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ROMAN REPUBLIC, Q. Pomponius Musa, AR Denarius - Crawford 410/4
Rome, The Republic.
Q. Pomponius Musa, mid-50s BCE
AR Denarius (3.96g; 18mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo(?), hair tied-up, facing right; scepter behind.

Reverse: MVSA - Q.POMPONI; Melpomene, muse of tragedy, facing left and holding club and theatrical mask.

References: Crawford 410/4; Sydenham 816; BMCRR 3615-16; Pomponia 14.

Provenance: Ex Fay Beth Wedig Collection [CNG eSale 439 (6 Mar 2019) Lot 442]; NAC 11 (29 Apr 1998), Lot 253.

Q. Pomponius Musa, who punned his name by depicting the Muses on a series of coins, is unknown except for his coins, which makes precise dating of the series difficult. For many years, scholars (including Crawford) dated the series to 66 BCE. However, the absence of any examples of the series in the large Mesagne hoard caused Hersh and Walker to bring down the date of the series to 56 BCE. Michael Harlan, retracting his reticence with the Mesagne dating, later proposed a date of 52 BCE.

There are two varieties of Musa denarii: the first depicts Apollo/Hercules Musarum (see my gallery example); the second, of which there are nine sub-varieties, depict Apollo and a Muse. The above coin is of the second variety.

Apollo is often depicted androgynously on ancient coins. The standard references consistently attribute the obverse heads on both varieties of Musaís coins as Apollo; but the depictions are notably different between the Hercules and Muse varieties. On the Hercules variety, the deityís hair is down and tied, and generally consistent with many depictions of Apollo on other Roman Republican coins (see, e.g., denarii of L. Calpurnius Piso and C. Calpurnius Piso). Comparatively, the head on the above Muse variety is considerably more feminine in appearance and laureate, though lacking earrings, necklaces or other feminine accents. Admittedly, this more feminine type head has also been attributed by scholars as Apollo on other coin types (see, e.g., denarii of P. Clodius and C. Considius). However, within the same series the different styled heads appear to depict different deities. Given the Muse emblems behind each head on the nine Muse types, itís possible that the feminine heads do not represent Apollo, but the Muses themselves. Michael Harlan agrees with this interpretation in both editions of "Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins." More research on this issue is needed.

Melpomene, whose name actually means ďsongstressĒ was originally one of the muses of song, but her role changed to muse of tragic theater after the development of drama in classical Greece sometime in the sixth century BCE. She is generally depicted holding a club or knife and a tragic mask, which Greek actors wore on stage when performing dramatic plays.
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Album name:Carausius / Late Republic (99-49 BCE)
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Date added:Mar 31, 2019
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Jay GT4  [Mar 31, 2019 at 04:09 AM]
Wonderful
Norbert  [Apr 16, 2019 at 06:50 PM]
great and congrats