Rev: IMP • XII in exergue, bull butting left, lashing his tail.
Purchased from Gatewestcoins on Ebay July 18, 2019
This coin completed my third 12 Caesars set in silver. However, that is not the only reason I bought it. I know the coin is quite worn but in this case that is part of the charm. Augustus was extremely popular during his lifetime and for many years after his death. Coins of Augustus are in fact still sought after more than 2000 years later. In fact, many coins of Augustus were hoarded by the population in memory of the emperor. Not this one however. This one has clearly circulated for years. I love thinking about who used this coin and for what purposes. Was it used to pay a soldier? To buy a meal? To pay for grain? We shall never know. However one thing is clear some ancient Romans actually used this coin as a form of payment. They carried it around with them and exchanged it for goods and services. Handling this coin gives me a connection to long dead ancestors and to the past in general.
There is another fact that makes this coin interesting; Augustus was a coin collector. In fact he used to distribute what he considered to be old coins to friends and allies. I find this very interesting because here I am today collecting coins with his face on them.
Of course another interesting reason to collect this coin is that Augustus was the first Roman emperor. He was the beginning of an empire that would last for centuries. After the assassination of Julius Caesar and years of conflict then Octavian later to become Augustus stepped forward and united the Romans and created an empire. What I find interesting about this is that the Romans despised kings. in fact it was partly the fear of kings that led to the assassination of Julius Caesar. Caesar was accused of destroying the republic and therefore had to die. He was far too powerful to live. His power as dictator was seen by some as a threat to the very existence of Rome. So what happened? They killed Caesar and then the Romans set up an emperor who had the same powers as a king. What would our impression of Rome be today if the Republic had persisted? Take a look at the obverse. it has the legend AVGVSTVS DIVI F. That is, Augustus son of a god. Augustus was invoking the memory of Julius Caesar. Caesar had been deified as a god. So the Romans clearly had a thing for dictators because Augustus himself referred back to Julius Caesar on a number of the coins.
It is because of the historical events that I find this coin so interesting. If you are looking for coins of Augustus there are plenty of interesting types as the coins were struck for him as Octavian and as Augustus.