Did Caesar Difficulty a Coin When He Crossed the Rubicon?


QUESTION: I discovered it fascinating that you just had been capable of calculate the funding of the warfare that Cleopatra offered Mark Antony. Have you ever executed comparable work to have a look at the funding of Julius Caesar to cross the Rubicon?


ANSWER: Sure. The Battle of Actium was a proxy warfare instigated by Cleopatra to attempt to seize management of Rome following the assassination of Julius Caesar. The most effective estimate I might make was that Mark Antony struck not less than 25 million legionary denarii as much as 35 million. Likewise, the coinage of Julius Caesar supplies us with proof of the price of revolution as effectively, which isn’t recorded amongst modern historians. They had been extra within the causes and biases of the time, not within the economics of the occasions.

Julius Caesar struck his Rubicon Coinage with the picture of an elephant crushing a dragon-snake which represented the corrupt Senate. Some tried to assert that the snake represented Pompey the Nice. Caesar had married Pompey to his daughter. He was drastically upset when the Egyptians beheaded Pompey and gave him his head as a present. It’s unlikely that the snake was ever a private illustration of Pompey. It was, in my thoughts, the Senate the place the instigator of the civil warfare was none aside from the vile and corrupt Cato. It was Cato who was the chief of the Opimates who managed the Senate and tried to strip Caesar of all energy which successfully pressured him to cross the Rubicon.

It’s almost definitely that this coinage commenced in Gaul, as a part of Caesar’s preparations for invasion, with a view to pay his troops. The variety of dies means that this problem was additionally large exceeding 25 million denarii. It most actually was expanded when he acquired the reserves of the Roman Treasury that had been left behind by the panic-stricken Senators, Optimates, once they fled Rome as a result of the individuals by no means supported the likes of Cato or Cicero for that matter.

Elephant strolling proper, trampling on dragon-snake the top of which rears up earlier than him, CAESAR in exergue. On the reverse, we see the emblems of the hold forth — simpulum, aspergillum, axe, and apex.

The coinage opens an financial window that permits us to grasp the true motives and prices behind the occasions in historical past. This Rubicon Coinage reveals one thing much more politically important than what the modern writers revealed. Caesar really took private accountability for the manufacturing of this coinage which was clearly unconstitutional on the time. Sometimes, there was a treasurer often known as a moneyer who issued the cash. There isn’t a moneyer on this coinage so Caesar is taking PERSONAL accountability absent the possession of a qualifying magistracy appointed by the Senate.

For this reason I name this the Rubicon Coinage for Caesar was declaring warfare on the Senate of Rome on this time of nationwide disaster. The very creation of this coinage with no moneyer sanction by the Senate was a declaration of civil warfare. The symbolism of the obverse can hardly be something aside from the triumph of fine over evil, whereas the reverse suggests Caesar’s possession of the workplace of Pontifex Maximus (excessive priest) additionally ending the corruption of bribing the excessive clergymen to increase the calendar to keep away from elections. Therefore, immediately we have now the Julian calendar.

This problem of the Rubicon Coinage clearly funded the crossing of the Rubicon, which is why I name it that. How lengthy this vital kind remained in problem after Cato and his corrupt Senators fled and the warfare with Pompey started is difficult to say. It was almost definitely struck proper as much as the time of the ultimate marketing campaign resulting in the Battle of Pharsalus, which passed off  August ninth, 48 BC, with the defeat of Pompey. It was on January 10th, 49 BC when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon.

It took simply 19 months to convey down the Republic or 82.three weeks from Caesar crossing the Rubicon to the defeat of Pompey on the Battle of  Pharsalus within the Greek area of Thessaly. Thereafter, Caesar then consolidated his energy. He was elected as consul (usually a one-year time period) in 48, 46, 45, and 44 BC. Due to the political disaster and the corruption of the Senate, which didn’t wish to yield any energy to the individuals, the brand new Senate thus waived the normal requirement {that a} consul needed to wait 10 years between phrases.

Caesar was additionally granted the title and workplace of  Dictator which was a political place in instances of disaster in the course of the years 49, 48-47, and 46-44 BC. Historically, the workplace of the Dictator was confined to simply six months and he could be granted particular powers to at least one man for a restricted interval to flee the paperwork to get issues executed. This was the means to cope with an emergency that threatened the state.

To satisfy the Republic’s pressing want for money, Caesar resumed coinage of gold, which had not been struck by Rome because the dictatorship of Sulla (82-81 BCE) – a interval of 34 yr+. Most of Caesar’s aurei (about eight grams) are crude in design and workmanship being struck about 46 BC. The moneyer was Aulus Hirtius was a key supporter of Caesar. He served as considered one of Caesar’s legates in Gaul from about 54 BC and was an envoy to Pompey in 50 BC. Hirtius served Caesar loyally in the course of the Civil Warfare towards Pompey and his successors in 48-45 BC.

Hirtius was appointed as Caesar’s mintmaster in Rome in 46 BC, and it was at the moment as a moneyer when he struck the primary really giant problem of gold aurei from the spoils of Caesar’s campaigns. These aurei, as talked about, had been poorly designed and executed with a veiled feminine head on the obverse, usually showing as a male, with priestly implements on the reverse symbolizing Pontifex Maximus place of Caesar. They had been used to pay Caesar’s troopers after the good triumphal parade.

Following Caesar’s assassination, Hirtius initially supported Marc Antony, however, after taking up as Consul in 43 BC, he raised a military towards Antony on the instigation of Cicero and Octavian. His military defeated Antony on the Battle of Mutina in April of 43 BC, however Hirtius was killed within the combating. He, due to this fact, vacated that political stage leaving Octavian and Antony masters of Rome. Hirtius was a loyal supporter of Caesar for he preserved and edited Caesar’s Commentaries on the Gallic and Civil Wars.

It was in the course of the latter a part of 45BC when a unique collection of Aureii was produced for Caesar’s Spanish triumph in October of that yr. Certainly, the obverse kind of the winged goddess Victory clearly refers to Caesar’s victory at Munda towards Roman adversaries. Caesar was a Populares, a person of the individuals, who was not shy to precise his growing disdain for the factions of the aristocracy – the Optimates led by Cato.

Caesar even celebrated a triumph within the capital, an unprecedented commemoration of victory over different Romans illustrating he regarded the Optimates because the enemy of the individuals. The presence throughout the problem of a gold half-aureus, or quinarius, makes it virtually sure that this sort was minted specifically for the Spanish triumph because the denomination was usually related to the distribution of largess at public celebrations.

Lucius Munatius Plancus, whose identify seems on the reverse of this coin, was one of many City Prefects appointed by Caesar in 46 BC to manage the capital whereas he was on marketing campaign. After this outstanding problem of aurei was minted underneath his identify, he rose to the place of governor of Transalpine Gaul in 44 BC the place he based the colony of Lugdunum, and later was appointed consul in 42 BC.

Though he supported Marc Antony within the tumult which adopted Caesar’s assassination, he ultimately grew to become an adviser to Octavian and in accordance with Suetonius he dissuaded the Octavian from assuming the identify of Romulus as a ‘second founding father of Rome’ (Suet. Aug. 7) and as a substitute on January 16th, 27 BC, it was Plancus who formally proposed that the title ‘Augustus‘, that means ‘”majestic”, “nice”, “venerable”‘, first amongst males, be granted to Octavian.


It was not till Caesar acquired the unprecedented title of “Dictator in Perpetuity” (DICT PERPETUO on the coinage) early in 44 BC, conservative Romans had been horrified. To them, this was akin to a monarchy. Here’s a coin struck earlier than his assassination with the title DICT PERPETUO issued by the moneyer Macer.

They assassinated Caesar on the Ides of March – the 15th. Due to this fact, cash with the portrait of Caesar with the legend “DICT PERPETUO”  needed to have been struck for only some weeks. He was granted that title between January 26th, 44 BC, and February 15th, 44 BC. It was on February 15th when Rome celebrated the pageant of the Lupercal, which we name immediately Valentines’s Day.  That was when Mark Antony twice presents Caesar with a royal diadem, urging him to take it and declare himself king. He refuses this supply and orders the crown to be positioned within the Temple of Jupiter. It was almost definitely at the moment when Caesar took the title “DICT PERPETUO” as the choice. Curiously, it was 30/31 days later when he was assassinated – Pi?

The conspirators who once more fled Rome additionally started to problem cash pretending they’re defending the Republic, championed by the pretend information of Cicero,. That is even when Brutus points silver and gold coinage bragging that he killed Caesar on the EID MAR – 15th of March.

When Caesar was assassinated, that’s after we see the coinage change. Mark Antony begins to problem denarii along with his image on one aspect and Caesar’s on the opposite.

We additionally see Octavian issuing even gold aurei along with his picture on one aspect and Caesar on the opposite. They even issued cash asserting their Triumvirate towards the corrupt Polulares. We even see Augustus, after he defeats Cleopatra and Mark Antony, issuing coinage displaying the comet within the sky that folks took because the omen that Caesar was now a god.

The coinage paperwork occasions written by modern writers on the time. This was the idea of Shakespeare’s play – Julius Caesar. The coinage has each confirmed historical past but additionally opened the door to determine solutions to vital financial developments.

Solely with the coinage was it attainable to reply the query of how briskly did Rome actually fall. By imputing this knowledge, it grew to become attainable for the pc to even accurately forecast the autumn of communism and the Berlin Wall in 1989. It’s fascinating the way it takes a finite period of time to convey down a nation-state. When it begins to fall, it does so in a Waterfall kind occasion. Rome fell in simply 8.6 years.






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