son of the Divus Julius, but akin to Zeus himself. Unlike the more conservative Rome mint, which balked at such overtures, the eastern mints, with their long tradition of ascribing divinity to such rulers, were comfortable in doing so.

Estimate: 400 USD