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Well Centered XVII Classicae


The Triumvirs. Mark Antony. Autumn 32-spring 31 BC. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.63 g, 6h). Legionary type. Patrae(?) mint. Praetorian galley right; ANT • AVG III • VIR • R • P • C around / Aquila between two signa; LEG XVII • CLASSICAE above. Crawford 544/10; CRI 362; Sydenham 1229; RSC 39. Lightly toned. VF. Well centered on a round flan, with complete legends, and decidedly rare thus.

An interesting variation from other legionary denarii issued under Mark Antony, the seventeenth also bore the cognomen Classicae, indicating that they held special naval duties within the military (a Roman naval fleet was called a classis). This legion was disbanded after the battle of Actium by the victor, Octavian, who had another Legio XVII under his command that continued into imperial service. Decades later, this would be one of three legions utterly destroyed by a German tribal alliance in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. The number was never reused.