Some define it as the Holy Grail in numismatics, for others it is just an investment, for others it is the bloody steam cut in praise of the most dramatic scene in Roman history.
One of the most famous coins of the ancient world Eid Mar, in its gold version (aureus) will be sold at auction in Switzerland in late May.
The precious piece of metal was cut by order of Mark Junius Brutus, who went down in history as the traitor who organized the assassination of Julius Caesar on March 15, 44 BC, reports “Standard”.
The extremely rare gold coin has been on display at the British Museum for the past ten years, rented by a private collector whose name is kept secret. This is not the first time that the same Eid Mar has entered the famous museum. In 1932, numismatist Oscar Ravel was introduced there.
A plaster cast of the coin, made at the time, is still kept in the British Museum today. The valuable object was also prominent during the exhibition “Shakespeare: Staging the World” (Shakespeare: Staging the World) for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In addition to the Eid Mar aureus in the British Museum, there are two other gold variants from antiquity – one in the collection of the Deutsche Bundesbank (Central Bank of Germany) and another that sold for a record for a Roman coin 4 = 2 million. dollars at a numismatic auction in 2020
Aureus Eid Mar is the more valuable option, and the lighter (about 2 grams) and silver-carved denarius is more common, but it is also very expensive and cherished by numismatists around the world.
On one side of the coin is a portrait of Brutus with the Latin inscription BRVT IMP, which marks him as a recognized military winner. On the opposite side are two daggers representing Brutus and Cassius, as well as a pylos (in Latin Pileus), known as the “hat of freedom” (symbol of the freed from slavery in ancient Rome).
This particular aureus is overvalued because of another feature of it. It has a hole drilled just above Brutus’ head to be worn around the neck. At the same time, there is a high probability that a high-ranking participant in the conspiracy against Caesar was showing off with him, even if one of the senators personally pierced the dictator.
The coin is estimated at about 750,000 Swiss francs in advance, which is equivalent to nearly 820,000 dollars, but according to auction experts, it is likely to reach a higher value. And there’s no way it can’t happen, because it’s undoubtedly one of the most intriguing coins on the market.
Not just a piece of precious metal, but almost a fantastic part of history, an incredible document that survived more than 2,000 years to take us back to one of the most dramatic events of antiquity, writes the newspaper Standard.
Everyone already knows that “And you, Brutus?” (Et tu, Brute?) Is not the last thing in the world that Caesar said, but only a line brilliantly used by William Shakespeare in his play Julius Caesar. There is no evidence that the great general said anything while dying pierced by the daggers of traitors.
A century and a half after the landmark event, the Roman historian Suetonius claims that Caesar said nothing, but there were witnesses to the contrary.
According to them, the last words of the dictator Kai su, teknon (from Greek), which translates as “And you, child” or “And you, young man”, were addressed to Brutus. There is a version that teknon is an insulting address to a child or young person, ie. it may sound, say: And you, pickle? And in Shakespeare’s case, this is not the last line of the hero, there he dies, saying: “Death, then come!”.
Another Roman historian, Plutarch, wrote that after the assassination, Brutus stepped forward to say something to his fellow senators, but they fled the building. Brutus and his companions pass through the Capitol and declare, “Romans, we are free again!”, But the inhabitants of the Eternal City respond in silence.
Murder of a tyrant or ugly betrayal?
The assassination of Gaius Julius Caesar, committed by the March Ides (March 15) in 44 BC, is the result of a conspiracy led by Mark Junius Brutus and Gaius Cassius Longinus. It is noteworthy that Brutus undertakes the ugly task, although he is the son of Caesar’s longtime mistress – Servilia, and is one of the people close to the general.
In history to this day, he is destined for the fate of a controversial figure – on the one hand a fighter for freedom, and on the other – the most heinous of traitors. Brutus was born around 85 BC, a child of the union between two of the most prominent families in ancient Rome – the Uniates, of whom his father was Mark Junius Brutus the Elder, and the Serviles – his mother’s family.
Was he the illegitimate son of Caesar?
Brutus became a protégé of the famous senator and defender of the republic Cato the Younger, married his daughter Portia. As a quaestor (treasurer) in the Brutus provinces, he amassed wealth through high interest rates on loans and extortion of debtors using the army.
When dictator Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon on January 10, 49 BC. and immerses the republic in a civil war, Brutus faces a dilemma: whether to support his friend (and his mother’s lover) Caesar or the republican cause embodied by his benefactor Cato, but currently embodied by his father’s assassin Pompey.
Hating Pompey, Brutus nevertheless chose to side with him and joined the Republicans in exile in Greece in the mid-49s BC. After Pompey’s defeat at Pharsalus the following year, Brutus was pardoned by Caesar. He supported him and then won very strong positions in the ranks of the dictator, which led to rumors that Brutus was, in fact, the illegitimate son of Caesar.
However, Caesar’s appetite for power led Brutus to fear for the fate of his beloved republic. When his friend Guy Cassius Longinus invited him to join a conspiracy against Julius Caesar, Brutus readily accepted and became one of the main conspirators.
The battle against the Thracians made him emperor
At the March Ides (March 15) 44 BC. there is a session in the Senate at which Julius Caesar must set out plans for an impending invasion of the Party. The conspiratorial senators, led by Brutus and Cassius, surrounded Caesar and stabbed him to death in a fierce bloody scene (it is still debated how many assassins there were, how many times each of them stabbed the dictator and how many of them also suffered). They are, of course, expected to be hailed as liberators, but the Romans are horrified by Caesar’s assassination and even demand that the perpetrators be punished.
Brutus left Rome in April, barely avoiding a lynching from the crowd. He went to Cassius in Macedonia, where they built their republican base to wage war against the legions of the successors of Caesar, Mark Antony and Octavian.
A successful campaign against one of the most rebellious Thracians – the Bessi, won him the title of emperor (imperator – the highest military position in republican Rome). He then began minting coins to pay his growing army.
Brutus’ legacy on gold and silver
The early coinage, started by Brutus, follows traditional themes, but in the last stage, when Eid Mar’s were produced in the middle of 42 BC, an old republican taboo was broken. Brutus places his own portrait on the obverse, combined with the pile between the daggers used to execute Caesar.
The irony here is palpable. Earlier, Julius Caesar minted his face on coins, worrying his opponents that he aspired to become king of Rome. Brutus follows the bad example, praising with his portrait the betrayal of Caesar on the iconic reverse side.
This thematic choice seems to be the last desperate act of disobedience at a time when the armies of the warring factions are meeting in the last clash in northern Greece – Brutus and Cassius against Mark Antony and Octavian.
And the final twist of fate is that Brutus used the same dagger he stabbed in Caesar to take his own life after the final defeat of his and Cassius’ troops in the second battle of Philippi on October 23, 42 BC. .
Denarii, and especially the Eur Mar aureus, are rare today, not only because of their remoteness, but also because they were collected and melted down by the victors Mark Antony and Octavian, who applied the ancient Roman tradition of erasing the memory of those forgotten by the Roman people – damnatio memoriae .
Whether aureus (gold) or denarius (silver), Eid Mar is undoubtedly the most important of all ancient coins – the only one from Roman times with a specific date (albeit only a day of the month), and the unique one that openly praises murder. Facts that increase their value with each passing century.