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Dupondius Germanicus - recovering of the lost standards


GAIUS CALIGULA for Germanicus. Æ Dupondius. Rome, 37-41 AD. Obv. GERMANICVS CAESAR Germanicus with eagle-tipped sceptre in triumphal quadriga to r. Rev. SIGNIS-RECEPT/DEVICTIS-GERM/S-C Germanicus advancing to l., holding Aquila in l. hand. RIC. 57; Cohen 7 The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest (near Osnabrück), one of the biggest Roman defeat, took place in the year 9 AD (probably lasting from September 9 to September 11) when an alliance of Germanic tribes led by Arminius, the son of Segimer of the Cherusci, ambushed and destroyed three Roman legions led by Publius Quinctilius Varus, and their standards (Aquila) captured. In 14, just after Augustus' death and the accession of his heir and stepson Tiberius, a massive raid was conducted by the new emperor's nephew Germanicus, followed the next year by two major campaigns with a large army estimated at 70,000 men, backed by naval forces. Germanicus got initial successes, including the capture of Arminius' wife Thusnelda. Thereafter, however, Germanicus suffered two defeats, and withdrew to his original positions on the Rhine, Lippe and Ems. A further, even more massive invasion the next year was inconclusive (see Battle of the Weser River), although Germanicus managed to reclaim two of the three standards lost under Varus; a subordinate Lucius Stertinus received the Legio XIX Eagle from the Bructeri in 15 AD; the hiding place of the second eagle was told to Germanicus from the captured leader of the Marsi after the Battle of the Weser River in 16 AD. After these setbacks, Tiberius decided to stop all further operations against the Germanic tribes, and reassigned Germanicus to Asia, after letting him celebrate a triumph, which is celebrated by this coin. The third standard was recovered in 42 AD by Publius Gabinius from the Chauci during the reign of Germanicus brother Claudius, according to Cassius Dio in Roman History Book LX Chapter 8. Possibly the recovered Aquilae were placed within the Temple of Mars Ultor, the ruins of which stand today in the Forum of Augustus by the Via dei Fori Imperiali in Rome.

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