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AR Augustus Denarius 27 B.C.-14 A.D. (3.73g) minted 18-16 B.C. at a Spanish mint, possibly Tarraco O: Bare head to r.; RIC 126. BMC 346. C. 21. R: Capricorn to r. holding globe attached to rudder between front. Cornucopia above; AUGUSTUS below. G: About uncirculated. Ex Munzhandlung Basel. EJW tells me The Boston Museum of Fine Arts was the underbidder for this coin. S: UBS Auktion 78, lot 1318, 9/9/08 A number of accounts of his horoscope survive, which give his astrological birth sign as Capricorn (e.g. Suetonius, Augustus 94.12). Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, Divus Augustus 5: September 22 in the pre-Julian calendar; IX Kal. Oct. 691 a.u.c. shortly before sunrise (paulo ante solis exortum). In the Roman fasti Augustus' birthday was celebrated on the 23rd and 24th of September, combined with the ludi Augustales that were continued until late antiquity as the festival in honor of Divus Augustus. According to modern astronomical calculations Augustus was born in the sign of Libra, because in 63 BC the old Roman calendar appears to have been in close agreement with the later Julian calendar. Augustus nevertheless emphasized his birth in the sign of Capricornus (Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, Divus Augustus 94.12). This is to be regarded as an allusion to his "second birth" as C. Iulius Divi filius Caesar (see below), which was theopolitically defined by the appearance of the Julian star in conjunction with Capricornus that occupied the Ascendant and horoscoped during comet rise on July 23, 44 BC (John T. Ramsey & A. Lewis Licht, The Comet of 44 B.C. and Caesar's Funeral Games, Atlanta 1996; see also the Capricorn with the Julian star in the background on the disk from the gemma Augustea). If his birthday was additionally celebrated in the times of Capricorn after the 90-days adjustment due to the Julian reform of the calendar, is unknown but possible, since Capricorn remained a constant, although not prominent element of the Augustan propaganda, especially on coins and gems. Additional evidence can be found in the worship of Augustus as a sun god, illustrated e.g. by the astral symbolism of the cult of Divus Iulius since the appearance of the sidus Iulium, to which the Augustan nimbus is attributed (cp. also Octavian in Publius Virgilius Maro, Aeneid 8675 ff.), or by the solarium Augusti, and furthermore by the general identification of Augustus as Sol, who later as Sol Invictus was closely connected with the Roman emperors and whose festive day was December 25. (Cp. also some statues from the cult of Divus Iulius with the inscription Deo Invicto, which was adopted as Deo Soli Invicto Imperatori for the cult of Sol Invictus.) Therefore the period of December 23 to 26 would have to be assumed for the festivities of his astrological day of rebirth. This alternative birthday (as strong as this idea might have been with the Roman people) was however never official, and Augustus himself only privately took pleasure in the view that the comet "had come into being for him and that he was coming into being in it" (Gaius Plinius Secundus, Natural History 2.93–94).

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Roman Imperial Silver

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I was watching this one. Very nice specimen.


Great detail on the cornucopia and very nice portrait.


Hmmmm you beat out the MFA for this? I think you owe them a temporary exhibition of your coins as a consolation prize.


Of course my suggestion has nothing to do with the fact that I am within driving distance of the museum.

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I've wanted a nice Augustus Capricorn denarius for a long time. I'm pleased to have finally been able to get one. -h
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