Augustus (27 BC-14 AD). Ar Denarius. Tarpeia’s reward. Rare.


Augustus (27 BC-14 AD). Ar Denarius. 19 mm. 3.4 gm. Petronius Turpilianus, moneyer. Rome. Obv: CAESAR AVGVSTVS. Bare head right. Rev: TVRPILIANVS III VIR. Tarpeia standing facing, both hands raised, buried to her waist in shields. RIC I 299. Rare. According to Roman legend, Tarpeia was a Vestal Virgin who betrayed the city to the Sabines when they were attempting to rescue their wives and daughters. Her price for betraying Rome was what the Sabine soldiers wore on their left arms, (their gold bracelets), but the Sabines, so offended by Tarpeia’s greed and treason, took her request literally and crushed her under the weight of their shields.