Roman Republic, The Caesareans. Julius Caesar. Rome, Early 46 BC

Roman Republic, The Caesareans. Julius Caesar. Rome, Early 46 BC


AV Aureus, 7.94g (21mm, 8h). A. Hirtius, praetor. Veiled female head (Vesta or Pietas?) right; C • CAESAR COS TER around / Emblems of the augurate and pontificate: lituus, guttus, and securis; A HIRTIVS • PR around from lower left.

Pedigree: Ex August Voirol Collection (Münzen und Medaillen AG 38, 6 December 1968), lot 261; Conte Alessandro Magnaguti Collection (Part II, Santamaria, 12 October 1949), lot 279

References: Crawford 466/1; Molinari 240 (D26/R227–this coin); CRI 56; Calicó 37b; Sydenham 1018; BMCRR Rome 4052; RBW 1634

Grade: Nice large flan with pretty reddish toning. EF (rr1127c)

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This coin was struck a few years prior to Caesar’s brutal murder by his fellow senators. Before Caesar died his portrait did not grace coinage. It must have been considered vain and tyrannical to put ones face on coinage. The early Republic through Caesar were anonymous aside from some symbolic link between the moneyer and the coin and of course a legend that alluded to who had backed the issue.

Aulus Hirtius was no minor figure in the imperatorial period. He was a consul and also wrote heavily on military issues. Later he took the position of legate (commander of a legion) and was present among the heavy hitters during Caesar’s famous crossing of the Rubicon. He was reported to have dined with he and several other important members of Caesar’s force just subsequent to the historic event. He was also very close friends with Cicero and his correspondence with him was said to cover 9 volumes, none of which has survived. Hirtius became governor of Transalpine Gaul in 45 BC. He and his fellow senator Pansa supported the senatorial move against Mark Antony (although he was first aligned with him) after Caesar’s death. Pansa and Hirtius traveled to Mutina to wage a battle with Antony, who was at the time besieging Brutus, the main man accused of Caesar’s murder. While they defeated Antony, unfortunately both Pansa and Hirtius died in battle.

This coin has been a part of two renowned collections: August Voirol and Conte Alessandro Magnaguti.