Last Coin ------------------ Next Coin Agrippa

Roman SYRIA, Seleucis and Pieria

Ruler: Augustus
Reigned: 16th Jan. 27 BC - 19th Aug. 14 AD
Denomination: AR Tetradrachm
Mint: Antioch
Date of Issue: 5/4 BC
Obverse: Laureate head right. "ΣΕ-ΒΑΣΤΟΥ ΚΑΙΣΡΟΣ"
Reverse: Fortuna seated right on rocky outcropping, holding palm frond; below, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right at her feet. "ZK" above (= year 27 of the Actian era). In field; monogram "IB" (= consular number = COS XII); monogram below. "ΕΤΟΥΣ ΝΙΚΗΣ".
Reference: McAlee 181; Prieur 51; RPC I 4152; DCA 400; GIC 106
Weight: 15.1 gms
Diameter: 25.7 mm


  • Augustus was born Rome, 23rd September 63BC, as Gaius Octavius (Octavian)
  • He was related to Julius Caesar through his mother, Julia, sister of Caesar.
  • In 44 BC he served under Caesar in Spain.
  • He was adopted by Caesar 8th May 44 BC.
  • After the assassination of Caesar, Octavian returned to Rome and embarked on a power struggle with Lepidus and particularly Mark Antony.
  • In 43 BC, Octavian, Lepidus and Antony formed the Second Triumvirate.
  • In 42 BC, the Triumvirs defeated the assassins of Caesar, Brutus and Crassus at Philippi in Greece.
  • In 40 BC, the Triuvirs divided the Roman Empire between them, with Octavian taking the west, Antony the East and Lepidus north Africa.
  • In 36 BC, Octavian, with the help of his commander and friend, Agrippa, defeated Sextus Pompeius, son of Pompey the Great, who was engaged in piracy.
  • Due to the Antony's dalliance with Queen Cleopatra in Egypt, Octavian felt justified in declaring war on him.
  • On 2nd September 31 BC, Antony and Cleopatra were defeated in the naval battle of Actium off the coast of Greece.
  • January 27 BC: The "First Settlement", while claiming the restoration of the Republic, gave Octavian large but limited powers for 10 years.
  • Octavian was now called "Augustus" meaning (roughly) "sacred".
  • After falling ill in 23 BC, his powers were reviewed ("Second Settlement"). He was now de facto Emperor.
  • Quintilius Varus, commander of the Rhine legions, lost three of them in the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD.
  • When Augustus thought he was dying in 23 BC, he passed his signet ring to his old friend and lieutenant Agrippa.
  • When he revived, he got his daughter by his first marriage, Julia, to marry Agrippa. Their marriage produced three sons and two daughters. The eldest was Caius, born in 20 BC; while a younger brother Lucius followed three years later. Augustus adopted these two as his own.
  • Agrippa died in 12 BC, leaving Julia a widow. Augustus had two stepsons from his wife Livia's previous marriage, Tiberius and Drusus. Augustus obliged Tiberius to divorce his present wife Vipsania (daughter of Agrippa by the latter's first marriage) and marry Julia, and become protector for the young princes.
  • Drusus died in 9 BC. Lucius died of a sudden illness at Marseilles in 2 AD and Caius died at Limyra in south-west Turkey in 4 AD, after being wounded in a seige. This left only Tiberius left to succeeed Augustus.
  • Augustus died at Nola on 19th August 14 AD.

Back to main page