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Research Coins: Printed Auction


Cassius, Assassin of Caesar
Illustrated in McAlee, RPC and HGC 9

Triton XXII, Lot: 547. Estimate $750.
Sold for $2200. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

SELEUCIS and PIERIA, Antioch. Gaius Cassius Longinus. 53-51 BC. AR Tetradrachm (26mm, 15.07 g, 12h). In the name and types of Philip I Philadelphus. Diademed head right / [BA]ΣIΛE[ΩΣ]/ΦΙΛΙΠΠOY to right, EΠIΦANOVΣ/ΦIΛAΔΕΛΦOV to left, Zeus Nicephorus enthroned left; thunderbolt above, monogram of Cassius to lower inner left, monogram below throne; all within laurel wreath. Prieur 3; McAlee 3 (this coin illustrated); RPC I 4126/8 (this coin); HGC 9, 1358 (this coin illustrated). EF, toned. Rare.

From the Michel Prieur Collection. Ex Empire Coins 4 (9 November 1985), lot 123.

Gaius Cassius Longinus took part in the campaign against Parthia that culminated in the Battle of Carrhae, one of Rome’s most humiliating military losses, where he served as quaestor to the general Marcus Licinius Crassus. When Crassus was killed in the battle, Cassius retreated to Syria with the remaining Roman army and assumed the governorship from 53-51, at which time this rare series of tetradrachms was struck. He returned to Rome in 50 BC amidst the growing conflict between Julius Caesar and Pompey, choosing to serve as naval commander for the latter. Caesar eventually pardoned Cassius and even appointed him legate. Despite Caesar’s clemency, Cassius became one of the chief architects in the plot to assassinate the dictator perpetuo in March of 44 BC. Two years later, following his defeat at Philippi, Cassius took his own life with the same dagger that he used to stab Caesar.