Roman Republic Denar of Quintus Labienus Parthicus, 40 BC

Denar of Quintus Labienus Parthicus, 40 BC ©Bundesbank
Quintus Labienus belonged to the immediate circle of Brutus, one of the assassins of Julius Caesar. As a loyal follower of Brutus, he was sent to serve as ambassador to the court of Orodes, king of the Parthians, in order to beg support for the republican cause against Octavian and Antony. After the defeat of Caesar’s murderers at the Battle of Philippi in the autumn of 42 BC, however, Labienus suddenly found himself in the position of not being able to return to the territories of the Roman Empire. He joined the Parthians, placing himself at the head of an invading army and, during his campaign of conquest in Asia Minor, had gold and silver coins minted. For the obverse of the coins, he chose his own portrait in direct imitation of Brutus and, indirectly, Caesar, with the edge inscription "Q. Labienus Parthicus Imp". The reverse shows a bridled and saddled horse with a carrier for a bow and arrows. The coins were intended as payment for the Roman soldiers who had defected to Labienus and the Parthians. In 39 BC, Labienus was defeated in the Taurus mountains in a Roman counterattack under the legate sent by Mark Antony, Publius Ventidius Bassus. Labienus was subsequently captured in Cilicia, where he had found refuge, and executed.

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