This coin of L. Valerius Acisculus shows the Sibyl, which brings us to the Secular games, since L. Valerius in 76 BC had brought back certain oracles from Erythrae to replace those which had been lost seven years earlier when fire consumed the Capitol. Soranus, another nickname of Valerius, was the one used to invoke an Apollo of the Soracte, honoured every year by the Hirpi Sorani or ‘wolves of the Soracte’, who propitiated him by running over a bed of hot coals. They were ‘families’ exempted for this reason by a decree of the Senate from military service and all other duties.
The Imperatorial period extends from the outbreak of civil war between Julius Caesar and Pompey in January 49 B.C. and ends early 27 B.C. when Caesar’s adopted heir Octavian was given the title “Augustus” by the Senate, effectively making him the sole ruler of the entire Roman territory.
The coinage of this period is a transition between the long established numismatic traditions of the Republic and the newly created “cult of the Emperors” which came about in the Imperial age. Imperatorial coinage is characterized by the bold use of coins as vehicles of propaganda, culminating in the first large scale use of lifetime portraits on coins in Roman times, beginning with Caesar in 44 B.C. In the years of civil war which ensued Sextus Pompey, Brutus, Labienus, Mark Antony, Lepidus and Octavian did not hesitate to follow Caesar’s example by displaying their ‘mugs’ on the coins that were minted in their respective names.
Diademed head of Apollo Soranus right surmounted by star; acisculus behind; all within laurel wreath
Head of Aphrodisian Sibyl right; all within laurel wreath
L • VALERIVS
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