«money: a promise?»

Roman Republic, Aureus

 back

Roman Republic, Aureus (obverse) Roman Republic, Aureus (reverse)

Aulus Hirtius was a brother-in-arms of Julius Caesar, who from 49 to 45 BC waged a civil war against his rival Pompeius Magnus. In 46 BC, Hirtius issued a series of gold coins that was used for the pay of Caesar's legions. The obverse of these aurei depicted a goddess – either Pietas, the goddess of duty towards the state, or Vesta, whose cult secured the power of the Roman state. Which godess it might have been, Caesar announced with this image that he did by no means wage his war out of personal interests, but merely for the good of the Republic. The inscription C CAESAR COS TER reminded that Caesar held the office of a consul for the third time in 46 BC. The reverse illustrates priestly instruments – a lituus, the curved augurial staff, a pitcher, and an axe – which alluded to Caesar's function as pontifex maximus, as the highest priest of Rome.

 back