A Tenuous Relationship - Antony and Octavian
Mark Antony and Octavian.
|Sale: CNG 76, Lot: 3252. Estimate $1000.
Closing Date: Wednesday, 12 September 2007.
Sold For $1000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
41 BC. AR Denarius (3.79 g, 12h). Ephesus mint; M. Barbatius Pollio, moneyer. Bare head of Antony right / Bare head of Octavian right, wearing slight beard. Crawford 517/2; CRI 243; Sydenham 1181; RSC 8a. Good VF, lightly toned.
From the John A. Seeger Collection.
After the assassination of Julius Caesar, his power was shared between Mark Antony, the Dictator’s second-in-command, and Gaius Octavius, Caesar’s great-nephew and legal heir. To unite themselves against the assassins, Antony and Octavian, bound themselves in what would eventually come to be known as the “Second Triumvirate”. This union was at best a tenuous relationship, as both individuals vied to acquire supreme power. Antony, the older of the two, clearly believed himself the senior member. Octavian, on the other hand, at 19 and Caesar’s legal heir, supposed otherwise. This denarius with both portraits demonstrates Antony’s perceptions in the developing iconography of the new regime: the portrait of Antony may be taken as the obverse reserved for the chief ruler, which Antony believed himself to be, while that of Octavian, on the reverse and much younger with the traces of his first beard still remaining, is the subordinate. While the triumvirate was renewed in 40 BC and sealed through the marriage of Octavian’s sister to Antony, the political arrangement continued to sour, resulting in civil war and the ultimate destruction of Antony at Actium.