A couple of months ago mix_val added his Orbiana collection
to his Gallery
and I commented, in the Member's Gallery
"It occurs to me that Orbiana
's middle bronzes presumably come both in red
copper, her As, and in yellow brass, her dupondius
. Unfortunately I have never examined her middle bronzes in any large collection
with this point in mind. Vienna
would be a good
place to start, because it is very rich in Roman coins
and tends to have multiple specimens of undercollected series like middle bronzes, and because one of its curators over a century ago, I suspect Friederich
Kenner, decided to determine the metal of all of their middle bronzes by lightly filing one spot on the edge of every heavily patinated piece in the collection
until he hit metal!
was the first lady whose dupondii
, sometime during the reign of her son, were typologically marked by placing a crescent behind her shoulders, analogous to the radiate
crown of the emperor. The fact that Orbiana
has no dupondii
so marked suggests that this innovation took place after the year or so of her marriage to Severus Alexander
, c. 226-7 AD."
A week or two after writing
that I was at the ANS
in New York
City and checked their Orbiana collection
. They have several middle bronzes, but generally without exposed metal, so I found it hard to determine for sure whether they were red asses
or yellow dupondii
Recently I came across the specimen illustrated below, which is definitely of yellow metal and so a dupondius
, provided that it is ancient and not a modern cast
It came from our forgery cabinet, and I can't exclude that it might be a cast
, but I am about 2/3 convinced that it was wrongly condemned and is in fact ancient!
10.04 g, 11h.