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Research Coins: Affiliated Auction

Sale: Nomos 9, Lot: 210. Estimate CHF30000. 
Closing Date: Monday, 20 October 2014. 
Sold For CHF27000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Quintus Labienus, early BC 40. Denarius (Silver, 18mm, 3.57 g 5), uncertain mint in Syria or in southeastern Asia Minor. Q.LABIENVS.PARTHICVS.IMP Bare head of Labienus to right. Rev. Bridled and saddled horse standing to right, with quiver hanging from the saddle. Crawford 524/2. CRI 341. Hersh 15 (dies F/13). Sydenham 1357. Very rare and desirable, with a fine portrait. Lightly porous surfaces and with a very minor flan crack, otherwise, nearly extremely fine.

The story of Labienus is well-known since he was one of the last of the Republican partisans to be killed by the forces of Antony and Octavian. He was, in addition, considered to be not only a rebel but a traitor as well: he had been sent to Parthia by Brutus and Cassius as their ambassador, but after their deaths at Philippi he joined the Parthians, who were Rome’s traditional enemies. When the Parthians invaded the Roman East in 40 BC Labienus served Pacorus (son of king Orodes II), who was one of Parthia’s most successful generals, and was initially very successful. At the time Antony was preoccupied with Cleopatra, thus allowing the Parthian forces, allied with disaffected Roman troops, to capture most of the Levant and much of Asia Minor. In 39 BC a strong counterattack by Ventidius Bassus resulted in the defeat and death of Labienus; Pacorus was killed in the following year.