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Numismatic Representations of Kingship after the Ides of March

Liv YARROW (City University of New York)



In the last decades of the Roman Republic the Romans found themselves contemplating their own relationship to kingship both at home and abroad. What types of autocratic rule are to be celebrated and which to be despised and rejected? Does the conception of historic or foreign kingship change in relationship to one’s own present realities? Do Romans really despise autocrats or only certain ones? Unsurprisingly, this topic has come

under new scholarly scrutiny in the face of internal threats to modern republics such as the United States. This paper focuses on numismatic representations of the 50s and 40s BCE and reads them against contemporary and near contemporary texts. Arguably the three largest influences on the conceptions of kingship in 50s BCE are the Sullan dictatorship, the aftermath of the wars with Mithridates, and fears regarding Pompey’s ambitions. The reaction to the Caesar’s dictatorship and assassination on the coins has surprisingly minimal engagement with the concept of kingship in light of the trends of the 50s BCE. Besides the famous EID MAR coins of Brutus (RRC 508/3), types given particular focus in this paper include metaphoric use of the diadem on RRC 435/1, 505/3, and 507/2, as well as numerous depictions of legendary Roman kings and defeated enemy kings.


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Forum Antike


Nadine Franziska Riegler
Institut für Alte Geschichte