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Object Description
Title/Object Name
Ob: L(ucius)•CESTIVS C(aius)•NORBANVS PR(aetores) [Minted by L. Cestius and C. Norbanus holding the office of Praetor] | Re: S(enatus) C(onsulto) [By order of the Senate].
c. 43 BCE
1st century BCE
Portfolio / Series Title
Roman Imperatorial Gold
Diameter, 0.7874 In, 2 Cm
Weight, 0.0179 Pounds, 8.106 Grams
Octavian Ob: Bust of Sybil or Africa right, draped, hair pulled back in knot behind head. Re: Cybele on throne in chariot drawn by two lions, holding patera (sacrificial bowl) and resting left arm on tympanum (ritual drum). Crawford 491/2
Credit Line
Gift of Wilton Jaffee to the University of Colorado Classics Department (2003), Transfer, CU Art Museum, University of Colorado Boulder
Lucius Cestius and Caius Norbanus, the minters of this coin, were elected praetors in 43 BCE, just before the Second Triumvirate. The subject of the aureus is debated, and there are several possibilities for what the iconography represents. On the obverse is a female figure, most likely a personification of Africa, draped in elephant skin (note the tusks on her shoulder). Africa had been personified on coins from the time of Alexander the Great, but it became common on Roman coinage after this issue. It may be used here in connection with two African legions being sent to aid Octavian in the summer of 43. On the reverse, the goddess Cybele sits on a throne in a biga pulled by lions. This was probably meant to allude to the anticipated victory over invaders of Italy – the enemy forces that Octavian and the African legions were currently fighting. KHK.
Object ID
RRC, 500, 491/2 (Plate LVIII, no. 18)
Syd., 188, no. 1155



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