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Military Mint, Ca. 49-48 BC

Julius Caesar Ar. denarius. CAESAR in exergue, elephant right, trampling on serpent. Rev. Simpulum, sprinkler, axe and priest's hat. RSC 49; Cr. 443/1; Syd 1006; BMCRR (Gaul) 27.


This denarius was minted following Julius Caesar’s invasion of Italy in 49 BC. It exemplifies the first type to be issued in Caesar’s name and was coined up until Caesar’s defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus in 48 BC.

The elephant type is much debated by scholars, being seen as variously as a reference to Caesar’s victories in Gaul or even as an iconographical mockery of his enemies. For example, he may have used the type to ridicule Pompey’s embarrassing attempts to equate himself with Alexander the Great through use of elephants (Plut. Pomp. 14). The reverse depicts various religious implements associated with the office of Pontifex Maximus, likely an allusion to Caesar’s assumption of the position in 63 BC (Suet. lul. 13).

For additional information see: Nousek, D. L., 2008, “Turning Points in Roman History: The Case Of Caesar’s Elephant Denarius.” Phoenix, 62(3/4), 290–307.


  • Dimensions 

    D: 20mm ; 3.89g


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