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Roman Republican Coins #'s 74-76


DonnaML
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Posted (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.**

 image.jpeg.e973ce6c888c04837ad5c0bb543bf82f.jpeg

*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:

 

Fonteius (Dioscuri-Galley) jpg version.jpg

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).**

 image.jpeg.27ae44560ce7e38fe489315b5c92490b.jpeg

*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:

image.jpeg.142bf7b5b00271e699c3b82caaa25ba9.jpeg

T. Maloleius, Appius Claudius Pulcher, & Quintus Urbinius, Crawford 299/1b

[IMG]

 

***

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.***   

 image.jpeg.386a7762238e6ad72af5251c06bd9083.jpeg

*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)

upload_2022-4-25_16-33-1.jpeg

Juno in biga drawn by goats (Crawford 231/1)

C. Renius (biga with stags) jpg version.jpg

Jupiter in biga drawn by elephants (Crawford 269/1)

upload_2022-4-25_16-52-38.jpeg

Venus in biga drawn by cupids (Crawford 320/1)

L. Julius L.f. Caesar (Mars-Venus Genetrix in Biga of Cupids) jpg version.jpg

Diana in biga drawn by stags (Crawford 336/1b)  

Allius Bala orig. jpg version.jpg

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 by DonnaML
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And you recently told me I should put up a warning sign for my posts!? Give a guy a hear attack with so much beauty!

Just an absolute feast of wonderful writing and coins😍

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Elephant quadriga before Rome made it cool to ride groups of elephants:

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And the suckers Julius Caesar with maybe the funniest reverse of any RR:

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IMG_0754(1).PNG

Edited by Ryro
Adding IDs momentarily
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10 hours ago, Roman Collector said:

I love that Cybele in a lion biga coin, @DonnaML! Just wow!

Omg wow GIFs - Get the best gif on GIFER

Thanks. And they even kind of look like lions! I've seen quite a few examples on which they look like large dogs.

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Posted · Benefactor

Holy frick, Donna!! ... those are all very sweet examples!! 

Man, I am jealous of several of those winners ... the horse-looking-back examples made me smile (the horse looks so happy to be running with his buddies!)

... oh, and I also love that Lion-example (so cool)

=> keep-up the awesome collecting!! (it's always a pleasure to check-out your stuff)

 

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As usually, your RR denarii are top. Congratulations, you are building a fantastic RR collection and in my opinion, concentrating on a RR collection is more difficult than an Imperial one, generally speaking.

I try to get RR coins also - my main interest is the design as the RR designs are usually very entertaining and unique.

For some reason, I don't like coins with bigas/quadrigas (can't explain why).

Here is a fairly recent Mn Fonteius, a coin I tried to get for a while and this example would do, although it is one of the very few candidates in my collection where I might upgrade it

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Mn. Fonteius C.f. 85 BC. AR Denarius 3.72gr. Rome
MN•FONTEI – C•F Laureate head of Apollo Veiovis r.; below, thunderbolt and below chin, RA ligate. Rev. Cupid on goat r.; above, pileii. In exergue, thyrsus. The whole within laurel wreath. FFC 717. B. Fonteia 9. Syd. 724. Cr. 353/1a.

The reverse is the main point of interest for me. Interesting that a similar reverse (and the only one that comes in my mind with this theme - somebody riding a goat) was issues much later, in 3rd century BC for Valerian II, but the rider was infant Jupiter, not Cupid on that one.

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For anyone who would like to try to buy a Volteius lion biga coin, I notice that there's what looks like a nice example offered as part of Lot 906 in the upcoming Noonans [formerly Dix Noonan Webb] auction on 13-14 July, together with two other Roman Republican coins. See https://www.numisbids.com/n.php?p=lot&sid=5880&lot=906 . The estimate for the lot is 100 GBP, but I can't tell you how Noonans' estimates relate to their expectations. I also don't really understand why they wouldn't think the three coins in the lot are worth selling separately.

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5 minutes ago, ambr0zie said:

If those 3 denarii would sell at estimated value, I am interesting in buying 500 similar lots (for now)

Unless there's something wrong with those three denarii that I can't see in Noonans' photos, my guess on the fair market value of the three coins together would be something around 10 times the estimate.

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15 hours ago, DonnaML said:

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. 

I have only the normal Bigas and Quadriga... only one coin with an Elephant Biga from the roman gens, who love Elephants 🙂

 

m0019_rrc_silber_denar_gaius_caecilius_metellus_caprarius.png

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Mine is a 366/1a ... which features some very interesting control marks on the OBV.  Mine seems to be a "sword in scabbard"... but maybe its a "plough"? 

----------------

Control-marks 366/1a:  Caps of the Dioscuri, Carnyx, Comb, Crab, Crescent enclosing star, Helmet, Lizard, Knife, Plough, Scorpion, Sickle, Snake, Spear, Staff with double hook, Sword, Sword in scabbard, Thunderbolt, Trident, Trophy, Wing, 

 

 

Edited by Constantivs
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16 minutes ago, DonnaML said:

Unless there's something wrong with those three denarii that I can't see in Noonans' photos, my guess on the fair market value of the three coins together would be something around 10 times the estimate.

I was discussing with an auction house director in regards to this. He was also using unrealistic estimates, so I asked him why. The answer was something we all know and in fact it was a question. "Do you take estimates into consideration"?

 

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3 hours ago, DonnaML said:

Unless there's something wrong with those three denarii that I can't see in Noonans' photos, my guess on the fair market value of the three coins together would be something around 10 times the estimate.

Noonan's estimates are especially low. Not usually 10 times, though.

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@DonnaMLdifficult to choose a coin from your collection, all too beautiful

for the 2 triga coins, I have an idea to explain, it is personal and from a today look, but I think life has not changed and the way to make politics has always in every civilization been the same. I'll try to post it this week

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Posted (edited)

Great RR additions, Donna. I like Roman coins with galleries, and your #74 with three-quarters perspective is such a beauty. Thanks for sharing. I'm adding this coin type onto my lookout list.  😉

I'm slowly building up my biga team. Here are my lion, centaur, cupid and snake members. 🙂

==37Lion Biga Large Pic.jpg

==23735.1.683_1.jpg

050e-400a.jpg

=bpB.jpg

Edited by happy_collector
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Posted · Benefactor
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, happy_collector said:

Great RR additions, Donna. I like Roman coins with galleries, and your #74 with three-quarters perspective is such a beauty. Thanks for sharing. I'm adding this coin type onto my lookout list.  😉

I'm slowly building up my biga team. Here are my lion, centaur, cupid and snake members. 🙂

==37Lion Biga Large Pic.jpg

==23735.1.683_1.jpg

050e-400a.jpg

=bpB.jpg

A wonderful group. These are really fun to collect.  But every time I've bid on an example of the Ceres in a snake biga, it's gone for more than $2,000 -- way out of my price range.  Same for the one showing Neptune in a biga of hippocamps (Q. Crepereius, Crawford 399/1b).  Also, speaking of Ceres, it's not a biga, but I'd love an example of Crawford 342/3b, from C. Vibius Pansa, showing Ceres with torches walking behind a pig. Not easy to find either. 

Of course, there are plenty of Roman Provincials showing bigas or quadrigas drawn by non-equine animals, like this Roman Alexandrian drachm I have showing Trajan driving a quadriga of elephants :

alexandrie-trajan-drachme-2.jpg

 

Edited by DonnaML
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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, DonnaML said:

A wonderful group. These are really fun to collect.  But every time I've bid on an example of the Ceres in a snake biga, it's gone for more than $2,000 -- way out of my price range.  Same for the one showing Neptune in a biga of hippocamps (Q. Crepereius, Crawford 399/1b).  Also, speaking of Ceres, it's not a biga, but I'd love an example of Crawford 342/3b, from C. Vibius Pansa, showing Ceres with torches walking behind a pig. Not easy to find either. 

Of course, there are plenty of Roman Provincials showing bigas or quadrigas drawn by animals, like this Roman Alexandrian drachm I have showing Trajan driving a quadriga of elephants :

alexandrie-trajan-drachme-2.jpg

 

Nice elephant quadriga, Donna. I like coin's large size and chunky feeling. Looks like the elephants are working hard. Probably a very heavy chariot. 🙂

Yes, those hippocamp bigas are hard to come by, and quite expensive. I recalled seeing a good quality example maybe 2-3 weeks ago in vcoins at over $2,000. It doesn't show in my search anymore... I guess it is sold. Well, such price range is out of my denarius budget anyway, so maybe I'll pursue a bronze example instead. However, even the bronze version may not come cheap these days. I saw a Phoenician hippocamp quadriga bronze at Numismatik Naumann this morning, but hammer price is quite high. 

As for the Ceres on a snake biga RR coin, I think there are a number of examples showing up these days. Unless you are really going after a high quality example, or the one variety that the snakes are not curled, I believe it won't take you too long to hammer one.

  

 

Edited by happy_collector
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Posted (edited)
On 6/29/2022 at 10:17 AM, DonnaML said:

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:

There is one (well, almost) that comes to mind. (Courtesy of Acsearch)

 

Magical Snap - 2022.07.04 16.54 - 047.png

Edited by Topcat7
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@DonnaML the two triga denarii, my personal explanation. 

Your coins are much nicer.

Crawford 299/1b                                                                                    

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Crawford 382/1b
 

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The first coin, minted in 111/110 BC,  had 3 moneyers. One of them was Ap. Claudius Pulcher, praetor in 89 and consul in 79 BC. On the reverse is a triga with Victoria, a reference to one of the many victories of Rome. As there are 3 moneyers, we can not determine wich one.

The coin has still the head of Roma, in 137 BC a denarius had for the first time a head of Mars and since then, it was possible for the moneyer to choose. The same evolution existed for the reverse and circa 120 BC the classical Dioscuri-type was represented for the last time. From now on, the possibility to choose the image was abundantly used to promote the own family and future.

Another reason can be the Lex Gabinia tabellaria (139 BC) introducing a secret vote in the elections and abolishing the vote by showing the hand .

There is no explanation for the triga, maybe it was choosen because there were 3 moneyers.

The function of moneyer was a first step for a political career, Claudius Pulcher, moneyer in 110 was consul in 79 BC.

The second coin (79 BC) shows the head of Venus wearing a diadem and the inscription S.C and on the reverse Victoria in a triga and the name of the moneyer : C. Naevius Balbus,  not otherwise known.

Crawford writes (p 398): 'If the obverse type is indeed a head of Venus (compare nos. 357 and 359), the obverse ans reverse types together perhaps refer to Sulla's Venus and to the Victoria Sullana.' 

The Victoria Sullana is his victory in the second civil war (83-82 BC) and simultaneously his nomination as dictator legibus scribundis et rei publicae constituendae. At the same time, he received the agnomen Felix, for Greeks Epaphroditos : loved by Aphrodite = Venus.

The coin was minted in 79 BC, one of the years of the apogee of Sulla.

In the same year, the consuls were Publius Servilius Vatia and Appius Claudius Pulcher, one of the moneyers of the other triga denarius.

IMO the reverse is a link to the coin of Claudius Pulcher, coined by the begin of his cursus honorum, link made by Naevius Balbus, beginning his Cursus.

The obverse represents Venus. Sulla was loved by Venus, so we have here a link to Sulla.

This coin is struck by S.C : senatus consulto, as were 39 % of the issues in the period 80-71 BC.

By referring with this coin to Sulla, who had all power in Rome at that time and to one of the consuls, Claudius Pulcher tried to become in the favor of both and this by spending public money.

Cicero was right when he said 15 years later  :'O Tempore, O Mores......Senatus haec intellegit, consul videt'. (Oratio in Catilinam prima,1).


 

                           


 


 

 

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Posted (edited)

Just something I wanted to add that caught my eye. It seems that the pictorial representation of a galley's prow in three-quarters perspective, giving the impression of a face, was not unique to the first coin in my OP above, Crawford 307/1b, issued in 108/107 BCE. As a reminder, here's the reverse of that coin:

image.jpeg.151106f69ad0854da6344da6802fddbc.jpeg

I was recently browsing Prof. Liv Mariah Yarrow's blog entries from back in Feb. 2014, looking for something else, and came across an entry (https://livyarrow.org/2014/02/10/237-out-of-410-similar-images-different-interpretations/) stating that "the three quarters perspective used on RRC 307/1 is a familiar style for depicted Roman galleys in Pompeian frescoes," accompanied by this illustration (unfortunately not credited to any particular museum or any "house" in Pompeii itself):

image.jpeg.c8c3bde6d6fafd29a20ed0ca34cbdc6a.jpeg

So this particular form of 3/4 perspective, used to present a galley prow as a face, was still being employed at least a century after the coin was issued, assuming that the fresco was no more than 80 years old at the time of Pompeii's destruction in AD 79. Is anyone aware of any other ancient examples of this?

Just as a postscript, I highly recommend Prof. Yarrow's blog for browsing. Very enjoyable. She writes primarily about Roman Republican coins, but not exclusively. 

Edited by DonnaML
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