This is a coin I never in a million years thought I would be able to find at auction, let alone win for under $1,000! I spotted this in the last Themis auction, poorly highlighted, and won it with only one other bidder competing for it! Publius Quinctilius Varus, as Proconsul of Africa, 8-7 BC AE30 "Dupondius" of Byzacium, Achulla (Modern day northern Tunisia) Obv: AVG PONT MAX, Bare head of Augustus left, flanked by smaller heads of Gaius and Lucius Caesares Rev: P QVINCTILI VARI ACHVLLA, Bare head of Quinctilius Varus right RPC 798 Extremely rare (22 cited in RPC, 6 in ACSearch) For a reference as to how incredibly coveted this coin is: CNG 106/632 (2017) Realized $8500 https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=342351 CNG e416/394 (2018) Realized $6500 https://www.cngcoins.com/Coin.aspx?CoinID=355683 Born in about 46 BC to a distinguished but poor family in Rome, Quinctilius Varus' early life and rise to power are somewhat unclear. His father, Sextus Varus, was on the losing side of Caesar's civil war, may have been one of the senators involved in his assassination, and ultimately took his own life after his defeat at the Battle of Philippi in 42 BC. Little detail survives of Quinctilius Varus, but he seems to have found favor with Augustus, as he received Agrippa's daughter Vipsania Marcella Aggripina's hand in marriage in 13 BC and delivered his stepfather's eulogy the following year. Varus served as governor of Africa from 8-7 BC, and thereafter was granted the governorship of Syria from 6-4 BC. During this time, he achieved notoriety for his harsh treatment of his subjects, particularly in crucifying 2,000 Jews as punishment for riots after the death of Herod the Great. After this, he returned to Rome to live the good life for the next decade. Following the successful campaigns in Germania by Tiberius, Drusus, Ahenobarbus, and Germanicus, Augustus created the new province of Germania and sent Varus to be its governor in 7 AD. The facade of a pacified Germany began to crumble, as a Germanic prince and supposed ally, Arminus, delivered news of a growing rebellion over the Rhine. In September 9 AD, Varus along with the XVII, XVIII and XIX legions crossed over the Rhine to make a show of force and scare the barbarians back into compliance. Expecting no resistance, Varus did not keep his troops ready for battle, and chose the quicker route rather than the more defensible one. While marching his legions in a thin line several miles long through swampy terrain in the Teutoburg Forest, the Romans were ambushed in a surprise attack. Despite capable leadership, the troops were largely inexperienced fighting Germans, and after three days of fighting, the Romans were almost totally annihilated - the vast majority killed, some captured, and only a handful escaped back to Roman territory. In the final stages of the battle, Quinctilius Varus fell on his own sword. The victorious Germans cut off his head and sent it back to Rome with news of his defeat. The three Aquiliae of the lost legions were kept by the Germans along with the other booty from the defeated Romans. The majority of the survivors were enslaved, but the survivng officers were tortured to death or sacrificed to the Germanic gods. This defeat was the greatest catastrophe of the early Empire, and it is said that Augustus utterly lost composure when he received the news, tearing at his hair and clothes and screamed "Quintili Vare, legiones redde!" - "Quinctillus Varus, Give me back my Legions!" This set the stage for Germanicus' famous German campaign a decade later, in which two of the three lost Aquiliae were recovered; the third not being found until the reign of Claudius. All three standards were kept in the temple of Mars Ultor, possibly until the fall of Rome at the hands of the Goths over 400 years later. The legion numbers XVII XVIII and XIX were retired permanently. This coin is one of only three types that feature the portrait of Quinctilius Varus, as only a handful of non-Imperial Romans were given the honor of appearing on coinage during this time. The coins are the only known portraits of Varus, all struck from 8-7 BC during his tenure as the governor of Africa. Achulla also issued for an equally rare Proconsul the following year (Volusius Saturnius, a cousin of emperor Tiberius); they can be distinguished primarily by the placement of the legend on the reverse.