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Roman Coins in Reverse - a Chronological Gallery


CPK

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Hello to all my fellow NVMIS FORVM members! I hope everyone is doing well.

Almost 7 months ago to the day we began the "Emperors of Rome: A Chronological Portrait Gallery" thread. More than 1,700 posts later the thread has concluded! It was a lot of fun, and we were treated to a stunning display of Roman numismatic portraits, from the golden age of Augustus, to the last gasp of the dying Empire in the late 5th century A.D. - but history does not stop there, and the thread has been reincarnated in the Byzantine sub-forum, following the rulers of the Byzantine Empire.

When most people think of Roman coins, they probably think of the Imperial portraiture, but the portraits are - literally - only one side of the coin! So today, I'd like to launch a new thread: Roman Coins in Reverse - a Chronological Gallery!

The idea is similar to the portrait thread, just in reverse. 😜 The general rules and guidelines are as follows:

- The thread will follow the posted date schedule, which is arranged chronologically and provides 48-hour windows for posting coins from each time period/emperor.

- The transition time when we switch to the next time period/emperor is 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

- Post your favorite interesting or notable REVERSE type(s). The emphasis is on "interesting", for whatever reason - rarity, historical significance, superb artistry, errors, an interesting story - basically anything that makes it different or stand out to you - we do want to avoid having endless bland and repetitive "god/goddess" types posted. 😉 

- Please tell us what makes your coin's REVERSE interesting, including any background historical information, etc., even if only a sentence or two!

- Reverse types of associated empresses, Caesars, family members, etc. are welcome PROVIDED they do not already have their own allotted time period (example: reverse types of Aelius get posted under Hadrian's slot, but wait to post coins of Titus "as Caesar" until his own time slot)

- Provincial coins are welcome!

- There are a handful of coins which feature interesting reverse-style scenes on the obverse - such as the Caligula sacrificing sestertius. In the spirit of the thread, these coins are also welcome for posting!

- The idea is to have fun, see cool coins, and learn more about the incredible variety of reverse types out there! If you need to play a little catch-up that is okay, just try to keep it limited.

Schedule:

(Please feel free to download for your convenience.)

9/8/2023 EDIT: Somehow I missed filling in the September 11-14 and November 12-15 time slots. So instead we'll make those a "free-for-all" opportunity to post up any interesting reverse type from any previous slot.

So, for Sept. 11 through 14 post any interesting types up to and including Trajan Decius. 

For Nov. 12 through 15 post any interesting types up to and including the women of the Constantinian Dynasty.

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We're a couple hours late, but to kick things off, I will post a coin that is totally mine and not at all something I got off of ACSearch.com because I don't have any Roman coins before 211 B.C.😄:

6669948(1).jpg.b9376754c49b619f8a4e54b6cb3b5200.jpg

https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=6669948

"Roman Republican
Anonymous. Circa 225-217 BC. Æ Aes Grave As (63.5mm, 260.4 g, 12h). Prow right, libral cast series. Rome mint. Head of bearded Janus; all on a raised disk / Prow of galley right; I (mark of value) above; all on a raised disk. Crawford 35/1; Sydenham 72; ICC 75; Thurlow-Vecchi 51a; HN Italy 337; RBW 84-5. Attractive dark green patina with traces of red, some light earthen highlights/deposits. EF. Variety without mark of value on obverse. An impressive piece and among the finest of its type we have encountered."

This was one of the earliest Roman coins - a cast bronze piece nominally weighing one Roman pound or libra - from which we get the English abbreviation "lb" for pound.

*********************************************************************

Let's see your interesting Roman coin Reverse types - starting with coins before 211 B.C.

Edited by CPK
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Here are a few pre-denarius types.

Hard to know which is the reverse of this bit of a currency bar 😄

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Cr. 13/1 didrachm:spacer.png

Cr. 14/4 quadrans:spacer.png

There are quite a few nice early didrachms - Cr. 22/1:spacer.png

Cr. 26/1:
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And a litra - Cr. 26/3:
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Several quadrigatus types - this is my favourite one - Cr. 30/1:
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The smaller drachms have the chariot going left - Cr. 28/4:
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After a varied start, the bronzes ended up mostly with prow right - Cr. 35/1:
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Or more rarely, left - Cr. 41/5a:
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ATB,
Aidan.

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Anonymous Ar Quadrigatus 225-214 BC Obv Janiform head of the Dioscuri Rv Juppiter about ready to hurl a thunderbolt being driven by Victory in a quadriga right. Crawford 28/3 6.70 grms 22 mm Photo by W. Hansen29-b.png.0f5dbb16fe2015e0958fc7d1edd325d7.png The quadrigatus was the most heavily produced silver coin struck by the Romans prior to the introduction of the denarius. This coin is in a style that is outside that of the main issue of the quadrigatus, and while Crawford still gives this series to the mint of Rome it is possible that this coin was minted outside of the city limits. 

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Since @akeady's fabulous opener started with a cast bar, I won't be shy and I'll include mine.  I believe it is a fragment of ramo secco c. 6th to 4th century BCE (high iron content, the right shape, and you can see part of the typical markings in the image at the top left):

image.jpeg.d0ba1e81f03d87a9ef0400ccc9e7788c.jpeg

Maybe the markings count as "reverse-like"? 😄 (It's a 60mm piece weighing 200g.)

For proper reverses I'll include 3 horses next.  I love all three.  First, a cast semis, Crawford 18/2, c. 270 BCE, 53mm and 154g:

image.jpeg.a4431d9f9a7834c4054418219eb04ff6.jpeg

Then Rome's earliest struck bronze, this "litra" - actually a quartuncia - from c. 270 BCE:

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^ Crawford 17/1g (rare), 6.13g, 23mm (all of the ROMANO legend visible, both sides)

My third horse is on this didrachm, a type akeady didn't post (the obverse is Mars):

image.jpeg.94de2eb9db521701308440f1e525d156.jpeg

^Crawford 27/1, c. 235BCE

I won't post my quadrigatus, which pales in comparison with both @kapphnwn's and akeady's amazing examples.  Instead I'll conclude with an early victoriatus, thought to precede the denarius by just a few years, in 215 BCE:

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The reverse type (Victory with trophy) is significant, because it gave its name (i.e. victoriatus) to what collectors standardly call a quinarius. Some literary evidence suggests that "victoriatus" was the term in common parlance for the quinarius even into Imperial times.

Edited by Severus Alexander
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Great start indeed. I will start the show with two didrachms. Do I have to elaborate on how and why they are atractive, or a picture is enough ?

73d919086a484f73b36a0275fcb9bacf.jpg
Roman republic, anonymous didrachm (heavy denarius) - Rome mint c. 269-266 BCE
No legend, Diademed head of young Hercules right, with club and lion's skin over shoulder
ROMANO, She wolf right, suckling Romulus and Remus
7.29 gr
Ref : Crawford # 20/1, RCV # 24, RSC # 8, Albert # 30

Privately purchased from P.F. Jacquier, september 3, 2003

 

ebc79c77a2104dc8bc099cd8d6ce2dd8.jpg
Roman republic, anonymous didrachm (heavy denarius) - Rome mint c. 240 BCE
No legend, Head of youthful Mars to right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet decorated with a griffin springing right
ROMA Head of a bridled horse to right. To left, sickle
6,33 gr - 19 mm - 6 h
Ref : Crawford # 25/1, RCV # 26, RBW # 38, RSC # 34, Sydenham # 24 Albert # 50

Ex Leu web Auction # 24/102. From an American collection of Roman Republican and Imperatorial coins, ex Künker 174, 27 September 2010, 488 (with original ticket).

Q

Edited by Qcumbor
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Fun thread idea! Lots of my favorite coins are for the reverse. This'll be fun eye candy😃

2464650_1641205031.l-removebg-preview.png.4f7aa3231043fb08d7526b748a51a76a.png

BRONZE AGE. Proto Money. "Aes Rude" Style Bronze Cake shaped Ingot (2000-400 BC). 261 g, 6 cm. This type of ingots is an intermediate product of prehistoric copper processing in Europe and an early form of currency. It was available both in pure copper and in various mostly natural bronze alloys. The archaeological finds contain both whole cakes in various sizes and pieces. Purchased from Numismatik Naumann Feb 2022 

IMG_4234(1).JPG.262fc54775b4612f7c1d026af4900bcc.JPGROMAN REPUBLIC. Anonymous. AE Aes Grave Triens (47mm, 92.37 gms), Rome Mint, ca. 225-217 B.C. VERY FINE. Cr-35/3a; TV-53. Obverse: Helmeted head of Minerva left; four pellets (mark of value) below; all set upon raised disk; Reverse: Prow right; four pellets (mark of value) below; all set upon raised disk. A pleasing specimen despite its crudeness, with charming green surfaces.

Edited by Ryro
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I have a few bits of cast proto-money, but the reverses are not the best thing about them 😁

This seems to attempt to replicate a real shell.

Cast Aes Grave Sextans, c265BC
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Italy. Bronze, 33mm, 36.89g. Scallop-shell seen from outside; below, two pellets. Scallop-shell seen from inside (Cr 21/5).

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Nice and heavy. Could be used as a weapon in your sling.

Italy. Apulia, Luceria. Circa 225-217 BC. Æ Aes Grave Teruncius (42mm, 89.24g). Obv: Sunburst of six rays. Rev: Dolphin left; ••• below. Ref: ICC 340; HN Italy 672. Very Fine, green patina. Ex CNG e326 (5 Jul 2014), Lot 9.

image.jpeg.369992389a1b5c3643dd98a48ed6dfbf.jpeg

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July 3 time frame, 211-170 BC. Currently I have no Roman coins that fit this time frame, however, I'd like to post an early Roman denarius that does, a coin I sold in CNG 483, lot 373. This coin type is the 1st issue of a serrate denarius.

                                           imgonline-com.jpg.a40f76e770ed23c0829d8579b20e9ddf.jpg

Roman Republic, Anonymous, 209-209 BC. AR Denarius Serratus: 4.19 gm, 19 mm, 11 h. Six-spoked wheel series, Mint in Sicily. Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma facing right & wearing an earing in the form of a clump of grapes, X in left field (mark of value). Reverse: The Dioscuri on horseback holding spears & leaping over a wheel with six spokes, ROMA in exergue. Crawford 79/1; Sydenham 519; RSC 20kk; RBW 327. 

 

Edited by Al Kowsky
spelling correction
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2136662_1630246868.l-removebg-preview.png.9d4c57bdf530cc1735b8dc79b725d934.png

Anonymous 211-210 BC. Rome

As Æ

33mm., 34,49 g.

Laureate head of bearded Janus; I (mark of value) above / Prow of galley right; grain ear above; I (mark of value) to right.

fine. Purchased from Savoca Sept 2021

 

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Spain, Carthago Nova Æ Unit. Roman Occupation, after 209 BC. Bare-head left (Scipio Africanus?) / Horse standing right; palm tree behind. CNH Class XI, 282; SNG BM Spain 127-128. 10.04g, 23mm, 12h.
Good Very Fine. Excellent for issue. Very rare.
Gift from @bcuda Sept
 

 

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Great stuff!  And such variety.  I don't have any really early Republican, but since today is July 3 we are good for 211-170BC

For silver I will show the introduction of the denarius and its principle divisions:

211-den01b.jpg.7124ee7fb93277b70f82b207f5c12050.jpg

Anonymous Denarius of 211 BC.    3.75g

Roma wearing winged helmet (of of Mercury?), facing r. // at Left: numeral X signifying 10 asses (initial tarriff rate)

The Dioscuri on horseback advancing to r.  In exergue:  ROMA

 

211-quin01b.jpg.3b3f5366b81a9b9cc75fe168a48af0cc.jpg

The half of the denarius was the Quinarius marked with roman numeral V (5)     2.34g

Roma wearing winged helmet with  a bird head; Roman numeral V behind.

Dioscuri mounted advancing r with schematic star-like emblem above each. (i.e. marked as astral figures)

In exergue:  RoMA (note diminished "o")

 

 

211-sest01b.jpg.7acbc219dc48f84c83a7487362390e2e.jpg

The half of the quinarius was the sestertius, marked IIS     1.03g

Roma wearing winged helmet facing r:  at left: IIS

Dioscuri mounted advancing the r. with a full star image atop.

In exergue: ROMA

 

211-vict01b.jpg.d7bfe872d24c9840590b0fed0a1539be.jpg

The Victoriatus continued in production after the denarius took over from the didrachm as the principle silver denomination.       3.39g

Note the weight relation of this coin to the early denarius and quinarius.  It is still in the pattern of the pre-denarius coinage in which it was fractional to the didrachm.

Head of Jupiter to r. within ring/wreath of dots.

Victory to L building/saluting a trophy to r.  

In exergue: RoMA    ( diminished "o")

 

211-unci01b.jpg.9fa0c287e71adc06e19d466f41d4ffcd.jpg

I no longer do much with Roman Republican coinage, and particularly not with bronze.  However, one piece that I held on to is an uncia of c. 211, marked on the obverse with the single dot (at left edge).  The ship's rudder motif (is that really a prow?) which normally dominates the reverse, on this example shares the spotlight with a grain of wheat overhead.

 

In 209 BC (per Crawford) the earliest serrati appeared:

209-serrden01b.jpg.2675c81e58e0adb62eda60c95fa07991.jpg

The obverse features the usual head of Roma with the value siglum X behind.     4.09g

The reverse features the Dioscuri as before, but with the addition of a spoked wheel beneath.  This example does not appear to show anything above the figures of the Dioscuri, but I have another example in which they each have an eight point star radiating from a central hub.  On that example, the letter "O" of ROMA in the exergue is of diminished size in comparison to the other letters.  (I can post that image if there is interest.)

Edited by lrbguy
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I don't have many coins in this time frame. Since we want reverses, I will choose this sextans with a Victory "flying" over a prow

b44744a41be54f78b67859cad32d0dfa.jpg
Roman Republic - Sextans, Rome mint, circa 211-206 BCE
Head of Mercury right, wearing petasus, two pellets above helmet
ROMA, Prow of galley right, surmounted by a victory right
5.11 gr
Ref : RCV #1218

Q

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In the period 211 - 170BC, there isn't much variety in the reverses of RR coins.

The denarius reverse is the dioscuri initially, with eventually some variety coming - Diana or Luna in a biga right.   Symbols and letters are used, then abbreviations of the names of moneyers.

The victoriatus has Victory placing a wreath on a trophy with similar symbols to the other silver coins; the bronze coins have a prow with the symbols.

Here are a few of mine - many of them well down to my usual standards 😄

Cr. 156/1 prawn - Luna in biga
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Cr. 125/1 - Q. Lutatius Catulus - early name on coin:
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Cr. 149/1b - Ulysses holding staff on reverse:
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Mostly, I seem to end up with lots of coins which look much the same - Cr. 133/2b with TAMP above horses:
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And the rather similar Cr. 133/2a with TAMP below horses:
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This is a denarius with the letter C - Cr. 107/1b:
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Here are a few victoriati reverses.
Cr. 97/1a - L (Luceria) victoriatus:
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Cr. 71/1a (C/M) victoriatus:
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Cr. 122/1 - dog symbol:
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And so on, almost ad nauseum!
Aidan.

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Anonymous Av 20 Asses Sicilian Mint 211-210 BC Obv Helmeted head of bearded Mars right. Rv Eagle standing on thunderbolt right below corn ear. Crawford 72/2 RBW 303  1.11 grms 11 mm Photo by W. Hansen 

72-2.jpeg.1afdc7e2b219dd684a5cd47f29f1ef1f.jpeg

This is the smallest denomination of a gold coinage instituted by the Romans during the Second Punic War. Like the Denarius it is marked thus making in a 20 As coin or a double denarius. 

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A few favourites from this time slot include one of the earliest denarius issues, Crawford 44/5 group 2 (44/5.3), with semi-incuse ROMA on the reverse:

image.jpeg.52c97bee7d60cddc2e11a18b6c858d1d.jpeg

Probably my nicest Dioscuri reverse is on this crescent series, Crawford 57/2 c. 207 BCE:

image.jpeg.db34b84e9bc80055f8369500f36c1452.jpeg

The earliest(?) biga reverse, Crawford 136/1 c. 194-190 BCE (shame about the flat strike, I really like the style of the horses on this one):

image.jpeg.6f927f12ccc09ec2971a03efc4f97721.jpeg

Before I got the previous coin, I thought this was the earliest biga, Crawford 140/1, c. 189-180 BCE. This one has the virtue of a complete Luna though:

image.jpeg.7fd73b11300e52fe039fe82389a3817a.jpeg

Probably my best prow from this period is on this Canusium triens, Crawford 100/3, c. 210-208 BCE:

image.jpeg.ccacc3e55712b33663722dc1e4889590.jpeg

Though I like this As very much too! (after 211)

image.jpeg.0e1f54ced3038c61a35208222c88e418.jpeg

Edited by Severus Alexander
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It's 3:00 pm on July 5, so it's time for the 169-130 BCE period*, the first for which I have something to contribute.

*Those who don't collect Roman Republican coins may not be aware that there are many for which the date of issue is uncertain, and the subject of scholarly dispute. On the whole, I will be using the Crawford dates, except when the weight of scholarly opinion after Crawford's publication in 1974, usually based on subsequently-discovered hoard evidence, favors a different date, according to authorities such as Hersh & Walker, Mattingly, Harlan, Lockyear, etc.

---

I have six Roman Republican denarii from this period, and I'm posting four of them as having reverses of particular interest to me.

1. Because it's my earliest Roman Republican coin and the only one depicting the Dioscuri in their typical early presentation, because it's one of only two Republican denarii I have issued before the re-tariffing of that denomination from 10 to 16 asses circa 141 BCE, because it was formerly owned by all of Richard B. Witschonke, Basil C. Demetriadi, and Alan S. Walker -- and most of all, because puppy.

Roman Republic, C. Antestius, AR Denarius 146 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right wearing winged helmet with peaked visor (ornamented with griffin’s head?), pearl necklace, and earring of pellets in form of bunch of grapes, C • ANTESTI upwards behind [partially off flan, ANTE ligate], X [mark of value, 10 asses] beneath chin / Rev. Dioscuri holding spears, on horseback galloping right; puppy running right below horses’ hooves, with both forefeet raised; in exergue, ROMA; minor flan flaws on reverse. Crawford 219/1e, RSC I Antestia 1, BMCRR I 859, Sear RCV I 95/1 (ill.), Sydenham 411. 19 mm.. 3.76 g., 3 h.  Ex CNG Auction 378, July 13, 2016, Lot 408; ex RBW [Richard B. Witschonke] Collection; ex BCD Collection [see old coin ticket], purchased by RBW from BCD March 1985; ex ASW [Alan S. Walker, currently Dir. of Nomos AG]. *

image.png.7198437ffb47ac9c8dffabd58942f424.png

image.png.ad8f91e640c94b03eb40cbaa5b37097c.png

** Crawford states at Vol. I p. 258 that the moneyer “is otherwise unknown,” and suggests that “[t]he moneyer’s cognomen, if the puppy is held to be significant, may perhaps be Catulus,” meaning puppy or wolf cub in Latin. (Emphasis in original.)  Grueber suggests a different (and even more speculative) possibility for the significance of the puppy, namely that “[t]he dog was evidently the symbol of the Antestia gens, and consequently the earlier coins, which have that symbol and are without moneyer’s name, may have been issued by a member of this gens.” (See BMCRR p.114 n. 1.)  The earlier coins Grueber refers to comprise the amonymous dog series cataloged as BMCRR 486-492 (Crawford 122/1-122/6), dated circa 206-195 BCE -- i.e., 50+ years prior to the issuance of this coin. Without more, positing a family connection to those earlier anonymous coins based solely on the presence of dogs on them would seem rather tenuous, especially given that there do not appear to be any dogs on the later Antestia gens coins, either under the Republic or under Augustus during the period when moneyers’ names were still listed. 

Some of the subtypes or varieties of this issue have the moneyer’s name on the reverse, with the puppy on the obverse behind Roma’s head. According to Grueber (p. 114 n. 1), this kind of varying interchange was an “innovation” that began with this issue.

2.  Because it has a biga drawn by non-equine animals, because it's the other denarius I have issued before the re-tariffing from 10 to 16 asses, and because it's an unusual late anonymous coin.

Roman Republic, Anonymous, AR Denarius 143 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right, wearing winged helmet ornamented with stylized representation of gryphon’s head, and earring of pellets in form of bunch of grapes; behind, X [mark of value, 10 asses, issued before re-tariffing of denomination to 16 asses ca. 141 BCE] / Rev. Diana, with quiver slung on her shoulder, in biga of stags galloping right; holding torch in right hand and reins in left; below stags, a crescent moon; in exergue, ROMA. Crawford 222/1; RSC I Anonymous 101 (ill. p. 8); BMCRR I 895; Sear RCV I 98 (ill. p. 92); Yarrow p. 42 (ill. fig. 1.36) [Liv Mariah Yarrow, The Roman Republic to 49 BCE: Using Coins as Sources (2021)]; RBW Collection 946 (ill. p. 199). 18 mm., 4.13 gr. Purchased from cgb.fr., 13 Feb. 2023.*

 image.png.81c374571bab33b7f84a6436e5762b5c.png

*As Crawford notes, essentially stating the obvious, “the biga of stags and crescent are presumably present as the attributes of Diana.” Vol. I p. 260. See also BMCRR I p. 123 n. 3, referring to the crescent moon as “the symbol of Diana,” even though the crescent is associated  with Luna (the Greek Selene) as much as with Diana on Roman Republican coinage (see, e.g., Crawford 426/1 [Diana & crescent]; Crawford 480/26 [Luna & crescent]) -- including when it accompanies a goddess driving a biga, for example on Crawford 303/1 (the denarius of M. Aquillius showing Luna in a biga with crescent above). As John Melville Jones notes in A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (Seaby 1990), in the entry for “Diana” at p. 197, it “is sometimes impossible to make any clear distinction between this goddess and Luna.” See also Crawford Vol. II at pp. 720-721 and n. 6, discussing a series of denarii introduced in the early 2nd century BCE with reverses depicting a goddess in a biga (beginning with Crawford 133), for all of which he identifies the deity as Luna rather than Diana: "It is not possible to distinguish firmly between Luna and Diana; I adopt the designation Luna here without total conviction; but in the coinage of Julia Domna, where Luna and Diana are explicitly identified, Luna bears a crescent on her head, Diana does not."

On this coin, however, the presence of the quiver on the goddess’s back, along with the torch and the stags, should confirm that a representation of Diana is intended (see Jones, op. cit., re Diana Venatrix [“Huntress”] and Diana Lucifera [“Light-bearer”]). See Harlan, RRM I [Michael Harlan, Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins, 81 BCE-64 BCE (2012)], Ch. 19 at p. 115: “The earliest appearance [of Diana driving a biga of stags] was an anonymous issue dated to about 143 [i.e., this type]. Although the deity in the biga holds a torch in her right hand rather than a bow, she is clearly identified as Diana by the quiver over her shoulder”; Harlan also cites the crescent moon as proof of the identification even though that could signify Luna as well.

The most interesting aspect of this issue, apart from the attractive reverse design, is the very fact of its being anonymous. See Sear RCV I p. 92, pointing out that the “occurrence of an anonymous issue at this late date is exceptional and surprising.” Indeed, this type appears to be one of only two anonymous denarii issued after the early 150s BCE (not counting Crawford 262/1, universally ascribed to one of the Caecilii Metelli) – the other being Crawford 287/1, with Roma on the obverse and a reverse depicting Roma seated on pile of shields before wolf & twins with two birds above.

As long ago as 1852, the French numismatist and antiquarian Adrien Prévost de Longpérier published an article -- which I was able to find online, with some difficulty, so I could read what he said first-hand -- in which he listed a number of Republican denarii for which the design, in whole or in part, was a visual pun alluding to the moneyer’s name or family or a particular location. Referring to a denarius issued by L. Axsius L.F. Naso (Crawford 400/1a-b, RSC I Axia 1-2 [type dated to 71 BCE]), the article suggested that the reverse design, also depicting Diana in a biga of stags (a species of which was known in Latin as “axes”) was an allusion to the name of the Axia gens. See A. de Longpérier, “Interprétation du type figuré sur les deniers de la famille Hosidia” in Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de France, t. xxi (1852), at p. 357 (article reprinted in an 1883 collection of the author’s works, available at https://ia902705.us.archive.org/27/items/oeuvres01velagoog/oeuvres01velagoog.pdf; see p. 289).

In 1910, in BMCRR I p. 133 n. 3, Grueber cited Longpérier’s article in arguing with respect to my anonymous type (Crawford 222/BMCRR I 895) – even though it was issued many decades earlier than Crawford 400/1a-b and does not bear a moneyer’s name – that it is “very probable” that the similar design of Diana in a biga of stags on the anonymous type also constituted “a direct allusion to the name of the Axia gens.” See also BMCRR I 3348, pp. 409-410 n. 3 (making the same argument concerning the significance of the reverse of Crawford 400/1a-b). See RSC I Axia 1-2, p. 19 (“The stags [on Crawford 400/1a-b] (cervi axes) may be a punning allusion to the family name”). Yarrow illustrates Crawford 222/1 at p. 42 fig. 1.36, and notes the similar reverse design of Crawford 400/1a-b, but makes no reference to the axes/Axius theory for either type.

However, Crawford completely rejects the theory, with respect to both Crawford 222/1 (my type) and Crawford 400/1a-b. Thus, he states with respect to my anonymous type that “the recurrence of the type on no. 400/1a-b provides no adequate evidence for the attribution of this issue to a moneyer of the gens Axia” (Crawford Vol. I p. 260, citing a 1913 Kubitschek article as contra). And, even with respect to Crawford 400/1a-b, he asserts that “the axes attested by Pliny [citation omitted], natives of India, are of no conceivable relevance to the reverse type, despite the superficial similarity between their name and that of the moneyer” (Crawford Vol. I p. 412, citing the 1852 Longpérier article and an 1878 article by A. Klugmann as contra).

Unfortunately, Crawford provides no elaboration of the reasons – philological, historical, or otherwise – for his adamant rejection of any connection between “axes” and “Axius.” And I certainly don’t know whether “axes” was a sufficiently common or well-known term in Rome – either in 143 BCE or 71 BCE – for a kind of stag or male deer (for which I believe cervus was the general term) that such an allusion would have been widely recognized. Harlan, however, does elaborate on his reasoning in strongly agreeing with Crawford. In his chapter on Crawford 400/1a-b, he states:  “Longpérier interpreted the coin’s reverse design depicting Diana driving a biga of stags to be a punning allusion to the family name Axia, citing Pliny’s mention [in Naturalis Historia] of a strange animal found in India called axis, which had the hide of a fawn, but with more spots and whiter in color. This suggestion was frequently repeated in catalogs. Pliny, however, specifically said that the axis was sacred to Liber not Diana. Moreover, it is difficult to see how or why an Italian family would derive its name from an obscure and virtually unknown Indian animal. Crawford is surely right in saying the axis is ‘of no conceivable relevance to the reverse type.’” Harlan RRM I, pp. 114-115.  

If the obscure term for an Indian animal has no conceivable relevance to the reverse type on a named issue for which a member of the gens Axia is known to have been the moneyer, then it must be all the more irrelevant to my anonymous issue. Indeed, Harlan cites my anonymous issue, as well as the issue of C. Allius Bala from 92 BCE also depicting Diana in a biga of stags (Crawford 336/1b) in concluding that “these three similar appearances of Diana in a biga of stags by moneyers from three different families suggest that the type was more likely generic than a specific reference to the gens Axia.” Harlan RRM I, p. 115. Here's my example of Crawford 336/1b: [insert photo]

 Thus, as intriguing as the Longpérier/Grueber theory may be, I have to agree with Crawford and Harlan that it seems highly unlikely. Sometimes Diana in a biga of stags is just Diana in a biga of stags. (To paraphrase Freud’s famous but entirely apocryphal remark.)

3. Because another example of a biga drawn by non-equine creatures -- probably my favorite type of Roman Republican reverse.

Roman Republic, M. Aurelius Cota [Cotta], AR Denarius 139 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right, wearing winged helmet ornamented with stylized representation of gryphon’s head, earring with three pellets, and necklace of pendants; hair arranged in three symmetrical locks; to right below chin, COTA; behind, mark of value X [after re-tariffing, so = 16 asses] / Rev. Hercules in biga of centaurs right, holding reins in left hand and club in right hand; centaurs each carry branch in left hand; below, M•AVRELI (AVR ligate); in exergue, ROMA. 19 mm., 3.78 g. “Removed from a ring mount; otherwise very fine.” Crawford 229/1b; BMCRR I 916-917 (& Vol. III Pl. xxvi. 2); RBW Collection 959 (ill. p. 201); RSC I Aurelia 16; Sear RCV 1 106. Purchased from Dix Noonan Webb Auction 253, 13 April 2022, Lot 1240; ex Spink Numismatic Circular May 1984, No. 2625 at p. 125 (ill. p. 137).*

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*According to Crawford (Vol. I p. 263), the moneyer “is perhaps M. Aurelius Cotta, father of C. Aurelius Cotta, M. Aurelius Cotta and L. Aurelius Cotta, Co[nsuls] 75, 74 and 65; he may also be a younger son of L. Aurelius Cotta, Cos. 144 . . . , born therefore c. 160 or later.”  If that is the case, than he would also have probably been the father of Aurelia Cotta, the mother of Julius Caesar, and, therefore, Caesar’s maternal grandfather.

 Mattingly agrees with Crawford’s date for this issue: “M. Cotta. . . should go in 139. He was the father of three consuls of the 70s and 60s, and as the younger brother of the consul of 119 [another L. Aurelius Cotta], he must have been born ca. 160. Like C. Scribonius, he would have been moneyer at an unusually young age.” See 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 p. 216.

Grueber notes (BMCRR I  p. 128 n. 1) that the L. Aurelius Cotta who, according to Crawford, may have been the moneyer’s father and was consul in 144, was also tribune of the plebs c. 154. He states (id.) that the moneyer may also have been descended from the M. Aurelius Cotta who was legate of L. Cornelius Scipio, B.C. 189, during the war against Antiochus the Great.

Insofar as the reverse design (Hercules in a biga of centaurs) is concerned, Grueber stated in 1904 that it “has not been satisfactorily explained” (BMCRR I p. 128 n. 3). 70 years later, Crawford characterized it as still “extraordinarily obscure” (Vol. I p. 263). See also John Melville Jones, A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (Seaby, London, 1990), entry for Centaur at pp. 50-51: "A denarius of 139 BC (M. Aurelius Cot(t)a) has the unusual reverse type of Hercules driving a biga drawn by centaurs. If this is anything more than a variant on the regular scene of Hercules driving a chariot as a symbol of victory, the reference is not now understood." [TLDR: "We have no idea what this is all about."]

Perhaps surprisingly given the rather prominent place held by centaurs in Greco-Roman mythology -- including more than one battle or other encounter between Hercules and various centaurs such as Chiron and Nessus (see http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Ca-Cr/Centaurs.htmlhttps://www.greeklegendsandmyths.com/centaurs.html; https://stefanosskarmintzos.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/centaurs-and-centauromachy-in-the-greek-world/ ) -- this coin is the second and last of only two occasions on which a centaur or centaurs appeared on a Roman Republican coin. (The first was Crawford 39/1, a bronze triens issued ca. 217-215 BCE with a reverse depicting Hercules fighting a centaur.) Crawford rejects Babelon’s theory that the reverse refers to family history, namely the victories of M. Aurelius Cotta, Scipio’s legate, over Antiochus at Thermopolyae in 191 BCE, by means of an allusion to the mythical battles of Hercules with the Centaurs in the same geographical area: “It is not recorded that the Legate played any major part in the victory nor is it likely that he was senior enough to do so.” Id. Instead, Crawford cites parallel examples of Hercules drawn by centaurs as an artistic motif, and suggests that the coin type “should be regarded as an artistic variation of a normal Hercules in a biga type, perhaps chosen to highlight Hercules as a conqueror.” At BMCRR I p. 128 n. 3, Grueber cites Babelon as noting “a certain resemblance” between this reverse and the reverse type of Juno in a biga of goats issued by C. Renius at around the same time (see Crawford 231/1, minted in 138 BCE), and suggesting that the two moneyers could have been colleagues at the mint. Or, perhaps they merely shared the sense of the absurd – and/or connectedness to myth -- that appears throughout the history of Roman Republican coinage, in depicting bigas drawn by a wide variety of animals and mythical creatures other than horses.

4. Because it's a very unusual depiction of the Dioscuri galloping in opposite directions, and -- even though this relates to the obverse -- because (according to Sear) it's the first Republican denarius with the “ROMA” legend on the obverse, and only the second to use the monogram * for XVI.

Roman Republic, C. Servilius M.f., AR Denarius 136 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right wearing winged helmet, wreath behind neck, ROMA beneath with * [X with bar through it = XVI monogram] to left / Rev. Dioscuri on horseback galloping in opposite directions, heads turned back to face each other, stars above their heads, and both twins holding their spears downwards behind horses, C. SERVEILI M F in exergue. RSC I Servilia 1, Crawford 239/1, Sydenham 525, Sear RCV I 116 (ill.), BMCRR Italy 540. 19.35 mm., 3.89 g.

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Edited by DonnaML
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I have only two coins for today's timeframe (makes me thinking I need more 😄 )

As I cherish the "she wolf suckling twins" theme, my choice will be the following :

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S. Pompeius Fostlus, Denarius - Rome mint, 137 BCE
Helmeted head of Roma right, X below chin, jug behind head
SEX PO [FOSTLVS] She wolf suckling Remus and Romulus, fig tree in background, the shepherd Faustulus behind. ROMA at exergue
3,73 gr
Ref : RCV # 112 var, RSC Pompeia # 1a, Crawford # 235/1c

Q

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I have one coin from the current period. It is one of my favorite RR denarii, one of the reasons being that the reverse is quite unique (I tend to avoid coins with "common" reverses). 

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Ti. Veturius 137 BC. Rome Denarius AR 20 mm, 3,76 g
[TI·V􀺏E􀺏T], 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.

 

Here is another coin presumably from period 169-130 BC although I am not sure at all about the attribution. Good old Janus as with non concludent size and weight

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Roman Republic, Anonymous. As Æ. 157 BC – 156 BC. 27 mm, 14,23 g
Obv: Laureate head of Janus; above, mark (I) / Rev [ROMA], Prow, right; before, denominational mark; below, inscription.
cf RRC 197-8B/1b

My best guess is that this is a contemporary imitation, as checked on https://andrewmccabe.ancients.info/RRC056.html   - last group of coins. 

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Any other opinion is welcome. 

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This came a year from being my only Roman coin in the previous period. Instead, I have two in this period, the other dated at the other end (131BC). They're both common but would have nice reverses if they weren't quite so worn. Still, they were found in Britain, so you have to forgive them 200+ years of circulation. This one has now been out of the ground for 75 years.

Unlike ambr0zie's, I'm able to attribute it to A. Caecilius because of the lettering over the galley. That was better than the British Museum managed, but to be fair to them, I have the advantage of computer enhancement and online coin databases, which they didn't have in 1948.

Roman Republic A. Caecilius As, 169-158BC
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Rome. Bronze, 31-33mm, 28g. Laureate 2-faced Janus, I (value) above. Prow of galley right, I before, A CÆ above, (ROMA below) (Syd 355; Cr174/1). Found on farmland in East Anglia in 1948 and verified at the British Museum.

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A great time to be a Roman... not so much a Macedonian:

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Macedon under Roman Rule - First Meris, Amphipolis AR Tetradrachm (167-149 BC) 16.33 g. 30mm. VF-/VF Diademed and draped bust of Artemis to right, bow and quiver over shoulder, all within tondo of Macedonian shield / Horizontal club to right, ΜΑΚΕΔΟΝΩΝ above, ΠΡΩΤΗΣ below, monogram in upper central field, two monograms below; all within oak wreath, thunderbolt to left. SNG Copenhagen 1314; AMNG III, 176. very fine, restored

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MACEDON (Roman Protectorate), Republican period. Fourth Meris. Circa 167-149 BC. Æ (25mm, 10.18 g, 12h). Heraclea Lynci mint. Head of Zeus right, wearing laurel wreath / Club; monogram and MAKΔONΩN above, TETAPTHΣ and monogram below; all within oak wreath; thunderbolt to left. MacKay pl. III, 12; Touratsoglou pl. VII, 26; AMNG III/1, 188; SNG Copenhagen 1316; Weber 3709. VF, brown patina. Extremely rare. "After the defeat of Perseus at the battle of Pydna in 168 BC, the Romans divided Macedonia into four separate autonomous administrative regions (merides). The first region (ΠPΩTEΣ) lay east of the Strymon with its capital at Amphipolis, the second (ΔEYTEPAΣ) between the Strymon and Axios with its capital at Thessalonica, the third between the Axios and Peneos with its capital at Pella, and the fourth (TETAPTHΣ) included most of Upper Macedonia with its capital at Heraclea Lynci. These four regions only lasted until 148 BC when the country was finally united to constitute a Roman Province and proceeded to issue coins under the authority of its legatus pro praetore. Livy informs us that initially all commerce between the regions, exploitation of the silver and gold mines and the importation of salt were forbidden. Almost all the coinage of this period is struck in the name of the first region and runs parallel to the mass coinages of Thasos and Maroneia from about 158 BC. The first region was the most prolific in its coin issues, striking huge issues of tetradrachms and bronze. The second region had only two issues of tetradrachms and the fourth had only two issues of bronzes. Coins from these two regions are very rare today. No coinage is known from the third region." 

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Roman Republican Period 

167-165 B.C. Æ Unit. 
22 mm. 9.43 grams. 
Obverse: Facing mask of Silenos with pointed ears, wearing ivy wreath. 
Reverse: MAKE / ΔΟΝΩΝ in two lines within oak wreath.
SNG Copenhagen 1324-6; MacKay pl. III, 10; Touratsoglou, Macedonia 25.Very Fine. Dark earthen patina. 

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MACEDON. Amphipolis. 167-31 BC. (Bronze, 23 mm, 10.97 g, 11 h). Head of Roma right, wearing winged helmet. Rev. AMΦIΠO-ΛITΩN in two lines, with monogram above and below; all within oak wreath, with ties on the left side. VF. Purchased from Savoca Sept 2021

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1 hour ago, DonnaML said:

It's 3:00 pm on July 5, so it's time for the 169-130 BCE period*, the first for which I have something to contribute.

*Those who don't collect Roman Republican coins may not be aware that there are many for which the date of issue is uncertain, and the subject of scholarly dispute. On the whole, I will be using the Crawford dates, except when the weight of scholarly opinion after Crawford's publication in 1974, usually based on subsequently-discovered hoard evidence, favors a different date, according to authorities such as Hersh & Walker, Mattingly, Harlan, Lockyear, etc.

---

I have six Roman Republican denarii from this period, and I'm posting four of them as having reverses of particular interest to me.

1. Because it's my earliest Roman Republican coin and the only one depicting the Dioscuri in their typical early presentation, because it's one of only two Republican denarii I have issued before the re-tariffing of that denomination from 10 to 16 asses circa 141 BCE, because it was formerly owned by all of Richard B. Witschonke, Basil C. Demetriadi, and Alan S. Walker -- and most of all, because puppy.

Roman Republic, C. Antestius, AR Denarius 146 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right wearing winged helmet with peaked visor (ornamented with griffin’s head?), pearl necklace, and earring of pellets in form of bunch of grapes, C • ANTESTI upwards behind [partially off flan, ANTE ligate], X [mark of value, 10 asses] beneath chin / Rev. Dioscuri holding spears, on horseback galloping right; puppy running right below horses’ hooves, with both forefeet raised; in exergue, ROMA; minor flan flaws on reverse. Crawford 219/1e, RSC I Antestia 1, BMCRR I 859, Sear RCV I 95/1 (ill.), Sydenham 411. 19 mm.. 3.76 g., 3 h.  Ex CNG Auction 378, July 13, 2016, Lot 408; ex RBW [Richard B. Witschonke] Collection; ex BCD Collection [see old coin ticket], purchased by RBW from BCD March 1985; ex ASW [Alan S. Walker, currently Dir. of Nomos AG]. *

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** Crawford states at Vol. I p. 258 that the moneyer “is otherwise unknown,” and suggests that “[t]he moneyer’s cognomen, if the puppy is held to be significant, may perhaps be Catulus,” meaning puppy or wolf cub in Latin. (Emphasis in original.)  Grueber suggests a different (and even more speculative) possibility for the significance of the puppy, namely that “[t]he dog was evidently the symbol of the Antestia gens, and consequently the earlier coins, which have that symbol and are without moneyer’s name, may have been issued by a member of this gens.” (See BMCRR p.114 n. 1.)  The earlier coins Grueber refers to comprise the amonymous dog series cataloged as BMCRR 486-492 (Crawford 122/1-122/6), dated circa 206-195 BCE -- i.e., 50+ years prior to the issuance of this coin. Without more, positing a family connection to those earlier anonymous coins based solely on the presence of dogs on them would seem rather tenuous, especially given that there do not appear to be any dogs on the later Antestia gens coins, either under the Republic or under Augustus during the period when moneyers’ names were still listed. 

Some of the subtypes or varieties of this issue have the moneyer’s name on the reverse, with the puppy on the obverse behind Roma’s head. According to Grueber (p. 114 n. 1), this kind of varying interchange was an “innovation” that began with this issue.

2.  Because it has a biga drawn by non-equine animals, because it's the other denarius I have issued before the re-tariffing from 10 to 16 asses, and because it's an unusual late anonymous coin.

Roman Republic, Anonymous, AR Denarius 143 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right, wearing winged helmet ornamented with stylized representation of gryphon’s head, and earring of pellets in form of bunch of grapes; behind, X [mark of value, 10 asses, issued before re-tariffing of denomination to 16 asses ca. 141 BCE] / Rev. Diana, with quiver slung on her shoulder, in biga of stags galloping right; holding torch in right hand and reins in left; below stags, a crescent moon; in exergue, ROMA. Crawford 222/1; RSC I Anonymous 101 (ill. p. 8); BMCRR I 895; Sear RCV I 98 (ill. p. 92); Yarrow p. 42 (ill. fig. 1.36) [Liv Mariah Yarrow, The Roman Republic to 49 BCE: Using Coins as Sources (2021)]; RBW Collection 946 (ill. p. 199). 18 mm., 4.13 gr. Purchased from cgb.fr., 13 Feb. 2023.*

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*As Crawford notes, essentially stating the obvious, “the biga of stags and crescent are presumably present as the attributes of Diana.” Vol. I p. 260. See also BMCRR I p. 123 n. 3, referring to the crescent moon as “the symbol of Diana,” even though the crescent is associated  with Luna (the Greek Selene) as much as with Diana on Roman Republican coinage (see, e.g., Crawford 426/1 [Diana & crescent]; Crawford 480/26 [Luna & crescent]) -- including when it accompanies a goddess driving a biga, for example on Crawford 303/1 (the denarius of M. Aquillius showing Luna in a biga with crescent above). As John Melville Jones notes in A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (Seaby 1990), in the entry for “Diana” at p. 197, it “is sometimes impossible to make any clear distinction between this goddess and Luna.” See also Crawford Vol. II at pp. 720-721 and n. 6, discussing a series of denarii introduced in the early 2nd century BCE with reverses depicting a goddess in a biga (beginning with Crawford 133), for all of which he identifies the deity as Luna rather than Diana: "It is not possible to distinguish firmly between Luna and Diana; I adopt the designation Luna here without total conviction; but in the coinage of Julia Domna, where Luna and Diana are explicitly identified, Luna bears a crescent on her head, Diana does not."

On this coin, however, the presence of the quiver on the goddess’s back, along with the torch and the stags, should confirm that a representation of Diana is intended (see Jones, op. cit., re Diana Venatrix [“Huntress”] and Diana Lucifera [“Light-bearer”]). See Harlan, RRM I [Michael Harlan, Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins, 81 BCE-64 BCE (2012)], Ch. 19 at p. 115: “The earliest appearance [of Diana driving a biga of stags] was an anonymous issue dated to about 143 [i.e., this type]. Although the deity in the biga holds a torch in her right hand rather than a bow, she is clearly identified as Diana by the quiver over her shoulder”; Harlan also cites the crescent moon as proof of the identification even though that could signify Luna as well.

The most interesting aspect of this issue, apart from the attractive reverse design, is the very fact of its being anonymous. See Sear RCV I p. 92, pointing out that the “occurrence of an anonymous issue at this late date is exceptional and surprising.” Indeed, this type appears to be one of only two anonymous denarii issued after the early 150s BCE (not counting Crawford 262/1, universally ascribed to one of the Caecilii Metelli) – the other being Crawford 287/1, with Roma on the obverse and a reverse depicting Roma seated on pile of shields before wolf & twins with two birds above.

As long ago as 1852, the French numismatist and antiquarian Adrien Prévost de Longpérier published an article -- which I was able to find online, with some difficulty, so I could read what he said first-hand -- in which he listed a number of Republican denarii for which the design, in whole or in part, was a visual pun alluding to the moneyer’s name or family or a particular location. Referring to a denarius issued by L. Axsius L.F. Naso (Crawford 400/1a-b, RSC I Axia 1-2 [type dated to 71 BCE]), the article suggested that the reverse design, also depicting Diana in a biga of stags (a species of which was known in Latin as “axes”) was an allusion to the name of the Axia gens. See A. de Longpérier, “Interprétation du type figuré sur les deniers de la famille Hosidia” in Mémoires de la Société des Antiquaires de France, t. xxi (1852), at p. 357 (article reprinted in an 1883 collection of the author’s works, available at https://ia902705.us.archive.org/27/items/oeuvres01velagoog/oeuvres01velagoog.pdf; see p. 289).

In 1910, in BMCRR I p. 133 n. 3, Grueber cited Longpérier’s article in arguing with respect to my anonymous type (Crawford 222/BMCRR I 895) – even though it was issued many decades earlier than Crawford 400/1a-b and does not bear a moneyer’s name – that it is “very probable” that the similar design of Diana in a biga of stags on the anonymous type also constituted “a direct allusion to the name of the Axia gens.” See also BMCRR I 3348, pp. 409-410 n. 3 (making the same argument concerning the significance of the reverse of Crawford 400/1a-b). See RSC I Axia 1-2, p. 19 (“The stags [on Crawford 400/1a-b] (cervi axes) may be a punning allusion to the family name”). Yarrow illustrates Crawford 222/1 at p. 42 fig. 1.36, and notes the similar reverse design of Crawford 400/1a-b, but makes no reference to the axes/Axius theory for either type.

However, Crawford completely rejects the theory, with respect to both Crawford 222/1 (my type) and Crawford 400/1a-b. Thus, he states with respect to my anonymous type that “the recurrence of the type on no. 400/1a-b provides no adequate evidence for the attribution of this issue to a moneyer of the gens Axia” (Crawford Vol. I p. 260, citing a 1913 Kubitschek article as contra). And, even with respect to Crawford 400/1a-b, he asserts that “the axes attested by Pliny [citation omitted], natives of India, are of no conceivable relevance to the reverse type, despite the superficial similarity between their name and that of the moneyer” (Crawford Vol. I p. 412, citing the 1852 Longpérier article and an 1878 article by A. Klugmann as contra).

Unfortunately, Crawford provides no elaboration of the reasons – philological, historical, or otherwise – for his adamant rejection of any connection between “axes” and “Axius.” And I certainly don’t know whether “axes” was a sufficiently common or well-known term in Rome – either in 143 BCE or 71 BCE – for a kind of stag or male deer (for which I believe cervus was the general term) that such an allusion would have been widely recognized. Harlan, however, does elaborate on his reasoning in strongly agreeing with Crawford. In his chapter on Crawford 400/1a-b, he states:  “Longpérier interpreted the coin’s reverse design depicting Diana driving a biga of stags to be a punning allusion to the family name Axia, citing Pliny’s mention [in Naturalis Historia] of a strange animal found in India called axis, which had the hide of a fawn, but with more spots and whiter in color. This suggestion was frequently repeated in catalogs. Pliny, however, specifically said that the axis was sacred to Liber not Diana. Moreover, it is difficult to see how or why an Italian family would derive its name from an obscure and virtually unknown Indian animal. Crawford is surely right in saying the axis is ‘of no conceivable relevance to the reverse type.’” Harlan RRM I, pp. 114-115.  

If the obscure term for an Indian animal has no conceivable relevance to the reverse type on a named issue for which a member of the gens Axia is known to have been the moneyer, then it must be all the more irrelevant to my anonymous issue. Indeed, Harlan cites my anonymous issue, as well as the issue of C. Allius Bala from 92 BCE also depicting Diana in a biga of stags (Crawford 336/1b) in concluding that “these three similar appearances of Diana in a biga of stags by moneyers from three different families suggest that the type was more likely generic than a specific reference to the gens Axia.” Harlan RRM I, p. 115. Here's my example of Crawford 336/1b: [insert photo]

 Thus, as intriguing as the Longpérier/Grueber theory may be, I have to agree with Crawford and Harlan that it seems highly unlikely. Sometimes Diana in a biga of stags is just Diana in a biga of stags. (To paraphrase Freud’s famous but entirely apocryphal remark.)

3. Because another example of a biga drawn by non-equine creatures -- probably my favorite type of Roman Republican reverse.

Roman Republic, M. Aurelius Cota [Cotta], AR Denarius 139 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right, wearing winged helmet ornamented with stylized representation of gryphon’s head, earring with three pellets, and necklace of pendants; hair arranged in three symmetrical locks; to right below chin, COTA; behind, mark of value X [after re-tariffing, so = 16 asses] / Rev. Hercules in biga of centaurs right, holding reins in left hand and club in right hand; centaurs each carry branch in left hand; below, M•AVRELI (AVR ligate); in exergue, ROMA. 19 mm., 3.78 g. “Removed from a ring mount; otherwise very fine.” Crawford 229/1b; BMCRR I 916-917 (& Vol. III Pl. xxvi. 2); RBW Collection 959 (ill. p. 201); RSC I Aurelia 16; Sear RCV 1 106. Purchased from Dix Noonan Webb Auction 253, 13 April 2022, Lot 1240; ex Spink Numismatic Circular May 1984, No. 2625 at p. 125 (ill. p. 137).*

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*According to Crawford (Vol. I p. 263), the moneyer “is perhaps M. Aurelius Cotta, father of C. Aurelius Cotta, M. Aurelius Cotta and L. Aurelius Cotta, Co[nsuls] 75, 74 and 65; he may also be a younger son of L. Aurelius Cotta, Cos. 144 . . . , born therefore c. 160 or later.”  If that is the case, than he would also have probably been the father of Aurelia Cotta, the mother of Julius Caesar, and, therefore, Caesar’s maternal grandfather.

 Mattingly agrees with Crawford’s date for this issue: “M. Cotta. . . should go in 139. He was the father of three consuls of the 70s and 60s, and as the younger brother of the consul of 119 [another L. Aurelius Cotta], he must have been born ca. 160. Like C. Scribonius, he would have been moneyer at an unusually young age.” See 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 p. 216.

Grueber notes (BMCRR I  p. 128 n. 1) that the L. Aurelius Cotta who, according to Crawford, may have been the moneyer’s father and was consul in 144, was also tribune of the plebs c. 154. He states (id.) that the moneyer may also have been descended from the M. Aurelius Cotta who was legate of L. Cornelius Scipio, B.C. 189, during the war against Antiochus the Great.

Insofar as the reverse design (Hercules in a biga of centaurs) is concerned, Grueber stated in 1904 that it “has not been satisfactorily explained” (BMCRR I p. 128 n. 3). 70 years later, Crawford characterized it as still “extraordinarily obscure” (Vol. I p. 263). See also John Melville Jones, A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (Seaby, London, 1990), entry for Centaur at pp. 50-51: "A denarius of 139 BC (M. Aurelius Cot(t)a) has the unusual reverse type of Hercules driving a biga drawn by centaurs. If this is anything more than a variant on the regular scene of Hercules driving a chariot as a symbol of victory, the reference is not now understood." [TLDR: "We have no idea what this is all about."]

Perhaps surprisingly given the rather prominent place held by centaurs in Greco-Roman mythology -- including more than one battle or other encounter between Hercules and various centaurs such as Chiron and Nessus (see http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Ca-Cr/Centaurs.htmlhttps://www.greeklegendsandmyths.com/centaurs.html; https://stefanosskarmintzos.wordpress.com/2017/06/04/centaurs-and-centauromachy-in-the-greek-world/ ) -- this coin is the second and last of only two occasions on which a centaur or centaurs appeared on a Roman Republican coin. (The first was Crawford 39/1, a bronze triens issued ca. 217-215 BCE with a reverse depicting Hercules fighting a centaur.) Crawford rejects Babelon’s theory that the reverse refers to family history, namely the victories of M. Aurelius Cotta, Scipio’s legate, over Antiochus at Thermopolyae in 191 BCE, by means of an allusion to the mythical battles of Hercules with the Centaurs in the same geographical area: “It is not recorded that the Legate played any major part in the victory nor is it likely that he was senior enough to do so.” Id. Instead, Crawford cites parallel examples of Hercules drawn by centaurs as an artistic motif, and suggests that the coin type “should be regarded as an artistic variation of a normal Hercules in a biga type, perhaps chosen to highlight Hercules as a conqueror.” At BMCRR I p. 128 n. 3, Grueber cites Babelon as noting “a certain resemblance” between this reverse and the reverse type of Juno in a biga of goats issued by C. Renius at around the same time (see Crawford 231/1, minted in 138 BCE), and suggesting that the two moneyers could have been colleagues at the mint. Or, perhaps they merely shared the sense of the absurd – and/or connectedness to myth -- that appears throughout the history of Roman Republican coinage, in depicting bigas drawn by a wide variety of animals and mythical creatures other than horses.

4. Because it's a very unusual depiction of the Dioscuri galloping in opposite directions, and -- even though this relates to the obverse -- because (according to Sear) it's the first Republican denarius with the “ROMA” legend on the obverse, and only the second to use the monogram * for XVI.

Roman Republic, C. Servilius M.f., AR Denarius 136 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right wearing winged helmet, wreath behind neck, ROMA beneath with * [X with bar through it = XVI monogram] to left / Rev. Dioscuri on horseback galloping in opposite directions, heads turned back to face each other, stars above their heads, and both twins holding their spears downwards behind horses, C. SERVEILI M F in exergue. RSC I Servilia 1, Crawford 239/1, Sydenham 525, Sear RCV I 116 (ill.), BMCRR Italy 540. 19.35 mm., 3.89 g.

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Great coins & writeup 🤩.

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