The legions of Mark Antony were coined with the silver provided by Cleopatra in her quest to conquer Rome and place her son with Julius Caesar on the throne. These coins were struck for the battle of Actium in 31 BC. This was the battle that officially the Roman Republic and gave birth to Imperial Rome with the victory of Octavian/Augustus over Antony and Cleopatra. As part of Antony’s propaganda war, he issued coins for every legion he had and then some in an effort to project that he had more support than Octavian.
These coins reveal that Cleopatra’s motives behind her manipulation of Mark Antony were to create a proxy war using his legions to create a civil war in hopes of taking Rome in retribution for their conquest of the Greeks. Cleopatra was cunning, highly intelligent, and very manipulative. She was neither a black African nor some love-sick fool just following her heart. She funded Antony’s entire army, and the coinage she produced to pay the troops with the wealth of Egypt became 20% of the money supply of Rome even 100 years later. The coinage produced, known as Antony’s legionary denarii, was in themselves issued for propaganda purposes in times of war to impress Romans that Antony was well-funded and well-supported.