Roman Republic. The Triumvirs. Mark Antony. Legionary issue. Patrae(?) mint, c. 32-31 BC

Roman Republic. The Triumvirs. Mark Antony. Legionary issue. Patrae(?) mint, c. 32-31 BC

1,450.00

AR Denarius, 3.45g (18mm, 6h). Praetorian galley right / Aquila between two signa; LEG III across lower field.

Comes with export license from Italy

References: Crawford 544/15. CRI 350. Sydenham 1217. RSC 28. RBW 1839

Grade: Nice issue with and very complete which is difficult for legionary issues. EF (rr1099)

Scroll down for more information about this coin.

Add To Cart
 

Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) was born to an ancient and well-honored family that had seemingly fallen from grace and into ignominy.  After a debauched youth of incurring crippling debt and careless and irresponsible spending, Antony found his true calling as a soldier and began a noteworthy career as one of Julius Caesar’s lieutenants in Gaul.  He was a boisterous and jocular man, often fueled by the changing whims of his passions. His surefooted and able soldiering endeared him to both his troops and to Caesar himself, who elevated him in rank to serve as his chief deputy against G. Pompeius Magnus and other republican commanders and officials during the civil war.

Following the final republican defeat at Munda, he served as Caesar’s co-consul in 44 bc., the year of Caesar’s assassination in the Pompey’s theatre.[1]  Fearful for his own life on the Ides of March, Antony spent the day in hiding, returning to the forum to deliver his famous funeral oration over Caesar’s body on March 17.

Following a convoluted period of shifting allegiances and disputes among Caesar’s assassins, senatorial factions, to say nothing of a brief but outright war fought in northern Italy, Caesar’s killers, led by Brutus and Cassius, were forced out of the Italian peninsula..  They fled east to build an army which they intended to bring to bear on pro-Caesarian forces in Italy and elsewhere to restore the senatorial faction to power. Meanwhile, Antony and the young Octavian, Caesar’s grand-nephew and heir, put aside their differences to find a common goal in the destruction of the forces of Brutus and Cassius.  To this end, they, along with M. Aemelius Lepidus, formed the Second Triumvirate[2] which granted the three men autocratic power over the Roman state and, essentially, extinguished the last vestiges of the Roman Republic.

The final and irrevocable blow came at a small town in eastern Macedonia called Philipi, where, over the course of two separate engagements, the Caesarean forces of Antony and Octavian struck down the combined armies of Brutus and Cassius, who, following their defeat, took their own lives.  The republic was finished; all of its last adherents were now executed, killed in battle, or dead at their own hands. The way was now clear for the reconstruction of the Roman state in a new imperial form.

Antony and Octavian emerged triumphant from this civil war, and, after essentially sidelining Lepidus by granting him dominion over the small and insignificant province of Africa, Antony and Octavian divided the empire between them.  Octavian was granted the west, including Italy, Gaul, and Spain, while Antony was given sway over the wealthy provinces of the east, including, most notably, Egypt, where, following a disastrous campaign in Parthia and Armenia, Antony took residence.

It was in Egypt that the final chapters of Antony’s life would be written.  As is popularly and widely known, he fell badly under the sway of the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra VII, and after fathering three children by her, it was proclaimed that the pair would rule the east together, dividing the Roman east among themselves and their children.  Had this edict actually have been carried out in practice, it would have established a rift in the Roman Empire, essentially creating a rival state from the Roman provinces.  This was a position that proved untenable, and the Roman world was once again driven into civil war between the forces of Octavian in the west and Antony and Cleopatra in the east.

This time, however, the decision would be swift.  The two sides met in a massive naval engagement at Actium, in Greece.  Under the direction of Octavian’s friend and trusted commander, M. Vipsanius Aggripa, the forces of Antony and Cleopatra were defeated with some loss, and the pair fled back to Egypt.  Octavian and his forces pursued. Cut off from any hope of reinforcement or rescue, Antony and Cleopatra famously committed suicide. Octavian, the burgeoning Augustus, now stood securely as sole master of the Roman World.

[1]It should here be noted that contrary to popular conception, C. Julius Caesar was not assassinated in the curia, or senate house, which was undergoing renovations at the time.  He was, instead, killed in Pompey’s theatre.

[2]Triumviri rei publicae constituendae consulari potestate.