L HOSTILIUS SASERNA SILVER DENARIUS – FAMOUS ISSUE WITH GALLIC PORTRAIT OF VERCINGETORIX – CHOICE XF STAR NGC GRADED ROMAN IMPERATORIAL COIN (Inv. 15025)
ROMAN REPUBLIC. L. HOSTILIUS SASERNA, 48 BC.
Silver Denarius, 3.96 g., 18 mm., minted in Rome.
Obv. Bearded head of a Gaul, perhaps Vercingetorix, Gallic shield in left field.
Rev. L • HOSTILIVS/ SASERN , Gaul in biga left, driver in front, whipping the horses.
Crawford 448/2a. CRI 18. Sydenham 952. RSC Hostilia 2
NGC graded CHOICE XF STAR, Strike 5/5, Surface 4/5. A very popular emission, whose characteristic and expressive head has been identified by some as a portrait of the Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix who lead a great revolt against Rome between 54-52 BC; he was captured by Julius Caesar who suppressed the rebellion, and was executed in 46 BC after being paraded through Rome in Caesar’s triumph.
Plutarch, in his biography of Caesar, wrote the following about the battle of Alesia which ended the rebellion and the surrender of Vercingetorix:
“5 For many reasons, then, and naturally, Caesar’s peril at Alesia was famous, since it produced more deeds of skill and daring than any of his other struggles; but one must be amazed above all that he engaged and conquered so many tens of thousands outside the city without the knowledge of those inside, nay more, without the knowledge even of the Romans who were guarding the wall that faced the city. 6 For these did not learn of the victory until the wailing of the men in Alesia and the lamentations of the women were heard, as they beheld in the quarters of the enemy many shields adorned with gold and silver, many corselets smeared with blood, and also drinking cups and tents of Gallic fashion carried by the Romans into their camp. 7 So quickly did so great a force, like a phantom or a dream, disperse and vanish out of sight, the greater part of them having fallen in the battle. 8 Those who held Alesia, too, after giving themselves and Caesar no small trouble, finally surrendered. p511 9 And the leader of the whole war, Vergentorix, after putting on his most beautiful armour and decorating his horse, rode out through the gate. 10 He made a circuit around Caesar, who remained seated, and then leaped down from his horse, stripped off his suit of armour, and seating himself at Caesar’s feet remained motionless, until he was delivered up to be kept in custody for the triumph.”
Plutarch, Caesar 27.5-10 (from Loeb translation of 1919).