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Important Roman Rarity
Quintus Labienus


The Republicans. Labienus. Early 40 BC. AR Denarius (20mm, 3.80 g, 5h). Uncertain mint in Syria or southeastern Asia Minor. Bare head right; Q • LABIENVS PARTHICVS • IMP around / Horse standing right on ground line, wearing saddle with quiver attached and bridle. Crawford 524/2; Hersh 21 (dies G/18); CRI 341; RSC 2; Sydenham 1357; RBW 1809. Toned. Near EF. Well centered and struck. One of the great rarities in the Roman Imperatorial series.

Quintus Labienus’ father, a loyal Republican despite his distinguished service to Caesar in Gaul, died at the battle of Munda in 45 BC. His son joined the Republican cause and was sent to Persia to negotiate a pact of assistance with Orodes I, remaining at the Parthian court after the defeat of Brutus and Cassius in 42 BC. Orodes, concerned about the growing Roman presence in Asia and learning of growing dissatisfaction in the provinces, sent his son Pacorus and a large and heavily armored cavalry force with Labienus on an invasion of Syria in 40 BC. Labienus quickly subdued Syria and Cilicia and sent forces into Lycia and Caria before Ventidius Bassus arrived from Greece with eleven legions. Labienus and his allies were driven back to Cilicia, where the Parthian cavalry was routed at Mt. Taurus and Labienus was killed. Labienus, the last of the Republicans, died a traitor to Rome, and all but a handful of his coinage was melted down after his defeat.