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Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus as Imperator Rare AR Roman Imperatorial Denarius 39 BC Silver Coin Hercules on Obverse Museum Reproduction CSRD0107


Silver Roman Imperatorial Denarius Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus as Imperator, Osca (Hispania) mint, struck 39 B.C. References: Burgos 1509. Crawford 532/1. Sear Imperators 342. Sydenham 1358.

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A rare and desired republican emission. A trusted supporter of Julius Caesar and his faction, Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus had an up-and-down career during the imperatorial era, winning victory over the anti-Caesarians as commander of the center at Pharsalus, but suffering an ignominious defeat at the hands of the Bosporan King Pharnaces II in 47 BC that forced Caesar to break off his liaison with Cleopatra and deal with the issue himself. He was granted a second Consulship in 40 BC and made proconsul of Hispania, where he undertook further conquests and was acclaimed Imperator by his troops. His unusual coinage was struck at Osca in Spain and clearly patterned on the local issues of that city.

Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus was a Roman general, senator and consul (both in 53 BC and 40 BC) who was a loyal partisan of Caesar and Octavianus.
Domitius Calvinus came from a noble family and was elected consul for 53 BC, despite a notorious electoral scandal. He was on Caesar’s side during the Civil War with Pompey. At the decisive battle of Pharsalus he commanded the center of Caesar’s army. After the battle he became governor of Asia. He tried to oppose the invasion of Pharnaces, the king of Bosphorus, who had taken the occasion of the Roman civil war to invade the province of Pontus; however he suffered a crushing defeat at the battle of Nicopolis in Armenia (December of 48 BC). Direct intervention by Caesar brought a quick end to the conflict, and Pharnaces’ army was annihilated at Zela in 47 BC. Despite this failure, he remained a trusted friend of Caesar.
Domitius Calvinus’s activities immediately after the death of Caesar are unknown, but in 43 BC he was a strong supporter of Octavianus and participated in the civil war against Brutus and Cassius. During the Philippi campaign in 42 BC, he had to bring reinforcements from Italia to Greece for Mark Antony and Octavianus’ army, however his fleet was destroyed by the enemy in the Ionian Sea with the loss of two legions. Despite this defeat he was awarded the honor of a second consulship in 40 BC and was sent by Octavianus as governor to Hispania, where he remained for three years (39 BC-36 BC). Apparently, his military activities in Spain were successful, since he was saluted as imperator by his troops and on his return he was awarded a triumph. He also rebuilt the Regia in the Roman Forum. Although we do not have many facts concerning his further political activities, an inscription shows that in 20 BC he was still alive and a member of the important Arval Brethren priesthood, reserved only for members of the nascent Imperial family and to the emperor’s most distinguished supporters.
Although Domitius Calvinus’ career does not show any particular ability, either in politics (he obtained his first consulship only after scandalous bribery) or in war (he suffered two major defeats), he maintained an important political role. This was most probably because he was one of the very few Roman nobles to support the Caesar/Octavianus party from the very beginning.
Obverse side
Head of Hercules, bearded, wearing necklace, right

Reverse side
Pontifical emblems: simpulum, aspergillum, securis and apex

A perfect choice for Numismatists, Historians, Military Veterans, Collectors

Weight 3,24 g
Dimensions 19,4 mm


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