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Clodius Macer
Denarius, struck 68 AD in Carthage (?).
Obv.: L CLODIVS MACER / S C, bare head of Clodius Macer r.
Rev.: PRO / PRAE / AFRICAE, war-ship r., with 13 oars and 5 oarsmen
RIC² 37 (R5); Hewitt pl. 13, 55
Picture: Numismatica Ars Classica

 Romanatic-ID: 1650

Simon Wieland

19:23:37, 08.02.2009
Note by Numismatica Ars Classica:
The rebellion of Clodius Macer in North Africa was sparked at a time when the last thing Nero desired was more bad news. He had just overcome the uprising of Vindex in Gaul only to learn of the more formidable insurrection of Galba in Spain. The revolts showed that Nero’s dismissive and callous treatment of his governors and administrators in the provinces would not pass without consequences. Of all the coinages from this civil war, those of Clodius Macer are the most inventive. It is remarkable that he uses the formulaic abbreviation S C (senatus consulto) on his denarii, for this abbreviation otherwise had not appeared on Roman silver coins since about 40 B.C. We may take this and his decision to portray himself without a laurel wreath or a diadem as evidence that he wished to portray his revolt as being against Nero, not the senate. Most coins of his contemporaries cling to the predictable themes of loyalty, unity, recovery and victory, but Macer’s are restorative, recalling an event of precisely a century before: the battle of Actium in 31 B.C. Macer must have thought it no mere coincidence – but rather an omen – that Rome’s new revolutionary war was being waged in the centenary year of Actium, the battle that for all intensive purposes had ended Rome’s previous civil war. The reverse of this denarius is copied from the obverse of Marc Antony’s famous legionary coinage, of which the denarii were still to be commonly seen in circulation. Furthermore, another of Macer’s coins replicates the reverse of Antony’s legionary coinage by depicting a legionary eagle between two standards. He was careful in his reproductions, for he even followed the arrangement of the inscriptions on Antony’s originals: the obverse, with the war galley, had borne Antony’s personal inscriptions, and the reverse, with the standards, had borne the names of various legions and specialized units. With Macer’s versions the galley design bears his personal inscription (identifying himself as the legatus Augusti propraetore of Africa), and the eagle-and-standards type bears the names of two legions under his control, the Legion I Macriana and the Legion III Augusta.