Dupondius Augustus - Caligula on curule chair
Divus AUGUSTUS (under CALIGULA). Æ Dupondius. Rome, 37-39 AD.
Obv. DIVVS AVGVSTVS S C Radiate head of Augustus to left.
Rev. CONSENSV SENAT ET EQ ORDIN P Q R Togate figure of Caligula holding branch and seated on curule chair to left.
RIC 56; Cohen 87
'With the consent of the Senate and equestrian order and Roman people'. Augustus died on 19 August 14 AD in Nola. He is immediately divinized by the Senate. Caligula, becoming emperor, wants to recall his ancestry. He is Augustus' great grandson by his mother Agrippina Senior.
The reverse shows a statue of Caligula with his facials clearly recognizable. A possible reason mentioned by C. Clay as to why it is coupled with obv. of Divus Augustus can be that the statue in question had been set up in the temple of Divus Augustus, which Caligula himself dedicated in August 37 AD.
The SC Senate's approval mark is almost always placed on the reverse of imperial bronzes, so the portrait side could have been the reverse of this coin; however, the long tradition of the portrait systematically being placed on the obverse of ancient coins rule out such a possibility. So why the SC letters are are exceptionally placed on both sides of the portrait?
It might have seemed confusing if the same reverse type showed a statue erected with the Senate's approval, a legend expressing the Senate's approval of that statue, and letters meaning "By Decree of the Senate" with reference to the coin's production or the establishment of the new bronze coinage by the Senate under Augustus. For the same reason, to avoid reference to two different decrees of the Senate on the rev. of the same coin, S C was entirely omitted from Corona Civica sestertii of Caligula and Claudius, with rev. legend SPQR P P OB CIVES SERVATOS or EX S C (P P) OB CIVES SERVATOS, and from Caligula's Carpentum sestertius for his mother, with rev. legend SPQR MEMORIAE AGRIPPINAE. (C. Clay)
Slight smoothing on some areas. Very nice portrait in an elegant classical style.