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Triumph of Tiberius


Tiberius. AD 14-37. AR Denarius (18.5mm, 3.77 g, 6h). Lugdunum (Lyon) mint. Struck AD 15-16. TI CΛESΛR DIVI ΛVG F ΛVGVSTVS, laureate head right / TR POT XVII, IMP VII in exergue, Tiberius driving triumphal quadriga right, holding eagle-tipped scepter and reins in left hand and branch in right. RIC I 4; Lyon 122 (unlisted dies); RSC 48; BMCRE 7-11; BN 5-8. Near EF, toned, minor die break on obverse. Rare type with a highly artistic portrait style.

Ex Classical Numismatic Group 99 (13 May 2015), lot 590; Numismatica Ars Classica 64 (17 May 2012), lot 1086.

A capable general, Tiberius campaigned long and hard in Dalmatia, Raetia and Germania over his 20-year military career. His stepfather Augustus showed little inclination to reward him, however, until the aftermath of the Varian disaster in AD 9, when Tiberius rushed north with newly raised legions to restore the situation. Bitter fighting over a two-year period stabilized the Rhine frontier, and Tiberius was able to return to Rome in AD 12 to receive a long-delayed Triumph. Suetonius described its conclusion:  "Before turning to enter the Capitol, he dismounted from his chariot and fell at the knees of his father (i.e. Augustus), who was presiding over the ceremonies." The scene of Tiberius in his triumphal quadriga was widely depicted on coins, gems, and other visual arts, helping to solidify his position as Augustus's heir.