(ORDO NEWS) — On May 30, 2022 in Zurich (Switzerland) a wonderful artifact related to the last days of the collapse of the Roman Republic will be put up for auction. It is expected to sell for an impressive amount of money, possibly up to $2 million.
This is an ultra-rare gold coin that was minted in 42 BC, just two years after the assassination of legendary Roman leader Julius Caesar. In fact, this coin was minted specifically to commemorate this infamous act on the orders of those responsible for orchestrating the conspiracy that led to Caesar’s death.
“It’s priceless, but it still has a price tag,” Arturo Russo, managing director of auction house Numismatica Ars Classica, told Bloomberg in March after his employer agreed to put the coin up for sale for the first time.
“To have a coin dedicated to such a famous event, such a famous event, an event that completely changed the course of history, is quite unusual.”
Only three coins left commemorating the assassination of Julius Caesar
This coveted golden artifact is known as the Id Mar or Ides of March coin, and is one of only three coins of this type in existence in the world.
One of two other Eid Mar gold coins was sold two years ago in London for a staggering $3.5 million (£2.78 million), showing just how valuable these artifacts are to collectors fascinated by the culture and history of ancient Rome.
The Roman coin, which will be auctioned off in Switzerland, has been in the British Museum for the past 10 years after it was borrowed from a private collector. Now this man has decided to put the coin up for sale on the international antiquities market, which is perhaps not surprising given the premium price such an exhibit can currently command.
The head of the Id Mar coins features a portrait of Brutus (Marcus Junius Brutus), a Roman senator who was one of the two main masterminds of the conspiracy that led to the assassination of Julius Caesar.
On the reverse, or tail, side, two daggers are engraved, depicting Brutus and the other main organizer of the assassination plan, Cassius (Gaius Cassius Longinus).
This side also features a pileus, a felt cap worn by freed slaves in Roman times. This was supposed to symbolize the liberation of the Roman people from the authoritarian rule of the would-be emperor Caesar, who, shortly before his assassination, declared himself “dictator for life.”
The coins were made in a very interesting way. Instead of being minted at a state mint in a specific location, they were made by an itinerant coiner who accompanied Brutus and Cassius as they led their armies into battle during the civil war that erupted after the assassination of Julius Caesar.
A tiny hole was drilled into the top of the coin, which revealed that it was a medallion worn around the neck. Historians speculate that it may have been worn by Brutus or Cassius to express their pride in what they saw as a necessary act to protect the Roman Republic from the illicit designs of a power-hungry tyrant.
The assassins of Julius Caesar and their inevitable fall
The assassination of Julius Caesar by a group of over 60 Roman senators is considered the most famous act of political betrayal in the history of Western civilization.
But those who participated in the assassination of Caesar were apparently convinced that they were doing the right thing and that they were acting in accordance with the wishes of the Roman people.
But the people did not welcome their supposed liberation from tyranny. For the most part, the Roman public despised the senators for what they had done.
The lower classes, in particular, had great confidence in Caesar, who was considered a man of the people, despite his obvious interest in absolute power. He was certainly trusted and respected far more than the wealthy elite who plotted to assassinate him.
It should be noted that Roman senators were not popularly elected, but held their positions on the basis of their aristocratic status.
After the death of its leader, the Republic quickly fell into chaos and disorder, and the rivalry between the treacherous senators and Caesar’s main political allies was so intense that it led to civil war.
Between 44 and 42 B.C. a huge army under the command of Brutus and Cassius fought against the forces of the Second Triumvirate, an influential coalition of three important figures who remained faithful to the memory of the deceased Julius Caesar: the Roman generals Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, and Caesar’s great-nephew (and posthumously adopted son) Gaius Octavia (Octaviana). The latter was Caesar’s choice to succeed him, as he detailed in his will.
Brutus and Cassius had access to a huge military force. But they and their accomplices misjudged the will of the people, and their army ended up being unable to resist the highly motivated forces that fought to avenge Caesar’s memory and restore political power to the Caesarian party.
Octavian and Mark Antony later fought for control of Rome during another civil war, and after a decisive victory in this conflict, Octavian became Rome’s first true emperor (under the name Augustus Caesar) in 27 BC.
An assassination plot conceived by Brutus and Cassius and their subsequent military campaign to seize power over the Roman Republic proved futile.
They did not achieve their goals, which were conceived on the basis of a misunderstanding of Roman public opinion and an overestimation of their own ability to influence the course of future events.
However, these two men and their co-conspirators were confident that they had acted righteously and that history would rank them as true liberators and heroes.
It was in this context that they ordered the minting of coins commemorating their assassination of Julius Caesar, no doubt thinking that these coins would be highly valued for decades, if not centuries.
It was a false and illusory hope, and if these coins are now coveted, it is only because of their association with one of the most unseemly acts in history.
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