ROMAN EMPIRE Caligula 37-41 AD brass sestertius


ROMAN EMPIRE, Caligula, 37-41 AD, sestertius, no date (40-41 AD), Rome mint, Obverse: Pietas seated L, CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS P M TR POT PIETAS, Reverse: Caligula sacrificing bull before temple, DIVO AVG SC, brass, 35mm, 24.97g, RIC36, pitted, cleaned, VG

1 in stock

SKU: 18919073


Caligula (Gaius, Caius, Caeus) became Emperor when Tiberius died. Tiberius had killed the rest of his family. Why he allowed Gaius to live is not known. The first few months of his reign were mostly beneficient and happy. After an illness (or poisoning) he became increasingly erratic, violent, vindictive, megalomanic, etc. He was murdered by a faction of his guards, who acclaimed his uncle Claudius.

In the Imperial Period Roman coinage became an engine for governmental propaganda. All of the themes of the coins are celebratory of some aspect of govermental authority or achievement.

The Roman Republic was founded in response to tyrannical kings. It functioned for several centuries in a kind of balance of rich and poor people (slaves didn’t count). The general idea was that laws would constrain personal power. During the days of Julius Caesar, et al, powerful people became too powerful, and a new system of slightly constrained autocracy, the Empire, developed. The main catalog we use on this web site for Roman coins is Roman Coins and their Values, by David Sear.

Ancient Coins includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.