Author Topic: Marcus Junius Brutus, AR denarius (struck while Brutus was moneyer), 54 BC  (Read 260 times)

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Offline Overlord

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Sear 398, 3.84 g

In this issue, Marcus Brutus, the most famous of Caesar's assassins, honors his two controversial ancestors, Brutus and Ahala. Lucius Junius Brutus overthrew the last King of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus, and founded the Republic. Gaius Servilius Ahala is said to have saved Rome from Spurius Maelius, who attempted to make himself King in 439 BC, by killing him with a dagger concealed under his armpit.

By celebrating his tyrannicidal, republic-loving ancestors, Brutus shows his agenda very clearly, and his assassination of Caesar on March 15th, 44BC should have come as no surprise to anyone who had bothered to pay attention to the propaganda of his coinage.

Obverse: (BRVTVS), bare head of Lucius Junius Brutus right
Reverse: AHALA, bare head of Gaius Servilius Ahala right


Offline THCoins

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Re: Marcus Junius Brutus, AR denarius (struck while Brutus was moneyer), 54 BC
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2017, 05:26:20 PM »
Thank you for this write-up with this truly historical piece !

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Marcus Junius Brutus, AR denarius (struck while Brutus was moneyer), 54 BC
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2017, 09:33:23 PM »
Brutus was a complicated person, being both a trusted friend and a leading killer of Caesar. He was fighting Caesar openly from 49 BC, but when did he change his mind about Caesar?

In my opinion Brutus was long a convinced Republican*, exactly because of the two ancestors on this coin. His father was killed when he was very young; a highly frustrating event that led to his adoption by his uncle. He changed his name to that of his uncle and changed it back later. I have no exact date for the second change, but I like to think that this was close to the point where he decided loyalty to his family values was more important than loyalty to Caesar; the second change of name brought back the two men on the coin in his lineage. Was it a political declaration or an agenda, though? Brutus was a leading actor in the lethal conspiracy against Caesar, but it was not his idea. He had to be invited to join. Nevertheless, that again means that his opinion of Caesar was known.

A truly historical piece indeed, but what was the thought behind it?

Peter

* After Caesar's assassination, he did issue coins with his own portrait though, against the Republican rule not to have a portrait of a living person on the coin.
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.