Domitius Calvinus (Proconsul and Imperator in Spain 39 - 36 BC)

Gneus Domitius Calvinus was a Roman general, senator and consul (in 53 and 40 BC) who was a loyal partisan of Caesar and Octavianus. He came from a noble family and was elected consul in 53 BC, despite a notorious electoral scandal. He took Caesar’s side during the Civil War against Pompey. At the decisive battle of Pharsalus he commanded the centre of Caesar’s army. After the battle he became governor of Asia. He tried to oppose the invasion by Pharnaces, king of Bosphorus, who had used the occasion of the Roman civil war to invade the province of Pontus. However he suffered a crushing defeat at the battle of Nicopolis in Armenia in December 48 BC. Direct intervention by Caesar brought a quick end to the war, and Pharnaces’ army was annihilated at Zela in 47 BC. Despite this failure, he remained a trusted friend of Caesar. In 43 BC he was a strong supporter of Octavianus and participated in the war against Brutus and Cassius. During the Philippi campaign in 42 BC, he had to bring reinforcements from Italy to Greece for the army of Mark Antony and Octavianus; but his fleet was destroyed by the enemy in the Ionian Sea with the loss of two legions. Despite this defeat, he was awarded the honour of a second consulship in 40 BC and sent by Octavianus as governor of Spain, where he remained 3 years (39-36 BC). Apparently, his military activities in Spain achieved success, since on his return he was awarded a triumph and saluted as imperator by his troops. He also rebuilt the Regia in the Roman Forum. Although we have no details of his further political activities, an inscription shows that in 20 BC he was still alive and a member of the important Arval Brethren priesthood.

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Domitius Calvinus 005886

Domitius Calvinus 'OSCA' Denarius
Silver, 3.23 grams, 18.43 mm. Osca, Spain 39 BC. Obverse: OSCA, bare male head right, with short curly hair and close beard. Reverse: DOM COS ITER IMP, simpulum, sprinkler, axe, and apex (emblems of the pontificate). RRC 532/1; CRI 342; BMCRRE Spain 109; RCV 1524. Flan crack, otherwise good fine condition. Very rare Proconsul and Imperator coin.

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Domitius Calvinus 005886

Main Roman Coin Book and Other References:

RIC = Mattingly, Harold    The Roman Imperial Coinage
BMC = Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum
RSC = Seaby, H A    Roman Silver Coinage
RCV = Sear, David R    Roman Coins and Their Values
Cr = Crawford, Michael    The Roman Republican Coinage
SB = Sear, David R    Byzantine Coins and Their Values
S = Coins of England and the United Kingdom
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