Roman Empire, Augustus - Deposing Artaxias

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The obverse of this coin is taken from the issues of the moneyer’s ancestor, Mn. Aquillius who struck coins in 71 BC. The reverse type, also used by the moneyer’s two colleagues M. Durmius and P. Petronius Turpilianus, probably refers to the events of the previous year, when Armenia was “reduced under the power of the Roman people”, as Velleius puts it.

In 20 BC, the Armenians sent messengers to Augustus to tell him that they no longer wanted Artaxias II as their king, and asked that his brother Tigranes (then in Roman custody in Alexandria) be installed in his place. Augustus readily agreed, and Tiberius was sent into Armenia at the head of his legions to depose Artaxias. Before they arrived, however, Artaxias was assassinated by some of his other relatives, and the Romans put Tigranes on the throne unopposed.

Augustus AR Denarius. L. Aquillius Florus, moneyer. Rome, 19 BC. Draped bust of Virtus right, wearing helmet with a long crest and feather on side, L•AQVILLIVS FLORVS•III•VIR around / Augustus driving biga of elephants left, holding laurel branch over their backs; AVGVSTVS above; CAESAR below. RIC 301; BMC 36; C. 354. 3.66g, 20mm, 2h.


Very Rare. Good Extremely Fine.
An exceptionally difficult coin to find in good condition. This example is the best to have been offered in at least a decade.