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Domitius Calvinus, Governor of Spain

Triton XXII, Lot: 927. Estimate $3000.
Sold for $2750. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Special issues. C. Domitius Calvinus. 39 BC. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.84 g, 1h). Osca mint. Bare head of Hercules right, wearing necklace; OSCA downward to left / Emblems of the Pontificate: simpulum, aspergillum, securis, and apex; DOM • COS • ITER • IMP around from lower left. Crawford 532/1; CRI 342; Sydenham 1358; Burgos 1509; RBW 1819. Choice EF, some luster.

From the Alan J. Harlan Collection, purchased from Freeman & Sear. Ex Triton VIII (11 January 2005), lot 974.

C. Domitius Calvinus was appointed governor of Spain by Octavian after that province was ceded by Sextus Pompey, son of Pompey the Great. The province was in a state of chaos after years of civil war and the rule of Sextus, who governed as little more than a brigand. The stern Calvinus, formerly magister equitum under Caesar, pacified the province, putting down a revolt by the Ceretani, although not before subjecting a legionary detachment to the ancient punishment of decimation (executing one out of ten men) for cowardice in the face of the enemy. The minting of these denarii, probably at Osca itself, marks the restoration of Roman order in Spain and the renewed flow of Spanish silver to the Roman treasury.