In the Roman empire, a crown in the shape of a wall was awarded to the first soldier who scaled the wall of a besieged city (Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights, 5.6.16). It was made of gold, and was considered to be a very important decoration. The emperor Augustus tried to donate these as sparingly as possible, to maintain their extraordinary value (Suetonius, Augustus, 25.3).
This issue was hand struck in Plovdiv, Bulgaria (ancient Roman province Philippopolis). It goes without saying you always get the exact item in the picture.
Of all the coinages honouring Agrippa, this denarius is perhaps the most interesting, not only because it represents what Augustus hoped would be his final dynastic settlement, but because Agrippa wears a composite crown with towered embattlements and ship’s prows to commemorate his many victories at land and at sea.
Indeed, when this denarius was issued in 12 B.C., the aspirations of Marcus Agrippa appeared limitless: he was a proven, loyal friend to Augustus, was husband to the emperor’s only child, and was the father of the emperor’s two grandsons. The joint renewal of the tribunician power for Augustus and Agrippa – the basis for this ‘dynastic’ coinage – was not awarded lightly, as it announced to all that Augustus’ heir was none other than Agrippa.
Yet in the following year, the man whose skills in war had been the bedrock of Augustus’ political success, was dead. Once again Augustus had no suitable heir. Tiberius was his obvious replacement, but Augustus’ personal disregard for his stepson, and his desire to keep Augustan blood flowing in the future emperors of Rome, caused him instead to place his hopes in his grandsons Gaius and Lucius, neither of whom had reached manhood when their father died.
Before too long both Gaius and Lucius were dead, and a third grandson, Agrippa Postumus, born to Julia soon after his father died, proved so unbearable that Augustus eventually banished him. As Augustus’ life neared its end he reluctantly made Tiberius his heir on the secret proviso that he would not preserve the throne for his own son Drusus, but for Germanicus, who had some Augustan blood in his veins and whose wife, Agrippina Senior, was one of Augustus’ granddaughters.
Head of Augustus right, wearing oak-wreath
AVGVSTVS COS XI
Head of Agrippa right, wearing combined mural and rostral crown
M AGRIPPA COS TER COSSVS LENTVLVS
A perfect choice for Numismatists, Historians, Military Veterans, Collectors.