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The First Roman Captive & Trophy Coins (101 & 98 BCE): Fundanius Quinarius & Cloelius Quinarius Commemorating Marius' Cimbrian War

Curtis JJ

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A favorite topic of mine -- to me, the Fundanius & Cloelius Quinarii below are among the most important Roman coins. Took a couple years to find the right ones. I’ve shown them elsewhere, not here.


One of the most distinctive symbols on Roman coins is the barbarian captive and trophy. It is rare that we can identify the single first use of any artistic symbol. In this case, it seems we can.


Trophies of captured arms were well known on Greek coins from the late 4th and 3rd centuries (Syracuse and Magna Graecia, Bithynia, Macedonia, and the Seleucid Kings).

The captive, however, was a distinctively Roman addition. The first coin on which a captive was bound to the trophy was the Fundanius Quinarius, struck c. 101 BCE (Crawford 326/2), celebrating Marius’ victories over the Cimbri and Teutones:


C. Fundanius AR Quinarius (1.67g), Rome, 101 BCE.
Obv: Head of Jupiter laureate, right. Control mark, left: R (?).
C•FVNDA. Victory crowning trophy, to which is bound a kneeling captive (King Teutobodus?). Q below.
Ref: Crawford 326/2; CRRO.
Prov: Ex Sammlung R.L., formed over three generations, c 1890s-2010 (Jacquier 51, Lot 185).

Three years later, another Quinarius celebrated Marius’ conquest with a similar scene (but the bound captive seated against the trophy, rather than kneeling before).


T. Cloelius AR Quinarius (1.75g), Rome, 98 BCE.
Obv: Head of Jupiter laureate, right. Control mark, left: V
Rev: T
CLOVLI. Victory crowning trophy, to which is bound a reclining captive Germanic warrior (?). Q below.
Ref: Crawford 332/1a; CRRO
Prov: Ex Sammlung R.L., formed over three generations, c 1890s-2010 (Jacquier 51, Lot 191).


In fact, the coins probably memorialize an actual scene from Marius’ Triumph in 101 BCE, in which the captured king Teutobodus was paraded through the streets of Rome:

“Their king, Teutobodus himself … having been captured in a neighbouring forest was a striking figure in the triumphal procession; for, being a man of extraordinary stature, he towered above the trophies of his defeat.”
Florus, Epitome of Roman HistoryBook 1, Ch XXXVIII: 10 (Loeb 1929: p. 171).

From there, the design was adopted by Roman sculpture, famously on the tomb of Caecilia Metella in Rome, c. 25 BCE (the captive’s face and torso are missing, but the rest of the “trophy tableau” is visible).

This is an interesting case, then, in which the imagery was used on coins first, and other artworks followed:

[Sergey Sosnovskiy 2006 CC-BY-SA (ed); L. Kinnee 2016: p. 199, from G. Foglia in Paris 2000; see also Gerding 2002 & Piranesi in Rome: Tomb of Caecilia Metella]

There are several other notable uses of captives on Republican coins (and related, supplicants and personifications [see e.g., Yarrow 2021: 106-112]). The most important artistic development was Julius Caesar’s addition of a female personification beside the trophy, opposite the male captive (whose identity deserves its own discussion and set of comparanda from other Roman/Italian coins).


Julius Caesar AR Denarius (3.70g, 20mm, 12h), Military mint (Spain?), 46-45 BCE.
Obv: Head of Venus to right, wearing stephane; Cupid behind shoulder
Rev: Trophy of Gallic arms, composed of helmet and cuirass, oval shield and two carnyxes. Two Gallic captives seated at base, to left, a female (Gallia) in posture of mourning, head resting in r. hand; to right, a bearded male (Vercingetorix?) with hands bound behind him, looking l. CAESAR in exergue.
Reference: Crawford 468/1; CRI 58; RSC 13; Sydenham 1014.
Provenance: Ex-Tauler y Fau Substasta 70 (24 Nov 2020), Lot 79 


The same design, with only minor changes, remained popular over 350 years later. As far as I can see, it was last used on Constantine I’s bronzes (slightly later substituting vexillum for trophy). A few of my reverses:



Constantine I “The Great” AE3 Reduced Follis (20mm, 2.6g), Trier, 320/1 CE.
Obv: CONSTANTINVS AVG. Helmeted bust right.
Rev: VIRTVS EXERCIT / T-F / •PTR. Germanic captives under Trophy.
Ref: RIC 279


It is important to recognize that the captive-trophy tableau didn’t appear until the turn of the first cent. BCE.

As an artistic innovation and success, the captive-and-trophy is quite revealing of the late Republican and Roman Imperial culture. One might even see it as a sign of the accelerating transition from “the Republic” to “the Empire.” One of the most distinctive symbols of Roman identity – its culture, its Imperial ambitions, and even its economy – was quickly becoming the image of the defeated, captured foreigner.


Recommended (she gives much more context & detail):

Kinnee, Lauren. 2016. “The Trophy Tableau Monument in Rome: from Marius to Caecilia Metella.” Journal of Ancient History vol.. 4 (2): 191-239.

(Not free online anywhere I can find, unless you have university/library access, but I'm more than happy to email the PDF to anyone who asks.)

Kinnee, Lauren. 2018. The Greek and Roman Trophy: From Battlefield Marker to Icon of Power. NY: Routledge.

Edited by Curtis JJ
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Excellent examples! And thanks for the very informative write up. I'm a big fan of Marius and the new man's changes to the military undoubtedly led to one man rule and the end of the Republic. 

Here's my example:


T. Cloelius
98 BC. Rome Quinarius AR 15mm., 1,60g.
Laureate head of Jupiter right, B below / T CLOVI, Q, Victory standing right, crowning trophy, before trophy, bound captive seated left.
nearly very fine. Crawford 332/1B (control mark below Jupiter). Former Savoca

Edited by Ryro
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1 hour ago, antwerpen2306 said:

my example of the Cloelius' quinarius :



Cr 332/1a, 14.5 mm, 1.74 gr, 12 h. There are 3 varieties of this coin, one with control-mark on obverse behind (a), one with c-m below(b) and the last with c-m before (c). Maybe the coin of @Ryro is Cr 332/1b.



Updated post and my catalog. Thanks!

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Incidentally, @Severus Alexander has a lovely specimen, but per a recent post, may be unlikely to re-post at the moment. 

One thing I find very interesting about these Marian period Quinarii: the captive never seems to have a face. (If any do, please tell.) That appears to be deliberate (Victory has one, other anatomical details finer than a face are included). Undecided whether that's at odds with the hypothesis that it's Teutobodus, or a way of dehumanizing him.

Later Republican and Imperial coinage definitely gave the captives faces.

On 6/18/2022 at 5:56 PM, Severus Alexander said:

Here's a quinarius issued by C. Fundanius in 101 BCE to celebrate Marius's victories over mixed Germans and Gauls.  Carnyx on the right:



Edited by Curtis JJ
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A very informative post – I learned something reading it!

I particularly like the carnyx on the Cloelius quinarius. It is why I bought mine:


Roman Republic, moneyer: T. Cloelius, AR quinarius, 98 BC, Rome mint. Obv: head of Jupiter, laureate, r., control mark .C. before. Rev: T.CLOVLI; Victory standing r. crowns trophy with seated captive and carnyx; in exergue, Q. 16mm, 1.9g. Ref: RRC 332/1c.

The general design of these quinarii of course is a reference to the earlier victoriati, which don't have the barbarian captive on the reverse yet:


Roman Republic, anonymous issue, AR victoriatus, after 211 BC, Rome mint. Obv: laureate head of Jupiter r. Rev: Victory r., crowning trophy; in exergue, [ROMA]. 17.5mm, 2.0g. Ref: RRC 53/1.


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