Benefactor DonnaML Posted June 29, 2022 · Benefactor Benefactor Share Posted June 29, 2022 (edited) Here are three more Republican coins purchased in the last couple of months, with write-ups. 1. The first is a type I've wanted for a long time to pair it with my other Fonteius Dioscuri-galley denarius (see photo below). It's off-center, and the reverse has some noticeable scratches, but it's otherwise in very nice condition, I think. Most importantly, you can see the "face" on the galley very well, and that's the most appealing part of the coin as far as I'm concerned. Roman Republic, Mn. Fonteius, AR Denarius, Rome Mint, 108-107 BCE. Obv. Jugate and laureate heads of Dioscuri right, stars above their heads; below their chins to right, * [= XVI; mark of value] / Rev. Galley right depicted in three-quarters perspective at prow, with long projecting rostrum, full-length oars on front side with overlapping horizontal shields above, and partial view of foreshortened oars on back side*; pilot seated in stern beneath aplustre; above, MN • FONTEI [MN and NTE ligate]; below galley, control-letter B. 20 mm., 3.91 g., 4 h. Crawford 307/1b, BMCRR I 1205; RSC I Fonteia 7 (ill. p. 48); Sear RCV I 184 (ill. p. 107). Purchased from Roma Numismatics E-Sale 98, 16 Jun 2022, Lot 1029.** *Presumably intentionally, the three-quarters view of the prow of the galley presents the distinct impression of a face, with two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and headgear; the foreshortened oars to the right somewhat resemble a cat’s whiskers. **According to Crawford I at pp. 316-317 (referring to id. p. 305), the moneyer “is doubtless a brother or cousin of the moneyer C. Fonteius,” the issuer of Crawford 290/1 in approximately 114-113 BCE, similarly depicting the Dioscuri (in a Janiform design) on the obverse and a galley on the reverse; “either may be identified with the Fonteius who was Legate in 91 [BCE].” The reason that both moneyers chose to portray the Dioscuri and a galley, as explained at Crawford I p. 305, is that the gens Fonteia came from Tusculum, the chief cult-center of the Dioscuri in Latium. The galleys on both reverses are “doubtless” allusions to the transmarine origin of Telegonus (the son of Ulysses and Circe), who was the legendary founder of Tusculum. Here's my example of Crawford 290/1, without the write-up: 2. My second new coin, by contrast, is not a type I knew about at all. But I liked it, so I put in a bid, and I'm happy I won it. Roman Republic, C. Annius T.f. T.n Luscus and L. Fabius L.f. Hispaniensis, AR Denarius, 82-81 BCE, minted in N. Italy (or Spain). Obv. Female bust right, unidentified [according to Crawford & Sear RCV] but possibly Anna Perenna [see BMCRR & RSC],* draped, wearing diadem, earring of three drops and necklace; hair rolled back and collected into a knot behind, and falling in one lock down the neck; before, scales; behind, winged caduceus; C•ANNI•T•F•T•N• - PRO•COS•EX•S•C around counter-clockwise from 4:00; below bust, control-letter R between two dots / Rev. Victory leaning forward in quadriga of galloping horses right, holding reins in left hand and palm-branch in extended right hand; horse on far right turns head back towards the other three horses; Q above horses; in exergue, [L]•FABI•L•F•HISP. 21 mm., 3.78 g., 4 h. Crawford 366/1b; BMCRR II Spain 13-18 var. [different control-letters]; RSC I Annia 2b & Fabia 17; Sear RCV I 289 (ill. p. 126), RBW Collection 1376 (ill. p. 283). Purchased from Roma Numismatics Ltd. E-Sale 98, 16 Jun 2022, Lot 1071; “from the collection of Z.P., Austria” (with old coin ticket in English on one side and in Italian on other side).** *BMCRR II, at p. 353 n. 2 (continuation), identifies the obverse bust as “Anna Perenna, who according to Ovid [citations omitted] was the sister of Dido, and was worshipped in Italy in the character of a rustic deity. It may have been from her that the Annia gens claimed descent. The caduceus, the symbol of commerce, may refer to the corn-producing wealth of Spain, or even to Anna Perenna herself, of whom Ovid relates that when the people of Rome were in want of food she distributed cakes amongst the hungry multitude, who in gratitude erected a temple to her. The scales may have a monetary significance.” RSC I adopts the same identification. Crawford, however, states that “the identity of the deity who forms the obverse type is entirely uncertain.” Crawford I p. 386. Sear RCV I, at p. 126, also declines to identify the obverse figure. **As stated in BMCRR II at pp. 352-353 n. 2, "Caius Annius Luscus was the son of T. Annius Rufus, consul B.C. 128, and grandson of T. Annius Luscus, consul B.C. 153. This information is supplied by the legend on the obverse of the coins. He served under Q. Caecilius Metellus Numidius in Africa in the war against Jugurtha, B.C. 107, commanded the garrison at Leptis, and later, in B.C. 82, was sent by Sulla to Spain, with the title of proconsul, to oppose Sertorius, who had retired there after the collapse of the Marian party in Rome. . . . (T)hese coins were struck under a special mandate of the Senate [hence the “EX•S•C”] by his quaestors, L. Fabius Hispaniensis and C. Tarquitius. [The latter’s name appears only on Crawford 366/4.] . . . . The Victory in a quadriga on the reverse is no doubt intended to record the successes of C. Annius Luscus at the beginning of the campaign.” See also Crawford I p. 386 (citations omitted): “C. Annius was sent against Q. Sertorius in Spain some time after the middle of 82 B.C.; the early part of the issue, struck in Italy, bears the name of one Quaestor, L. Fabius L.f. Hispaniensis, the later part, struck in Spain, bears also that of C. Tarquitius P.f.; the presence of two Quaestors at this stage is entirely intelligible if C. Annius was in charge of both Spanish provinces. C. Tarquitius is not heard of again, L. Fabius deserted to Sertorius (for which he was proscribed), and shared in his murder.” I have seen no express explanation of the presence of the letter “Q” above the horses on the reverse (and present on the reverse of all variations of Crawford 366), but it may simply mean “Quaestor.” *** Does anyone know of any other Republican coins depicting quadrigas in which the fourth horse looks back at the other three? The scene reminds me of the two Roman Republican coins depicting trigas, both of which show the third horse looking back at the other two: C. Naevius Balbus, Crawford 382/1b: T. Maloleius, Appius Claudius Pulcher, & Quintus Urbinius, Crawford 299/1b *** 3. My third new Roman Republican coin, like the first, is a type I had wanted for a long time. It's not rare, but many of the examples one sees are in rather poor condition. So I'm very pleased with it! Roman Republic, M. [Marcus] Volteius, AR Denarius, 78 BCE (Crawford) or 75 BCE (Harlan). Obv. Helmeted, draped bust of young deity (Attis or Corybas [male] or Bellona [female])* right (with Phrygian[?] helmet bound with laurel-wreath, and long flowing hair beneath helmet); behind, control-symbol of thyrsus** / Rev. Cybele, wearing turreted crown [off flan] and veil, in biga of lions right, holding reins in left hand and patera in right hand; control mark Θ (Theta) above**; in exergue, M•VOLTEI•M•F. 17.5 mm., 3.89 g. Crawford 385/4; RSC I Volteia 4 (ill. p. 100); BMCRR I 3185 (specimen with control-marks thyrsus & Θ); Sear RCV I 315 (ill. p. 131); RBW Collection 1417 (ill. p. 291); Harlan RRM I Ch. 28 pp. 62-66 [Michael Harlan, Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins, 81 BCE-64 BCE (Vol. I) (2012)]; Yarrow pp. 168-171 (ill. Fig. 4.9 at p. 171) [Liv Mariah Yarrow, The Roman Republic to 49 BCE: Using Coins as Sources (2021)]. Purchased 6 April 2022 (but didn't arrive for two months!), Künker [Fritz Rudolf Künker GmbH & Co. KG, Osnabrück, Germany] Auction 367, 6 April 2022, Lot 7-793; ex Artemide Auction LIII, 2-3 May 2020, Lot 212.*** *The authorities disagree on the identity of the obverse bust, whether it is male or female, and whether it can be identified at all. See Crawford Vol. I pp. 400, 402 (“The identity of the obverse type of 4 is uncertain; Attis . . . Corybas . . . and Bellona . . . are suggested, in every case without decisive evidence”) (citations omitted); Sear RCV I 315 at p. 131 (no identification); Yarrow at p. 171, Fig. 4.9 (“uncertain long-haired divinity”); RSC I at p. 100 (“Attis or young Corybas”); BMCRR I 3179 at p. 390 (“Attis(?)”); Harlan RRM I at p. 64 (“most likely Attis”); Künker Auction 367, Lot 7-793 description (identifying the obverse as Bellona, the Roman goddess of war, citing Hollstein, Wilhelm, Roman Coinage in the years 78-50 BC [Die stadtrömische Münzprägung der Jahre 78-50 v. Chr.] (Munich 1993) p. 10, for the theory that the obverse refers to Sulla’s temple restorations or new constructions, including the probable new erection of a Bellona altar on the Capitol and the construction of the Bellona Temple near the Porta Collina). I do not have access to Hollstein’s explanation of the basis for his identification of the obverse as Bellona. The book was essentially the author’s published dissertation. See the generally unenthusiastic review by Jane DeRose Evans in the American Journal of Numismatics, Vol. 7/8 (1995-96), pp. 289-293, at https://www.jstor.org/stable/43580271?seq=1, characterizing it at p. 290 as “a book that some numismatists may find helpful,” and noting at p. 293 that “Not everyone will agree with his insistence on seeing references to Sulla or Pompey in many coin types (I myself remain skeptical in several cases, as Sulla especially seems to have far too many tutelary deities).” Absent such access, or any general adoption by scholars of Hollstein’s theory, I think that Attis or Corybas would seem to be more likely identifications than Bellona, given their connections to Cybele, the deity portrayed in the lion biga on the reverse. By contrast, I am not aware of any thematic connection between Bellona and Cybele. Thus, Attis was a “Phrygian god, the companion of the Great Mother of the Gods (see Cybele), who castrated himself, died and was brought back to life again.” See Jones, John Melville, A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (London, Seaby 1990), entry for “Attis” at p. 28. Corybas was “the son of Iasion and the goddess Cybele, who gave his name to the Corybantes (Koribantes), or dancing priests of Phrygia.” See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corybas_(mythology). See also Jones, op. cit., entry for “Corybant” at p. 74, defining the term as “a male follower of the goddess Cybele. Since the Corybants celebrated her rites by leaping and dancing, clashing weapons and cymbals, they are sometimes confused with the Curetes of Crete, who used to engage in similar activities.” **Regarding the obverse control-symbol on my coin of a thyrsus (a staff covered with ivy, topped with a pine cone, associated with Bacchus and his followers), and the reverse control-mark of a Θ (Theta), see Crawford I p. 399, explaining that “a given control-symbol on [385/]4 is always paired with the same control-numeral; no pair of control-marks has more than one pair of dies.” For the control-mark pairings attested as of Crawford’s publication in 1974, see Crawford’s Table xxxv at Crawford I p. 401, listing the Thyrsus and Θ as a known combination (citing Paris, A 16891). See also BMCRR I 3185 at p. 391, citing the British Museum’s specimen of the same pairing. ***The generally-accepted interpretation of the depiction of Cybele in a biga of lions on the reverse of this coin (together with the portrayal of Cybele’s companion Attis or her son Corybas on the obverse), is that it refers to one of the five major annual games celebrated in the Roman Calendar, specifically the Ludi Megalenses honoring Cybele – just as the designs of the four other types issued by Marcus Volteius in 78 BCE (Crawford 385/1-3 & 5) referred to four other major games, the Ludi Cereales (Ceres), the Ludi Apollinares (Apollo), the Ludi Romani (Jupiter), and the Ludi Plebeii or Herculani (Hercules). See Crawford I p. 402; Harlan RRM I pp. 62-67 (and specifically pp. 63-66 regarding Cybele and the Ludi Megalenses). See Yarrow pp. 168-169: “Crawford suggestes that the issue is anticipating the moneyer’s campaign for an aedileship and encodes a promise of largitones, or generosity, in his potential staging of the games. Yet, different magistrates oversaw each of these games; the ludi Cereales fell under the purview of the plebeian aediles; the ludi Romani under the curule aediles; and the ludi Apollinares under the praetor urbanus. The moneyer cannot be campaigning for all simultaneously. Instead , we might want to think about this series as a miniature fasti (calendar) or symbolic representation of the religious year. For all we know, the moneyer may have originally intended to strike types for other festivals and for one reason or another simply never did; not all of the five types were struck in equal proportion, those in honor of Apollo being represented by the fewest known dies [see the die totals for each type at Crawford I p. 399].” Specifically concerning the Ludi Megalenses, see Harlan RRM I at pp. 63-66: “The Ludi Megalenses held between 4 and 10 April were the first games of the calendar year. Volteius represented these games with the depiction of a male head wearing a Phrygian helmet on the obverse and the goddess Cybele driving a cart drawn by a pair of lions on the reverse. Cybele, also known as the Great Mother, was a Phrygian goddess whose frenzied rituals were quite foreign to Roman sensitivities. [Lengthy quotation on subject of Cybele from Lucretius’s poem On the Nature of Things omitted.] The Phrygian followers of Idaean Cybele were called Corybantes, but in Latin literature they were frequently confused with the Curetes, who concealed infant Jupiter’s cries on Mount Ida in Crete. It may be one of these Corybantes who appears to be represented on the obverse of Volteius’ coin, but more likely it is Attis, the young consort of Cybele. He is usually depicted in Phrygian trousers fastened with toggles down the front and a laureate Phrygian cap. His act of self-castration is the reason why Cybele’s priests were eunuchs and why in Rome Cybele’s worship remained distinctly Greek in character and was maintained by Greek priests. Romans were prohibited by decree of the Senate from taking part in the priestly service of the goddess. Even the name of the games remained Greek, derived from Megale Mater meaning Great Mother. The goddess did not become part of the Roman pantheon until 204 [BCE]. In that year the Sybilline books were consulted because, according to Livy, it had rained stones more than usual that year. In the books a prophecy was found that if the Romans ever wished to drive out a foreign enemy who had invaded Italy, they would be successful if they should bring Cybele, the Idaean Mother of the Gods, from Pessinus to Rome. [Lengthy description omitted of transportation of Cybele to Rome, with cooperation of Attalus of Pergamum, who had recently become an ally of Rome.] The day of her installation was 4 April 204 and games were held in her honor for the first time. The specific contests of the first games were not recorded, but scenic games were added for the first time . . . in 194. At some point in the development of the games, the re-enactment of the goddess’ reception into Rome became part of the ceremonies. . . . Volteius’ coin depicts Cybele in her typical Greek aspect rather than as the sacred stone that was brought to Rome. She wears a mural crown and drives a cart pulled by a pair of lions, beasts once common to Phrygia.” *** With this lion biga, I now have a half-dozen examples of Roman Republican denarii depicting bigas pulled by animals (or mythical creatures) other than horses: Hercules in biga drawn by centaurs (Crawford 229/1b) Juno in biga drawn by goats (Crawford 231/1) Jupiter in biga drawn by elephants (Crawford 269/1) Venus in biga drawn by cupids (Crawford 320/1) Diana in biga drawn by stags (Crawford 336/1b) Of course, there are some I'm still missing -- bigas of snakes, hippocamps, and others. Please post whatever Roman Republican coins you think are relevant to any of these, including your coins showing the Dioscuri, galleys and other ships, unusual quadrigas, and non-equine bigas. As always, comments and criticisms of the interpretations presented here are welcome. Edited August 6, 2022 by DonnaML 27 1 2 6 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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