(64) Augustus - AR denarius, 19 B.C., 3.72 g. (inv. 91.111).
Obverse: Bare head of Augustus r.; CAE[SAR AVG]VSTVS: Caesar Augustus.
Reverse: In round, domed temple with four columns, Mars standing l., wearing cloak and helmet and holding standard in r. and trophy over l. shoulder; MAR(TIS)-VLT(ORIS): of Mars Ultor.
Provenance: Coin Galleries, 1972.
Bibliography: C.H.V. Sutherland, The Roman Imperial Coinage I: from 31 BC to
AD 69, rev. ed. (London 1984) 68.The return in 20 B.C. of the Roman standards
captured by the Parthians (see no. 63) was a victory celebrated by Rome with
numerous honors for Augustus, although he refused the full military triumph
decreed by the Senate. The Senate nevertheless erected a triple triumphal arch
depicting the defeated Parthians and crowned with Augustus in a triumphal chariot.
The standards themselves were publicly displayed in a small temple built expressly
for the purpose and dedicated to Mars Ultor (Mars the Avenger). The standards
were usually depicted in the form of the standard for a legion, which consisted
of a pole with an eagle on top, although various divisions could also have their
own insignia, sometimes in the form of a vexillum or flag (see no. 63). The
reverse of this coin depicts one of the standards with its eagle held by the
cult statue of Mars in a round, domed structure representing the temple. In
his left hand he holds a trophy. No trace of the temple has been found.
Source: Bearers of Meaning: Bearers of Meaning: the Ottilia Buerger Collection of Ancient and Byzantine Coins at Lawrence University.