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Julius Caesar claimed descent from Venus on coin

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A coin with an interesting story was featured in Heritage’s Feb. 11 Weekly World and Ancient Coin Auction. The coin was an aUNC silver denarius struck on orders from Julius Caesar by a mobile military mint in North Africa, 46-47 B.C.E. It sold for $1,057.50.

Denarius of Julius Caesar

Denarius of Julius Caesar

The coin’s obverse features the diademed head of Venus. The reverse shows Aeneas holding the Palladium with Anchises on his shoulder.

The story linking all three is told in the Aeneid. Venus was famed for her roving eye. One day that eye fell upon the handsome Anchises, Prince of Dardania. Venus promptly transformed into a Phrygian princess and seduced the young man. Subsequently she found herself pregnant.

Anchises knew nothing of this consequence until the goddess appeared nine months later to present him with his son, Aeneas. She warned Anchises not to brag about his prowess but he could not resist. He promptly copped a thunderbolt from Venus’s father, Jupiter. This left him permanently crippled.

World coin collectors will want to check out the Chicago International Coin Fair, held April 15th to the 17th.

World coin collectors will want to check out the Chicago International Coin Fair, held April 15th to the 17th.

Aeneas grew into a standard issue demigod, strong and good looking like his dad. He fought for the Trojans against the Greeks. When the city was lost he carried his lame father from the flames, along with his son, Ascanius, and the statue of Pallas Athena, the Palladium.

The trio joined-up with other Trojan survivors in Italy. Caesar’s extended family, the Julians, regarded themselves as direct descendants of Aeneas with Venus their divine ancestress.

This article was originally printed in World Coin News.
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More Collecting Resources
• Come on down to the Chicago International Coin Fair in Rosemont, Ill. on April 14 to 17, 2016 to see impressive world coins, meet new collectors and participate in Heritage Auction’s fantastic coin auction.
• The Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1801-1900, 8th Edition is your guide to images, prices and information on the century's coins.