AUGUSTUS SILVER DENARIUS – HISTORICAL ISSUE WITH THE SIDUS IULIUM COMET – CHOICE XF NGC GRADED ROMAN IMPERIAL COIN OF THE TWELVE CAESARS (Inv. 15520)
ROMAN EMPIRE. AUGUSTUS, 27 BC-14 AD.
Silver Denarius, 3.66 g, 18 mm, minted in Spain (perhaps Colonia Caesaraugusta), ca. 19-18 BC..
Obv. CAES[AR AVGV]STVS, laureate head of Augustus right.
Rev. DIVVS IVLIVS, comet with tail upward.
RIC I 102; RSC 98.
NGC graded CHOICE XF, Strike 4/5, Surface 3/5, a high relief strike, steely gray patina with splendid golden iridescence that by sheer chance “colors in” the fiery comet. This historic type depicts the comet that appeared during July of 44 BC just at the time when Octavian was remembering Julius Caesar’s assassination with festival games. Octavian immediately interpreted the comet as a divine sign confirming the transformation of Caesar into a god,calling it the “Sidus Iulium” (“Caesar’s star”). The comet was quickly integrated into the iconography of Roman art as a symbol of the deification of Julius Caesar, and enabled Octavian to proclaim himself as “divi filius” (“son of a god”).