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Roman Syria

Ruler: Augustus
Reigned: 16th Jan. 27 BC - 19th Aug. 14 AD
Denomination: AE17
Mint: Decapolis: Gadara
Date of Issue: 3/4 AD
Obverse: Bare head of Augustus right. "KAISAPI   SEBASTW"
Reverse: Veiled and turreted head of city-goddess right. "CADAPEIS   LLD" =year 34 of the Actian Era =3/4 AD
Reference: GIC 113, Spijkerman 130,9
Weight: 7.4 gms
Diameter: 18.5 mm
Comment: Gadara was one of the ten cities of the Decapolis, which were thought to have been a confederation of autonomous Graeco-Roman cities, formed when Pompey conquered Syria in 63/64 BC. The ruins of Gadara still exist and are spectacularly situated on a promontory in northern Jordan, overlooking the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. It is best known for it's association with the Biblical story of the miracle of the Gadarene swine.


  • 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.

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