Tiberius Gold Aureus
Tiberius Gold Aureus, Twelve Caesars, 7.78g, rev. Augustus with Star.
Extremely Rare Type – Commemorating the Transition of Power
OBV: TI CAESAR DIVI – AVG F AVGVSTVS, head with laurel wreath
Rev: DIVOS AVGVST – DIVI F, head of the deified Augustus with laurel wreath and a star with six rays.
An outstanding collection specimen and extremely rare, especially in such a high state of preservation. The master carver made the portraits of Augustus and Tiberius unique, but at the same time gave the rulers a clear resemblance to each other. This was likely done deliberately to show the kinship and continuity of the two emperors.
This aureus testifies to the definitive adoption and the ensuing appointment of Tiberius as Augustus heir. It is worth mentioning how the minting of this extremely rare issue occurred so shortly before the death of the emperor, about whose demise various inferences have been made.
It is known that Augustus retired to Nola and, suspicious of his entourage, would eat only figs from his gardens. All the same, this cautious diet did not save him from a possible death by poisoning. Some have suggested the involvement of Livia, a powerful and controversial personality who may have been the shadowy orchestrator behind at least some of the inexplicable deaths of many heirs previously appointed by Augustus.
The first to succumb to a sudden and questionable disease, in 23 BC, was his nephew Marcellus, son of the emperor's sister Octavia and most loved potential heir. Next in line for succession was now Agrippa, but he also was not to outlive the Emperor, for an untimely albeit natural death took him in 12 BC. Then it was the turn of Agrippa's sons Lucius Caesar, who died of a suspicious illness in Gaul in 2 AD, his brother Gaius having died two years previously of a too fatal wound while at war in the East. Agrippa Postumus, younger brother of Gaius and Lucius, thus became the last male descendant of the Emperor who, if the truth be told, despised him for his intractability and madness, to the point of promoting a "senatus consultum" to have him transferred to an island, in perpetual isolation and surrounded by a body of soldiers
After Augustus' death the position of Agrippa, next of blood, as legitimate heir – madness notwithstanding – could not be challenged and so he was immediately disposed of by one of his guardians and with that Tiberius’ path to the throne was finally clear.
An exceptionally important coin for the legacy of the early Roman Empire and representing the first new leader in 40 years, this coin is vital to the legacy of the Roman Empire.
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