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Tiberius Denarius


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I haven't posted this coin yet on my website because I have a lot more to say about it and the person on the coin but I thought I would show it here since I have an image of it now. It is another example of me having waited until I could fine what I feel is a superior example of a coin type I wanted. Anyone who knows me knows I look for fine example of portraits on my Roman coins and IMO, this one is exceptional:






Tiberius 14-37 A.D.


AR Denarius 16 A.D. Lugdunum


Laureate head right / Livia seated right on chair with ornate legs, single line floor, holding long scepter and Olive branch


weight 3.58 g


reference RIC 30 BMC 48 RCV 1763


TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS (Tiberius Caesar Divi Augusti Filius Augustus) - Tiberius Caesar Son of the Divine Augustus Augustus. This is the name of the Emperor Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus commonly referred to as just Tiberius.


PONTIF MAXIM (Pontifex Maximus) - Greatest Pontiff. referring to his position as the head of the college of priest of the roman religion.


The obverse of the coin depicts Tiberius (Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus, born Tiberius Claudius Nero), the second Emperor of Rome. The obverse inscription is his name as it was after the death of his adopted father Augustus and shows his connection to the the Julian line. With Augustus he is connected to his adopted father, the first emperor of Rome and with the name Caesar his connection to Julius Caesar through his adopted fathers adopted father .With Divi Augustus Filius the fact that he is the son of a God.


Depicted on the reverse is Livia Drusilla (Julia Augusta) wife of Augustus and mother to Tiberius by her first husband, Tiberius Claudius Nero. Livia is the link between the Julian and Claudian families that gave their names to the founding imperial Julio-Claudian dynasty. Livia was Augustus's third wife and he was her second husband. She was from an old and distinguished family who exercised great influence over Augustus and even more so Tiberius.


Minted early in his reign, this coin is often identified (whether correctly or incorrectly) as the so called Tribute Penny mentioned in in the bible.


Mark 12:14 "...Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?"

Mark 12:15 "...bring me a penny, that I may see it"

Mark 12:16 "...And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's."

Mark 12:17 "...Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."


The coin mentioned in the bible may certainly have been a denarius of Tiberius, it also could have been Augustus. The coin could have been a denarius but it could very have been another type of coin, or another type of denarius. The simple fact is there is just no way of knowing what exact coin type he held or who exactly was on it. There is, however, no doubt that if any of the commonly estimated years given for the birth and death of Jesus are correct, Tiberius was certainly in power at this time. Tiberius would have been nearing the end of a long 22 year rule that began when Jesus was most likely in his teens.

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