AUGUSTUS SILVER DENARIUS – CAPRICORN ISSUE REFERRED TO IN SUETONIUS’ TWELVE CAESARS – CHOICE XF NGC GRADED ROMAN IMPERIAL COIN OF THE 12 CAESARS (Inv. 15157)
ROMAN EMPIRE. AUGUSTUS, 27 BC-14 AD.
Silver Denarius, 3.65 g., 19 mm., struck at an uncertain mint in Spain, ca. 18-16 BC.
Obv. Head of Augustus right.
Rev. AVGVSTVS, capricorn right, holding globe and rudder, cornucopia perched on its back..
RIC I 126; RSC 21.
NGC graded CHOICE XF, Strike 5/5, Surface 4/5.
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).