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Roman Republican Coin # 71: C. Servilius Vatia


DonnaML
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I've decided, with a certain amount of regret, that from now on I'll be posting my new Republican coin write-ups here, rather than in the other place. (I might or might not cross-post some of them there as well, for the benefit of anyone who hasn't migrated here.)

This is a rather common type, but I think the reverse has better details than the average examples I've seen.

Roman Republic, C. Servilius Vatia, AR Denarius, 127 BC. Obv. Head of Roma right wearing winged helmet with star on helmet’s neck-piece, triple-drop earring, and beaded necklace; below, ROMA; behind, lituus; under chin, mark of value (* = XVI ligate = 16 asses) / Rev. Horseman [M. Servilius Pulex Geminus, see fn.] with plumed helmet, cape flowing behind, and shield inscribed M on upper half, charging left and piercing with his spear another horseman fleeing left before him, but turning back towards first horseman with shield in right hand and sword raised in left hand, as his horse (seen from behind) loses footing; in exergue, C•SERVEIL (VE ligate). Crawford 264/1; BMCRR II 1166 (ill. BMCRR III Pl. xxx No. 4); RSC I Servilia 6 (ill. p. 88); Sear RCV I 140 (ill. p. 100); Yarrow pp. 100-101 (ill. Fig. 2.52) [Liv Mariah Yarrow, The Roman Republic to 49 BCE: Using Coins as Sources (2021)]; RBW Collection 1069 (ill. p. 221) (2014). 19 mm., 3.81 g. Purchased from Savoca Coins 133rd Silver Auction, 15 May 2022, Lot 297; ex Savoca Coins 124th Silver Auction, 23 Jan. 2022, Lot 385.*

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*The authorities agree that “the reverse type of the denarius probably refers to the propensity for single combat of the moneyer’s ancestor, M. Servilius Pulex Geminus, Cos. 202 [citations to Livy and Plutarch omitted.]. . . . The letter M on the shield thus stands for Marcus.” See Crawford Vol. I p. 289. As RSC elaborates at p. 88, based on a footnote in BMCRR I (p. 179 n. 2), “The horseman represented here is M. Servilius Pulex Geminus, who was elected Augur in B.C. 211 and who filled that office for about 40 years and who was consul in B.C. 202. He is said to have received wounds in twenty-three single combats and to have been victorious in all.” See also Yarrow p. 101, emphasizing the importance of the way in which Pulex’s opponent is portrayed: “For Pulex, the raised sword of the fleeing horseman . . . illustrates the ‘frontality’ of his own scars in contrast to those he inflicted (Figure 2.52). The depiction of the horse from behind draws inspiration from Hellenistic battle scenes, such as the Alexander mosaic (House of the Vetii, Pompeii), which places such a horse at the very center of its composition.”

Please post your own coins with scenes of combat, preferably Republican coins.

Finally, for anyone who doesn't know me from Coin Talk and is interested in reading some of my previous Roman Republican coin write-ups, , here are links to the ones I could find:

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-coins-s-69-70-centaurs-elephants.395819/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-coin-no-68-more-dioscuri-venus-cupid.393285/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-coin-no-67-the-dioscuri-from-l-memmius.392712/

I guess I never posted a No. 66!

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republicans-nos-64-65-t-cloelius-and-q-fabius-maximus.389700/ 

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-no-63-l-papius-celsus-juno-sospita-wolf-eagle.387754/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-no-62-the-other-triga-crawford-299-1b.386433/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-no-61-lucretius-trio-with-sol-crescent-moon-7-stars.385895/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-nos-58-60-licinius-nerva-aurelius-cotta-nonius-sufenas.385954/

Apparently I skipped No. 57 as well! And I have no idea why the previous two links are boldfaced.

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-no-56-lion-ess-or-hound.381034/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-no-55-aeneas-or-catanaean-brothers.380718/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-no-54.380271/ [Sulpicius Galba]

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-nos-51-53-including-first-two-quinarii.378507/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-denarius-no-50-c-calpurnius-piso-l-f-frugi.377452/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-denarii-nos-48-49.376842/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-denarius-47-another-elephant-48.376325/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-denarius-46-desultor.375241/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-denarius-45.374815/ [L. Cassius Longus, Vesta/voting scene]

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/first-coin-arrivals-of-2021-roman-republican-denarii-nos-43-44.372929/

Don't ask me what happened to Nos. 41 & 42!

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-denarius-40-another-panther-thats-really-a-leopard.370346/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-denarius-39.369812/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-denarius-38-but-the-first-with-a-biga-of-horses.369520/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/elephants-on-roman-coins-including-my-rr-denarius-no-37.369207/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/republican-denarii-nos-35-36.368052/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/rr-denarius-no-34-with-a-question-regarding-the-identity-of-the-obverse-portrait.367579/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-denarius-no-32-graffiti-or-just-scratches.367359/ [Should be No. 33]

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-denarius-no-32.366437/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/geographic-personifications.365508/ [Including No. 31]

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/my-30th-roman-republican-coin.365373/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/a-roman-republican-coin-without-an-animal-reverse.363137/

And that's basically where I started counting, although I did post a number of Roman Republican coin acquisitions before that.

 

Edited by DonnaML
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awesome coin and thanks for linking so much of your previous writing!

I'm still new to ancient coins and currently working on beginning my collection with Roman Imperial coins -- but some of these republican coins are absolutely beautiful. Definitely plan to add some to my collection as time goes on, and your posts will be a great resource

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I have a couple Gladiator coins... one has Sparticus on it...

😄 
upload_2021-3-19_11-27-15.png
RR AR denarius 3.8g 18.0mm T Didius Rome 113-112 BCE Roma star ROMA monogram - Two Gladiators whip sword S 171 CR 294-1


upload_2021-3-19_11-28-8.png
RR L Livineius Regulus AR Denarius 42 BCE 3.8g 19mm Regu bust - Gladiators in Arena Cr 494-30 Syd 1112 Sear 489

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Yay! I look forward to seeing future posts here, and I'm going to spend a lot of today reading through that list of CT threads where you did other write-ups - because they're all so interesting and I want to start collecting RR denarii featuring animals 🙂. I looove the coin you posted, mainly because the reverse scene is just so detailed and there's so much going on 😄 . Also really cool the horseman has been identified as M. Servilius Pulex Geminus - so there's a story there too. I have no RR battle scenes (as, for now, I only have that Vibius Varus coin) but hopefully my collection grows and I can get something similar to yours...

Edited by AncientNumis
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Here's another one of my own "battle" scenes:

Roman Republic, Publius Fonteius P.f. Capito, AR Denarius 55 BCE [Harlan: 54 BCE], Rome mint. Obv. Helmeted and draped bust of Mars with slight beard, right, with trophy over far shoulder, P•FONTEIVS•P•F•CAPITO•III•VIR counter-clockwise around / Rev. Helmeted and caped Roman soldier on horseback galloping right, thrusting his spear down at helmeted Gallic warrior crouching beneath horse, holding his shield up with left hand to try to fend off horse, and thrusting sword with his right hand at unarmed captive to left; the captive’s Gallic helmet [and shield, off flan] sailing off to lower right; MN•FONT•TR•MIL clockwise above. Crawford 429/1, RSC I Fonteia 17, Sear RCV I 392 (ill.), Sydenham 900, Harlan RRM II Ch, 22 at pp. 174-175 [Harlan, Michael, Roman Republican Moneyers and Their Coins 63 BCE-49 BCE (2nd Revised Edition 2015)]. 17.8 mm., 3.97 g.  (Purchased from Zuzim Inc., Brooklyn, NY, Aug. 2020. Ex: Roma Numismatics, E-Sale 54, Feb. 28, 2019, Lot 558 [see https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=5704785]; Ex: Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 100, May 29, 2017, Lot 329 [see https://www.biddr.com/auctions/nac/browse?a=131&l=114088]; Ex: Gerhard Hirsch Auction 168, Nov. 22-24, 1990, Munich, Lot 434. Formerly in NGC slab, Cert. No. 4629554-001, Graded Ch. AU, Strike: 4/5, Surface 4/5.)*

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*The moneyer is usually identified as either (1) the Publius Fonteius who became the adoptive father of the famous Publius Clodius Pulcher when the latter changed his patrician status to plebeian; or (2) a friend of Cicero named Fonteius, mentioned in a letter to his brother Atticus.  However, both Crawford (Vol. I at p. 453) and, at greater length, Harlan (Ch. 22 at pp. 171-173) point out the lack of evidence for either theory.  The scene on the reverse of this coin is believed to record the exploits of the moneyer’s ancestor, the military tribune Manius Fonteius (identified as such in the reverse legend), who may have been on the staff of Marcus Fonteius, governor of Narbonese (Transalpine) Gaul from 76-73 BCE. See RSC I at p. 49, Crawford Vol. I at p. 453, Harlan RRM II at pp. 174-175.

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10 hours ago, AncientNumis said:

I want to start collecting RR denarii featuring animals 🙂

A great collecting idea -- there's so much to choose from!

Here are a few earlier threads of mine on that very topic that you might enjoy, from before I had 30 Roman Republican coins and started posting the threads I listed above:

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republic-denarii-with-reverses-showing-animals-other-than-horses.354471/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/snakes-of-the-roman-republic.361571/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/boars-sows-and-pigs-of-the-roman-republic-and-empire.361885/

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14 hours ago, DonnaML said:

A great collecting idea -- there's so much to choose from!

Here are a few earlier threads of mine on that very topic that you might enjoy, from before I had 30 Roman Republican coins and started posting the threads I listed above:

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republic-denarii-with-reverses-showing-animals-other-than-horses.354471/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/snakes-of-the-roman-republic.361571/

https://www.cointalk.com/threads/boars-sows-and-pigs-of-the-roman-republic-and-empire.361885/

Thanks Donna! Yeah the variety really astonishes me - sooooo many animals 🙂, really would be fun to try to collect as many different animals as possible. 

Edited by AncientNumis
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neat coins! i like coins with battle scenes on them. i have the horseman with decapitated head one

M. Sergius Silus. AR Denarius, 116-115 BC. Obv. Head of Roma right, helmeted. Re...

M. Sergius Silus. AR Denarius, 116-115 BC. Obv. Head of Roma right, helmeted. Rev. Horseman prancing left, holding sword and severed head. Cr. 286/1. AR. 3.83 g. 18.00 mm

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