Mark Antony, 44-30 BC. Denarius (Silver, 20 mm, 3.80 g, 12 h), with M. Junius Silanus, quaestor pro consule. Military mint moving with Antony, probably Athens, summer 32. ANTON•AVG•IMP•III•COS•DES•III•III•V•R•P•C Bare head of Mark Antony to right; behind his ear, small P (engraver's signature). Rev. M•SILANVS•AVG / Q•PRO•COS in two lines. Babelon (Antonia) 97 and (Junia) 172. Crawford 542/1. RBW 1830. Sydenham 1208. A very well centered and remarkably fresh example, without the usual areas of striking flatness and undoubtedly among the finest known. Light die break on the obverse and with a hairline flan crack, otherwise, good extremely fine.
One may call M. Junius Silanus one of the worst flip-floppers of the civil wars of 44-30 BC, but his career illustrates the challenges subordinate Roman politicians faced in the 40s and 30s BC. People like him were closely following the course of the wars, as siding with any of the imperatorial figures could be a life or death decision in a time of no neutrality: Loyal supporters of fallen generals risked facing capital punishment, while early defectors were usually pardoned and allowed to continue their careers. Silanus first served under Lepidus before supporting Mark Antony in 43 in the Battle of Mutina. Later he sided with Sextus Pompey, was pardoned in 39, then served as quaestor pro consule of Antony in 33-32, before defecting to Octavian on the eve of the Battle of Actium in 31 and becoming consul in 25. Silanus was still alive in 11 BC, when he and his brother Lucius last appear as augurs in the fasti sacerdoti. Our coin was struck in Athens in the summer of 32, when the forces of Mark Antony were gathering in Greece for the final clash against Octavian. It shows us a brutally honest and remarkably powerful portrait of Mark Antony, and it is certainly among the finest known examples of this often poorly struck type.