Roman Imperators, Mark Antony - Cohortes Speculatorum

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With this issue, Antony honours the Cohortes Speculatorum. Speculator, derived from specula, roughly equates to ‘a view from the summit of a place, whence anything may be seen advantageously from a distance.’ Thus the cohort was established, based on the idea that they may explore, act as watchmen or sentries and scouts. These soldiers also served as messengers, spies and even assassins. While ten Speculatores were normally assigned to a specific legion, Antony’s Speculatores were a special detachment who carried out his personal assignments. This innovation of Antony’s was copied by Augustus during the empire, and the Speculatores became an elite group within the Praetorian Guard whose mission was to protect the emperor’s person.
On this type three standards are shown with two wreaths and a miniature depiction of the prow of the galley, referencing the specula (look out or turret in Latin) and the specialised role of the Speculatores as look outs on the ships.

Mark Antony AR Denarius. Travelling mint with Mark Antony, 32-31 BC. Galley right, with sceptre tied with fillet on prow; ANT• AVG above; III•VIR•R•P•C / Three standards; CHORTIS SPECVLATORVM around. Crawford 544/12; RSC 6. 3.46g, 17mm, 7h.
Extremely Fine.