Denarius of Caesar

This coin was struck between 49BCE to commemorate Julius Caesar’s successful wars in Gaul.

The elephant and serpent represent this success, while the second side (less obvious to the modern eye) shows the instruments used by Caesar in his position of Pontifex Maximus (head of religion).


Julius Caesar is the most famous Roman. Born in 100BCE, he rose to become, effectively, the first Roman emperor (though that title was reserved for his grand-nephew, Octavian/ Augustus), but was murdered by his enemies in 44BCE.

Caesar’s accomplishments are great and many, but he best remembered for conquering the Gallic tribes, making two expeditions to the previously little-known island of Britannia, and establishing the rule of the empire by one man.

In this last endeavour, he over-reached himself; to rule Rome, he had to bypass the ‘democratic’ bodies of the Republic, and in doing so he outraged many members of the senate. It was a group of senators, ostensibly seeking to restore the Republic which Caesar had destroyed, who conspired to stab him to death near the Theatre of Pompey in Rome.

After this event, pandemonium ensued…