A Denarius of Mark Antony & Lepidus

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Sulla80, May 26, 2019.

  1. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    This coin was issued near the end of the Roman republic and is an artifact of Mark Antony's alliance with Lepidus in the days before they met with Octavian to agree to rule Rome as a triumvirate. I was surprised to find one for sale and purchased it earlier this year. Although it is not the most beautiful of coins, it will certainly be in my favorites for the year.

    Antony Lepidus 43BC.jpg

    Ides of March
    The assassination of Julius Caesar took place on the Ides of March, 44 BC. Afterwards, there was conflict between Octavian (adopted son and relative of Julius Caesar) and Mark Antony (consul in 44 BC with Julius Caesar and his friend).

    Cicero fanned the flames - rallying the senate against Mark Antony. In February of 43 the senate declared Antony an enemy of the state. After clashing with the armies of Octavian and Hirtius in battle 8 miles outside of Mutina in 21-April-43, Mark Antony retreated north.

    The coin below was minted in Cisalpine Gaul - the land north and south of the Po River on the Italian side of the Alps. On 30-May-43 Antony and Lepidus declared that they had joined forces and both names are on the coin - the declaration defines the earliest date for this coin. In Rome, Octavian sized power with the backing of the military. Despite their differences, Appian reports in his account of the civil wars that Octavian was to reconcile with Anthony:

    "Octavian formed his plans for a reconciliation with Antony, for he had learned that Brutus and Cassius had already collected twenty legions of soldiers, and he needed Antony's help against them."

    2nd Triumvirate
    Octavian then headed North and met up with Lepidus and Mark Antony near modern day Bologna. Appian writes:

    Octavian and Antony composed their differences on a small, depressed islet in the river Lavinius, near the city of Mutina. Each had five legions of soldiers whom they stationed opposite each other, after which each proceeded with 300 men to the bridges over the river. Lepidus by himself went before them, searched the island, and waved his military cloak as a signal to them to come. Then each left his three hundred in charge of friends on the bridges and advanced to the middle of the island in plain sight, and there the three sat together in council, Octavian in the centre because he was consul.

    The three agreed to a plan to rule Rome together - united in their disregard for the senate and their conflict with the assassins of Julius Caesar.

    This coin was minted just ahead of the formation of the "second triumvirate" of Octavian, Mark Antony and Lepidus. The second triumvirate began violently as the three raised money for their war with the assassins of Julius Caesar, Brutus and Cassius and eliminated political enemies through state authorized murders (proscriptions) of hundreds or by some estimates thousands of senators and equestrians. Cicero was one of the first killed.

    Mark Antony and M Aemelius Lepidus, 43 BC, AR Denarius

    Although several members have posted a quinarius of M. Aemilius Lepidus and Mark Antony from the same series, my search didn't find any posts of the denarius.

    The symbols on this coin emphasize legitimacy and authority of both men:
    Obv: a lituus (wand), praefericulum (vase), and raven are symbols connected to Mark Antony's role as Augur
    Rev: the simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), securis (axe), apex (hat), are connected to Lepidus' role as Pontifex Maximus.

    Mint: Military mint traveling with Antony and Lepidus in Cisalpine Gaul
    Date: Crawford dates this issue between 30-May-43 and early 42
    Obv: M ANTON [IMP], lituus, capis, and raven
    Rev: M LEPID IMP, simpulum, aspergillum, securis, apex
    Size: 3.71g, 18mm
    Ref: Crawford 489/2; Sydenham 1156; RSC 2

    Additions and correction to any of the above are always welcome. Post your coins of M. Aemelius Lepidus, Mark Antony, or anything you find relevant, interesting, or entertaining.
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Great little piece of history, there! No wonder it's on your top 10 list this year!

    Here's my coin of Antony:

    Antony and Octavia.
    AR cistophorus, 25.6 mm, 11.71 gm.
    Ephesus, 39 BCE.
    Obv: M ANTONINVS IMP COS DESIG ITER ET TERT, Jugate heads of Marcus Antonius and Octavia to right; he wears ivy wreath.
    Rev: III VIR RPC, Cista mystica surmounted by figure of Bacchus, standing to left, holding cantharus and leaning on thyrsus; on either side, coiled serpent.
    Refs: SNG Cop. 408; SNG von Aulock 6555; Franke KZR 472; RSC 3; Sydenham 1198; RPC 2202; Sear 1513; BMCRR East 135-137.
  4. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Nice coins @Sulla80 and @Roman Collector and great history.
    Marcus Antonius  2.jpg
    Ionia Silver Cistophoric Tetradrachm
    OBVERSE: M ANTONIVS IMP COS DESIG ITER ET TERT, head of Antony right, wreathed in ivy, lituus below, all within wreath of ivy and grapes
    REVERSE: III VIR R P C, bust of Octavia right on cista flanked by snakes
    Ephesus 39 BC
    11.8gm, 26mm
    RPC I 2201, Sydenham 1197, Sear 262
  5. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Nice one. Here's the quinarius

    lituus, jug and raven

    Victory standing right, crowning trophy with a wreath

    Military mint with Antony and Lepidus in Transalpine Gaul
    43 BC

    AR quinarius
    1.82g, 17 mm

    Syd 1160, Cr 489/4


    Ex-Roma Numismatics

    This quinarius provides clear evidence of the superiority enjoyed by Antony in his "partnership" with Lepidus. The previous issue named Lepidus who was the Governor of Narbonensis. On this issue he is completely ignored and his name is dropped from the reverse.
  6. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Great job @Sulla80 ! And nice write up too.

    I have the Quinarius version of Antony and Lepidus.

    Lepidus-Marc Antony 43 BCE
    AR Quinarius 13.9m 1.82g
    Military mint TransAlpine Gaul
    pontificate Raven
    Cr 489-3 Syd 1158a RSC 3
  7. Sallent

    Sallent Live long and prosper Supporter

    Great coins everyone. Here are my Marc Antony coins....

    89497q00 (2).jpg
    Antony and Octavian

    82693q00 (1).jpg
    Legionary denarius
  8. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    Here's a very battered and worn portrait denarius of Lepidus and Octavian.
    Minted in 42BC in a military mint travelling with Lepidus in Italy. LEPIDVS PONT MAX [III V] R P C, bare head of Lepidus right / CAESAR IMP III [VIR R P] C, bare head of Octavian right. Cr. 495/2c, HCRI 140, Sydenham 1323, RSC 2. Ex. duplicate RBW Collection, from a Triskeles auction in 2013. 3.36g, 17mm, 6h.


  9. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Here is another Marc Antony / Octavian denarius from the Ephesus Mint, circa 41 BC, 4.03 gm, 21 mm. Sear #1504. This one is a choice VF with nice toning.

    Mark Antony.jpg Octavian.jpg
  10. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    This is an extremely rare coin type. I'm surprised too! The quinarius is relatively common, as is the portrait-type denarius of Lepidus. But the denarius, which your coin certainly is from its weight (the denarius and quinarius are easily confused) is very very rare. I'm surprised to see it; had I noticed it at auction I would have tried to buy it.
  11. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    Funnily, the example I have was yours at one stage, Andrew!


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  12. philologus_1

    philologus_1 Well-Known Member

    Here is my rather crude portrayal of Antony (with his infamous lover).
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  13. Michael Stolt

    Michael Stolt Well-Known Member

    Here's an excellent little Quinarius from my collection minted by Antony in Lugdunum, the obverse bust is supposed to have the likeness of his wife Fulvia :)


    Mark Antony. Early 42 BC. AR Quinarius (13mm, 1.88 g). Lugdunum (Lyon) mint.

    Obverse: Winged bust of Victory right, with the likeness of Fulvia; III·VIR downwards in left field; R·P·C upwards in right field.

    Reverse: Lion walking right; ANTONI above; A - XLI ( = 41, Antony’s age at time of issue) across field; IMP in exergue.

    Reference: Crawford 489/6
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
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  14. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Thanks all for the many impressive and interesting coins and comments.
    to add to the connection - I and not 100% certain, but I think my OP coin and the one from @akeady ex @Andrew McCabe have matching obverse die.

    Edit: a bit more confident after overlaying images of the two coins.
    mccabe matchx.gif
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
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  15. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Amazing piece of history and great write up on one of my favorite times in Roman history... The beginning of the imperial period!
    A coin of Lepidus, any type, is certainly high on my must have list.
    Always thought it inexplicable that Octavian waited for Lepidus to die, despite his dishonor, before taking the title of Pontifex Maximus. Though much of what Oct/Aug did early on was intentionally veiled in mystery.
    Here's my MA Octavian quin. Surely the sorriest coin in the thread, but one that hasn't been posted here (though I'd bet most of you have one).
    Marc Antony & Octavian
    AR Quinarius. Military mint moving with Octavian, 39 BC. Head of Concordia right, wearing diadem and veil, III VIR R P C around / Two hands clasped around caduceus, M ANTON C CAESAR around. Crawford 529/4b
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  16. Andrew McCabe

    Andrew McCabe Well-Known Member

    Yes indeed that was my coin, and it's execrable condition shows how rare it is! I replaced it with Leo Benz' example which is still a dreadful coin (reverse corrosion). Sulla80's example is lovely in comparison with both ours. Not sure if I told you but I recall buying your coin from Steve McBride at Incitatus. Twice (long story which we can exchange next January).
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  17. cmezner

    cmezner Well-Known Member

    This denarius maybe similar to the one shown by @akeady not sure. I attributed it as Crawford 495/2a.
    This issue was minted by Lepidus to commemorate the foundation of the Second Triumvirate composed of himself, Octavian and Anthony; it was financed through the proceeds from the extensive (bloody) proscriptions of perceived enemies (political opponents) during the preparations for the campaign against Brutus and Cassius in 43 - 42 BC. On this coinage he highlights his honor of Pontifex Maximus.
    A 20 year old Octavian looks very youthful.

    16 x 17 mm, 3.87 g;
    Military mint traveling with Lepidus in Italy, 43 BC;
    Ref.: Crawford 495/2a; CRI 140; Sydenham 1323; RSC 2; Babelon, Aemila 35; BMC/RR(Africa).30;
    Ob.: LEPIDVS•PONT•MAX•III•V•R•P•C• Bare head of Lepidus right; NT and MA ligated
    Rev.: CAESAR•IMP•III• / VIR•R•P•C• Bare head of Octavian right
    upload_2019-5-27_16-25-2.png upload_2019-5-27_16-25-15.png
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  18. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Here's one I've shown before from Lepidus


    Laureate head of Roma (?) right

    Below equestrian statue of M. Aemelius Lepidus (consul 187 and 175 BC) right, carrying trophy

    Rome, 61 BC



    Sear 371, RPC 419/1, CRR 827-828b

    Freed from a NGC Holder, graded strike 4/5; surface 4/5.

    Marcus Lepidus strikes this coin early in his career as moneyer. After Julius Caesar's assassination he became Pontifex Maximus and formed the Second Triumvirate with Antony and Octavian. He would keep his post as Pontifex Maximus until his death. The office then became the sole procession of the Emperors.
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  19. cmezner

    cmezner Well-Known Member

    also a Marc Antony & Octavia:
    Ephesus, Summer-Autumn 39 BC
    28 x 28.5 mm, 11.24 g
    Ref.: RPC 2201; CRI 262; Sydenham 1197; RSC 2
    Ob.: M • ANTONIVS • IMP • COS • DESIG • ITER ET TERT head of Antony right, wearing ivy wreath; lituus below; all within wreath of ivy and flowers
    Rev.: III • VIR • R • P • C • draped bust of Octavia right above cista mystica, flanked by interlaced serpents with heads erect
    upload_2019-5-27_16-36-25.png upload_2019-5-27_16-36-35.png
  20. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    I didn't know where tou got jt, so I'll be all ears in January! It's not as nice as Sulla80's for sure, but I'm not looking to upgrade (looks like it would take a lot of looking and maybe a lot of money).

  21. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    Good work!
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