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Ambr0zie's Roman Republican top 10


Top 10 RR coins  

23 members have voted

  1. 1. Please choose your favorites

    • 1. L. Papius Celsus - eagle and wolf
    • 2. Calydonian boar
    • 3. M. Herennius with Amphinomus or Eneas
    • 4. Brutus
    • 5. T. Carisius - the coin about coins
    • 6. Sabinus - abduction of the Sabine women
    • 7. Ti. Veturius - oath taking scene
    • 8. Anonymous she wolf
    • 9. Anna Perenna
    • 10. C. Mamilius Limetanus - Ulysses

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I hope nobody would be bothered if I create a second yearly top 10, focused on my Roman Republican collection. I managed to win the last Republican coin (most likely) in 2022 - a type I wanted a lot.
This is an area I improved in 2022 as my interest for Roman Imperials has decreased slowly and I find myself more attracted to Republicans. Especially those Republicans with mythological themes, historical events, animals (things I like to collect in general).
Roman Republican coinage is a little unfriendly when you start studying it. A beginner might recognize a well known Imperial portrait, such as Trajan, Vespasian, Septimius Severus (and many others) and buy a cheap coin with distinguishable features; for most of us, this is how the hobby started. For Republicans this is not exactly valid as 1. you need a little background to start recognizing them 2. if you can start a Roman Imperial collection remaining in the 10-30 euros price range, this is quite difficult for Republicans.

I haven't bought too many Republican denarii this year, but I managed to add many from my bucket list. I chose 10 of them and I hope you will like them. The order is the one they arrived in my collection.



Papius. L. Papius Celsus 45 BC. Rome

Denarius AR

17 mm, 3,70 g

Obv: Head of Juno Sospita right. Border of dots / Rev: L·PAPIVS CELSVS·III·VIR, wolf, right, placing stick on fire; on right, eagle fanning flames . Border of dots.

Crawford 472/1; RCV I 461

The curious scene depicted on the reverse of this type refers to a foundation myth for the city of Lanuvium, parent city of Rome. According to a legend related by Dionysius of Halicaranassus in Roman Antiquities, the hero Aeneas saw a fire burning in a nearby forest and went to investigate. As he drew closer, he saw the fire was being fed by a she-wolf, who was dropping sticks into the blaze, while an eagle standing nearby fanned it with his wings. A fox kept intruding, trying to snuff out the fire by wetting his tail in a nearby stream and beating the flames down with it, but was driven off by the eagle and wolf. The fox was interpreted as Carthage, trying to snuff out Rome before its flame could burn brightly, while the eagle and she-wolf are symbols of the Roman army and people respectively.

This was bought late in December last year after I posted my top coins. I think it deserves a place. Reverse is exactly what I look for in a coin - mythological/historical (or a little of both).



C. Hosidius C. f. Geta 68 BC. Rome. Denarius AR17 mm, 3,96 g

Obv: Diademed head of Diana draped right, bow and quiver at her shoulder GETA before, III. VIR behind. Rev.: The wild boar of Calydon right, pierced by spear and attacked by dog. C. HOSIDI. C.F. in exergue.

Crawford 407/2

The classical myth of the Calydonian boar served to illustrate the need for paying proper respect to the gods and the consequences for not doing so. King Oeneus of Aetolia had forgotten to accord proper rites to the goddess Diana (Artemis), and for this sacrilege she sent a chthonic beast, the wild boar of Calydon, to ravage the Aetolian hinterland. The boar was the bane of the people, destroying vineyards and crops and forcing everyone to take shelter behind their city walls. With starvation ensuing, a hunt was organized, and most of the illustrious heroes of Greece's heroic age took part (with the exception of Hercules who fought his own chthonic beast, the Erymanthean boar). Amongst all these male heroes was one female, the heroine Atalanta, and she won the signal honor of being the first to wound the boar, having pierced its side with an arrow. For this she was awarded its hide. Although the precise meaning is lost to us, it can be assumed that Hosidius employed the type of the Calydonian boar to illustrate a claimed descent from one of the heroes involved in the hunt, perhaps from Atalanta herself.

Similar to the first - as a side note I have started reading mythology books again (one of my hobbies as a child) and this episode is mentioned in many of them. So not an obscure myth.



M. Herennius. 108-107 BC. Rome. Denarius AR .18 mm, 3,77 g
PIETAS, head of Pietas r., wearing diadem; hair twisted around lower part of diadem; single drop earring; beaded necklace; tendrils falling down the back of her neck / M•HERENNI, nude male figure bearing a man on his shoulder, r. (one of the Catanaean brothers, Amphinomus, carrying his father Nisos on his shoulder); M.HERENNI downwards l.; control mark on r.; dotted border
RRC 308/1b; Herennia 1a; B.M.C, 1258-85; Syd. 567a

There are two possible interpretations of this reverse design, each with merit. The first is that the moneyer M. Herennius, who perhaps had a connection with Sicily, chose to illustrate a local example of Piety: the brothers Amphinomus and Anapias, who are supposed to have saved their parents from an eruption of Mt Etna by carrying them from danger on their shoulders. The second interpretation reaches back to the mythological founding of Rome; Aeneas, during the fall of Troy, carried his father Anchises from the burning ruins of the city. Romulus and Remus, the founders of the city of Rome, through their descendence from him, made Aeneas progenitor of the Roman people. Long before Virgil makes reference to ‘pious Aeneas’ in his Aeneid, the Roman concept of piety was threefold; duty to the gods, to one’s homeland and to one’s family, which neatly links the reverse type with the obverse on this coin

Since I provided the types of coins I like, this isn't a surprise.




Q. Servilius Caepio (M. Junius) Brutus 54 BC. Rome
Denarius AR
20 mm, 2,74 g
[LIBERTAS], bust of Libertas to right / Consul L. Junius Brutus, between two lictors, preceded by accensus, all walking to left; [BRVTVS] in exergue.
Crawford 433/1; BMCRR Rome 3862; RSC Junia 31.


A Brutus coin appearing in an auction. I was wondering if this is a fourree or something similar. But as discussed with various collectors, this is a normal Brutus denarius. The only bad thing about it is the wear. But I happily accepted it, even if it does not show an actual portrait of Brutus and the reverse includes just one of his ancestors.




T. Carisius (ca. 46 BC). AR denarius. Rome. 20 mm 3.33 g. MONETA, head of Juno Moneta right, wearing pendant earring and necklace; dotted border / T•CARISIVS, wreathed cap of Vulcan (or garlanded punch die) over anvil (or anvil die), between tongs (on left) and hammer (on right); all within wreath. Crawford 464/2. Sydenham 982b. Carisia 1b.


A coin about coins? let me have it. Reverse was struck using an old die. Or a bad strike. But this does not obstruct the important elements.


6. (a little cheat here as there are 2 coins - both same type though)



L Titurius L f Sabinus. 89 BC. 17 mm 4 g.  Rome mint. Sabine Women Denarius. Obv: bare head of King Tatius right, bearded, SABIN behind, (palm-branch before?). Rev: two Roman soldiers running, each bearing a Sabine woman in his arms; L TITVRI in exergue. Craw. 344/1b; Syd. 698; RSC Tituria 2; Sear 249

This is a type I always wanted and in a summer auction there were 3 examples. Unfortunately I made a major mistake not paying attention to what lot was live. These were coins 1 and 3. Coin 1 has a small flan and you can't be sure about the subtype. Coin 3 has a large flan, the circulation wear is smaller but the strike, especially on the obverse, is inferior. Or perhaps a new type showing a bald Sabinus?

I did not bid on coin 2. I was having guests and missed the exact coin I was after. Got coin 3. After the auction I also bought coin 1 (unsold)



Ti. Veturius 137 BC. Rome Denarius AR 20 mm, 3,76 g
[TI•V͡E͡T], helmeted and draped bust of Mars right, behind X (mark of value) / ROMA, Oath-taking scene: youth kneeling left, head right, between two soldiers, each of whom holds a spear and sword that touches a pig held by the youth. Crawford 234/1; RBW 969; RSC Veturia 1.

A long writeup for the ones interested. I find this one of the most interesting RR coins I have.

On obverse of the coin is a bust of Mars facing right, draped and helmeted (the helmet has long crest, and a plume on each side). Behind Mars is an X, denoting that the coin is a denarius worth 10 asses, and T I • VET (as a monogram) moving downwards. The reverse contains an oath-taking scene in which two warriors face each other, one bearded and without armor, one beardless and in armor; each holds a spear in their left hand and a sword in their right. Their right hands touch a pig held by a central figure kneeling between them; ROMA is inscribed above.
It was minted in Rome, and can be dated to the year 137 BCE due to the identification of the moneyer and the associated iconography.
This denarius is a pivotal piece in terms of the development and evolution of Roman coinage. This coin type marks a major shift in the use of coins in terms of individual expression, identity, and contemporary historical events. While the imagery of the coin was certainly not original, the selection and timing of the iconographic choices made by the moneyer Tiberius Veturius was groundbreaking and led to a major change in how the imagery and inscriptions of coins functioned within the late Roman Republican political and social system.
This denarius of Tiberius Veturius combined previous numismatic designs in such a way as to reference current events which highlighted both a political position regarding Roman foreign policy, and the civic honor of Veturius’ family. Although these images were not new to the numismatic repertoire, because they had been reused on the denarius (a type that had seen very little iconographic change in almost 75 years), it likely would have come as a major shock to a population used to seeing and handling one unchanging type of coin. Carlos Noreña goes so far as to label this moment a “critical rupture,” and Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, a “decisive break.”
By combining archaic iconography into a new visual program, Tiberius Veturius was not only continuing but also dramatically advancing the previous trend in which the moneyers advanced their family prestige and personal honor through coin images. Although some scholars do not believe that we can ever truly decipher what the moneyers may have had in mind when designing coins, it does seem that such a dramatic break with tradition needs contextualization and almost certainly can be explained by one remarkable event. It is likely that the choice to include the god Mars over Roma meant to highlight, not necessarily war in its most basic sense (the fact that Rome was indeed at war when this coin was minted is not necessarily relevant—Rome was often at war and there does not seem to be any correlation between that and the numismatic appearance of Mars, who had other associations beyond the martial), but a family connection to that deity’s cult: in 204 BCE, Tiberius Veturius Philo had served as a flamen Martialis or priest of Mars.
Beyond that, it is the oath scene that has caused the most discussion by scholars. Several authors have connected this particular scene to two different historical oaths or alliance events in Roman history. The first is the Treaty of Caudine Forks in 321 BCE, which occurred during the consulship of Tiberius Veturius’ ancestor, T. Veturius Calvinus. It was during this time that Rome was at war with the Samnites and because the Romans were not in an advantageous position during that conflict they agreed to less than agreeable terms in a treaty. By the time of the minting of this coin, Rome had already been involved for decades in a slow and bloody conquest of Hispania. In 137 BCE, after yet another unsuccessful siege of the fortified city of Numantia, Rome again submitted to a treaty, this time (and here the allusion to the Caudine Forks Treaty is clear) as equals, a foedus aequum. The treaty (the foedus Numantium) was not well received in Rome. The Senate refused to recognize it, and it took a further two years before Numantia was finally taken by the Roman army. The oath scene of this coin then can be interpreted as a call to the Romans to adhere to and support the treaty, which would certainly have saved the lives of soldiers and allies alike. The coin not only represents a turning point in the development of Roman coinage, it also encapsulated a turning point in the development of the Roman psyche.
The coin produced by Tiberius Veturius in 137 BCE is linked to a watershed moment in the development of the denarius as the numismatic iconography moved from that which was initially anonymous, to that which honored the moneyer’s family and finally by the end of the century, the moneyer himself. This coin recycled familiar imagery in order to publicize the moneyer’s famous ancestors and to highlight the moneyer’s position on current political events. At the very least, 137 BCE was a monumental year for Rome’s early development and this coin represents some of that uncertainty, potential, and transformation.




Anonymous. 115-114 BC. AR Denarius. 19. 7 mm,3.79 g. ROMA, head of Roma, right, wearing winged Corinthian helmet with curl on left shoulder. Border of dots; X (mark of value) behind / Roma, wearing Corinthian helmet, seated right on pile of shields, holding spear in left hand; at feet, helmet; before, she-wolf, right, suckling twins Romulus and Remus; on either side, birds flying. Border of dots. Crawford 287/1; Sydenham 530; RSC 176; RBW 1117.


A republican coin with a theme of peace, serenity. One of my favorite coins all time. And another reverse featuring the she-wolf and twins. These coins are difficult to find showing the full reverse scene in the flan so this example is very satisfactory.




C. Annius T. f. T. n. and L. Fabius L. f. Hispaniensis AR Denarius. 19,3 mm 3,77 g. Mint in North Italy or Spain, 82-81 BC. Diademed and draped bust of Anna Perenna to right; C•ANNI•T•F•T•N•PRO•COS•EX•S•C• around, scales before, winged caduceus behind / Victory driving quadriga to right, holding reins and palm-branch; Q above, B• below, L•FABI•L•F•HISP in exergue. Crawford 366/1c; BMCRR Spain 29; RSC Annia 2; Syd. 748b

I don't have many coins with bigas/trigas/quadrigas because I am not a fan of them. This coin was bought for the obverse character - not often found on coinage. Here is an excellent writeup about these types




C. Mamilius Limetanus, 82 BC. Serrate Denarius, Rome. Draped bust of Mercury to right, wearing winged petasus and with caduceus over his left shoulder; behind, S. Rev. C·MAMIL LIMET͡AN, Ulysses advancing right, holding walking stick in his left hand and extending his right towards his dog Argus, on the right, standing left. Babelon (Mamilia) 6. Crawford 362/1. RBW 1370 var. (differing control-letter on the obverse). Sydenham 741.

The Mamilia gens derived its origin from Mamilia, the daughter of Telegonus, the reputed son of Ulysses and Circe, and thus C. Mamilius, as monetal triumvir, caused this subject to be adopted on his coins. The reverse shows Ulysses, after an absence of many years, returning in a mean and humble dress to the island of Ithaca, where he was at once recognised by his old dog Argus, who died of joy at seeing his former master.

My latest acquisition and a type I wanted for a long time. A coin with one of the most popular heroes in mythology - Ulysses returning home from the Trojan war. Why was this coin slabbed - don't ask me.  I have no idea if I will remove it from the slab - I will decide later. What matters for me is the coin and it has a condition good enough for me to like it (what I was interested in - decent obverse portrait and well centered; some facial details on Ulysses; dog present. And of course, the story behind the coin!



Thanks for looking.

Edited by ambr0zie
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Yep, breaking ancient silver is a very sensitive subject. I managed to break also my #1 in the list, Papius Celsius. When trying to get the correct light/angle to photograph it, it fell on the floor. Fortunately it is only a chip on the edge of the obverse and did not reach the reverse. Lesson learned with handling ancient silver!

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