Lucius Sestius’ coin


In 43 BC, Lucius Sestius was travelling through Asia with Marcus Junius Brutus the assassin of Julius Caesar. Brutus and his fellow assassin Cassius Longinus were busy raising troops and money for the battle they knew would come: back in Rome, Caesar’s heir Octavian had declared them to be enemies of that state. The young Lucius had the job of overseeing a travelling mint, turning out coins to pay the troops and spread Brutus’ message.

On the reverse of the coin, Brutus uses his adoptive name Q. Caepio Brutus (he was adopted as a child by his uncle Quintus Servilius Caepio). The letters PRO COS remind everyone that he had been made proconsul of Asia by the Senate before Octavian had gained office.

The head is of the deified Liberty, reminding everyone that Brutus and Cassius called themselves “Liberators” of Rome. The objects on the other face of the coin are associated with the ritual of sacrifice, an axe, a tripod, and a cup. By sacrificing Caesar, who was was acting more and more like a tyrant, Brutus and Cassius were claiming to have liberated Rome.

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