Julius Caesar

49 - 44 B.C.

Julius Caesar was the seminal figure responsible for the long line of emperors that would follow him. The complex events that led to his departure from the customary Republican ways of governing the country are beyond the scope of this short bio. Suffice it to say that a series of civil wars that shook Rome left the Senate weakened and actual power was wielded by only a handful of men. The traditional system of checks and balances that had up until then kept any one person from acquiring too much power was gone and, as is always the case, power hungry individuals moved in to fill the vacuum.

Caesar was one of those men who initially had carved up power with two other wealthy and influential men, Crassus and Pompey. Through a series of political maneuvers he eventually gained the upper hand and was able to edge out the other "Triumvirs" to become a de facto emperor. The key to his power lay in his systematic acquisition of titles that he wrested through one means or another from the Senate. Most important of these was the office of Dictator which until then was only sparingly given on terms that expired annually. The Dictator was given broad powers to rule during times of trouble and would be roughly equivalent to a military leader calling for a state of Martial Law. The scandal that precipitated his downfall was his brazen choice to name himself Dictator in perpetuity. In effect, this removed any possibility of others sharing in power while he remained alive and, to remedy the situation, a group of Senators led by his close friend Brutus stabbed him to death in the famous Ides of March plot (March 15th, 44 BC).

Caesar's assassination engendered a cascade of events immediately afterwards that, quite contrary to the hopes of his assassins, quickly evaporated the power of the Senate and its Republican ways for good. His life and death and the aftermath are memorialized in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, one of literature's greatest plays.

AR Denarius

RSC 12, RRC 458/1 AR Denarius Obv: Diademed head of Venus right
Rev: CAESAR, Aeneas walking left, carrying Anchises and palladium.

RSC 22, CRI 102 AR Denarius Obv: CAESARIMPM, laureate head right; crescent behind
Rev: LAEMILIVSBVCA, Venus standing left, holding Victory and sceptre.

RSC 24, CRI 104a AR Denarius Obv: CAESARDICTPERPETVO, laureate head right
Rev: LBVCA, Venus seated right, holding Victory in right hand, transverse sceptre in left.

RSC 29, CRI 116 AR Denarius Obv: No legend; Laureate head of Caesar right
Rev: MVSSIDIVSLONGVS; rudder, cornucopiae on globe, winged caduceus and flamen's cap.

RSC 34, CRI 100 AR Denarius Obv: CAESARIMP, laureate head of Caesar right, lituus and simpulum behind
Rev: MMETTIVS, Venus standing left, holding Victory in right hand, sceptre in left, shield resting on globe; G to left.

RSC 49 AR Denarius Obv: Sacrificial implements.
Rev: Exe: CAESAR; Elephant advancing right, trampling on serpent.

S 420, RRC 449/1 AR Denarius Obv: PANSA - Masked of bearded Pan right.
Rev: CVIBIVSCFCN IOVISAXVR - Jupiter Anxurus seated left, holding patera and scepter. Lot sold for $41 2/26/02.

S 1399, RRC 443/1 AR Denarius Obv: No legend - Simpulum, sprinkler, axe and apex.
Rev: CAESAR - Elephant walking right.

S 1402 AR Denarius Obv: Head of Venus.
Rev: CAESAR; Aenas moving left, head facing, holding Palladium and bearing the weight of his father on his shoulder North Africa.

S 1425, RRC 494/24 AR Denarius Obv: No legend - Laureate head of Julius Caesar; caduceus right field, branch left field.
Rev: LLIVINEIVS REGVLVS - Bull bucking right.