White Whale - Caligula, as Caesar under Tiberius

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Finn235, Jul 3, 2020.

  1. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    After what felt like an eternity, my Roma winnings are finally safe and sound! The highlight for me is one of the white whales for my collection - a coin of Caligula, as caesar under Tiberius, minted at Carthago Nova, Hispania.

    Tiberius and Caligula Caesar AE As Carthago Nova.jpg

    Tiberius, with Caligula as Caesar
    AE "As" 30mm, 15.65g
    35-37 AD
    C CAESAR TI N QVINQ IN V I N I C , Bare head of Caligula left
    TI CAESAR DIVI AVGV F AVGVSTV P M, Laureate head of Tiberius left
    RPC I, 182

    Contrasting the expansive series of coins minted in honor of Tiberius' original heirs Germanicus and Drusus, Carthago Nova was the only city to mint coins for Gaius Julius Caesar--better known to us as Caligula--as the heir of Tiberius. Three denominations were minted - the 29mm "As", a 23mm of unknown value, and an 18mm "Quadrans". All three are quite rare coins - perhaps only 150-200 specimens are known across all denominations, with RPC 182 being the most common - 59 specimens on RPC online, and 36 on ACSearch, with at least some duplicate entries for the same coins sold multiple times.

    After the banishment and death of Nero and Drusus, Caligula's older brothers, the elderly Tiberius was in desperate need to secure a plan of succession. Despite the immensely bad blood, in 35 he adopted Caligula and his own biological grandson Tiberius Gemellus, and brought them both to his estate on Capri, where later authors claim various sorts of abuse. Due to the isolated environment, exactly what happened is a matter of debate, but Tiberius died in 37 and although his will decreed that the empire should be split between his two heirs, Caligula was able to seize absolute control, keeping Gemellus in the subordinate position of Caesar until he was arrested and executed later that year on suspicion of treason.

    Feel free to post anything related!

    Also, I am not able to find an explanation online of the explanation of the titulature of Caligula's side - I got "Gaius Caesar, Tiberius N? Five" and I'm lost after that. Any help appreciated!
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  3. curtislclay

    curtislclay Well-Known Member

    TI N means grandson of Tiberius, QVINQ that Caligula was functioning as duovir quinquennalis, a special local magistrate elected only at five year intervals. The rest is read IN V I N K by Eckhel, that is In Victrice Iulia Nova Karthagine, "in the victorious Julian city of New Carthage".
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  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Nice, well-centered example on a broad flan!
    Finn235 and Spaniard like this.
  5. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @Finn235 .....Great looking coin Steve!...Difficult to obtain a big chunk of Spanish bronze with such detail and as RC said really well-centred too...
    Although not everyones cup of tea, I actually find the style of the Spanish mints really appealing! They always remind me of the characterized portrait styles that came out of Antioch.... .Nice pick up...Paul
    Orfew and Finn235 like this.
  6. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Thanks all!

    @curtislclay - Thanks for the help with the legend - I see now that I was counting the C for Caius twice, and I guess that's a K at the end rather than an I. I understand it for the most part, but I wasn't aware that Caligula ever went to Spain - or was that just an honorary title?

    @Spaniard - I also am quite fond of these Iberian coins, although some of them are a bit pricey for my current collecting focus. It's interesting to note however that Carthago Nova is the only city to feature Caligula as Caesar, Nero and Drusus before they died, and is one of only a couple cities to feature Caesonia, Caligula's wife.
    Orfew likes this.
  7. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..definately a WOW! coin :)
    Finn235 likes this.
  8. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Great one @Finn235! Its a great feeling to haul in that whale!
    Finn235 and Orfew like this.
  9. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Simply superb!
    Finn235 likes this.
  10. curtislclay

    curtislclay Well-Known Member


    Yes, emperors could assume honorary magistracies in Greek or Latin cities.

    Life of Hadrian: Hadrian assumed various honorary magistracies in Greek cities, and in Latin towns he functioned as dictator, aedile, or duumvir, and was quinquennalis in his home town (Italica, Spain).

    Presumably emperors who accepted such honorary offices would appoint deputies to govern for them; we know from Appian that that was the case when Mark Antony assumed a high office at Tarsus.
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