Augustus and Agrippa Æ As of Nemausus, Gaul. Circa AD 10-14. Heads of Agrippa and Augustus back to back, Agrippa wearing rostral crown and laurel wreath, facing left, Augustus laureate, facing right; IMP above, DIVI F below, P-P across lower fields / Chained crocodile right, palm frond upwards in centre, wreath to left of palm tip with long ties trailing to right; COL-NEM across fields. RPC I 525; RIC 159. 13.86g, 28mm, 5h.
Extremely Fine; an attractive brown patina with hints of red and green. In exceptional condition for the type.
Ex Osaka Collection, Hess-Divo AG, Auction 334, 29 May 2018, lot 92 (professionally cleaned and conserved since).
This artistically fascinating and typologically unique type refers directly to the victory of Octavian (as was) and Agrippa at Actium over the forces of Cleopatra VII and Marc Antony, and to the settlement of veterans in Nemausus. The crocodile, collared around the neck and chained to a palm on the reverse of this coin is a clear reference to the subjugation of Egypt, thus obliquely referring also to Antony and Cleopatra; the wreath above with ties fluttering in the breeze is a reminder that the war was both just and necessary, with the victory having brought about the deliverance and salvation of the Roman people and the state. It is noteworthy also that the portraits of Agrippa and Augustus on the obverse are presented on the same level and back to back, at once recalling the ancient Janiform types once so prevalent on the Roman coinage, and also presenting princeps and general as inseparable and heroic partners - the one adorned with a wreath of laurel, the other with a rostral wreath in recognition for his naval victories.