Augustus. AR Cistophorus (3 denarii) of Pergamum. Struck c.19 – 18 B.C.
Obverse: IMP IX TR PO V. Bare head of Augustus facing right.
Reverse: Triumphal arch surmounted by Augustus in facing quadriga. IMP IX TR POT V on architrave; S P R SIGNIS RECEPTIS in three lines in opening, standards on either side.
RIC I : 510 (s) | BMC : 703 | RSC : 298
This coin commemorates Augustus' triumphant agreement with the Parthians in 20 B.C. under which they returned the legionary standards captured from Crassus who was defeated and killed at Carrhae thirty-three years earlier (53 B.C.) Augustus installed these standards in the Temple of Mars Ultor.
The reverse of the coin shows the triumphal arch which was awarded to Augustus on the occasion of his recovery of the standards. This was the second triumphal arch awarded to Augustus and, like the earlier arch which had been constructed in 29 BC to honour his victory over Cleopatra, this second arch, which archaeological evidence suggests may actually have incorporated the first arch, stood in close proximity to the Temple of Divus Julius at the southern entrance to the Roman Forum.
This is the rarest cistophorus struck during the reign of Augustus with the exception of the exceedingly rare issues featuring a sphinx.