Caesar’s comet

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Today we introduce you a rare and scarce denarius of great beauty, minted at the final stages of the Republic, when Octavius was not “Augustus” yet, that will be auction in our Floor Auction 50, that will be hold on February 5th, 2020 in Gran Meliá Fénix Hotel in Madrid.
Lot 164. Augustus. M. Sanquinius. Denarius. 17 a.C. (Ffc-4, as Julius Caesar). (Ric-340). (Ch-6). Obv.: M SANQVINIVS III VIR. Rev.: AVGVST DIVI F LVDOS SAE. Ag. 3,86 g. Minor area of weak strike, otherwise slightly toned with some luster remaining. Very rare issue. XF. Est...2500,00.

Curious obverse, where we can see Augustus´ head under a six pointed star, which is a comet, identified as Sidus Iulium (Julian Star) or Caesaris astrum (Star of Caesar). A bright comet, visible in broad daylight, which showed up all of a sudden during the festival called Ludi Victoriae Caesaris and shone during seven succesive days. It is probably the most famous comet in antiquity. It had an absolute light magnitude and it may have been the brightest daylight comet in recorded history.

On the reverse, the priest who is the herald announcing the above-mentioned games and holds a shield, where we can also see the comet. Augustus recovered the celebration of this games in the year 17 BC. They were celebrated with nocturnal sacrifices in the Campus martius in order to please the deities Eileithyia (goddes of childbirth and midwifery) and tellus (goddes of the earth). It was a big entertainment for the citizens and each sacrifice was witnessed by many peolpe.

It is a rare and scarce denarius of great beauty, which was minted at the final stages of the Republic. At that moment, he was not “Augustus” yet, but just Octavius, and his complete name was Gaius Iulius Caesar Octavianus. In the year 27 BC, only ten years after the carving of this denarius, the Senate let him use the cognomen Augustus. Therefore, he became the Emperor Caesar Augustus (Imperator Caesar Augustus), the first of many emperors who would succeed him.

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