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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numism  |  Reading For the Advanced Collector  |  Topic: Purpose of spintria 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Rupert
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« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2005, 02:56:15 pm »

I'd like to add, not my two cents in this case, but my one tessera, the only one I own, and of course not one of the naughties. Very uneven surface and thus hard to photograph.

Rupert
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Roma_Orbis
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« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2005, 03:16:43 pm »

Rupert,

  Do you happen to know the place of discovery (at least the country?)

Jérôme Cool
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Rupert
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« Reply #27 on: August 26, 2005, 03:31:33 pm »

No, I'm sorry; I bought it in 1999 from Hirsch in Munich, that's all I know about its origin Sad.

Rupert
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Congius
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« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2005, 06:46:17 am »

I'm not sure if this may add anything to the discussion - a countermarked spintria that just sold.

Does anybody recognise the countermark and know anything about it?

Ben
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curtislclay
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« Reply #29 on: December 02, 2005, 09:10:11 am »

It's the famous eaglet long thought to be of the Este family, now ascribed to the Gonzaga family.  Collection dispersed 1700 or earlier, Paris and Milan have many coins with this mark.
Our Norwegian friend who asserts that all spintria were fabricated in the 18th cent. may wonder how one of them got this 16th or 17th cent. collector's mark!
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2005, 09:22:17 am »

Ah - thanks Curtis. I figured it would likely say something about the coin.

I initially though it looked a bit too sharp/detailed to be a countermark, but then I thought what collector would stamp a coin with their own mark! I wonder why the Gonzaga's did that?

Ben
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virtvsprobi
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« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2005, 05:35:39 pm »

but then I thought what collector would stamp a coin with their own mark! I wonder why the Gonzaga's did that?

Remember that the tastes and sensibilities of collectors several centuries ago may have been rather different than our own.

For example, throughout 18-19th century re-silvering of antoniniani was not frowned upon, either. Some collectors further "improved" coins by filing them to make them rounder. The mere thought of which practice makes me shudder.

As for the Gonzagas... If their chamber pots had the family crest on it, why not the coins? What better way to say "Mine, mine, mine, all mine!"?

Then again, such individuals exist today as well, alas... I know of one fellow who is actually rather proud that the coins in his collection have his fingerprints etched into them.

G/<
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« Reply #32 on: October 19, 2007, 09:42:04 pm »

Thruout  this thread I have seen no mention of Tiberius's edict  ...nummo uel anulo effigiem impressam latrinae aut lupanari intulisse... (Suet. Tib. 58) from Suetonius  translated? "(no-one) to carry into latrines or brothels a coin with the head (of the Emperor) stamped on it or cut in the stone of a ring". My interpretation of this would mean that a denarius or sesterces could not be used as a form of payment at a brothel during this time period and thus a token "spintria" was neccessary to comply with the law. Quite possibly these tokens were purchased in advance, and the numerals might have a wide variety of significance, appointment time, location, room number, and server? This speculation would also fit the parameters that spintria have not been found in multiples and they become scarcer the further you get from Rome.

Hoping to get some insight from the learned scholars that frequent this board.

Thanks'  Cameron
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bpmurphy
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« Reply #33 on: October 20, 2007, 12:57:40 am »

I'm still not convinced that the erotic tokens didn't have some use in a brothel somewhere. I find it curious that below the erotic paintings in the Pompeii brothel there are Roman numbers indicating locker numbers.

Barry Murphy
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*Alex
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« Reply #34 on: October 20, 2007, 03:57:53 am »

Thruout  this thread I have seen no mention of Tiberius's edict  ...nummo uel anulo effigiem impressam latrinae aut lupanari intulisse... (Suet. Tib. 58) from Suetonius  translated? "(no-one) to carry into latrines or brothels a coin with the head (of the Emperor) stamped on it or cut in the stone of a ring". My interpretation of this would mean that a denarius or sesterces could not be used as a form of payment at a brothel during this time period and thus a token "spintria" was neccessary to comply with the law.

I'm still not convinced that the erotic tokens didn't have some use in a brothel somewhere. I find it curious that below the erotic paintings in the Pompeii brothel there are Roman numbers indicating locker numbers.

I think that these two posts, taken together, have very likely solved the problem.

  We can be certain, however, that they were not whorehouse tokens, entitling you to one copulation as depicted, one of the traditional explanations that is still often repeated today, since the same reverse dies were also used with imperial portraits and genre scenes on the obverse.
 Any explanation must take account of (a) this mixture of depictions on the obverse, copulations, imperial heads, genre scenes, (b) the numbers I-XVI on the reverse, (c) the rarity of these tokens, (d) the fact that the main series seems to belong to approximately the time of Tiberius-Claudius.

Tokens could have been struck by a common mint (official?) for a variety of purposes ranging from those for use at the games to those for use in brothels or latrines. So long as Imperial heads are not used in conjunction with copulation scenes on the same token I can see no reason why the erotic ones could not have been issued as brothel tokens.

Alex.
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curtislclay
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« Reply #35 on: October 21, 2007, 01:02:43 pm »

In my opinion the terrerae with imperial heads and genre scenes cannot be separated from those with erotic scenes by the facile assumption: same manufacturer, different clients!

Why the same numbers I-XVI on the reverses of all such tokens?  Why exactly the same size, fabric, metal, style?  If I-XVI applied to locker numbers at the whorehouse as Barry suggests, why did the other clients, who chose imperial portraits or genre scenes for their tokens, want those same numbers on the reverse?
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #36 on: October 22, 2007, 10:33:52 am »

Thruout  this thread I have seen no mention of Tiberius's edict  ...nummo uel anulo effigiem impressam latrinae aut lupanari intulisse... (Suet. Tib. 58) from Suetonius  translated? "(no-one) to carry into latrines or brothels a coin with the head (of the Emperor) stamped on it or cut in the stone of a ring". My interpretation of this would mean that a denarius or sesterces could not be used as a form of payment at a brothel during this time period and thus a token "spintria" was neccessary to comply with the law. Quite possibly these tokens were purchased in advance, and the numerals might have a wide variety of significance, appointment time, location, room number, and server? This speculation would also fit the parameters that spintria have not been found in multiples and they become scarcer the further you get from Rome.

Could this same edict not imply that tokens bearing the Imperial portrait were being used enough to warrant the emperor's attention?
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« Reply #37 on: October 23, 2007, 01:08:00 am »

In principle, I'm sure you're right, though I know nothing of spintria and the literature.  Epigraphers that I have known have relied on it, that when, for example, an inscription was set up at the entrance to a sanctuary saying something about profane practices, such as burials within the temenos, it is the best conceivable evidence for such practices having occurred, and frequently enough to justify setting up the inscription.  I remember a little Middle Byzantine church in Athens which, 50 years ago, was crowded round by later houses and garden walls.  On the back of its little apse was painted, "Outhouse use of this place forbidden!"  Well, it actually said Apagorevetai to kropeîn, in case you know Greek.  Today, of course, like the rest of the Plaka, it's clean and tidy enough for Disneyland.
Pat L.
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curtislclay
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« Reply #38 on: October 26, 2007, 09:26:22 am »

Here the Suetonius passage, so we can see it has nothing to do with spintriae:

After a man had been tried and condemned for removing the head of Divus Augustus from a statue and replacing it with a head of someone else, "this kind of accusation gradually went so far that even such acts as these were regarded as capital crimes: to beat a slave near a statue of Augustus, or to change one's clothes there; to carry a ring or a coin stamped with his image into a privy or a brothel, or to criticize any word or act of his. Finally, a man was put to death merely for allowing an honour to be voted him in his native town on the same day that honours had previously been voted to Augustus." (Loeb, pp. 373-5)

These infringements all relate to AUGUSTUS; Suetonius does not say whether Tiberius had any objection to people carrying his own portrait coins into brothels or latrines.
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #39 on: February 26, 2008, 11:46:00 am »

I think that this image from Pompeii supports the argument that they were some sort of brothel token.
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