Reproduction Denarius of Julius Caesar - Elephant
Obverse: Elephant walking right, trampling on horned serpent. CAESAR in exergue.
Reverse: Priestly implements, emblems of the pontificate: simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), securis with wolf's head at the top (axe) and apex (priest's hat).
History: The original coin was minted between 49-48 BC and was the first coin struck in the name of Julius Caesar.
All of Caesar's military expeditions were costly ventures, and the Civil War (49-45) was no exception. To pay his troops, who had been promised substantial payment for their fidelity and sacrifice, Caesar set about minting the so-called 'elephant denarii'. These coins possess huge historical importance as they were minted by Caesar to pay his troops, to fight the Civil War against Pompey that led to the collapse of the Roman Republic and the establishment of the Roman Empire.
An elephant is depicted on the obverse, approaching a snake at full tilt, on the cusp of trampling it. The Romans regarded these two animals as eternal foes. By assuming the form of the dominant and noble elephant, and portraying Pompey as the snake, Caesar was bolstering his claim to rightful authority.
The reverse features various priestly implements, explicit reminders that Caesar was the Pontifex Maximus, the most important role in the ancient Roman religion.
Date: Military mint traveling with Caesar Circa 49-48 BC