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Athens, Attica, Greece, c. 86 - 84 B.C., New Style Tetradrachm, Issued by Sulla
On 1 March 86 B.C., after a 5 month siege, Sulla began his midnight sack of Athens. The city had been occupied by the forces of Mithridates VI of Pontus under the command of Archelaus. Blood was said to have literally flowed in the streets, it was only after the entreaties of a couple of his Greek friends (Midias and Calliphon) and the pleas of the Roman Senators in his camp that Sulla decided enough was enough. This issue was struck for Sulla, either at Athens or outside Athens during the siege, to pay his legions and expenses during the war against Mithradates. The silver was collected from Greeks who supported the Romans against Mithradates and requisitioned from the sacred temple treasuries at Epidaurus, Olympia and Delphi. The ancients admired these Roman-Athenian coins and called them "flats of Lucullan." The MARKOY monogram may refer to Marcus the brother of the Roman general and politician Lucullus.SH70948. Silver tetradrachm, cf. Thompson Athens 1293; Svoronos Athens pl. 78, 11; Dewing 1653; Boehringer AMUGS V, pp. 28-31 and pl. 9, 10; Kraay-Hirmer pl. 120, 366, gVF, attractive style, well struck, nicely toned, centered on a crowded slightly irregular shape flan, weight 16.581 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, c. 86 - 84 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Athena Parthenos right, triple-crested helmet decorated with a griffin right above the raised earpiece, and protomes of horses above visor; reverse owl standing right on amphora on its side right, head facing, MARKOY monogram left, TAMIOY monogram right, A on amphora, all within olive wreath; ex John Jencek; rare; SOLD
Roman Republic, C. Cassius Longinus, Proconsul and Imperator, Committed Suicide in 42 B.C.
Gaius Cassius Longinus (before 85 B.C. - October 42 B.C.) was a Roman senator, the prime mover in the conspiracy against Julius Caesar, and the brother in-law of Brutus.RR86478. Silver denarius, BMCRE East 77, RSC I 4 4a, Crawford 500/3, Russo RBW 1762, Sydenham 221, Sear CRI 221, SRCV I 1447/2, nice VF, attractive style, bumps and scratches, slightly off center, weight 3.906 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 180o, struck near Smyrna, Ionia(?), mobile military mint, spring 42 B.C.; obverse head of Libertas right, wearing stephane, earring, and necklace, C•CASSI• IMP upward behind, LEIBERTAS upward before; reverse capis (jug) and lituus (emblems of the Augurate), LENTVLVS / SPINT (moneyer legate P. Cornelius Lentulus Spinther) in two lines below; ex Numismatik Lanz München auction 164 (23 May 2017), lot 116; rare; SOLD
Macedonia, Under Roman Rule, Quaestor Aesillas, 95 - 70 B.C.
This type was apparently intended to encourage Macedonian pride by portraying the legendary national hero of the Macedonians, and at the same time clearly communicate Roman authority with name and symbols of the Roman quaestor.SH54901. Silver tetradrachm, Bauslaugh group VI (O35), SNG Lockett 1543, SNG Cop 1330, SNG Ashmolean 3305, AMNG III 223, SGCV I 1439, gVF, struck with very attractive dies, obverse scratch at 5:00, weight 16.229 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, 95 - 70 B.C.; obverse head of Alexander the Great right with horn of Ammon and flowing hair, Θ behind, MAKE∆ONΩN below; reverse AESILLAS above money-chest (cista), club, and Q over quaestor's chair (sella curulis), all within laurel wreath; SOLD
Laodicea ad Lycus, Phrygia, 56 - 54 B.C., Roman Proconsul and Imperator P. Cornelius Lentulus Spinther
Publius Cornelius Lentulus, nicknamed Spinther because of his likeness to a popular actor of that name, came from an ancient Roman patrician family of the Cornelia gens. This coin was struck in his name as imperator and proconsul of Cilicia, c. 56 - 53 B.C. Although treated with great favor by Julius Caesar, Spinther supported Caesar's great rival Pompeius Magnus and the Optimates party. This eventually led to his political destruction and probably to his execution. His son joined Caesar's assassins, Brutus and Cassius.SH70609. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, BMC Phrygia p. 281, 17; SNG Cop 494, SNGvA -, EF, uneven strike with weak areas, weight 12.483 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Lycus (near Denizli, Turkey) mint, magistrate Krathippos, 57 - 54 B.C.; obverse Cista mystica with half-open lid, from which a snake emerges, all within wreath of ivy with berries; reverse two snakes flanking bow in bow-case ornamented with an apluster, P LENTVLVS - P F / IMP above, ΛAO monogram left, winged kerykeion right, KΠATIΠΠOΣ below; ex Numismatik Lanz auction 157, lot 183; rare; SOLD
Roman Republic, M. Junius Brutus (Q. Caepio Brutus), 54 B.C.
M. Junius Brutus (also called Q. Caepio Brutus) is the most famous of Caesars assassins. Many of Brutus' coins honor his ancestors and illustrate his strong republican views. Lucius Junius Brutus overthrew the last king of Rome and established the Republic in 509 B.C. Caesar should have taken notice of the message of patriotic devotion Brutus conveyed by his coins. SH85483. Silver denarius, Crawford 433/1, Sydenham 906, RSC I Junia 31, BMCRR I Rome 3861, RBW Collection 1542, SRCV I 397, Choice EF, lustrous, nice light toning, area of weak strike, banker's mark, weight 4.057 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 90o, Rome mint, 54 B.C.; obverse LIBERTAS downward behind, head of Liberty right, hair rolled, wearing drop pendant earring and necklace; reverse L. Junius Brutus between two lictors, preceded by an accensus, all walking left, BRVTVS in exergue; SOLD
Roman Republic, Q. Pomponius Musa, c. 66 B.C., Eroto, the Muse of Erotic Poetry on Reverse
The reverse is a punning reference to the name of the moneyer. He struck coins for each of the nine muses, and Hercules, as their leader, presumably modeled after a group of statues. Each of the muses is indicated by a different obverse symbol. Eroto was not the "Muse of Pornography." She was rather the inspiration of poets such as Ovid. His poetry has literary value, but he was banished by Augustus, partly because of his smutty poetry, but also because of his adultery with the Emperor's daughter Julia. In Victorian England, this type was attributed to Terpsichore, the Muse of Dance. They assigned the tortoise symbol to Terpsichore. They assigned the flower stalk found on this coin to both Eroto and to Terpsichore, depending on the reverse. Under this scheme only the Muse of Dance had two obverse symbols and only Eroto shared her symbol with another muse. Seven of the muses were about equally distributed, but Eroto was considerably rarer, and Terpsichore about twice as common as any other Muse. Victorian sensibilities about sex may have allowed numismatists to decide that Erotic Poetry should be very, very rare. By comparison, the Romans saw Eroto as "just another Muse." Her coins should be about as common as the others. Today we are convinced each of the nine obverse symbols represents only one muse.SH16472. Silver denarius, Sydenham 820a, RSC I Pomponia 17a, Crawford 410/7b, SRCV I 358, gVF, beautifully toned with iridescent blues, slightly flat in centers, weight 3.810 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 66 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, flower stalk behind; reverse Q POMPONI MVSA, Eroto, the Muse of Erotic Poetry (previously described as Terpsichore), standing right, plectrum in right hand, lyre in left hand; ex Dr. Charles L. Ruby collection, ex CNG; SOLD
Roman Republic, P. Fonteius P.f. Capito, 55 B.C.
The moneyer was likely a nephew of Manius Fonteius and possibly a friend of Cicero. The reverse probably depicts the exploits of his uncle while governor of Narbonese Gaul, 76 - 73 B.C. His uncle was also a moneyer, striking c. 85 B.C.SH58589. Silver denarius, Crawford 429/1, Sydenham 900, RSC I Fonteia 17, SRCV I 392, VF, weight 3.875 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 30o, Rome mint, 55 B.C.; obverse P•FONTEIVS•P•F CAPITO•III•VIR, helmeted and draped bust of Mars right, trophy over shoulder; reverse MN FONT • TR MIL, warrior on horseback thrusting his spear at a Gaulish enemy who is about to slay an unarmed kneeling captive; ex Harlan Berk; scarce; SOLD
Roman Republic, M. Junius Brutus (Q. Caepio Brutus), 54 B.C.
M. Junius Brutus (also called Q. Caepio Brutus) is the most famous of Caesars assassins. Many of Brutus' coins honor his ancestors and illustrate his strong republican views. Lucius Junius Brutus overthrew the last king of Rome and established the Republic in 509 B.C. Caesar should have taken notice of the message of patriotic devotion Brutus conveyed by his coins.SH86373. Silver denarius, Crawford 433/1, Sydenham 906, RSC I Junia 31, BMCRR I Rome 3861, RBW Collection 1542, SRCV I 397, VF, toned, scratches, slightly off center on a broad flan, weight 3.675 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 54 B.C.; obverse LIBERTAS downward behind, head of Liberty right, hair rolled, wearing drop pendant earring and necklace; reverse L. Junius Brutus between two lictors, preceded by an accensus, all walking left, BRVTVS in exergue; SOLD
Roman Republic, Q. Pomponius Musa, 66 B.C.
Many of the Roman moneyers had a solid sense of humor and word play with homonyms was very popular. Pomponius Musa, playing on his name, issued ten types each depicting Hercules Musagetes (Conductor of the Muses) or one of nine different Muses, creating one of the most interesting and sought after series of the Republican coinage. This coin depicts Clio, the Muse of History.SH71011. Silver denarius, RSC I Pomponia 11, SRCV I 353, Sydenham 813, Crawford 410/3, VF, porous, weight 3.501 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 90o, Rome mint, 66 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, scroll tied with cord behind; reverse MVSA on left, Q POMPONI on right, Clio, Muse of History standing left, reading from open scroll which she holds in both hands, left elbow rests on column; SOLD
Roman Republic, M. Plaetorius Cestianus, 69 B.C.
The moneyer, M. Plaetorius Cestianus, was from Praeneste, in Latium, 23 miles east-southeast of Rome, home of the great temple to Fortuna Primigenia. Her sanctuary was an immense complex of buildings rising up the hillside on five vast terraces, connected with each other by grand staircases, visible even from the sea. The reverse likely depicts a pediment in the sanctuary. The epithet of Primigenia means "Original." She was represented suckling two babes, said to be Jupiter and Juno, and she was especially worshiped by matrons. The oracle continued to be consulted down to Christian times, until Constantine the Great, and again later Theodosius I, forbade the practice and closed the temple.SH76980. Silver denarius, BMCRR Rome 3524 (same wheel control); Crawford 405/1b; Sydenham 800a; SRCV I 340, F, banker's mark, weight 3.563 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 135o, Rome mint, 69 B.C.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Fortuna Primigenia right, hair in net, wheel (control symbol) behind; reverse temple pediment, ornamented with sculpture of an anguipede (snake legged) giant holding a club(?) in his left hand, M PLAETORI (AE ligate) on the architrave, CEST S C in exergue; very rare; SOLD
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