Finn235 Posted July 12, 2022 · Member Share Posted July 12, 2022 Not sure how I got started on this path, but as an addendum to my primary Roman collection, I also found an inexplicable draw to collect coinage showing the portraits of non-Imperial Romans of the provinces - usually governors, procurators, magistrates, etc. It is a unique challenge as many of these are extremely rare issues. This series (if it can even be called that) commenced during the late Republican era and fizzled out by the reign of Claudius, although the vast majority comprise Augustus' inner circle of political allies. They range from individuals ad famous as the emperors themselves, to individuals who have been totally forgotten by history. One thing that remains certain, however, is that as long as they were permitted to do so, these coins were minted to remind the local populace of who was in charge when the Big Man wasn't around I'll start off with one of the more famous governors - Vedius Pollio Vedius Pollio, Procurator of Asia c. 29-27 BC AE21 of Lydia, Tralles Magistrate Menandros, son of Parrisos OYHΔIOΣ KAIΣAΡEΩN, Bare head of Vedius Pollio right MENANΔΡOΣ ΠAΡΡAΣIOY, Laureate head of Zeus right For a Roman citizen to obtain the right to place his image on a coin under the supervision of Augustus was among the highest honors, granted to only some half dozen men during the entirety of Augustus' four decades in office. It is therefore nothing short of remarkable when history remembers nothing of Vedius Pollio save for his cruelty. An apparent Equestrian, Pollio served as the procurator of Roman Asia during the earliest years of the Empire, and surely was one of Augustus' closest friends and allies. He returned to Rome some time around 22 BC and thereafter became a figure of legendary terror, as he maintained in his large estate at Posillipo a tank of ravenous lamprey (or possibly Moray) eels that he would throw his unfortunate slaves to whenever they made a mistake, however minor. Once fattened on human flesh, the lampreys would be consumed as a traditional Roman delicacy. It is said that one day, Pollio was entertaining Augustus at a dinner party when a slave accidentally dropped and broke a crystal cup. Pollio had the slave seized to be thrown into the pool, but the young boy threw himself at Augustus' feet and begged for a humane death. Augustus asked Pollio to spare the young slave's life, to which Pollio responded that as the slave is his property, he will do as he wishes. Augustus then asked Pollio to bring all of the rest of the crystalware in the house. Everything gathered, the Emperor inspected it over, then ordered it all smashed to pieces, then turning to Pollio and remarking that surely whatever was done to his slave for a single cup must now also be done to his emperor for everything he owned. Flustered, Pollio ordered the slave released. Vedius Pollio died in about 15 BC at an unknown age, and Augustus had his residence at Rome torn down to make room for a public monument in his wife's honor. 15 1 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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