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Roman Republican Coin # 81: L. Farsuleius Mensor (Crawford 392/1b) AND # 82 (Crawford 326/1) (a portrayal of Marius?)


DonnaML

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This is my first Roman Republican coin purchased in 2023, and, in fact, my first in three months, since last October.  It's also my first and only ancient coin portraying Libertas on the obverse. The portrait has visible scratches on it, but I don't believe it ruins the coin's overall appearance, especially in hand (see the dealer's video of the coin below).  I think the coin provides another example of why I find so many Roman Republican types so interesting: there's a great deal to learn and write about its possible interpretations, even for a relatively unambiguous design like this one.  Something one rarely encounters with Imperial coins, despite their having their own considerable charms. Here is my writeup:

Roman Republic, L. Farsuleius Mensor, AR Denarius, Rome 75 BCE. Obv. Bust of Libertas right, draped and wearing diadem, earring with triple drop, and necklace, with her hair rolled back, collected into a knot, and falling over her neck; behind bust, S • C • downwards above pileus [cap of liberty];  before bust, MENSOR upwards / Rev. Warrior [or: Mars or Roma or Genius of Roman people; see fn.] holding spear and reining in biga right with left hand; with right hand assisting togate figure at left into biga; below front hooves of horses, control-numeral XX[V?]; in exergue, L•FARSULE[I].  19 mm., 3.94 g. Crawford 392/1b, RSC I Farsuleia 2 (ill. p. 47), BMCRR I 3293 et seq,, Sear RCV I 329 (ill. p. 133), RBW Collection 1431 (ill. p. 293), Harlan RRM I Ch. 10 at pp. 49-53 [Michael Harlan, Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins, 81 BCE-64 BCE (Vol. I) (2012)], Sydenham 789. [For alternative dating of type, based on hoard evidence, see Hersh & Walker 1984 Table 2 [Charles Hersh and Alan Walker, “The Mesagne Hoard,” Museum Notes (American Numismatic Society), 1984, Vol. 29 pp. 103-134 (1984)] (76 BCE); RRM I, op. cit. p. 48) (77 BCE).] Purchased Jan. 2022 from Goduto Giuseppe, Heemskerk, Netherlands.*

image.jpeg.8f05d2c363651b56c3974a85576d2c89.jpeg

 

Footnote:

*Moneyer: Crawford states at Vol. I p. 406 that L. Farsuleius Mensor is “not otherwise known,” although “his cognomen [Mensor], with its associations with distributions of land, perhaps indicates popularis sympathies." See George Davis Chase, “The Origin of Roman Praenomina,” Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, Vol. 8 (1897) [available at https://www.jstor.org/stable/310491], pp. 103-184 at p. 111 (“Mensor” derives from the word for “measurer”). 

Control-Numerals & S • C • : As Crawford also explains (id.), whereas type 392/1a has a scorpion on the reverse beneath the horses, with control-numerals from I-LXXII on the obverse, type 392/1b bears the control-numerals from I to CXX on the reverse beneath the horses, with no scorpion. For both varieties, “no control-numeral has more than one die” – indicating an original total of at least 192 die combinations, which “must have produced a rather large number of denarii” (Harlan RRM I at p. 51). 

The specific control-numeral appearing on the reverse of my specimen is partially worn away, but clearly begins with “XX,” and shows at least one additional numeral, with a top bar above it extending leftward to cover the top of the right leg of the second “X.”” On the assumption that there was only one die per control numeral, I have examined all the die photos available at the Roman Republican Die Project on CRRO for 392/1b control-numerals from 20 (XX) through 39 (XXXIX) [see pp. beginning at http://numismatics.org/archives/ark:/53695/schaefer.rrdp.processed_300-399#schaefer_clippings_output_392-1b_07_od]. The only die that appears to be a reverse die match to mine (and probably an obverse die match as well) is the die bearing the number 25 (XXV), examples of which can be found at pp. 392-1b_08 and 392-1b_14. If one examines this photo of the five clearest examples of that die, together with my specimen (which is in the second row, far right), it is evident that the horses’ back hooves on all of them, just as on my specimen, rest beginning directly above the “V” in FARSVLEI in the exergue – the only die from XX through XXXIX for which this is the case, with the others resting considerably farther left in relation to the letters in FARSVLEI:

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If anyone disagrees with my opinion that the five pictured coins are all double-die matches to mine, please don't hesitate to say so! (I do believe that other than the control-numeral, the reverse on mine is better-preserved than any of the other five.)

Given the size of the issue and the presence of “S • C •” (Senatus Consulto) on both varieties -- and as a basis for his date of 77 BCE for the issue -- Harlan suggests that the first variety may have been authorized by the Senate in connection with payment of the troops used in Pompey’s suppression of Marcus Aemilius Lepidus’s revolt in 77 BCE following the death of Sulla (posing a threat to peace and liberty; see the obverse depiction of Libertas). (Harlan RRM I pp. 50-52.) According to Harlan, the second variety may have been authorized to pay the additional expenses of keeping the troops under arms while Pompey led his army to Spain in 77-76 BCE to reinforce Quintus Metellus Pius in the war against Sertorius. (Id. at pp. 52-53).

Interpretations of Figures and Scene on Reverse: The armed figure on the reverse assisting the togate figure into the biga has been variously interpreted as a warrior (Sear RCV I and the RBW Collection), Mars as a warrior (Crawford), Roma (RSC I), Roma or a warrior (BMCRR I), the Genius of the Roman people inviting the Genius of Italy to enter her chariot (id. p. 402 n. 2, citing the 18th-century scholar Joseph Eckhel), and even as the recently deceased Sulla in his role as a successful Roman general, having trampled Asia, represented by the scorpion beneath the horses on 392/1a (id.). The togate figure has been seen as representing civilians in general, or specifically the Italian citizens outside Rome who became citizens in 90 BCE after the Social War (thus the “Genius of Italy” interpretation), with the entire scene alluding to peace and reconciliation between soldier and civilian and/or between Rome and the rest of Italy after the Social War and subsequent civil war.

 See, e.g., Crawford Vol. I pp. 406-407, opining on the meaning of the obverse and reverse taken together:

“The most insistent pressure in the 70s was for the restoration of the powers of the tribunate, demanded in the name of libertas, and it does not seem unreasonable to regard the obverse type as expressing sympathy with this demand. The warrior on the reverse is clearly male [rejecting the view that the figure represents Roma] and should probably be regarded as Mars ([given] the constellation Scorpio as the astrological ‘house of Mars’ [an allusion to the scorpion beneath the horses on 293/1a]); the reverse type as a whole suggests the notion of peace and reconciliation between soldier and civilian and perhaps alludes sympathetically to a second objective of some politicians in the 70s, the assimilation of the new citizens enfranchised after the Social War.”

(Citations omitted.) Note that I am by no means certain that the armed figure is as “clearly male” as Crawford asserts; I am not even sure what it is that leads him to hold that opinion so strongly.

In a partially different view, stated at BMCRR I p. 402 n. 2, Grueber characterizes as both “ingenious” and “probable” Eckhel’s theory that the types “allude to the lex Julia which was promulgated during the Social War (B.C. 90), and by which the right of citizenship was granted to all Italians; hence the representation of Libertas on the obverse, and on the reverse, Roma, or the Genius of the Roman people, inviting the Genius of Italy to enter her chariot.” (See also RSC I p. 47, citing the same theory of a reference to the lex Julia.)  After citing other theories (including the Sulla theory mentioned above), Grueber states that it is, at the least, “quite possible that the types of these denarii relate to the Social War or to the more recent struggle between the Marian and Sullan parties.” Id.

At RRM I pp. 49-50, Harlan summarizes the various interpretations (citing Crawford, Eckhel, and Grueber), and concludes that the specific symbolism is essentially immaterial given how clear the overall theme appears to be: 

“[A] reasonable interpretation does not demand precise identification. . . . The contrast between armed and unarmed figures dominates on Farsuleius’ coin. . . . Whether the figures represent Rome and Italy or soldier and civilian, the notion of peace and reconciliation can be seen in the joined hands of the two figures [on the reverse]. The same idea will be seen again on the reverse of the joint issue by [Q. Fufius] Calenus and Cordius [possibly P. Mucius Scaevola] [Crawford 403/1, dated to 70 BCE], where an armed Roma, identified by inscription, clasps the hand of an unarmed Italia, identified by inscription. Farsuleius . . . expressed the same Sullan sentiments about peace and liberty.”

Please post any coins you may have depicting Libertas. I have only one other, this Claudius I as depicting Libertas on the reverse, holding a pileus:

Claudius I AE As, AD 42, Rome Mint. Obv. Bare head left, TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP P P / Rev. Libertas standing facing, head right, holding pileus in right hand, left hand extended, LIBERTAS AVGVSTA / S - C. RIC I 113, Sear RCV I 1860, BMCRE 202. 31.62 mm., 11.18 g. Purchased from Marc Breitsprecher.

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And, of course, any and all opinions about the various interpretations of the L. Farsuleius Mensor denarius are welcome.

 

Edited by DonnaML
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Very nice example, @DonnaML. I knew this type and I would like one in my collection. Not a major target but still. 

In the last auction I participated in, I was the underbidder for an example, but inferior to yours, corroded/harshly cleaned and with a more advanced wear - the reverse exergue no longer fully readable. I wouldn't have refused it - but I have some financial limits for worn coins, especially if it's not on a high position on the bucket list. Somebody else just pushed the limit. I think that coin had XXII as control number. 

1 hour ago, DonnaML said:

Please post any coins you may have depicting Libertas.

First coin with Libertas is this Elagabalus limes denarius 

 

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Limes Denarius
Cf RIC IV Elagabalus 115
Date Range: AD 218 - AD 222
Obv IMP ANTONINUS AVG, Bust of Elagabalus, laureate, draped, right 
Rev LIBERTAS AVGVSTI, Libertas, draped, seated left, holding pileus in extended right hand and sceptre in left hand
 

I also have a modest Nerva as. The coin has its flaws, but I like the portrait 

image.png.425d37480393df58f0edb90bc997bdaf.png

Nerva AD 96-98. Rome
As Æ
27 mm, 9,76 g
RIC II Nerva 100 (as) C
Date: AD 97
Obv: [IMP NERVA] CAES AVG P M [TR P II COS III P P], Head of Nerva, laureate, right / LIBERT[AS PVBLICA] S C, Libertas, draped, standing left, holding pileus in right hand and short sceptre, pointing up slightly to right, in left hand
 

A very pleasant Trebonianus Gallus 

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Trebonianus Gallus AD 251-253. Rome
Antoninianus AR
21 mm, 3,77 g
IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, bust of Trebonianus Gallus, radiate, draped, cuirassed, right / LIBERTAS PVBLICA, Libertas, draped, standing left, holding pileus in right hand and transverse sceptre in left hand
RIC IV Trebonianus Gallus 70; RSC 68
 

and of course, my Brutus. 

image.png.cce5e3cd56b4b3e945e2bc16dddfc179.png

Edited by ambr0zie
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11 hours ago, DonnaML said:

Note that I am by no means certain that the armed figure is as “clearly male” as Crawford asserts; I am not even sure what it is that leads him to hold that opinion so strongly.

I also wonder what would make this figure clearly male?

A very interesting write up, thank you. I do not collect Roman Republican coins but I do enjoy the style and imagery!

I have only a coin that depicts *Liberalitas:

Julia Domna, Liberalitas Julia Domna Ar denarius; 18mm; 3.12g; Emesa/syrian mint  IVLIA DO-MNA AVG draped bust right  LIBE-RA-L AVG Liberalitas standing left holding cornucopia and abacus  RIC 627, RSC 103 Keywords: Julia Domna Emesa Liberalitas

Edited by arizonarobin
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@DonnaML..

Great looking coin Donna with a super write up & research as always!

435932152_normal_Mr3H5XGt9bB68izFoJr2K7AjkK849D(2).jpg.dd4ccfd3ad45adb408797a4a4750e842.jpg

Antoninus Pius. 138-161 AD. AE Dupondius (11.76 gm, 25.3mm). Rome mint. Struck 154-155 AD.
Obv.. ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XVIII, radiate head right.
Rev.. LIBERTAS COS IIII / S - C, Libertas with pileus and sceptre standing left.
RIC 933....BMC 1469. gVF.

 

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Roman Imperatorial Coinage, #LIBERATORS#, Gaius Cassius Longius, Brutus and Cornelius Lentulus Spinther, Denarius, mobile military mint, c. 43-2, diademed and veiled bust of Libertas right, rev. jug and lituus, 3.71g (Craw. 500/5; BMCRR East 80; RSC 6). Very fine, old cabinet tone
Footnote
Provenance: Naville Auction 11 (Geneva), 30 November 2014, lot 173

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2 hours ago, arizonarobin said:

I also wonder what would make this figure clearly male?

A very interesting write up, thank you. I do not collect Roman Republican coins but I do enjoy the style and imagery!

I have only one coin that depicts Libertas:

Julia Domna, Liberalitas Julia Domna Ar denarius; 18mm; 3.12g; Emesa/syrian mint  IVLIA DO-MNA AVG draped bust right  LIBE-RA-L AVG Liberalitas standing left holding cornucopia and abacus  RIC 627, RSC 103 Keywords: Julia Domna Emesa Liberalitas

Thanks. I don't get it either. The figure has neither a beard nor the other visible attribute that makes figures on ancient coins clearly male, so I don't know what Crawford was looking at.

I really like the coin you posted, but I am pretty sure from the reverse legend, as well as the objects the reverse figure is holding -- the cornucopiae and the coin holder or abacus -- that she is Liberalitas rather than Libertas.

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2 hours ago, singig said:

great write-up !  , the numeral on my example also begins with  XX

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The reverse is quite similar, but I don't think it quite matches the XXV die, because the farthest-left hoof rests above the first "S" rather than the "V" in FARSVLEIVS. Also, there are four lines of reins leading from the armed figure's left hand to the horses, as opposed to three on my coin. I suspect that if you spent a little bit of time scrolling through the dies at the Roman Republican Die Project (see links above), you could find a match and determine the control-numeral for your coin.

Edited by DonnaML
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PS to @singig: I think it's very possible that your specimen is an unusually good example (except for part of the control-numeral and a portion of the horses' hooves being off the flan) of the reverse die with control-numeral XXVIII. See these two examples; the farthest left of the horses' hooves appears in each case to rest in exactly the same place as on your specimen. (Neither photo is clear enough to count the number of reins leading from the armed figure's hand to the horses.)

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image.jpeg.ac8817b773448b246383de9fb876ee6b.jpeg

Edited by DonnaML
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Another spectacular addition Donna! Wanna trade examples 😜

Though, a sad fourée, I liked the portrait of Libertas (Go liberals!) and find it fun and interesting:

IMG_4915.jpg.beba91221ad97635551689c00fc38ac9.jpg

L. Farsuleius Mensor, Denarius, Rome, 75 BC, AR fourée (g 3,2 mm 19 h 7), Diademed and draped bust of Libertas r. behind, pileus and S C before, MENSOR, Rv. Warrior, holding spear and reining biga r., assists togate figure into biga below, control numeral in ex. L FARSVLEI. Crawford 392/1b Farsuleia 2 Sydenham 789. Former: Estatebureau

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  • 3 weeks later...

The head of Liberty on my example of this issue is in a very different style to yours.

It is presumeably later , with a control mark of C

B

 

 

  L. Farsuleius Mensor. 75 BC. AR Denarius (18mm - 3.92 g). Rome mint.

 

 MENSOR before, diademed bust of Liberty right; SC and pileus behind

 

/ Roma in biga right assisting another into chariot; C beneath, L. FARSVLE[I] in exergue.

 

 Crawford 392/1b; Sydenham 789; Farsuleia 2.

 

Nice VF, pleasing toning.

From the Ivar Gault Collection. 

Estimate: US$ 100 

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  • DonnaML changed the title to Roman Republican Coin # 81: L. Farsuleius Mensor (Crawford 392/1b)
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And one more, recently arrived: an interesting type that may -- or may not -- portray Gaius Marius on the reverse.

Roman Republic, C. Fundanius, AR Denarius 101 BCE [Crawford] or 97 BCE [Mattingly], Rome Mint. Obv. Head of Roma right with winged helmet ornamented with gryphon’s head; wearing single-drop earring and necklace; behind, control mark “B” / Rev. Triumphator [Gaius Marius?] in walking (slow) quadriga right, holding laurel branch in left hand and scepter in right; riding the nearest horse, a youth [his son Gaius Marius the Younger?], holding palm branch; Q [Quaestor] above horses; in exergue, C•FVNDAN. Crawford 326/1; RSC I (Babelon) Fundania 1 (ill. p. 50); BMCRR I 1681-1712 (1682 has control mark “B”); Yarrow pp. 144-145 (ill. p. 144 fig. 3.40) [Liv Mariah Yarrow, The Roman Republic to 49 BCE: Using Coins as Sources (2021)]; Sear RCV I 204; RBW Collection – [not in book]. 17.5 mm., 3.98 g., 8 hr. Purchased at Classical Numismatic Group, LLC (CNG) E-Auction 532, 8 Feb. 2023, Lot 502.*

 image.jpeg.9ecba7d6b15c9dfc3b3294f145b77f82.jpeg

*Moneyer: C. Fundanius “strikes as quaestor, though with no reference to special senatorial authority for the issue.” Sear RCV I p. 111. According to Crawford (Vol. I p. 328), he “is not known to have progressed beyond the quaestorship; he is presumably the father of C. Fundanius, Tr. Pl. 68.” See also BMCRR I pp. 231-232 n. 1 (citing Mommsen and noting that C. Fundanius is the only member of the Fundania gens of whom coins are known). 

Control Marks: See Crawford Vol. I p. 328, explaining that the control-marks on the 57 different obverse dies “are the letters of the Latin alphabet, on the denarius alone or accompanied by one dot [;] . . . no control-mark has more than one die.” 

Interpretations of Reverse: According to Crawford (Vol. I p. 328), the presence of a Gallic carnyx together with Victory and a bound captive on the reverse of the accompanying quinarius also issued by C. Fundanius (Crawford 326/2) “makes the reverse type as a whole a clear reference to Marius’ victories [in 101 BCE] over the Cimbri and Teutones; the triumphator on [the denarius] may therefore perhaps be regarded as Marius himself, the rider on the near horse as Marius’ son, now aged 8.” See also BMCRR I p. 231 n. 1, citing the same theory. Sear also cites this view in describing Crawford 326/1 as a “remarkable type commemorating Marius’ joint triumph with Q. Lutatius Catulus in 101 BC. Crawford suggests that the young rider on the near horse may be Marius’ 8-year-old son.” Sear RCV I p. 111. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaius_Marius for an account of the victories over the Teutones and Ambrones in 102 BCE, and over the Cimbri on 30 July 101 BCE in the Battle of Vercellae, as well as the subsequent joint triumph celebrated by Marius and his consular colleague Catulus after fifteen days of thanksgiving. Interestingly, Wikipedia’s discussion of these battles and the triumph is accompanied by a photograph of this coin type, Crawford 326/1.)

 However, in the chapter entitled “Roman Republican Coinage ca. 150-90 B.C.,” in Harold B. Mattingly, From Coins to History: Selected Numismatic Studies (2004) pp. 199-226 at pp. 201-202 & n. 11, Mattingly concludes based on hoard and stylistic evidence that the denarius of C. Fundanius was actually issued in 97 BCE rather than 101 BCE, and, in the footnote, rejects Crawford’s interpretation of the type for that as well as a more significant reason:

image.png.6ae726efadf24294316d3fd931bb27af.png

At pp. 144-145 of her recent book, Professor Yarrow takes a middle ground:

image.png.eb417baf76b0de52f84e7d51b79cbb32.png        

image.png.a317a3bb09702ebb6d2adaacb9ad4dbf.png
 

On the first page of a paper by Bruce Marshall entitled ‘Riders in the Chariot’: Children Accompanying their Fathers in Roman Triumphs, presented in 2012 at the 33rd Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Classical Studies (available at http://www.ascs.org.au/news/ascs33/MARSHALL.pdf), the author quotes Mary Beard’s book The Roman Triumph (2007), at p. 224 (a book to which I do not have access), as follows: 

“It seems to have been, or become, the custom that the general’s young children should travel in the [triumphal] chariot with him, or, if they were older, to ride horses alongside. We have already seen Germanicus sharing his chariot in 17 CE with five offspring. Appian claims that Scipio in 201 BCE was accompanied by ‘boys and girls’, while Livy laments the fact that in 167 BCE Aemilius Paullus’ young sons could not – through death or sickness – travel with him, ‘planning similar triumphs for themselves.’”

This would appear to support Mattingly’s rejection of Crawford’s “Marius” interpretation of this coin type. However, the key question is obviously “how young is too young?” Marshall’s article actually relies on the Crawford identification of Marius and his son on Crawford 326/1 without questioning it or even mentioning Mattingly’s point, and, at p. 4,  specifically cites Suetonius for the following example: “Octavian’s triumph for the victory at Actium from 13th to 15th August 29 BC could be said to follow in the ‘republican’ tradition: his step-son Tiberius, the future emperor, then aged 12 (born November 42), rode the left trace-horse of the triumphal chariot, and his nephew Marcellus, then of similar age (born 42), rode the right-hand, but more prestigious, one.”

If this is correct, then that would seem to contradict Mattingly’s argument that only “a son who had reached manhood” would ride a horse at a triumph, given that all sources appear to agree that boys did not begin to wear the toga virilis, representing manhood, until at least age 14. Was 12 in fact a sufficient age to ride separately? If so, was 8 also sufficient? Was an exception to the usual rule made for Tiberius and Marcellus given Octavian’s stature? If so, is it possible that an exception was made 70 years earlier for Marius’s son, given his father’s stature?

And, if the youth on Crawford 326/1 was not Marius’s son, then what other person could he have been intended to represent, or been perceived to represent by people seeing the coin? Was it simply a “general representation” not intended to be associated with Marius or anyone else? But isn’t it probable that Marius’s triumph of 101 BCE would have been remembered by anyone seeing the type even if Mattingly is correct that the type was actually issued four years later, in 97 BCE?

Furthermore, as I believe others have pointed out, it seems unlikely that a representation of Marius as triumphator on the reverse of this type would have been seen as violating the rule against portraits of living persons on Roman coins. A tiny, unnamed figure in a quadriga is hardly a “portrait.”

I doubt that any of these questions can ever be answered definitively. But any thoughts are welcome.

Edited by DonnaML
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  • DonnaML changed the title to Roman Republican Coin # 81: L. Farsuleius Mensor (Crawford 392/1b) AND # 82 (Crawford 326/1) (a portrayal of Marius?)

@DonnaML...Lovely coin and really interesting write up as always, Thanks!...As you know this is not my area of collecting but I'd go with Crawford & Sears' interpretation, the reverse just feels as if it's representing something more special...Plus I assume the slow walking quadriga isn't such a common depiction?

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Thank you for the write up Ms Donna.

Libertas:

upload_2022-5-21_20-27-39.png
RR 
GAIUS CASSIUS LONGINUS & PUBLIUS CORNELIUS LENTULUS SPINTHER 
AR silver denarius. 
Struck circa 42 BC, at a mobile military mint moving with Brutus & Cassius, probably located in Smyrna. 
C CASSI IMP LEIBERTAS, veiled & draped bust of Libertas right. 
Reverse - LENTVLVS SPINT, jug & lituus. 18mm, 3.3g.
Craw 500-5

 

[IMG]
RI Claudius 41-54 Ae As 28mm LIBERTAS AVGVSTA holding pileus S-C RIC 113

 

[IMG]
RR Porcius Laeca 125 BCE AR Den Roma Crossed-X for tariffed 16 Asses to Denarius - Libertas in Quadriga holding pileus and rod crowned by Victory flying Sear 146 Craw 270-1

 

[IMG]
RI Nerva AE Dupondius 96-98 CE LIBERTAS PVBLICA -pileus TIF

 

[IMG]
Roman Republic 
Cn. Egnatius Cn.f. Cn.n. Maxsumus
AR Denarius 
3.8g, 17mm, Rome mint
76 BCE 
Bust Libertas, pileus behind- 
Roma Venus standing, cupid on shoulder, Roma foot on Wolf Head 
S 326 Craw 391-3

Cn. Egnatius Cn.f. Cn.n. Maxsumus, 76 BC. Denarius, Rome. [MAXSVMVS Diademed and draped bust of Libertas to right, wearing triple-pendant earring and necklace; behind, pileus. Rev. [V] - CN•N / C•EGNATIVS•CN•F Roma, on left, standing facing, left foot set on wolf's head and holding staff with her right hand, and Venus, on right, standing facing, holding staff right and with cupid alighting on her shoulder; rudder standing on prow on either side. Babelon (Egnatia) 3. Crawford 391/3. RBW 1429. Sydenham 787

 

 

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On 2/27/2023 at 4:56 AM, Spaniard said:

@DonnaML...Lovely coin and really interesting write up as always, Thanks!...As you know this is not my area of collecting but I'd go with Crawford & Sears' interpretation, the reverse just feels as if it's representing something more special...Plus I assume the slow walking quadriga isn't such a common depiction?

I think there's no doubt that given the slow-walking quadriga, this type was supposed to represent a triumph, with a son or other young relative of the triumphator riding the trace horse. The question was whether it was intended to evoke Marius's triumph, or the general concept of a triumph. And it seems likely to me that whether it was actually issued in 101 BCE or, as Mattingly argues, in 97 BCE, anyone seeing the design would have thought of the most recent triumph we know of, namely that of Marius.  And given that we know from literary sources that it was customary for a general's children old enough to do so to ride one of the horses rather than standing with him in the chariot, it's plausible to conclude that even though Marius's son was only 8, and even though there are no known references (outside this coin) to his participation in the triumph, he was likely able to ride a horse at that age, and considered old enough to do so. Otherwise, given that we know he existed, why wouldn't he have been shown as standing inside the chariot with his father?

Edited by DonnaML
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