(70) Tiberius - AV aureus, c. A.D. 15-37, 7.74 g. (inv. 91.118).
Obverse: Laureate head of Tiberius r.; TI(BERIVS) CAESAR DIVI AVG(VSTI) F(ILIVS) AVGVSTVS: Tiberius Caesar, son of the Divine Augustus, Augustus.
Reverse: Livia or Pax seated r., holding scepter in r. and branch in l.; PONTIF(EX) MAXIM(VS): pontifex maximus.
Provenance: Abner Kreisberg, 1974.
Bibliography: C.H.V. Sutherland, The Roman Imperial Coinage I: from 31 BC to AD 69. rev. ed. (London 1984) 25.

Tiberius, born in 42 B.C., became the stepson of the future Augustus when his mother, Livia, married Octavian in 38 B.C. When it became clear that Augustus intended his grandsons, Gaius and Lucius Caesar, as his heirs, Tiberius went into morose exile on Rhodes, but after the untimely deaths of the two boys Augustus adopted Tiberius, and he became a loyal and successful general in Augustus' wars in Germany. When Augustus died in A.D. 14, Tiberius inherited the throne. He deified Augustus immediately after his death and pursued Augustan policies with little change. He assumed the office of pontifex maximus, the chief priest of Rome, in A.D. 15. His reign was relatively peaceful, spent largely in Rome and in seclusion in his villas on the island of Capri. He died in A.D. 37 at the age of seventy-eight.

From the age of four Tiberius had lived in the shadow of Augustus, and his gold and silver coinage concentrates almost exclusively on his relationship to his divine predecessor and other members of his family and on personifications of imperial virtues. The coins have none of the references to imperial achievements that had characterized the coinage of Augustus. Even his portrait shows strong Augustan influence, probably another way of emphasizing the relationship and the legitimacy of his succession. The hairstyle, with its locks combed down on the forehead, is very similar, as is the general idealized quality. He differs from Augustus, however, in his broad forehead and very large eyes, noted by the biographer Suetonius (Tiberius, 68).

The reverse depicts a seated figure, sometimes identifed as Tiberius' mother Livia and sometimes as Pax, the personification of peace, with her standard attributes, a scepter and palm branch.


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