Coin marking killing of Julius Caesar is set to fetch £1.5m at auction

Rare 2,000-year-old gold coin marking assassination of Julius Caesar and commemorating his killer Brutus is set to fetch £1.5m at auction after being exhibited at British Museum

  • The coin depicts the face of Caesar’s former friend and ally, Brutus
  • Caesar was stabbed 23 times in the Roman senate in 44BC on the Ides of March
  • Brutus then issued dozens of coins to mark the emperor’s death 
  • Nearly all were in silver and only three gold ones are known to still exist
  • The gold coin for sale was on display at the British Museum from 2010 to 2020
  • It is being sold via Swiss auctioneers Numismatica Ars Classica
  • The coin is expected to sell for more than £1.5million in Zurch on May 30 

A 2,000-year-old gold coin that commemorates the assassination of the famous Roman general Julius Caesar is set to be sold at auction for more than £1.5million.

The coin depicts the face of Caesar’s former friend and ally, Brutus, who led the conspirators that killed him.

Caesar was stabbed 23 times in the Roman senate on the Ides of March – March 15, 44 BC.

Brutus then issued dozens of coins – nearly all of them in silver – to mark the emperor’s death.

The coin coming up for sale, which is one of just three surviving ones in gold, was on display at the British Museum for a decade until 2020.

A 2,000-year-old gold coin that commemorates the assassination of the famous Roman general Julius Caesar is set to be sold at auction for more than £1.5million. The coin depicts the face of Caesar’s former friend and ally, Brutus, who led the conspirators that killed him

Caesar was stabbed 23 times in the Roman senate in 44BC on the Ides of March – March 15, 44 BC

It features a hole that was punched shortly after it was minted, likely so that it could be worn – possibly even by one of Caesar’s conspirators.

On one side, the coin shows two daggers and the words Eid Mar – a Latin abbreviation for the Ides of March.

Between the daggers is a ‘cap of liberty’ that symbolises the insistence of Caesar’s killers that they were toppling a tyrant who threatened the future of the Roman Empire.

On the other, a portrait of Brutus is seen below an inscription of BRVT IMP, which refers to his status as a military victor.

The coin was first brought to the British Museum in 1932 and the institution was offered the chance to buy it but could not afford to do so.

It had been on display since 2010 after its owner released it on long-term loan.

The coin features a hole that was punched shortly after it was minted, likely so that it could be worn – possibly even by one of Caesar’s conspirators. On one side, the coin shows two daggers and the words Eid Mar – a latin abbreviation for the Ides of March

The coin was first brought to the British Museum in 1932 and the institution was offered the chance to buy it but could not afford to do so

Caesar’s killers were led both by Brutus – whose full name was and Cassius Junius Brutus – and Gaius Cassius Longinus.

After his murder, Brutus fled to Greece and had coins produced by a mobile military mint.

The coin and what it depicted was so remarkable that it was mentioned in the writing of ancient historian Cassius Dio in the Third Century AD.

Around 60 silver versions of the coin survive. Its minting has previously been described as a ‘naked and shameless celebration’ of Caesar’s murder.

Another of the remaining gold coins resides in the permanent collection of the Deutsche Bundesbank, the central bank of Germany.

The third was sold at auction in October 2020 for £3.24million.

Between the daggers one side of the coin is a ‘cap of liberty’ that symbolises the insistence of Caesar’s killers that they were toppling a tyrant who threatened the future of the Roman Empire

Caesar’s killing was prompted by concern in the Roman senate that he would name himself king. Shortly before his death, he had been named ‘dictator in perpetuity’.

Caesar had, however, been popular with the lower and middle classes — and the uproar in the wake of his assassination helped set in motion the fall of the Republic.

The coin will be auctioned by Swiss auction house Numismatica Ars Classica at Hotel Baur au Lac, Zurich on May 30, 2022. Auctioneers expect it to fetch in excess of £1.5million.

Spokesman Arturo Russo said: The Eid Mar coin commemorates one of the most important moments in Western history: the assassination of the dictator Julius Caesar.

‘It is extremely rare to come across an ancient coin with such exceptional provenance, a point illustrated by its inclusion in the British Museum’s display for over a decade.

‘We are thrilled to present the opportunity for a museum or collector to become part of the story of such a significant piece of ancient history, at our auction in May.  

THE LIFE (AND HORRIFIC DEATH) OF JULIUS CAESAR 

Julius Caesar was a politician and general of the late Roman republic who lived from 100 – 44 BC. 

As a general from 60 – 68 BC, Caesar added the whole of modern France and Belgium to the Roman empire, and crushed rebel Gallic forces across Europe in the Gallic wars.

In total he made two expeditions to Britain, in 55 BC and 54 BC, though never established a force of occupation.

Caesar returned to Italy a hero and famously crossed the Rubicon river in 49 BC without disbanding his army, insulting the authority of the Roman senate.

In the ensuing civil war Caesar defeated the republican forces, and took control of the Empire as dictator.

He used his power to carry out much-needed reform, relieving debt, enlarging the senate, building the Forum Iulium and revising the calendar.

Caesar’s ambition and success eventually led to his downfall when a group of republican senators assassinated him in 44 BC. 

Traditional bust of Caesar have not included the strange bump. Pictured, a  bronze bust of Julius Caesar is displayed in the lobby at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

Julius Caesar was stabbed (23 times) to death in the Roman Senate led by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus and 60 other co-conspirators.

On his way to the Theatre of Pompey where he would be assassinated, the all-powerful Caesar visited a seer who had foretold that harm would come to him not later than the Ides of March.

Caesar joked, ‘The ides of March are come’, to which the seer replied ‘Ay, Caesar, but not gone.’

His wife Calpurnia had dreamed of his body streaming with blood and tried to prevent him from leaving the house.

As Caesar took his Senate seat, the conspirators gathered around him. One then took hold of his purple toga and ripped it away from his neck.

A dagger was thrust at Caesar’s throat but missed and only wounded him.

Another assassin then drove a dagger into his chest as he twisted away from the first assailant.

Brutus struck Caesar in the groin. It was later written that Brutus was reproached in Greek with the words ‘You, too, my child?’

Source: Read Full Article