Octavian, 44-27 BC.
Denarius (Silver, 20 mm, 3.82 g, 11 h), uncertain mint in Italy (Rome?), autumn 30-summer 29. Bare head of Octavian to right. Rev.
IMP - CAESAR Ithyphallic boundary-stone of Jupiter Terminus, surmounted by laureate head of Octavian facing slightly to right; below, winged thunderbolt. Babelon (Julia) 153. BMC 628. CBN 49. Cohen 114. CRI 425. H. Kähler: Rom und seine Welt. Bilder zur Geschichte und Kultur. Munich 1960, pl. 83, 5 (this coin
). K. Lange: Charakterköpfe der Weltgeschichte. Munich 1949, p. 32 (this coin
). D. Mannsperger: Die Münzprägung des Augustus, in: Gerhard Binder (ed.): Saeculum Augustum III. Darmstadt 1991, pl. 53, 3 (this coin
). RIC 269a. An excellent, well struck piece, beautifully toned and with a magnificent portrait. Thin surface crack on the obverse and with a small flan fault on the reverse, otherwise,
From the collection of Prof. Dr. D. Mannsperger, ex Leu 20, 25-26 April 1978, 195, and from the C. S. Bement Collection, Naville VIII, 25-28 June 1924, 476.
Jupiter Terminus was the protector of boundary markers, stones or posts which indicated the extent of one's landholdings. Every year, on 23 February, neighbors would gather at the boundary stone to celebrate the Terminalia, sacrificing at the marker in honor of Terminus and thus renewing the mutual respect for one another's borders. The boundary stone appearing on this coin is clearly modelled after the Greek herm (which were very often also ithyphallic) and carries the features of Octavian himself (see also lot 189 below, a denarius showing Octavian as Jupiter Terminus on the obverse). Likely, it was struck to celebrate Octavian's defense of Rome's borders against Antony, who had sought to grant large swathes of Roman territory in the East to Caesarion and his own children with Cleopatra (the so-called Donations of Alexandria) in 34 BC.