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Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, an interesting later Roman figure.


Nerosmyfavorite68
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Gosh, I haven't tuned into the History Channel for ages (remember when it was cool, c. 2000?), but I tuned into the Colosseum, "The Pagan". According to the History Channel, Quintus Aurelius Symmachus renovated the Flavian Amphitheatre and staged games in 401 AD.  The same games where Telemachus, saint or fun-snatcher, depending on one's point of view, intervened to stop the gladiatorial combat.  Honorius banned gladiatorial combat soon afterwards.  

I've always been fascinated by the very late pagans (350 onwards), a very obscure subject. No one seems to give much notice to the later pagans.

However, wikipedia claims said games were either staged in 391 or 404.  Which is correct; 391, 401, 404 or none of the above? 

Possibly through a coincidence, the History Channel at least made some effort to make the actor look at least somewhat like Symmachus, if the triptych pictured at wikipedia is indeed Symmachus.  Commodus, on the other hand, didn't even sport a beard!

The episode did succeed in making me sympathetic towards Symmachus and also of making me want a siliqua (although no specific coins were shown) from the mint of Rome.  Priscus Attalus minted there so one would think there would be some Roman siliquae minted between 390-410.  I don't recall ever seeing any on vcoins. About 85% of the western offerings are from Trier.

Feel free to post any siliquae from Eugenius, Honorius or any from the city of Rome. Priscus Attalus is always welcome!

1628756567_ArcadiusTrierSiliquaforID.jpg.81aa8aa6854fffd124d66ca1d82236ad.jpg

 I'm told that this issue of Arcadius may have been minted during the time of Eugenius, which is about as close to Eugenius as I'll get for a while.

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4 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Commodus, on the other hand, didn't even sport a beard!

That's a lovely siliqua, @Nerosmyfavorite68! I'm afraid I have no siliquae at all, much less from this era. Your complaint about how Commodus was portrayed brings up a general point about historical drama that is a pet peeve of mine.

This isn't as egregious as portraying Marcus Aurelius as a very old man or Commodus killing his father, or Commodus as clean-shaven, but it makes me cringe when I see characters that look absolutely nothing like the historical figures.

Here's Ella Becroft playing Crispina in "Roman Empire: Reign of Blood." I wish the producers of the series would have paid closer attention to reproducing Crispina's actual hairstyle, though. They could have at least styled this actress' hair in a bun.


[IMG][IMG]

Here's the real Crispina coiffure:

Crispina IVNO LVCINAE As.jpg
 
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8 hours ago, Nerosmyfavorite68 said:

Gosh, I haven't tuned into the History Channel for ages (remember when it was cool, c. 2000?), but I tuned into the Colosseum, "The Pagan". According to the History Channel, Quintus Aurelius Symmachus renovated the Flavian Amphitheatre and staged games in 401 AD.  The same games where Telemachus, saint or fun-snatcher, depending one one's point of view, intervened to stop the gladiatorial combat.  Honorius banned gladiatorial combat soon afterwards.  

I've always been fascinated by the very late pagans (350 onwards), a very obscure subject. No one seems to give much notice to the later pagans.

However, wikipedia claims said games were either staged in 391 or 404.  Which is correct; 391, 401, 404 or none of the above? 

Possibly through a coincidence, the History Channel at least made some effort to make the actor look at least somewhat like Symmachus, if the triptych pictured at wikipedia is indeed Symmachus.  Commodus, on the other hand, didn't even sport a beard!

The episode did succeed in making me sympathetic towards Symmachus and also of making me want a siliqua (although no specific coins were shown) from the mint of Rome.  Priscus Attalus minted there so one would think there would be some Roman siliquae minted between 390-410.  I don't recall ever seeing any on vcoins. About 85% of the western offerings are from Trier.

Feel free to post any siliquae from Eugenius, Honorius or any from the city of Rome. Priscus Attalus is always welcome!

1628756567_ArcadiusTrierSiliquaforID.jpg.81aa8aa6854fffd124d66ca1d82236ad.jpg

 I'm told that this issue of Arcadius may have been minted during the time of Eugenius, which is about as close to Eugenius as I'll get for a while. 

Interesting, I’ll have to check that series out one day. A major reason for Christianity overcoming “paganism” is simply due to the former being more attractive an ideology than the latter. This, along with Christianity’s missionary work which was unheard of in the ancient world, allowed it to take off exponentially. A good example of this explosive growth is in 250 A.D the population of Romans who were Christian was about 2%, yet in 310 it was around 10%. By the time of Constantine’s death in 337, Christians composed roughly 40% of the population of the Roman Empire. Fast forward 40 years, and you hear about large numbers of abandoned pagan temples being repurposed as churches or torn down for building material, in Gaul. It’s probably not a stretch to say Christianity composed something in the order of 80% + of the population of the empire by the year 400.

Also, feel free for anyone to correct me, but I believe that Constantine I was the last Roman Emperor to be born into the Greco-Roman religions. After him every other Emperor would be born into a Christian household. 
 

Anyhow, here is my Honorius siliqua from around 407 A.D. 

image.jpeg.df87374f2964f5ebf292a1684b3c989a.jpeg
Honorius AR Siliqua Minted 407-408 AD

1.29 Grams

18mm

Rome mint

Edited by Magnus Maximus
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I'd like to see a show where the emperors look as they do on siliquae 🤣

Honorius Siliqua, 407-408
image.png.7776633e90ce0dd5949d6d498ba6306c.pngRome. Silver, 1.06g. Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; D N HONORIVS P F AVG. Roma seated left on cuirass holding Victory on globe and resting on spear; VIRTVS ROMANORVM; mintmark RM PS in exergue (RIC X, 1267). Found Cambridgeshire.

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Eugenius Siliqua, 392-394
image.png.b04283fd7cf627f3322dabd5ddd006e2.pngTrier. Silver, 1.72g. Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; D N EVGENI-VS P F AVG. Roma seated left on cuirass, holding reversed spear and Victoriola on globe; VIRTVS RO-MANORVM; TR PS in exergue (RIC IX, 106(d); Ghey 78, this coin). From the Vale of Pewsey Hoard 2020, Portable Antiquities Scheme: BM-7D34D9.

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I watched the show and typically the channel has nothing interesting at all so it was kind of remarkable. It mentioned that the cost of the beasts was in the hundreds of thousands of sesterces but by Symmachus time that was a non sequitur. Anyway the episode "Beastmaster" was good and covered the depopulation of African animals for the games estimating that over a million beasts were killed in the coliseum. Of course the famed Sicilian mosaic from the time of Maximian showing the gathering of animals was shown...

Edited by Ancient Coin Hunter
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Nice Eugenius.  He's on my numismatic bucket list.

The only semi-rare usurper I have from the period is this:

748161545_Johannes-423-425-AVTremissis-Ravenna-1.27gRIC1904exHJB.jpg.a4cbc7c968e02e1e06146e55b8db8dbd.jpg

From one of my coin photography experiments, still a work in progress.  That was what it cost in the year Men in Black came out (1998?).

I've always wondered about Honorius; did he have a medical condition and was sub-normal mentally, or was he just a pampered non-entity, not up to the gargantuan task?

One has to take ancient historians with a grain of salt but I remember years ago reading that Honorius wept when he was told that Roma had fallen, for he thought it was his pet cock (chicken) being referred to.

One has to imagine that either Eugenius or Johannes would have been better than the Theodosians; they could hardly have been worse.  However, the Theodosian walls were constructed during Theodosius II's reign, with far-lasting (good) consequences. 

I don't think even the most remarkable emperor could have delayed the fall of the west by more than a couple of decades.  Had the invasion of 468 been a smashing success, the Eastern empire might have retained Africa but everywhere else was just too far gone.

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