Jump to content

A Cistophor of C. Fabius M.f from Tralles


Recommended Posts

I have posted this coin before however I got an itch to post something and this coin was the first thing that popped into mind.


Promagisterial Cistophori. C. Fabius M.f (Hadrianus?) as Proconsul of Asia. Aristoboulos - Iereous (priest?), magistrate. AR Cistophoric tetradrachm, Tralles, 57-56 BC. Serpents emerging from cista mystica; all within wreath / [C•FABI•M•F] PROCOS, Two serpents entwined by bow case, eagle above. In the left field, zebu standing. TPAΛ. In the right field, Hermes standing left, holding caduceus. ARIΣTOBOΥΛOΣ / IEΡΕΥΣ in exergue. 
28.10 mm, 12.41 g. Stumpf 31; Metcalf 329 (O5/R28)
Three known examples: Gorny & Mosch 130, 1256; Hauck & Aufhäuser 6, lot 262 and this coin.

C. Fabius is not attested for in the historical record. He evidently served as Praetor in 58 or 57 and was subsequently granted the proconsular command of Asia. Fabius might have been the son of M. Fabius Hadrianus, a legate of Sulla active during the Third Mithridatic War. There is very little information to go by when it comes to Fabius' proconsulship. Brennan claims in The Praetorship of the Roman Republic that there is no mention for Fabius outside of his coins.

Fabius minted a variety of cistophori during his tenure as pro consule in Asia. The present coin was struck at the mint in Tralles, from which there are three different types known under Fabius. The series seems to have been small in scale. In total, only two obverse dies were used. This is accompanied by 14 reverse dies catalogued by Metcalf. The coinage of Fabius deviates somewhat from the standard civic-style cistophor. Above the bowcase, between the serpents, stands a legionary aquila meant to convey Roman military strength. The mint at Tralles employed an extensive array of symbols for their coins. This makes the design appear quite a bit more busy than issues from other mints. This coin features a cult statue of Hermes holding a caduceus. In the left field is a Zebu, a symbol often used at Tralles. Another type, issued under the magistrate Pammenes mirrors this design almost completely. The only differences being the appearence of a cult statue of Apollo instead of Hermes and an added meander under the Zebu (3. see below).

When cataloguing Roman provincial coins from Asia Minor, Stumpf was only aware of one example of this type (1. see below) but since then two more have shown up in trade. He seems to have missed that beneath the name of the magistrate (ARIΣTOBOΥΛOΣ/Aristoboulous) the legend continues. In full it reads ARIΣTOBOΥΛOΣ / IEΡΕΥΣ (2. see below). A second example of this type was sold at Gorny & Mosch in 2005, revealing the complete legend.


1. Hauck & Aufhäuser 6, lot 262


2. Gorny & Mosch 130, 1256


3. Ex NAC Sale 52, 2009, 832


  • Like 13
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...