AUGUSTUS SILVER DENARIUS – CAPRICORN ISSUE REFERRED TO IN SUETONIUS’ TWELVE CAESARS – XF STAR NGC GRADED ROMAN IMPERIAL COIN OF THE TWELVE CAESARS (Inv. 14961)
ROMAN EMPIRE. AUGUSTUS, 27 BC-14 AD.
Silver Denarius, 3.53 g., 19 mm., struck at an uncertain eastern mint after 27 BC.
Obv. Head of Augustus right.
Rev. AVGVSTVS, capricorn right, holding globe and rudder, cornucopiae perched on its back..
RIC I 126; RSC 21.
NGC graded XF STAR, Strike 5/5, Surface 4/5, with exceptional centering.
The Capricorn is among the most interesting of all images on Augustus’ coinage since it was promoted as the emperor’s astrological sign guaranteeing his great rule and the prosperity that would accompany it. Even the Roman biographer, Suetonius, the man who wrote about the Twelve Caesars, mentioned the Capricorn: “From this moment (when an astrologer acknowledged Augustus’ greatness after reading his horoscope) he had such great faith in his own destiny that he made public his horoscope and later minted a silver coin with the Zodiac sign Capricorn, under which he was born” (Suetonius, Augustus 94, as cited in Zanker’s The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus, p. 48).