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A silver Roman Republican quinarius of L. Rubrius Dossenus showing Victoria and an omphalos-and-snake on an altar Coin Type: Silver quinarius of L. Rubrius Dossenus, Roman Republic, 87 BCE.
Mint and Date: Rome, 87 BCE.
Size and Weight: 13mm x 14mm, 1.80g.
Obverse: Laureate head of Neptune right, trident over his shoulder.
DOS-SEN behind.
Reverse: Victoria walking right, holding a wreath high in her flung-back right hand and a palm leaf over her shoulder in her left hand. At her feet is a garlanded altar upon which rests a snake coiled around the Omphalos.
L RVBRI behind.
Provenance: xarioteer (eBay), February 2011.
Ref: RCV (2000) 261 corr; RSC Rubria 4.
BW Ref: 067 052 167
Click on the picture for a larger scale view of the coin

Note 1: Sear describes the reverse as having a "snake-entwined altar", but that is not correct. It is a garlanded altar upon which rests the Omphalos entwined by a snake. This symbol also appears on coins of Pergamon which reference Asklepios, like this one: AE22 of Pergamon

Note 2: According to Sear, Crawford interpets the allusion to Aesculapius in the light of the devastating plague which broke out in this year.

Note 3: On 5 February 2011, Andrew McCabe wrote about Sear's comments on the Forum Classical Numismatics Discussion Board:

"Sear has no original opinions on Republican coins. All the views in all his books derive directly from the source books he used such as Crawford. He doesn't hide this. So it may be "Sear's description" but it's not Sear's views - it's Crawford's or Grueber's or Babelon's view. Or the Duke of Northumberland (with Admiral Smyth), who on this subject wrote:

A semi-nude walking Victory alata, carrying a palm-branch over her left arm; before her is a decorated cylindrical altar, whereon is the round half-egg-shaped basket of Aesculapius, with a serpent twisted around it. This may refer to some unknown Rubrius who might have had a hand in transporting Aesculapius by sea from Epidaurus to Rome. Or it may refer to the moneyer's ancestor who, in 288 BC, was sent to Greece to enquire of that healing god the cause of a desolating plague, which then afflicted various parts of Italy. Might this visitation have been aggravated malaria?"

(This must refer to the "Descriptive catalogue of a cabinet of Roman family coins belonging to the Duke of Northumberland (1856) - Smyth, W. H. (William Henry) - 323 pages" which I can see in a book list on line.)

The content of this page was last updated on 6 February 2011