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Additional References: Syd 1210; Cr543/1
Notes: draped & diademed bust of Cleopatra right; prow before / bare head of Antony right; Armenian tiara behind. Cleopatra VII and Marc Antony. AR Denarius (3.04g). Alexandria mint (likely), circa 34BC.
Info: Marcus Antonius (commonly known as Mark Antony) (83BC - 30BC) was born into the Roman plebeian aristocratic family Antonia. His mother was of the Julian family and a cousin of Julius Ceasar, making Antonius also a relative of the Caesars. As a young man, he led a scandalous lifestyle and racked up an enormous debt.
Antonius started his military career serving under the proconsul Gabinius in Syria. It was during his campaigns in the East where he first met Cleopatra VII in Egypt as a 14 year old girl. His competence as a commander of the cavalry enabled his good friend Publius Clodius Pulcher to recommend him to join Julius Caesar's military staff in Gaul.
Antonius served Caesar well in the campaigns in Gaul and then the civil wars against the boni of the senate. After Caesar's assassination in 44BC, he became a member of the second triumvirate, a 3-man dictatorship along with Octavian Caesar and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. This powerful alliance hunted down and killed all of Julius Caesar's assassins, culminating with the battle of Phillipi. This power-sharing worked well at first with the damage from the prior civil wars being largely repaird due to the administrative competence of Octavian and the peace between these three powerful men.
During this period, Antony took up residence in Egypt and commenced his famous love affair with Queen Cleopatra, who had already borne a child to Julius Caesar prior to his murder. Unfortunately, Antony began to treat the East as his personal empire and the Roman provinces as kingdoms ruled by his children with Cleopatra. Octavian and the Roman Senate found this unacceptable and launched a war to reclaim the East. This war led to the battle of Actium in 31 BC after which both Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in 30BC.
Obverse: Cleopatra VII Philopator (69 BC - 30 BC), known to history simply as Cleopatra, was the last active pharaoh of Ptolemaic Egypt, briefly survived as pharaoh by her son Caesarion. After her reign, Egypt became a province of the recently established Roman Empire.
Cleopatra was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, a family of Macedonian Greek origin that ruled Egypt after Alexander the Great's death during the Hellenistic period. The Ptolemies spoke Greek throughout their dynasty, and refused to speak Egyptian, which is the reason that Greek as well as Egyptian languages were used on official court documents such as the Rosetta Stone. By contrast, Cleopatra did learn to speak Egyptian and represented herself as the reincarnation of the Egyptian goddess Isis.
Cleopatra originally ruled jointly with her father Ptolemy XII Auletes, and later with her brothers Ptolemy XIII and Ptolemy XIV, whom she married as per Egyptian custom, but eventually she became sole ruler. As pharaoh, she consummated a liaison with Julius Caesar that solidified her grip on the throne. She later elevated Caesarion, her son with Caesar, to co-ruler in name.
After Caesar's assassination in 44 BC, she aligned with Mark Antony in opposition to Caesar's legal heir Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (later known as Augustus). With Antony, she bore the twins Cleopatra Selene II and Alexander Helios, and son Ptolemy Philadelphus (her unions with her brothers had produced no children). Antony committed suicide after losing the Battle of Actium to Octavian's forces, and Cleopatra followed suit. According to tradition, she killed herself by means of an asp bite on August 12, 30 BC. She was outlived by Caesarion, who was declared pharaoh by his supporters, but he was soon killed on Octavian's orders. Egypt then became the Roman province of Aegyptus.
To this day, Cleopatra remains a source of perpetual fascination in Western culture. Her legacy survives in numerous works of art and many dramatizations of incidents from her life in literature and other media, including William Shakespeare's tragedy Antony and Cleopatra, George Bernard Shaw's play Caesar and Cleopatra, Jules Massenet's opera Cl?op?tre, and the films Cleopatra (1934) and Cleopatra (1963).
Denomination: In the Roman currency system, the denarius was a small silver coin first minted about 211 BC during the Second Punic War. It became the most common coin produced for circulation but was slowly debased in weight and silver content until its replacement by the double denarius, called the antoninianus, early in the 3rd century AD. The word denarius is derived from the Latin dēnī "containing ten", as its value was 10 asses, although in the middle of the 2nd century BC it was recalibrated so that it was now worth sixteen asses or four sestertii. It is the origin of several modern words such as the currency name dinar; it is also the origin for the common noun for money in Italian denaro, in Portuguese dinheiro and in Spanish dinero.
Period: Imperatorial Rome. As the Roman Republic began to implode because of corruption and infighting among powerful members of the Roman Senate, a new type of Roman Republican coinage emerges, that of the military strongmen who dominated and fought amongst each other before the final fall of the Republic. The drama surrounding the fall of the Roman Republic is a story full of political intrigue, military action, betrayal, murder and sex scandals. Different parts of this story have been told and retold by ancient historians, modern day scholars, dozens of Hollywood movies and even an HBO miniseries. All of the actors in this great drama, Crassus, Pompey, Julius Caesar, Brutus and Cassius, Mark Antony and Cleopatra and the last man standing at the end of it all, Octavian (later known as the first emperor of Rome, Emperor Augustus) all minted coins during this time bearing their names and propaganda images supporting their factions and political ideals.
Culture: Ancient Rome. A famous catch phrase "Rome was not built in a day" definitely applies to the Roman civilization. Rome stated as a series of small villages among the famous seven hills of Rome along the river Tiber. Eventually through conquest, diplomacy, wise policies of indirect rule and assimilation, the Romans were able to not only unify the Italian peninsula, but though a series of brutal wars against regional powers established a great Empire that spanned Europe, Asia and Africa, making the Mediterrean Sea and "Roman Lake."
All Roman coinage can generally be divided into eight time periods as described below. An interesting thing about Roman coins minted during these eight time periods is that you can literally see the "Rise and Fall" of the Roman Empire on its coinage as the sharp imagery and pure silver and gold coins of the Roman Republic and Early Imperial Period gradually devolves into crude, illegible and heavily debased coins of the "Barracks Emperors" and "Barbarian" Period.
Item created by: Chance on 2016-08-30 09:42:08. Last edited by Chance on 2016-08-30 09:57:47
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