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Ephesus, Ca. 24-20 BC

Octavian as Augustus Ar. cistophoric tetradrachm, Ephesus. IMP·CAE – SAR; Bare head right. Rev. 

AVGV – STVS; Six bunched corn ears. C 32. BMC 697; RIC 481; CBN 919; Sutherland Group VI; RPC 2214. Lightly toned and Extremely fine. Size: 26mm; Weight: 11.95g. 

Cistophoroi were originally used by the Attalid Dynasty and its surrounding territories in the 2nd century BC but continued to be struck when the region came under Roman control. Augustus’ portrait on the obverse of this issue is highly idealised and remains so throughout his life, just as with the numismatic portraiture of some Hellenistic kings.

The reverse design contains a bunch of corn ears, engraved to signal the abundance and prosperity guaranteed under Augustus’ rule. This idea of agricultural prosperity was a frequent feature of Augustus’ visual propaganda, seen also on public monuments like the Ara Pacis.

For additional information see:
John Melville Jones, J., 1990, Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins. London.


  • Dimensions 

    D: 26mm; 11.95g

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