SILVER COIN – TETRADRACHM, CAESAR AUGUSTUS, ANCIENT ROME c. 27 BC - 14 AD
Obverse: Laureate head of Caesar Augustus, right. Reverse: Tyche seated right, on rock; River God Orontes swimming right. Mint: Antioch (struck 2/1 BC). Prieur 50.
Augustus (63 BC –14 AD) was the founder of the Roman Empire and its first Emperor, ruling from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.
He was born Gaius Octavius into the old Octavii family, and was known as Octavian. Following the assassination of his maternal great-uncle Julius Caesar in 44 BC, Caesar's will named Octavian as his adopted son and heir. Together with Mark Antony and Marcus Lepidus, he formed the Second Triumvirate to defeat the assassins of Caesar. After victory at Philippi, the Triumvirate divided the Roman Republic among themselves and ruled as military dictators. The Triumvirate was eventually torn apart under the competing ambitions of its members: Lepidus was driven into exile and stripped of his position, and Antony committed suicide after his defeats by Augustus at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC and Alexandria in 30 BC.
After ending the Second Triumvirate, Augustus restored the outward facade of the free Republic, with governmental power vested in the Roman Senate, the executive magistrates, and the legislative assemblies. In reality, however, he retained his autocratic power over the Republic as a military dictator.
In 27 BC the Roman Senate voted new titles for Octavian and he officially became Imperator Caesar Divi Filius Augustus. After that event historians generally refer to him as Augustus or Caesar Augustus, and consider 27 BC as the beginning of the Roman Empire. Augustus initiated an era of relative peace known as the Pax Romana. Augustus' reign laid the foundations of a regime that lasted, in one form or another, for nearly fifteen hundred years through the ultimate decline of the Western Roman Empire and until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453. Both his adoptive surname, Caesar, and his title Augustus became the permanent titles of the rulers of the Roman Empire for fourteen centuries after his death.
Provenance: ex Syracuse estate collection. Pendant hand-crafted in 14k gold by Aber & Levine, jewelers of Kedumim, Israel. Diameter without loop 34 mm, total weight 26.8 gm.