Aureus struck for Julius Caesar by Praetor A. Hirtius with head of Vesta (obverse) and priestly equipment (reverse) - ROM2011_11891_5

ROM2011_11891_5

Aureus struck for Julius Caesar by Praetor A. Hirtius with head of Vesta (obverse) and priestly equipment (reverse)

Maker: A. Hirtius as moneyer
Medium:Struck gold
Geography: Minted in Rome, Italy
Date: 46 BCE
Period: Roman Republican period, under Julius Caesar
Dimensions:
2.09 cm, 7.95 g
Object number: 934.80.1
Credit Line: Gift of the Members of the Royal Ontario Museum
On view
Gallery Location:Eaton Gallery of Rome: Republican portraits and coinage
Description

This coin was struck for Julius Caesar by a magistrate who was one of his loyal supporters, the Praetor Aulus Hirtius (who later became Consul). In 46 BCE Caesar was on campaign against the last of Pompey's supporters in the Southern Mediterranean and had been awarded his third term as Consul by the Senate - indicated by the inscri[tion COS(consul) TER(tius) on the obverse of this coin.

The imagery on the coin celebrates Caesar's religious positions as Pontifex Maximus, the most important Roman religious position, and Augur, an important religious official who observed the flight of birds in order to predict the future. The obverse ('heads' side) of the coin shows the veiled female head of Vesta, Roman goddess of the hearth, whose worship was controlled by the Pontifex Maximus. The reverse ('tails' side) shows the jug and axe, equipment of the Pontifex Maximus, and the curved lituus (staff) which symbolised the office of Augur. 

The gold used for these coins came from war booty captured during Caesar's successful campaigns in Britain and Gaul. 

Collection:
Roman World
Bibliography:
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