Roman Republic, Denarius


Roman Republic, Denarius (obverse) Roman Republic, Denarius (reverse)

The issuers of this Roman denarius from around 42 BC were Gaius Cassius Longinus and Publius Cornelius Lentulus Spinther. Both were part of the conspiracy against Julius Caesar in 44 BC, during which he was murdered. Caesar was suspected to strife for a one-man rule in Rome.

After the assassination the murderers had to flee Rome. Longinus and Spinther went to Syria, where they recruited an army. To pay the mercenaries they issued denarii that bore on the obverse the head of Libertas, the personification of liberty.

The reverse shows a pitcher and a staff, both augural symbols. Augurs were priests who studied the flight and the eating behavior of birds, to interpret whether an undertaking suited the gods or not. In this case, their prediction might not have been good: In 42 BC, Longinus was defeated in the Battle of Philippi. He committed suicide, and Spinther supposedly lost his life shortly thereafter.


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