OCTAVIAN AR silver denarius. Temple of Divus Julius Caesar, statue within, comet above

Ancient Coins - OCTAVIAN AR silver denarius. Temple of Divus Julius Caesar, statue within, comet above
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OCTAVIAN AR silver denarius. Struck in Italy, circa 36 BC. IMP CAESAR DIVI F III VIR ITER R P C, bare head right, with slight beard. Reverse - COS ITER ET TER DESIG, Julius Caesar standing in temple of four columns, frontal inscribed DIVO IVL, altar at left. Star (representing Caesar's Comet) above. RSC90, RCV 1545, very scarce. 20mm, 3.9g. 

This denarius clearly reflects Octavian's manipulation of the symbolism in his coinage to convey a particular political message. The obverse shows him with a beard, the typical attitude of mourning, worn in this instance for the death of Caesar, his assassinated patron. The reverse depicts the as-yet-to-be-built Temple of Divus Julius, located at the southern entrance of the Roman Forum, which would be dedicated on 18 August 29 BC. Although construction of a temple on the site of Caesar's cremation did not begin until after Actium, Octavian still depicted it on this earlier coins to emphasize his connection to the now "divine" Caesar, as well as his more traditional fulfilment of pietas.

I have a theory on this coin and others from the same time period. So called 'Heavy Augustans' (IE 3.9-4.1grams) are generally a product of restriking previously circulating Republic types - especially in the chaotic end of the Imperatorial era when Augustus was attempting to assert control. Some times these 'heavy' Augustan and Julius Caesar coins show unusual phenomena, such as dozens of edge cracks or understruck areas in the center. Since these phenomena show up almost exclusively on coinage from this era, it is clear to me that these are phenomena left over from the coin's previous incarnation. Heavy Augustan/Caesar coins with ragged edges and several edge cuts are typically overstruck serrati - while coins such as this with a slight hollow space on the reverse are re-struck 'adjusted al-marco denarii'. 'Al marco' weight adjustments typically affect the center of the reverse field, where gouges were deliberately applied to bring the weight down on overweight coins after striking. 

See the example below for another 'overweight Augustan' of this same series showing the same phenomenon on the reverse:

Price SKU: octavian124
US$ 345.00
  • € 305.57
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Rates for: 07/08/20

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