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ROMAN REPUBLIC - L. Piso Frugi - AR Denarius27 viewsRome, The Republic
L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi, 90 BCE.
AR Denarius (4.01g; 18mm)
Rome mint.

Obv: Laureate head of Apollo facing right; VII (control mark) behind.

Rev: Rider with palm on horse galloping right; VII (control mark) above; L PISO FRVG below; Roma monogram in exergue.

References: Crawford 340/1; Sydenham 661; Banti 44/1 (this coin illustrated); BMCRR 1900; Calpurnia 11.

Provenance: Ex Stoeklin Collection [Nomos 14 (17 May 2017) Lot 236; ex Haeberlin Collection [Cahn-Hess (17 Jul 1933) Lot 1184].

L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi was moneyer in 90 BCE, during the time of the Social War. He later attained the office of Praetor in 74 BCE, but did not appear to distinguish himself further.

The Social War was a civil war between Rome and her Italian allies who had broken-away in a demand for citizenship rights. It was a time of massive coinage output by the Rome mints, likely to pay the costs associated with the conflict. As a result, Frugi’s coins are among the most common in the entire Roman Republican series. Crawford estimates 864 obverse and 1080 reverse dies were used to produce Frugi’s denarii. Both obverse and reverse dies bear control marks of varying complexity, and no control mark has more than one die.

This type alludes to the annual celebration of the Ludi Apollinares instituted by Frugi’s ancestor during the Second Punic War. These games were held at the Circus Maximus in July of each year and lasted 8 or 9 days, consisting of horse racing and performances.
1 commentsCarausius
1680698l.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC - L. Piso Frugi - AR Denarius18 viewsRome, The Republic
L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi, 90 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.90 g; 19mm)
Rome mint.

Obv: Laureate head of Apollo facing right; Q (control mark) behind head and D (control mark) under chin.

Rev: Rider with palm on horse galloping right; L PISO FRVG below; E (control mark) in exergue.

References: Crawford 340/1; Sydenham 665a; Banti 89/6; Calpurnia 11.

Provenance: Ex Student and Mentor Collection [NAC 83 (20 May 2015) Lot 322; ex Nicolas Collection [Leu 17 (May 1977) Lot 337].

L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi was moneyer in 90 BCE, during the time of the Social War. He later attained the office of Praetor in 74 BCE, but did not appear to distinguish himself further.

The Social War was a civil war between Rome and her Italian allies who had broken-away in a demand for citizenship rights. It was a time of massive coinage output by the Rome mints, likely to pay the costs associated with the conflict. As a result, Frugi's coins are among the most common in the entire Roman Republican series. Crawford estimates 864 obverse and 1080 reverse dies were used to produce Frugi's denarii. Both obverse and reverse dies bear control marks of varying complexity, and no control mark has more than one die.

This type alludes to the annual celebration of the Ludi Apollinares instituted by Frugi's ancestor during the Second Punic War. These games were held at the Circus Maximus in July of each year and lasted 8 or 9 days, consisting of horse racing and performances.
Carausius
brutusdenarius.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC - M. Junius Brutus - AR Denarius50 viewsRome, The Republic.
Rome Mint.
M. Junius Brutus, 54 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.84g; 19mm).

Obverse: BRVTVS; head of L. Junius Brutus facing right.

Reverse: AHALA; head of C. Servillius Ahala facing right.

References: Crawford 433/2; Sydenham 907; BMCRR 3864; Junia 30.

Provenance: Ex Barry Feirstein Collection [NAC 45 (2008) Lot 14]; ex NAC 11 (1998), Lot 279.

Struck by chief assassin of Caesar during his early political career. The coin depicts Brutus' illustrious ancestors on both sides of his family. The Brutus side is Lucius Junius Brutus, who expelled the Tarquin kings from Rome and became consul in 509 BCE. The Ahala side is C. Servilius Ahala who was celebrated by Cicero for having slain a traitor. At this point in his political career, Brutus was in opposition to Pompey, and it's likely that this coin type is intended to remind the general public of Brutus' pedigree against tyranny.
3 commentsCarausius
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ROMAN REPUBLIC - Musa - AR Denarius40 viewsRome, The Republic.
Q. Pomponius Musa, 56-52 BCE
AR Denarius (3.76g; 20mm).
Rome Mint.

Obv: Q•POMPONI – MVSA; Head of Apollo facing right, hair tied with band.

Rev: HERCVLES – MVSARVM; Hercules facing right, wearing lion skin and playing lyre.

References: Crawford 410/1; Sydenham 810; Pomponia 8.

Provenance: Ex Collection of an English Amateur Scholar [NAC 92 (May 2016) Lot 1669]; Munzen und Medaillen XIX (Jun 1959) Lot 98; L. Hamburger 95 (1932} Lot 238; Manuel Vidal Quadras y Ramon (d. 1894) Collection [E. Bourgey (Nov 1913) Lot 526].

Q. Pomponius Musa punned his name by depicting the Muses on a series of coins. Musa’s coins have long been favorites of Roman Republican collectors both for their high-style and because they form a mini-series within the larger series of Republican moneyer coins. Basically, they're fun-to-collect tray candy.

Musa is unknown except for his coins, which, combined with scant hoard evidence, 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. In "Roman Moneyers and Their Coins" (2nd ed), Michael Harlan suggested a later date of 52 BCE due to the large number of moneyers attributed from 57-54.

This example of Musa's series does not depict a Muse at all, but Hercules Musarum – Hercules as patron of the Muses. In 187 BCE, Marcus Fulvius Nobilior, celebrating victories in Greece, dedicated a Temple of Hercules Musarum in Rome, near the Circus Flaminius. This round temple contained statues of Hercules and the nine Muses. It is possible that the reverses of Musa’s coins depict the actual statues contained within this temple, which were likely brought back to Rome as spoils from Greece. Over 100 years after this temple was consecrated, Cicero praised Nobilior for honoring poetry and the arts in his victory over the Greeks.

Apollo is often depicted androgynously on ancient coins. The standard references consistently attribute the obverse heads on all varieties of Musa’s coins as Apollo; but the depictions are notably different between the Hercules Musarum variety and the nine Muse varieties. On the above coin, the deity’s 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 Muse varieties of this series are 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, it’s possible that the feminine heads are not 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.
3 commentsCarausius
89477_l.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, "Mule" Titia/Pansa AE As35 viewsRome, The Republic
Q. Titius, 90 BCE
AE As (10.78g; 27mm)

Obv: Head of Janus w/rounded beard (Pansa obv die).

Rev: Prow r; palm-branch behind prow; Q●TITI above (Titius rev die)

Reference: Crawford 341/4d; Hannover 2942 (dies); c.f. Hannover 2974 (Pansa)(obv die)

Provenance: Savoca 12 (22 Jan 2017) Lot 457

Hybrid mule of rare Q. Titius reverse with a "rounded-beard" Janus obverse of Pansa. See Hannover 2974 (Pansa) for only other known example bearing this reverse control mark.

Circa 90 B.C., during the time of the Social War, Q. Titius and C. Vibius C.F. Pansa were co-moneyers at Rome. The Social War was a civil war between Rome and her Italian allies who had broken-away in a demand for citizenship rights. It was a time of massive coinage output by the Rome mints, likely to pay the costs associated with the conflict. Not much is known of TItius or Pansa. TItius is the only member of the TItia gens for whom coins are known. Pansa was possibly the father of the later Pansa who struck coins in 49 BC and became consul in 43BC.

Some of TItius’ silver coin types feature a male head with long, pointed beard. There is speculation that the head represents Mutinus Titinus, another name of the minor god Priapus, and a naming pun for Titius. His AE asses overwhelmingly depict a Janiform head with atypical, long. pointy beard, resembling the head shown on his silver coins.

On the other hand, obverses of Pansa’s AE asses overwhelmingly depict Janus with a more traditional, curled beard. The fact that the obverse styles of Pansa’s and TItius’ contemporaneous asses are so different supports the argument that the pointy-bearded character on TItius’ coins represents someone other than Janus.

The fact that Titius and Pansa served as moneyers at the same time is evidenced by occasional mules of Titius’ pointy-bearded obverses with Pansa reverses and vice versa.

An online search of acsearch, Coin Archives and Coins of the Roman Republic Online yielded only four auction sales and one ANS example of this rare reverse, and all of them were paired with a pointy-bearded obverse. However, the Kestner Museum Hannover has a similar mule that may be a double die match to my coin (see Berger, Hannover 2942). Further, the Kestner Museum has a Pansa AE As in their collection with an apparent obverse die match to my mule (see Berger, Hannover 2974).

Are these Titius/Pansa mules indicative of particular administrative practices at the mint?

One possibility is that obverse dies, which contained no legends, were mixed freely among the two moneyers; however, the overwhelming conformity of pointy-bearded TItius asses and curled-beard Pansa asses refutes this suggestion. The mules are too scarce to suggest any freewheeling intent.

Second possibility is that all dies, TItius’ and Pansa’s, were controlled by a central mint repository which assigned the dies to teams at the commencement of work shifts and likely collected them for security at the end of work shifts. Care was certainly taken to pair pointy-bearded Janus obverses with TItius reverses, as evidenced by the super-majority of extant coins. Mistakes were inevitably made. How long it took the mint to correct such mistakes is unclear. The fact that my collection and the Kestner Museum share a mule from the same dies suggests that a good number of coins were made by those dies. The fact that Kestner Museum also has the same Pansa obverse die paired with a correct Pansa reverse proves that die combination was a likely mistake; whether the correct pairing was made at a previous work shift, at a subsequent work shift when dies were reassigned, or in the middle of the same work shift cannot be determined – the coins are not in such great condition that die states can be easily compared.

Third, the mules suggest that TItius’ and Pansa’s coins were struck at the same mint and perhaps in the same workshop by different striking teams. I don’t think it’s possible to extrapolate whether the dies were controlled on a workshop basis vs. a full mint basis.
Carausius
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, C. Piso Frugi, AR Denarius21 viewsRome. The Republic.
Caius Calpurnius Piso Frugi, 61-59 BCE
AR Denarius (3.96g; 18mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Apollo facing right; wheel with four spokes (control mark), behind.

Reverse: Horse with rider carrying palm, galloping right; II or П above; C PISO L F FRVG, below.

References: Crawford 408/1a (O17/R31); Sydenham 850f; Hersh O-17/R-1023; Banti 245/2 (this coin illustrated); Calpurnia 24.

Provenance: Ex Naville Numismatics 39 (29 Apr 2018), Lot 472; Munzen und Medaillen XVII (2-4 Dec 1957), Lot 185.

Caius Piso Frugi, was the son of Lucius Piso Frugi who produced a huge coinage during the Social War in 90 BCE. Caius was son-in-law to Cicero, marrying Cicero’s daughter Tullia in 63 BCE. He was quaestor in 58 BCE, during which time he fought hard for repeal of Cicero’s exile. He died in 57 BCE, just before Cicero returned to Rome. Cicero thought very highly of him.

Crawford dated Caius’ coinage to 67 BCE, the year of his engagement to Tullia. The near mint state condition of Caius’ coins in the Mesagne Hoard caused Hersh and Walker to bring down the date of Caius’ mint magistracy toward the close of the hoard material, circa 61 BCE. In “Roman Republican Moneyers and Their Coins” (2nd ed.), Michael Harlan suggests a slightly later date of 59 BCE, which would be the latest possible date for the series given the hard dates of Caius’ quaestorship in 58 and death in 57.

With his coinage, Caius reissued the coin types of his father which allude to the celebration of the Ludi Apollinares instituted by Frugi's ancestor during the Second Punic War. These games were held at the Circus Maximus in July of each year and lasted 8 or 9 days, consisting of horse racing and performances.

While his father’s 90 BCE coinage was hurriedly and sloppily produced due to wartime exigency (dies were often used to the brink of destruction), Caius’ coinage was considerably well made – struck in high relief and good style. Reverse dies were convex – resulting in characteristic “cupped” reverses – to fully-strike the high relief obverses. Obverses are in two varieties: the first, with Apollo’s hair bound with a fillet or taenia; the second with his hair laureate. Hersh (1976) knew of 204 obverse dies. Laureate dies are considerably fewer than fillet/taenia dies. The reverses are quite varied, depicting the horsemen wearing various caps or capless and carrying whip, torch, palm or nothing. Hersh knew of 232 reverse dies. Obverse and reverse dies bear a series of control marks consisting of symbols, letters, Greek and Roman numbers and fractional signs. The obverse/reverse die links in the series are very random within the estimated three workshops, and are considered evidence for the “die box” method of die management by the mint officials.
1 commentsCarausius
1995381.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, C. Piso Frugi, AR Denarius9 viewsRome. The Republic.
Caius Calpurnius Piso Frugi, 61-59 BCE
AR Denarius (3.98g; 18mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Apollo facing right, hair tied with fillet or taenia; eagle head (control mark), behind.

Reverse: Horse and rider galloping right; C PISO L F FRV, below; grain ear in exergue.

References: Crawford 408/1b; Sydenham 841d; Hersh O-252/R-2060; Banti 196 (this coin illustrated); Calpurnia 24.

Provenance: Ex JD Collection [NAC 78 (26 May 2014) Lot 447]; ex A. Galerie des Monnaies Geneva (Nov 1976), No. 33.

Caius Piso Frugi, was the son of Lucius Piso Frugi who produced a huge coinage during the Social War in 90 BCE. Caius was son-in-law to Cicero, marrying Cicero’s daughter Tullia in 63 BCE. He was quaestor in 58 BCE, during which time he fought hard for repeal of Cicero’s exile. He died in 57 BCE, just before Cicero returned to Rome. Cicero thought very highly of him.

Crawford dated Caius’ coinage to 67 BCE, the year of his engagement to Tullia. The near mint state condition of Caius’ coins in the Mesagne Hoard caused Hersh and Walker to bring down the date of Caius’ mint magistracy toward the close of the hoard material, circa 61 BCE. In “Roman Republican Moneyers and Their Coins” (2nd ed.), Michael Harlan suggests a slightly later date of 59 BCE, which would be the latest possible date for the series given the hard dates of Caius’ quaestorship in 58 and death in 57.

With his coinage, Caius reissued the coin types of his father which allude to the celebration of the Ludi Apollinares instituted by Frugi's ancestor during the Second Punic War. These games were held at the Circus Maximus in July of each year and lasted 8 or 9 days, consisting of horse racing and performances.

While his father’s 90 BCE coinage was hurriedly and sloppily produced due to wartime exigency (dies were often used to the brink of destruction), Caius’ coinage was considerably well made – struck in high relief and good style. Reverse dies were convex – resulting in characteristic “cupped” reverses – to fully-strike the high relief obverses. Obverses are in two varieties: the first, with Apollo’s hair bound with a fillet or taenia; the second with his hair laureate. Hersh (1976) knew of 204 obverse dies. Laureate dies are considerably fewer than fillet/taenia dies. The reverses are quite varied, depicting the horsemen wearing various caps or capless and carrying whip, torch, palm or nothing. Hersh knew of 232 reverse dies. Obverse and reverse dies bear a series of control marks consisting of symbols, letters, Greek and Roman numbers and fractional signs. The obverse/reverse die links in the series are very random within the estimated three workshops, and are considered evidence for the “die box” method of die management by the mint officials.
Carausius
1680723l.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, C. Postumius, AR Denarius - Crawford 394/1a17 viewsRome, The Republic.
C. Postumius, 74-73 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.95g; 20mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: Draped bust of Diana facing right, with bow and quiver over shoulder.

Rev: Hound running to right; spear below; C. POSTVMI and AT or TA (ligate) in exergue.

References: Crawford 394/1a; Sydenham 785; BMCRR 3238; Postumia 9.

Provenance: Ex Student and Mentor Collection [NAC 83 (20 May 2015) Lot 347]; ex Frank Sternberg Auction VII (24-5 Nov 1977), Lot 390.

They moneyer may have been the Caius Postumius that prosecuted Lucius Licinius Murena for election fraud in 63 BCE. It is uncertain what the ligate letters AT (or TA) denote on the reverse, and there is another variety of this issue without the monogram. Diana is a popular deity on coinage produced by the Postumia gens, and the hound and spear on the reverse are also attributes of Diana, the huntress. Diana appears so frequently on Postumian coins because on the eve of the battle of Lake Regillus (c. 496 BCE), during a sacrifice to Diana, the augurs foretold the domination of Rome over Latium. A. Postumius Albinus led the troops at this decisive battle. Thus, the gens subsequently claimed responsibility for fulfilling the prophecy of Diana.

Crawford dated this issue to 74 BCE, but Hersh and Walker in Mesagne down-dated the issue to 73 BCE. Michael Harlan suggests an even later date of 71 BCE.
1 commentsCarausius
2295846l.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, C. Vibius Pansa Denarius41 viewsRome, The Republic.
C. Vibius Pansa, 90 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.87g).

Obv: PANSA; mask of Pan, facing right.

Rev: C. VIBIV[S C F]; mask of Silenus, facing right.

Reference: Crawford 342/2; Sydenham 688 (R6); BMCRR Rome 2309

Provenance: ex E.E. Clain-Stefanelli (d. 2001) Collection [NAC 92 (23 May 2016), Lot 308]; ex Munzen und Medaillen 61 (7-8 Oct 1982), Lot 266; ex Auctiones 7 (1977), Lot 554.

Naming puns on ancient coins became popular early with the Greeks (i.e. celery plant on coins of Selinos) and continued with the Romans. C. Vibius Pansa liked to joke about his name by depicting Pan on his coins. This denarius is a rare variety with the names beneath the portraits, rather than behind. Silenus’ portrait has a characteristic die break in the eye socket that nearly all coins struck from this die share - see Crawford's plate coin and RBW's coin for other examples of this die break. Either the die failed early, or most extant specimens were struck late.
3 commentsCarausius
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, D. Silanus, 91 BCE25 viewsRome, The Republic.
D. Silanus, 91 BCE.
AR Denarius (4.06g; 20mm).
Rome Mint.

Obv: Roma head, wearing winged helmet ornamented with gryphon head, facing right; N behind.

Rev: Victory in biga galloping right; VII above; D SILANVS L F//ROMA in exergue.

References: Crawford 337/3; Syd 646; BMCRR 1772; Junia 15.

Provenance: Ex NAC 100 (30 May 2017), Lot 1447.

This moneyer is unkown except from his coins. The control marks on these coins may have several dies. The issue must have been huge, as Crawford estimates near 600 obverse and 663 reverse dies.
1 commentsCarausius
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ROMAN REPUBLIC, D. Silanus, AE As7 viewsRome. The Republic
Decimus Silanus, 91 BCE
AE As (13.46g; 28mm)
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Janus; I (mark of value = 1 As) above.

Reverse: Prow facing right; D SILANVS L F, above.

References: Crawford 337/5; Sydenham 649; BMCRR 1853-8; Junia 23; RBW 1234 (this coin).

Provenance: Ex Roma Auction XI (7 Apr 2016), Lot 590; ex RBW Collection [NAC 63 (2012), Lot 9]; purchased privately from Freeman & Sear 14 Jan 2006.

The moneyer is unknown except for his coins. The As is the only denomination of bronze coin known to have been struck in Silanus’s name. There was a full series of contemporaneous, anonymous bronze coins struck in response to the Lex Papiria. It’s likely that additional bronze coin production was simply not required, and so Silanus focused on silver coin production to defray the costs of the war.

Bronze coins of this era of the Republic often have pronounced casting sprues from the flan production phase of the minting process. This coin has a sprue at 11h obverse, 7h reverse. These are an expected part of the fabric of Roman Republican bronze coins of the Social War era.
Carausius
SullaCombined.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Cornelius Sulla, AR Denarius - Crawford 359/214 viewsRome, The Republic.
L. Cornelius Sulla, 84-83 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.88g; 21mm).
Military Mint.

Obverse: L·SVLLA; diademed head of Venus facing right; before, Cupid holding palm to left.

Reverse: IMPER – ITERV; two trophies with jug and lituus between them.

References: Crawford 359/2; Sydenham 761a; BMCRR East 3; Cornelia 30.

Provenance: Ex Nomisma 58 (6 Nov 2018) Lot 76.

These coins were struck in the east, just before Sulla’s march on Rome. The fabric and style of these coins are certainly different from other Roman Republican denarii of the era, more eastern than Roman. Perhaps not obvious from my photo, the obverse is struck in very high relief and the reverse has pronounced cupping (from a convex reverse die, which more efficiently drives the metal into the high relief obverse die). The obverse honors Venus, whom Sulla considered his protectress. The jug and lituus on the reverse are suggestive of the office of Augur, but Crawford did not think Sulla was an Augur at the time these coins were produced. The implements may refer to an ancestor of Sulla that was an Augur, or, as Crawford surmises, to Sulla’s imperium. The trophies on the reverse refer to Sulla’s victories in the east against Mithradates. Two trophies were also used by Sulla in an issue of tetradrachms in the Athenian “New Style” form.

Sulla’s seizure of dictatorial power following his march on Rome (leading an army that was loyal to him, rather than to the state) became a paradigm for Roman political struggles thereafter. Julius Caesar would initiate similar consequences when he crossed the Rubicon at the head of his army 30+ years later. Unlike Sulla, Caesar showed no interest in resigning his power. Also unlike Sulla, Caesar would strike coins bearing his own likeness. Sulla’s portrait did not appear on a Roman coin until 25 years after Sulla’s death (See, Crawford 434/1).
1 commentsCarausius
TorquatusCombined.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Manlius Torquatus, AR Denarius23 viewsRome. The Republic.
L. Manlius Torquatus, 59-58 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.92g; 20mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Sibyl facing right, wearing ivy wreath; SIBVLLA below; all within laurel border.

Reverse: L•TORQVAT - III•VIR; Amphora on tripod flanked by stars; torque border.

References: Crawford 411/1a; Sydenham 837a; BMCRR 3512; Manlia 11.

Provenance: Ex Baldwins Auction 100 (27 Sep 2016), Lot 505; Künker Auktion 216 (8 Oct 2012), Lot 642; Numismatica Ars Classica Auction 54 (24 Mar 2010), Lot 232; Spink Num. Circ. March 1989, No. 948.


There are two obverse varieties of this denarius: one with a laurel border (as this coin); the other with a border of dots. The torque border on the reverse is more than just a naming pun; it refers to an ancestor’s defeat of a Gallic warrior in a one-on-one challenge, following which the Manlia ancestor removed the bloody torque from the dead Gaul and wore it – earning the cognomen Torquatus. The remaining devices allude to the position of either the moneyer or an ancestor on the 15-member (quindecemviri) religious college who guarded the Sibylline Books.

With its very high obverse relief and deep reverse cupping, this coin shares similar fabric with those of C. Calpurnius Piso Frugi. Crawford dates their issues two years apart (67 for Frugi and 65 for Torquatus). However, in their analysis of the Mesagne hoard, Hersh and Walker downdated Frugi to 61 and Torquatus to 58. In “Roman Republican Moneyers and Their Coins” (2nd ed.), Michael Harlan dates both Frugi and Torquatus to 59 BCE, based on their common fabric, prosopography and because Torquatus’ small output could not have been the sole issue in his year. Indeed, Crawford estimates fewer than 10 obverse dies and fewer than 11 reverse dies for both varieties of Torquatus’ denarii which suggests a very small issue.
1 commentsCarausius
Papia_combined.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Papius, AR Serrate Denarius13 viewsRome. The Republic.
L. Papius, 79 BCE.
AR Serrate Denarius (3.82g; 20mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Juno Sospita, wearing goat skin headdress tied at neck, facing right; control symbol (aplustre) behind.

Reverse: Griffon leaping right; control symbol (prow stem), below; L•PAPI in exergue.

References: Crawford 384/1 (symbol pair 134); Sydenham 773; BMCRR 2981 (symbol pair 5); Papia 1 (symbol pair 47).

Provenance: Ex Herbert & Aphrodite Rubin Collection [Goldberg 96 (14 Feb 2017) Lot 1963]; bought from Ariadne Galleries in 1980’s; The Numismatic Auction Ltd. (Tradart) 1 (13 Dec 1982) Lot 203.

Papius is only known through his coins. Juno Sospita was a deity who’s temple was in Lanuvium, a Latin town 32 kilometers southeast of Rome, and it’s likely that Papius came from that town.

These denarii have paired obverse and reverse control symbols, with almost all symbol pairs appearing on only one set of dies (N.B.: I'm aware of at least one pair that appears on multiple dies). Crawford counts 211 die pairs. The paired control symbols have some loose relationship to one another, i.e. the bow and stern of a galley on this coin. Sydenham argued that the symbols were propaganda for popularist trade guilds. However, because of the breadth and variety of symbol material, Crawford rules-out any intended meaning. This same control system of paired symbols would be re-used 20 years later by another Lanuvian, L. Roscius Fabatus.
1 commentsCarausius
2296897l.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Piso Frugi, AE As18 viewsRome. The Republic
L. Piso Frugi, 90 BCE
AE As (11.3g; 27mm)
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Janus; I (mark of value = 1 As) above.

Reverse: Prow facing right; Victory on prow; L PISO, above prow; [FRVGI] in exergue.

References: Crawford 340/4; BMCRR Rome 2179; Sydenham 677 (R2).

Provenance: Ex NAC 92 (24 May 2016), Lot 1626.

L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi was moneyer in 90 BCE, during the time of the Social War. He later attained the office of Praetor in 74 BCE, but did not appear to distinguish himself further.

The Social War was a civil war between Rome and her Italian allies who had broken-away in a demand for citizenship rights. It was a time of massive coinage output by the Rome mints, likely to pay the costs associated with the conflict. As a result, Frugi's coins are among the most common in the entire Roman Republican series.

In addition to a copious silver coin production, Piso also struck a full complement of bronze coinage. The appearance of Victory on the prow of Piso’s asses, together with some naval imagery on his quadrantes, may either refer to a past naval victory of an ancestor or to the progress of the Social War.

Bronze coins of this era of the Republic often have pronounced casting sprues from the flan production phase of the minting process. This coin has two sprues at 1h and 7h obverse, and at 3h and 9h reverse. These are an expected part of the fabric of Roman Republican bronze coins of the Social War era.

1 commentsCarausius
33158.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Piso Frugi, AR Denarius - Crawford 340/117 viewsRome, The Republic
L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi, 90 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.78g; 19mm)
Rome mint.

Obv: Laureate head of Apollo facing right; N (control mark) below chin.

Rev: Horseman galloping to right, holding whip; dolphin above; L·PISO·FRVG and ROMA below.

References: Crawford 340/1; Sydenham 658a; Hersh Class IV, Series 20.

Provenance: Ex Spink & Son Ltd; Mario Ratto Fixed Price List (Feb 1966) Lot 297.

Apparently overstruck with remnants of undertype visible on reverse.

L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi was moneyer in 90 BCE, during the time of the Social War. He later attained the office of Praetor in 74 BCE, but did not appear to distinguish himself further.

The Social War was a civil war between Rome and her Italian allies who had broken-away in a demand for citizenship rights. It was a time of massive coinage output by the Rome mints, likely to pay the costs associated with the conflict. As a result, Frugi’s coins are among the most common in the entire Roman Republican series. Crawford estimates 864 obverse and 1080 reverse dies were used to produce Frugi’s denarii. Both obverse and reverse dies bear control marks of varying complexity, and no control mark has more than one die. The earlier dies in the series which bear ROMA, either spelled-out (as on this coin) or in monogram, in the reverse exergue, are typically of finer style than the later dies without ROMA or monogram. For another fine-style example with ROMA in monogram form, see my gallery coin at: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-146453

This type alludes to the annual celebration of the Ludi Apollinares instituted by Frugi’s ancestor during the Second Punic War. These games were held at the Circus Maximus in July of each year and lasted 8 or 9 days, consisting of horse racing and performances.
2 commentsCarausius
1680715l.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Procilius, AR Serrate Denarius - Crawford 379/216 viewsRome, The Republic.
L. Procilius, 80 BCE.
AR Serrate Denarius (3.77g; 20mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: Head of Juno Sospita, wearing goatskin, facing right; S.C. behind.

Rev: Juno Sospita, holding shield and spear, in biga galloping right; snake below horses; L. PROCILI F in exergue.

References: Crawford 379/2; Sydenham 772; BMCRR 3150; Procilia 2.

Provenance: Ex Student and Mentor Collection [NAC 83 (20 May 2015) Lot 339]; privately purchased in 1968.

The letters S.C. on the obverse indicate that this coinage was a special issue, by decree of the Roman Senate, for an unknown purpose. Like the coins of Papius and Roscius Fabatus, the images of Juno Sospita on this coin suggests that Procilius was native of Lanuvium which was home of a cult to Juno Sospita. The snake on the reverse, alludes to the snake in the grotto of Juno Sospita’s Lanuvium temple. Each year, a girl was sent to the grotto to feed the sacred snake, and only a virtuous girl would survive the ordeal.

The reason for serrating the edge of certain Roman Republic denarius issues remains uncertain. Some moneyers issued both serrate and plain edged coins. The practice ended with the serrate issue by Roscius Fabatus in 59 BCE. Possible reasons for the serrations include:
• Proof that the coins were not plated.
• Confounding forgers.
• Making the coins look painful to swallow (reducing theft by mint workers).
• Artistic preference.

1 commentsCarausius
RosciaCombined.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Roscius Fabatus, AR Serrate Denarius20 viewsRome. The Republic.
L. Roscius Fabatus, 59 BCE.
AR Serrate Denarius (3.95g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Juno Sospita, wearing goat skin headdress tied at neck, facing right; L•ROSCI, below; control symbol (two-handled cup or bowl) behind.

Reverse: Female figure feeding serpent from fold of cloak; control symbol (pileus/cap?) behind; FABATI in exergue.

References: Crawford 412/1 (Symbols 199?); Sydenham 915; BMCRR 3394 -3510; Roscia 2.

Provenance: Ex John Barton Collection; Aes Rude Chiasso 4 (6 Apr 1979), Lot 240.

Crawford dated the issue to 64 BCE, but Hersh and Walker brought that date down to 59 BCE based on their analysis of the Mesagne hoard. Harlan picks a median date of 62 BCE based on some prosopographic assumptions.

The moneyer would go on to serve as lieutenant for Caesar in Gaul in 54 BCE. In 49 BCE, he was elected praetor and intermediated between Pompey and Caesar. He was killed at Mutina in 43 BCE.

Juno Sospita was a deity who’s temple was in Lanuvium, a Latin town 32 kilometers southeast of Rome, and it’s likely that both Roscius and L. Papius, whose 79 BCE coinage is a model for Roscius’ issue, came from that town. The reverse depicts an annual rite of the Juno Sospita cult in which a girl is sent into the grotto beneath the temple to feed the sacred snake. Only chaste girls could survive the ordeal.

Like Papius’s coins, these denarii are struck on serrated flans – the last of the Roman Republic to be produced with this fabric. Like Papius’s coins, Roscius’ denarii have obverse and reverse control symbols that are paired, with no pair of symbols appearing on more than one pair of dies. On both Roscius’ and Papius’s coins, the paired control symbols have some loose relationship to one another. Roscius re-used many of Papius’s symbol pairs, but reversed their locations on the coins.

The symbol pair on my coin is very rare. As of 10/1/18, there are no matching examples on Acsearch, Coinarchives or CNG’s website database. The pair is unlisted in Babelon, Sydenham, BMCRR and Banti. It resembles symbol pair 199 in Crawford, although some differences are evident. In his manuscript on Roman Republican series marks, Charles Hersh includes a hand drawn entry AI within the section of previously unpublished Roscia symbol pairs that is a precise match for the symbols on this coin. He cites the Vienna Museum (38465) and Vatican Museum (5158) for that entry.
2 commentsCarausius
ScriboniaWellCombined.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Scribonius Libo, AR Denarius - Crawford 416/1c25 viewsRome, The Republic.
Lucius Scribonius Libo, 62 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.76g; 20mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: LIBO - BON EVENT; diademed head of Bonus Eventus facing right.

Rev: Scribonian well head, decorated with garland and two lyres; anvil symbol on top step; [P]VTEAL above; SCRIBON below.

References: Crawford 416/1c; Sydenham 928; BMCRR 3381; Scribonia 8.

This type was produced with at least four different reverse symbols on the top step of the well head: hammer, tongs, cap and anvil. The hammer is extremely common, tongs scarce, and the anvil and cap are the rarest of the four reverse symbols on the type. Previous authors, including Crawford and Michael Harlan, have not recognized the cap variety which is distinct from the anvil by its domed top. The anvil is squared, as on this coin.

The moneyer may have been Lucius Scribonius Libo, who was the father-in-law of Sextus Pompey, son of Pompey the Great. He took the side of the tyrannicides in the Civil War after Caesar’s death. He later deserted Sextus Pompey and was elected consul in 34 BCE. It’s also possible that the moneyer was the father of this later consul.

The Scribonian well head was in the Roman Forum and designated a sacred spot that had been struck by lightning. Grueber and Crawford suggest that the reverse symbols, of which they only recognized three (see above), were actual decorative devices on the four-sided wellhead, and that they allude to Vulcan, whose thunderbolt had struck the spot. The added cap symbol confirms their analysis and is also consistent with the Vulcan theme.
3 commentsCarausius
HypsaeusCombined.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, M. Aemilius Scaurus and Pub. Plautius Hypsaeus, AR Denarius7 viewsRome, The Republic.
M. Aemilius Scaurus and Pub. Plautius Hypsaeus, 58 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.87g; 19mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: King Aretas kneeling right and extending olive branch in right hand and holding reins of camel in left hand; M SCAVR/AED CVR above; EX-SC on side; REX ARETAS in exergue.

Rev: Jupiter in fast quadriga galloping left; scorpion below horses’ feet; P HVPSAEVS/AED CVR, above; CAPTV on right; C HVPSAE COS PREIVER in exergue.

References: Crawford 422/1b; BMCRR 3879; Sydenham 913; Aemilia 8; Plautia 8-9.

Provenance: Ex SC Collection; Stack's Auction (14-15 Jun 1971), Lot 240.

Scaurus and Hypsaeus struck these coins as curule aediles, by Senatorial decree. Grueber states that lavish public games were the reason for the special issue, while Crawford suggests the corn dole and/or Caesar’s agrarian law were the more likely reasons. Scaurus, as governor of Syria, was victorious against the Nabataean king Aretas who surrendered and paid a fine of 300 talents to Pompey. It was this event that he chose to depict on the obverse of the coin. On the reverse, Hypsaeus refers to the capture of the Volscian town of Privernum by his ancestor, C. Plautius Decianus, consul in 329 BCE. Hypsaeus chose to repeat this reverse type on a denarius he struck as moneyer in ca. 57 BCE (Crawford 420). This issue has a large number of legend varieties and the scorpion is missing from some dies.
Carausius
catoquinariuscombined.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, M. Porcius Cato, AR Quinarius - Crawford 343/2b17 viewsRome, The Republic.
M. Porcius Cato, 89 BCE.
AR Quinarius (2.08g; 14mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: M.CATO; Liber head facing right wearing ivy wreath; rudder (control mark) below.

Reverse: VICTRIX; Victory seated left, holding patera in outstretched hand and palm over left shoulder.

References: Crawford 343/2b; Sydenham 597c; BMCRR (Italy) 677-93var (symbol); Porcia 7.

Provenance: Ex Elsen 141 (15 Jun 2019) Lot 152; Elsen List 60 (Oct 1983), Lot 37.

The precise identity of the moneyer is uncertain. Crawford believes the obverse head of Liber alludes to the Porcian Laws which broadened the rights of Roman citizens with respect to punishments and appeals. This issue of quinarii was huge, with Crawford estimating 400 obverse and 444 reverse dies. The obverse appears in two varieties: one with control marks below the head, and one without. The control marks include Greek and Latin letters, numbers and symbols.
4 commentsCarausius
4483606l.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, AR Denarius - Crawford 419/1c19 viewsRome, The Republic.
M. Lepidus, 61 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.97g; 20mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate and diademed female head, facing right; palm branch behind.

Reverse: Horseman advancing toward right with trophy over l shoulder; AN. XV. P.H.O.C.S. around; M.LEPIDVS in exergue.

References: Crawford 419/1c; Sydenham 830a; BMCRR 3644; Aemilia 22.

Provenance: Ex Fernandez Coll. [Aureo & Calico Alba Longa Auction (7 Nov 2018) Lot 85]; Leo Benz Collection [Lanz 88 (23 Nov 1988) Lot 118]; Künst und Münzen 18 (June 1978), Lot 250.

This coin was produced by Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, later triumvir with Octavian and Antony, during his early political career. The reverse celebrates the Second Punic War heroism of his ancestor, also named M. Aemilius Lepidus, who killed an enemy and saved a citizen at the age of 15 and in whose honor a statue was erected in Rome. That statue may be depicted on this coin. The reverse inscription abbreviates “AN[norum] XV PR[ogressus] H[ostem] O[ccidit], C[ivem] S[ervavit]” (Aged 15, he killed an enemy and saved a citizen.)
2 commentsCarausius
1681183l.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, P. Plautius Hypsaeus, AR Denarius - Crawford 420/2a30 viewsRome, The Republic.
P. Plautius Hypsaeus, 57 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.96g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Draped bust of Leuconoe facing right; dolphin behind; P.YPSAE·S·C before.

Reverse: Jupiter driving quadriga left; C·YPSAE·COS / PRIV – CEPIT in exergue and behind.

References: Crawford 420/2a; RBW 1515 (this coin); Sydenham 911; Plautia 12.

Provenance: Ex NAC 84 (20 May 2015), Lot 807; RBW Collection [NAC 63 (2012), Lot 291]; Crédit de la Bourse (April 1995), Lot 1068; NAC 6 (11 Mar 1993), Lot 285.

This coin is a special issue by Senatorial decree (S.C.) for reasons unknown to history. The moneyer, P. Plautius Hypsaeus, struck coins individually, as moneyer, and jointly with M. Aemilius Scaurus as Curule Aedile. On both series, he used this reverse type, referring to the capture of the Volscian town of Privernum by his ancestor, C. Plautius Decianus, consul in 329 BCE. The obverse refers to the mythical descent of the Plautia gens from Leuconoe, the daughter of Neptune.

Crawford thought Hypsaeus’ individual series preceded his joint series as Curule Aedile with Scaurus; however, the individual coins were absent from the Mesagne Hoard, suggesting it must have post-dated the 58 BCE terminus of that large hoard. Accordingly, Hersh and Walker redated Hypsaeus’ individual series to 57 BCE.
2 commentsCarausius
1680732l.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, P. Sulpicius Galba, AR Denarius - Crawford 406/120 viewsRome, The Republic.
P. Sulpicius Galba, 69 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.85g;18mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: Veiled head of Vesta facing right; S.C. behind.

Rev: Priestly implements, i.e. knife, culullus and axe; P GALB in exergue; AE-CVR in fields.

References: Crawford 406/1; Sydenham 839; BMCRR 3517-8; Sulpicia 7.

Provenance: Ex Student and Mentor Collection [NAC 83 (20 May 2015) Lot 356]; ex Münzen und Medaillen Auction 52 (19-20 June 1975), Lot 378.

Galba issued these coins by special Senatorial decree while he held the office of Curule Aedile. The type selection suggests that he was also a Pontifex at this time, as the reverse depicts the priestly implements used in ritual sacrifice and often included on coins struck by members of the priestly college. The Senatorial decree, represented by “S.C.” on the obverse may have been related to grain distribution, though this is conjectural. Among other duties, Curule Aediles were responsible for maintenance and distribution of the public grain supply.
1 commentsCarausius
4483748l.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, Q. Cassius Longinus, AR Denarius - Crawford 428/328 viewsRome, The Republic.
Q. Cassius Longinus, 55 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.91g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Bonus Eventus or Genius of the Roman People head facing right; scepter behind.

Reverse: Eagle on thunderbolt, facing right; lituus to left; jug to right; Q CASSIVS below.

References: Crawford 428/3; Sydenham 916; BMCRR 3868; Cassia 7.

Provenance: Ex Fernandez Collection [Aureo & Calico Alba Longa Auction (7 Nov 2018) Lot 227].

The identity of the head on the obverse is in doubt. Crawford interprets the obverse as Genius of the Roman People and the reverse an allusion to imperium. Michael Harlan theorizes that the head is Bonus Eventus and that it ties to symbols of the augurate on the reverse. Augurs, after all, want to predict good outcomes. Harlan's interpretation doesn’t fully explain the scepter on the obverse, which is not a typical characteristic of Bonus Eventus.
3 commentsCarausius
355.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, Q. Pomponius Musa, AR Denarius32 viewsRome, The Republic.
Q. Pomponius Musa, mid-50s BCE
AR Denarius (3.98g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

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

Reverse: Q. POMPONI – MVSA; Urania, muse of astronomy, facing left, holding wand over globe on tripod.

References: Crawford 410/8; Sydenham 823; Pomponia 22.

Provenance: Ex William C. Boyd (d. 1906) Collection [Baldwin's 42 (26 Sep 2005), Lot 64]; bought from Spink in 1900.

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 Musa’s coins as Apollo; but the depictions are notably different between the Hercules Musarum variety and the nine Muse varieties. On Hercules variety, the deity’s 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, it’s 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.
3 commentsCarausius
MusaClioCombined.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, Q. Pomponius Musa, AR Denarius - Crawford 410/331 viewsRome, The Republic.
Q. Pomponius Musa, mid-50s BCE
AR Denarius (3.58g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

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

Reverse: Q. POMPONI – MVSA; Clio, muse of history, facing left and leaning on column, while reading open scroll.

References: Crawford 410/3; Sydenham 813; BMCRR 3610-11; Pomponia 11.

Provenance: Ex Heritage Auction 3072 (15 Jan 2019), Lot 35407; Frederick S. Knobloch Collection [Stack's (3-4 May 1978), Lot 469]; E.J. Haeberlin Collection [Cahn-Hess (17 Jul 1933) Lot 2490].

As the muse of history, Clio is typically depicted in ancient art with an open scroll or tablet.

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 Musa’s coins as Apollo; but the depictions are notably different between the Hercules and Muse varieties. On the Hercules variety, the deity’s 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, it’s 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.
3 commentsCarausius
4390442.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, Q. Pomponius Musa, AR Denarius - Crawford 410/414 viewsRome, 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 Musa’s coins as Apollo; but the depictions are notably different between the Hercules and Muse varieties. On the Hercules variety, the deity’s 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, it’s 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 “songstress” 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.
2 commentsCarausius
TitiaAsCombined.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, Q. Titius, AE As - Crawford 341/4d10 viewsRome, The Republic.
Q. Titius, 90 BCE.
AE As (14.45g; 27mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Head of Janus.

Reverse: Prow facing right; Q.TITI above; * (control) to right.

References: Crawford 341/4d; Sydenham 694b (R4); Banti 8 (R7); Titia 4.

Provenance: Ex Naville 50 (23 Jun 2019) Lot 386.

This coin has a few problems, but it is exceptional in several other respects that help overcome those problems. First, it is extremely fine, showing practically no actual wear with only a few areas of flatness due to strike and flan production flaws. Republican struck bronzes in EF are extremely rare. Second, it has an exceptional patina. Third, it bears a star control mark before the prow, making it one of the rarer varieties of Titius asses – Rarity 4 in Sydenham and Rarity 7 in Banti.
Carausius
10400525.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, Spinther AR Denarius68 viewsRome, The Republic.
Pub. Lentulus P.f.L.n. Spinther, 71 BCE.
AR Denarius (3.85g; 18mm).
Rome Mint

Obv: Q●S●C; Hercules head right.

Rev: P●LENT●P●F / [L]●N; Genius Romani seated facing on chair, holding coruncopia and scepter, being crowned by Victory.

Provenance: ex Collection of a Director [Triton XX (10 Jan 2017) Lot 525; ex Eton College Collection [Sotheby's (1 Dec 1976) Lot 219).

In my humble opinion, this is one of the more artistic reverse types of the Roman Republic denarius series – almost Greek in execution. It depicts Genius of the Roman People exerting dominance over the world with one foot on the globe while being crowned victorious. The message may be related to the ongoing wars with Sertorius in Spain, Mithridates in the East and possibly the servile revolt led by Spartacus in Italy (if the 71BC date proposed by Hersh and Walker is accepted, see below). Other members of the Cornelia gens also depicted Genius of the Roman People on their coinages, so the cult of Genius may have been important to the family, or it may be coincidental that the Corneliae happened to strike these coins during strife when the message of the Genius of the Roman People would have been appropriate. Crawford agrees with the latter explanation. SC [Senatus consulto] in the obverse legend suggests it was struck by special decree of the Roman Senate.

The coin is scarce and missing from many major hoards, making it difficult to precisely date. In fact, it’s listed in only four hoards on Table XIII in Crawford’s Roman Republican Coin Hoards. Of those four hoards: in two hoards (Cosa and Palestrina), it’s deemed the final issue (terminus ante quem), lacking the context of later coins; in the third hoard (Tolfa), it’s the next to last issue with the last being a serrate denarius of Q. Creperei Rocus, which Crawford dates to 72BC; and in the fourth hoard (San Gregorio), it appears in the middle context in which Rocus is again the next latest coin. Crawford’s Roman Republican Coinage dates the coin 74BC, concurring with Grueber’s dating in the British Museum Catalogue. David Sear stuck with Crawford’s dating of 74BC in the Millennium Edition of Roman Coins and Their Values. However, in their 1984 analysis of the Mesagne Hoard (which contained no examples of this coin), Hersh and Walker revised the dating to 71BC, which lumps the Spinther issue with several other, non-serrate, “SC” issues of the late 70s. Hersh and Walker re-date the serrate Rocus issue to 69BC, where it is lumped with other serrate issues. In my collection catalogue, I’ve chosen to use the 71BC date proposed by Hersh and Walker, because it fits neatly with the fabric and special circumstances of the coinage and is consistent with the cursus honorum dates discussed in the following paragraph.

The moneyer was the Quaestor, P. Cornelius Lentulus, whose nickname was Spinther (reportedly because he resembled an actor by that name). It was a nickname that he clearly liked as both he and his son later used it on coins. Spinther, an aristocrat of the Cornelia gens, was liked by Julius Caesar and rose through the cursus honorum, beginning with his Quaestorship when this coin was struck. He was elected Aedile in 63BC and worked with Cicero in suppressing the Cataline conspiracy. The date of his Aedileship is important in that 6-8 years was the required waiting period between Quaestor and Aedile in the cursus honorum, the career path for a Roman politician, which is consistent with Hersh and Walker’s proposed dating of this coin issue to 71BC; Crawford’s dating of 74BC implied that Spinther failed to reach the Aedileship for several years after he qualified for the position (being elected in the first qualification year was an important distinction to the Romans, though certainly an accomplishment that many Roman aristocrats failed to attain). He was later governor of part of Spain. With Caesar’s help, he was elected consul in 57BC, when he recalled Cicero from exile. Thereafter he governed Cilicia, at which time Cicero wrote him a still-surviving letter. As relations deteriorated between Caesar and Pompey, Spinther sided with Pompey. Despite initial offers of amnesty by Caesar, Spinther would not remain neutral and was eventually killed or committed suicide during the civil wars. His son later allied with Caesar’s assassins and struck the well-known LENTVLVS SPINT coins for both Brutus and Cassius.

This example comes from the Eton College Collection, which was auctioned by Sotheby’s in 1976. Eton College initiated its ancient coin collection by acquiring a large group of British Museum duplicates in the 1870s, and Eton added to this collection in the ensuing years. By the mid-1970s, the ancient coin market was white-hot, and Eton decided to cash-out the lion’s share of its collection, keeping a representative core for study purposes. I’ve contacted the British Museum’s Department of Coins and Medals to link this coin to the original tranche of BM duplicates purchased by Eton. Unfortunately, before adoption of modern curatorial standards, the BM did not accession duplicates into the BM collection; rather, they simply put duplicates into the “duplicates cabinet” without cataloging them. These uncatalogued duplicates would be sold or traded from time to time to acquire needed specimens for the BM collection. There might be record of the transaction somewhere at the BM, but there would be no description of the duplicates sold. By 1980 or so, the BM began cataloguing all coins, even duplicates. There is an 1880s book published about Eton's Roman coin collection, but it describes only a representative sample of the collection and this coin is not included.

6 commentsCarausius
MFA_Clouius.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, T. Cloulius, AR Quinarius21 viewsRome. The Republic.
T. Cloulius, 98 BCE.
AR Quinarius (1.94g; 17mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Jupiter, facing right; D control mark below

Reverse: Victory crowning trophy with wreath; T·CLOVLI between; captive seated below and carnyx to left of trophy; Q in exergue.

References: Crawford 332/1b; Sydenham 586a; BMCRR 1103; Cloulia 2.

The silver quinarius, a half-denarius denomination, was introduced as part of the denarius reform of the silver coinage circa 212 BCE. The early quinarius and its fraction-sibling, the sestertius, were discontinued just a few years after their initial introduction. However, the contemporaneous victoriatus, a coin produced on the drachm standard largely for trade with Greek communities, continued in production until about 170 BCE. By the close of the second century and later, many worn victoriati continued to circulate but were valued as quinarii because of wear and their debased fabric. Thus, when the Romans reissued the quinarius, they employed the victoriatus imagery of Jupiter/Victory crowning trophy. Indeed, these new quinarii were referred to as victoriati. The denomination was particularly popular in Gaul and often turns up in first century Gallic hoards.

This quinarius was struck by T. Cloulius, a partisan of Marius. The carnyx near the trophy on the reverse refers to Marius’ victories over invading Gauls in 102-101 BCE. The coins may have been issued in connection with Marius giving colonial lands to the veterans of these Gallic victories. No obverse control mark has more than one die. The reverse exergual letter Q likely refers to the moneyer's office of quaestor rather than a denominational mark.
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Z8g54YYbCs8yjeQ97pGEKGx6D3zzRS.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, T. Cloulius, AR Quinarius16 viewsRome. The Republic.
T. Cloulius, 98 BCE.
AR Quinarius (1.79g; 16mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Jupiter, facing right; O control mark below

Reverse: Victory crowning trophy with wreath; T·CLOVLI between; captive seated below and carnyx to left of trophy; Q in exergue.

References: Crawford 332/1b; Sydenham 586a; BMCRR 1103; Cloulia 2.

Provenance: Ex Boston Museum of Fine Arts Collection [Triton I (2-3 Dec 1997), Lot 2313 (part)], acquired before 1968.

The silver quinarius, a half-denarius denomination, was introduced as part of the denarius reform of the silver coinage circa 212 BCE. The early quinarius and its fraction-sibling, the sestertius, were discontinued just a few years after their initial introduction. However, the contemporaneous victoriatus, a coin produced on the drachm standard largely for trade with Greek communities, continued in production until about 170 BCE. By the close of the second century and later, many worn victoriati continued to circulate but were valued as quinarii because of wear and their debased fabric. Thus, when the Romans reissued the quinarius, they employed the victoriatus imagery of Jupiter/Victory crowning trophy. Indeed, these new quinarii were referred to as victoriati. The denomination was particularly popular in Gaul and often turns up in first century Gallic hoards. 

This quinarius was struck by T. Cloulius, a partisan of Marius. The carnyx near the trophy on the reverse refers to Marius’ victories over invading Gauls in 102-101 BCE. The coins may have been issued in connection with Marius giving colonial lands to the veterans of these Gallic victories. No obverse control mark has more than one die. The reverse exergual letter Q likely refers to the moneyer's office of quaestor rather than a denominational mark.

The coin was formerly part of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts collection. In 1997, the MFA deaccessioned a group of 890 coins which had been acquired by the MFA between 1872 and 1968. 
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411607.jpg
ROMAN REPUBLIC, Tiberius Claudius Nero, AR Serrate Denarius24 viewsRome. The Republic.
Ti. Claudius Ti.f. Ap.n. Nero, 79 BCE.
AR Serrate Denarius (4.13g; 19mm).
Rome Mint.

Obverse: Draped bust of Diana facing right, with bow and quiver over shoulder; S.C, before.

Reverse: Victory driving biga galloping right; A.LXXXVIII below; TI CLAVD TI F AP N, in exergue.

References: Crawford 383/1; Sydenham 770a; BMCRR ;Claudia 5.

Provenance: Ex CNG Classical Numismatic Review (Fall 2015), Lot 411607; CNG Inventory 735603 (August 2003); Numismatica Ars Classica N (26 June 2003), lot 1540; Eton College Collection [Sotheby’s (1 December 1976), lot 195].

The moneyer is Tiberius Claudius Nero, son of Tiberius ("TI F") and grandson of Appius ("AP N"). He served under Pompey in the war against the pirates in 67 BCE, and was the grandfather of the Roman emperor Tiberius. There are two series of control marks for the reverse: one, marked from I to CLXV; the second marked with letter A and I to CLXXXII. Each reverse control mark has only one die. The letters S.C on the obverse mean that this coin was struck by special Senatorial decree, as opposed to routine coinage which was still authorized by the Senate but not specially marked. The reason for the special decree is not certain in this case. The obverse of the coin may refer to the introduction of the worship of Diana by the Sabines from whom the Claudii originated, though Crawford disputes this reading. The reverse may refer to the Second Punic War victories of C. Claudius Nero.

This example comes from the Eton College Collection, which was auctioned by Sotheby’s in 1976. Eton College initiated its ancient coin collection by acquiring a large group of British Museum duplicates in the 1870s, and Eton added to this collection in the ensuing years. By the mid-1970s, the ancient coin market was white-hot, and Eton decided to cash-out the lion’s share of its collection, keeping a representative core for study purposes.
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