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Vercingetorix – Chieftan of the Arverni

893930. Sold For $3750

Moneyer issues of Imperatorial Rome. L. Hostilius Saserna. 48 BC. AR Denarius (17mm, 4.02 g, 12h). Rome mint. Head of Gallic captive (Vercingetorix?) right; Gallic shield to left / Two warriors in galloping biga right, one driving and the other holding shield and brandishing spear. Crawford 448/2a; CRI 18; Sydenham 952; Hostilia 2. Near EF, beautifully centered and struck.

The obverse portrait has sometimes been identified as the famous chief of the Arverni, Vercingetorix, whom Julius Caesar captured in 52 BC in Alesia. It is hard to imagine anyone placing such a dramatic portrait of a defeated foe on their coinage, but it is clear from surviving sources of the period that the Romans had a good deal respect for the Gauls as honorable warriors. The reverse is also of particular historical interest, in that it depicts the manner in which chariots were used in Celtic Gaul, and perhaps in Britain as well.