Roman Bronze Coin of General Agrippa Minted Under Caligula

SKU C.2016

37 AD to 41 AD


Dimensions: 1.125″ (2.2cm) high





Gallery Location



Obverse, M·AGRIPPA·L·F·COS·III, bust of Agrippa wearing Rostral crown in left profile; pellet border; reverse, S C either side of Neptune, naked but for Chlamys over shoulders, holding trident and dolphin; pellet border. Agrippa, born in 56 BC, was Octavian’s most effective general. He led the armies that gave Octavian the victories he needed to bolster his political position and eventually become the first Roman emperor, Augustus. Agrippa’s most famous victory was the Battle of Actium, defeating the combined forces of Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Marc Antony. Augustus made it clear that Agrippa should succeed him on the throne however Agrippa’s death in 12 BC put paid to the preparations. Although Agrippa was never officially emperor nor did he ever lay claim to power, coins were nevertheless struck in the name of this famous Roman general and victor of Actium throughout 1st century AD. This issue was minted under the emperor Caligula, Agrippa’s grandson who came to the throne in AD 37. He minted a large number of coinages during his relatively short reign, which was marked by tales of cruelty, extravagance, sadism and sexual perversity. He was assassinated in AD 41. The depiction of Neptune on the reverse seems unusual (and rather amusing) in light of Suetonius’ account that Caligula stopped a planned campaign against Britain and declared war against the god. A more likely explanation for the representation would be either that Caligula wished to be seen in Neptune’s likeness or it served a prophylactic function.

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