The Battle for Caesar's Story

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by kirispupis, Mar 18, 2021.

  1. kirispupis

    kirispupis Well-Known Member

    Thought I'd post this story about one of my first coins. It would be great to hear some of your adventures in obtaining your own! (note: I originally wrote this for a non-numismatic audience, so I hope you don't mind the basic stuff)


    Today, I'm going to relate a history lesson and a story. Pictured here is an actual coin of Julius Caesar. He minted it from silver he stole from Rome and forged in a military mint. This coin had a purpose. It, along with its brethren, paid for the eight legions Caesar took across the Rubikon.

    "The die is cast," said Caesar before ordering the crossing. Such a move would have only two endings: his success and complete domination of Rome, or his death. This coin crossed the Rubikon with them, an action that led to the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.

    I wanted this coin so badly. The owner of this coin became part of one of the greatest stories in history. Indeed, it was the story I wanted, and I paid little heed to my wife's suggestion that a book would tell it just as well as a coin. Yet with any conquest, there must be a struggle. Julius Caesar did not take the Empire with ease. Neither would this coin lend me its allegiance without sacrifice.

    I began to muster my forces, or money, in preparation for the assault at auction. Upon examining my ranks, though, I found them thin and incapable of prevailing at battle. There was only one choice: I needed an alliance. Such an opportunity presented itself in my mint sets and commemorative coins. They were shiny, but common and lacking stories. Among them was the only piece of gold I owned, a Jamestown anniversary coin I'd bought some years ago. The strategy was clear. If I wanted into Caesar's realm, I would have to sell.

    With enough troops in hand, I set my sights on a battle and dug in. The day before, with my high bid dangling, I was not feeling confident. After all, despite the amount of troops at my side, they were still paltry for the task. This particular coin was in excellent condition. It would not go low, but I'd put in everything I could. And then a thought occurred to me: there was no way Julius Caesar was going to let his most prized victory fall into the hands of fat, lazy, me.

    Yes, though I'd run marathons in the past, the pandemic wasn't kind to me. Instead of packing on miles, I gouged on ice cream sandwiches. I walked very little, and had begun to snore. I didn't deserve the coin. So, in a last act of desperation, I dug out my running gear and trudged forward. The rain pelted me, but I kept going. I went for five miles, not even a warm-up in my old days but enough now to keep me panting. What moved me forward was the image of Caesar handing me this coin at the end. Only then would I deserve it.

    The next morning, the field was mine. The enemy retreated before my forces were fully deployed, and I anxiously waited for Julius Caesar to clear customs, then nearly cried upon opening the box.
    Puckles, svessien, Jay GT4 and 18 others like this.
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  3. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter


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    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
    Johndakerftw and Bing like this.
  4. Mammothtooth

    Mammothtooth Stand up Philosopher, Vodka Taster

    I think the story is great. Who really knows what transpired.
  5. kirispupis

    kirispupis Well-Known Member

    Well, I did read a few along with numerous papers on this coin before I purchased it, as I do with many of the coins I purchase.

    It is well-know that Caesar plundered a large amount of silver from the treasury before he was stopped. Here's one reference. While it's not known for sure that Caesar used this exact silver for this coin, it seems likely.

    Here's a paper about this specific coin.

    Did this actual coin cross the Rubikon? Who knows, but it was minted for the legions who did.
    PlanoSteve and Mammothtooth like this.
  6. Mammothtooth

    Mammothtooth Stand up Philosopher, Vodka Taster

    Bravo, sometimes we must interject a plausible truth. Only living in the moment can reveal the truth, and that truth is disputed by others who lived the moment with a different perspective.
  7. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    My first ancient coin was a really nice Farnese Hercules antoninianus of Gordian III; I ended up giving it away on a Secret Saturn.

    My first ancient coin that I still have is, fittingly, the first Roman Emperor, Augustus.
    Augustus RIC 379 (2020_11_18 03_38_31 UTC).JPG
  8. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
    Evan Saltis likes this.
  9. kirispupis

    kirispupis Well-Known Member

    Wow, and I thought this was a friendly place.

    Nousek, Debra L. "TURNING POINTS IN ROMAN HISTORY: THE CASE OF CAESAR'S ELEPHANT DENARIUS." Phoenix 62, no. 3/4 (2008): 290-307. Accessed March 19, 2021.

    Go to page 293. Last paragraph. She cites a number of ancient and modern sources concerning Caesar's theft, including one source who "explicitly links the seizing of the treasury and the minting of the elephant denarius."

    The article itself discusses this coin's importance and meaning in Caesar's campaign.

    I'm not sure which incorrect facts you're referring to, and you are being most uncivil in your replies. This coin was minted for Caesar's turn against Rome and it was minted with silver he took from the treasury. Whether this coin actually crossed the Rubikon I've already stated is a possibility but is neither provable nor certain.

    What is entirely true is my efforts to obtain it and my joy at receiving it. My desire with this post was to share that joy with everyone here, and encourage others to share their own stories.

    This thread is meant to be a happy one where we discuss the coins we love.
    PlanoSteve and hotwheelsearl like this.
  10. kirispupis

    kirispupis Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure what's with the hostility. If there's a part of my story that you feel is incorrect, I certainly would appreciate a polite correction. Admittedly, I did simplify many details out of Caesar's move on Rome, since I wanted to emphasize more my relationship with the coin.

    If you think the coin may be fake, I'd also appreciate that info. I purchased it from Roma Numismatics, who I understand to have a strong reputation. I'm not looking for fleur de coin - just something that's decently centered and legible - and this checked all the boxes. Others certainly have nicer looking copies, but I'm very proud of mine and have no plans to ever upgrade it.
    PlanoSteve, DonnaML and hotwheelsearl like this.
  11. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I for one appreciate your post!
    PlanoSteve and DonnaML like this.
  12. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Don't worry. Most people here really are friendly. I promise! Welcome. I enjoyed your post.
    David Atherton and hotwheelsearl like this.
  13. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

  14. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    Nice coin, and welcome to the dark side!

    Just ignore @Clavdivs. Caesar would have ignored him ;)
  15. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Welcome! Thanks for the story, these coins do demand a strong premium these days. Despite the pitting, it's a really nice coin with all design elements and lettering clearly visible/legible. And Roma Numistmatics is realiable, although some other members question that. I've bought several coins from them.
  16. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    A lot of assumptions being made in this thread - very few with any basis in fact. But continue encouraging arrogant assumptions... no danger in that, right? D agrees - she probably owns this thread too
  17. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    Well, you said things like ‘read a book’ - but you’ve now deleted those posts.

    OP Posts his first ancient coin and writes a lengthy post. Whether correct or not, I for one would encourage his enthusiasm.
    Cinco71, Orfew, Kentucky and 3 others like this.
  18. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    Read your "story" again and tell me where and when Caesar "stole the silver"? I wait in the edge of my seat to be educated...
  19. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Supporter! Supporter

    that is fine... I was a bit harsh to be sure. However we should point out historic inaccuracy ..not let it take on a life of its own. This is also the worst kind of inaccuracy - it has intent. Make a story more entertaining by changing facts .. making the story fit the coin... Instead of the other way around ..
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
  20. kirispupis

    kirispupis Well-Known Member

    I've already posted the exact paragraph above. The footnote also mentions numerous sources that discuss this. Sure, Caesar had the keys to the treasury already due to his post, so one could technically say he didn't steal it, but that money was intended for emergencies - not to pay for his army. Metellus certainly felt that way and tried to prevent it.

    If you go back and read your statements, particularly the ones I quoted, you'll find that yours are the only negative posts here. Your bio states that you're a new collector and appreciate anyone sharing their knowledge. Well, I'm an even newer collector and I'm sharing my passion for this hobby.

    Therefore, I certainly appreciate polite corrections, but if all you offer is negativity and you are truly a friendly person, I would appreciate it far more if you keep those thoughts to yourself.
    Roerbakmix likes this.
  21. kirispupis

    kirispupis Well-Known Member

    Thank you Donna for your friendly welcome! Since you're one of the most senior posters here, it means a lot.

    I should also mention that I'm always learning. If there are inaccuracies in my post above (keeping in mind I wrote it for a much different audience), I would appreciate friendly notes about what I got wrong, since this is a story I tell often to house guests and I'd prefer not to continuously mistake facts.
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