“Caligula at first intended to bestow on Tiberius similar honours to those enjoyed by Augustus, but desisted in face of the passive resistance of the Senate. The two stars (on his earliest aurei and denarii) suggest two ‘divi’, Augustus and (Tiberius)” (Mattingly, BMC I, p. cxliv). Despite ranking among the worst of all Roman emperors, Caligula’s coinage is interesting and attractive. As he had few, if any, real accomplishments to tout, his reverse types place great stress on his blue-blooded lineage.
The accession of Gaius (Caligula) to the imperial throne on the death of his great-uncle Tiberius signalled a kind of “golden age” in that for the first time, not only did a direct biological descendant of Augustus become emperor, but one who could also claim a direct link with several important Republican figures. Through his mother, Agrippina Sr., Gaius was descended from Augustus, and also Agrippa, the victor of Actium. Gaius’ father Germanaicus was the son of Nero Claudius Drusus and nephew of Tiberius, sons of Augustus’ widow, Livia. Through his mother Antonia, Germanicus was the grandson of Mark Antony and Octavia, the sister of Augustus. Accordingly, many of his coins recall his dynastic connections to both the Julians and the Claudians as well as his own family, and included in their designs his mother and his three sisters.
Like his great-grandfather Augustus did with Divus Julius Caesar, Gaius had coins struck which included Divus Augustus. While later emissions of this type leave no doubt, since the legend DIVVS AVG PATER PATRIAE is included, this earlier denarius, struck in the opening months of the new reign is more ambiguous: it is anepigraphic; the inclusion of stars argue for recent divinity (Augustus had been deified 23 years earlier), and the features on some of these coins appear like portraits of Tiberius. Combined with the historical evidence that Gaius had personally given Tiberius’ funeral oration and had asked the Senate to approach the idea of deification for Tiberius, this argues that this coin was struck during the initial days when Gaius was testing the idea. The Senate, however, refused to pursue the matter further, and the portrait was altered to more closely resemble Augustus.
Bare head of Caligula right
C CAESAR AVG GERM PM TR POT COS
Radiate head of Divus Augustus between two stars
A perfect choice for Numismatists, Historians, Military Veterans, Collectors.