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Was Caligula was the first living Princeps to appear radiate on imperial coinage, before Nero? One final aspect of the seated figure of Caligula on the consensv dupondius is worth examining. Could Caligula have been the first living princeps to ever appear radiate on Roman coinage? B.E. Levy. in her article entitled "Caligula's Radiate Crown," finds traces of a radiate crown on two pieces: One in the Princeton University Library; the other in a private collection. Some scholars believe this theory strengthens the argument that the seated figure is Augustus and not Caligula. H.M. Von Kaenal advanced this interpretation of the dupondii this way: His first argument is that on some of the reverses you could identify Caligula's features; secondly, that the reverse legend is suited to certain events of his accession. As Dio tells us, the event was altered by an eruption into the senate-house of equites et populus,40 and in Von Kaenal's view it is to this, and not the award of an honorific statue, that the legend CONSENSV SENAT ET EQ ORDIN P Q R must refer.41 H. Kuthmann brings even stronger evidence of the reverse type not being Augustus when hesuggests that on pre-Flavian coins the curule chair is the seat of the living princeps, while that of DIVUS Augustus is a throne.42 This is strong evidence that the seated figure is that of Caligula. (Interestingly, Kuthmann identifies the seated figure as Claudius.) Levy brings further evidence to light when she suggests that the bronze provincial issues of at least three or four mints show Caligula with radiate attribution (one from Alexandria, but this issue may represent Helios.)43 Another issue from the province of Asiashows a spikey Hellenistic crown.44 Even stronger evidence that the radiate crown did exist can be seen on consensv dupondii , where the die engraver shortened the vertical bar on the T in ET to accommodate the crown, while the entire letter T is slightly raised in the second Princeton piece. Levy mentions that the radiate crown is neglected in descriptions which follow illustrations in catalogues. In specifically looking for the radiate crown on the consensv dupondii, there are at least three issues that have been found via the art trade.45 It has been suggested that the radiate crown is occasionally used on Roman coinage to distinguish a newly elevated Emperor. Thus, the Roman radiate crown was not a true piece of insignia: Its meaning was flexible and its use optional?
1. See in general J. Pollini, Book Review, Dietrich Boschung, Die Bildnisse des Augustus, Das romische Herrscherbild, pt. 1, vol. 2.
3. I 7: D. Boschung, Die Bildnisse des Caligula (1989) II 1: G. Daltrop - U. Hausmann - M. Wegner, Die Flavier. Vespasian, Titus,Domitian, Nerva, Julia, Titi, Domitilla, Domitia (1966) II 2: W. H. Groß, Bildnisse Trajans (1940)II 3: M. Wegner, Hadrian, Plotina, Marciana, Matidia, Sabina (1956) II 4: M. Wegner, Die Herrscherbildnisse in antoninischer Zeit (1940) III 1: H. B. Wiggers - M. Wegner, Caracalla, Geta, Plautilla, Macrinus bisBalbinus (1971) III 2: R. Delbrueck, Die Münzbildnisse von Maximinus bis Carinus (1940)
4. See Joe Geranio, "Portraits of Caligula: The Seated Figure? - Society of Ancient Numismatics, Vol. XX, (1997) Princeton University Library Cabinet - Used with Permission - Note “T” in ET” slightly raised. With traces of radiate crown on Consensv Dupondius. I have come across 5 specimens with traces of radiate attribution. Also a different and updated version done in "The Celator" Vol. XX!, No.9 Sept. 2007.
the other in a private collection. Some scholars believe this theory strengthens the argument that the seated figure is Augustus and not Caligula. H.M. Von Kaenal advanced this interpretation of the dupondii this way: His first argument is that on some of the reverses you could identify Caligula's features; secondly, that the reverse legend iis suited to certain events of his accesion. As Dio tells us, the event was altered by an erruption into the senate- house of equites et populus,40 and in Von Kaenal's view it is to this, and not the award of an honorific statue, that the legend CONSENSV SENAT ET EQ ORDIN P Q R must refer.41 H. Kuthmann brings even stronger evidence of the reverse type not being Augustus when he suggests that on pre-Flavian coins the curule chair is the seat of the living princeps, while that of DIVUS Augustus is a throne.42 This is strong evidence that the seated figure is that of Caligula. (Interestingly, Kuthmann identifies the seated figure as Claudius.) According to Von Kaenel the portraits of Caligula on the aureii and denarii are all in right profile; those on sestertii, dupondii, and asses are all in left profile. Von kaenel concludes that all of the imperial issues reproduce a single official portrait type and that what variations exist are of a stylistic and not of a typological nature. Furthermore, since the two profile views are not mirror images, Von kaenel suggests that they faithfully reproduce the left and right side Respectively of a single model in the round and he believes that comparison with marble replicas of Boschung’s “Haupttypus” confirm the same master “vorbild” lies behind both the sculptured and numismatic replicas. According to von Kaenel, the Roman die engravers were provided with either a single head in the round to serve as a model for their miniature profile portraits or with two separate relief portraits corresponding to the left and right sides of a sculptured head of Caligula’s “Haupttypus.” This is an important observation and it would be interesting to know if it is typical of Roman numismatic portraiture for left- and right facing portraits of the same person to be rendered differently or whether the coinage of Caligula is exceptional in not employing mirror images.
Levy brings further evidence to light when she suggests that the bronze provincial issues of at least three or four mints show Caligula with radiate attribution (one from Alexandria, but this issue may represent Helios.)44 Another issue from the province of Asia shows a spikey Hellenistic crown.45 Even stronger evidence that the radiate crown did exist can be seen on consensv dupondii , where the die engraver shortened the vertical bar on the T in ET to accomadate the crown, while the entire letter T is slightly raised in the second Princeton piece. Levy mentions that the radiate crown is neglected in descriptions which follow illustrations in catalouges. In specifically looking for the radiated crown on the consensv dupondii, There are at least three issues that have been found via the art trade.46 It has been suggested that the radiate crown is occasionally used on Roman coinage to distinguish a newly elevated Emperor. Thus, the Roman radiate crown was not a true piece of insignia: Its meaning was flexible and its use optional.47 Fig () of Close up of Princeton piece and smaller dupondius
Conclusion and Evidence
Levy stated in a letter to me: that she would change the last paragraph of her article (Caligula's Radiate Crown), for she now thinks the radiate crown on that coin (and she meant to have said just “rays”) was the sort of thing the occasional die-cutter might have put in, She didn't mean as an error, but a sort of optional detail. I feel as Levy suggests, that a few CONSENSV dupondii with radiate figure on the reverse came at the beginning of the issue, and the design was later modified in deference to public opinion. Then again as Levy suggests, and I disagree; we might set them as late, seeing in them a manifestation of Caligula's gradual self-exaltation, which is well attested in the literary sources but otherwise absent from his coinage.48 (That is, in view of how few have turned up, it is rash to say the rays constituted an official element of the initial issue, later discontinued). I respectfully disagree and see the CONSENSV dupondius and provincial coinage as radiate attributions. Through public opinion the radiate attribution was disbanded. I believe the CONSENSV dupondii was originally meant to have radiate attribution. I hope as time goes on to show more CONSENSV dupondii with radiate atributions.
Levy has communicated with von Kaenel, and he suggested through a letter to Levy that, von Kaenel states "We might suspect this if the Radiate pieces were irregular in other ways, but the style to von kaenel seems perfectly Roman". M. Bergmann on p.129 of her massive “Die Strahlen des Herrscher.” In a long footnote argued the rays on the Princeton dupondius were a modern addition, tooled on by someone who wanted the seated figure to look more like Augustus. Of course she’d only seen the photo in SM. The CONSENSV could not have been tooled as to how many I personally have seen up close and personal.
It has always been recgonized that Nero was the first living Princeps to appear radiate? This in my opinion is a falsehood. In the provinces there are examples of Caligula shown radiate which pre-dates Nero. Fig (IONIA, Smyrna. Gaius (Caligula). AD 37-41. Æ 14mm (2.14 g, 12h). Radiate head right; star behind / Crab. Klose XXVII B (V7/R15); RPC I 2474; SNG Copenhagen 1347; BMC Ionia 279 (same dies). PHRYGIA, Aezanis. Gaius (Caligula). 37-41 AD. Æ 20mm (5.20 gm). Lollios Klassikos and Lollios Roufos, magistrates. Radiate head right / Zeus standing left, holding eagle and sceptre. RPC I 3085; SNG Copenhagen 80. Was the radiate crowns of Caligula's Greek coinage routine to verbal flattery at his accession. Nero had the same situation on his coinage, and it may be significant that the first representation of the latter with radiate attribution comes as early as 56/57 A.D. on the reverse of an accesssion issue at Alexandria (Fig Nero) Dattari 12-13 200-203. Eygpt issued no regnal coinage until his third year (56/57 A.D.) This may be considered an accession type. This clearly puts Caligula as the first living Princeps in my opinion to be shown radiate not only on Provincial coinage, but; in my humble and controversial view the CONSENSV dupondii was meant to show a radiate attribution. I have already mentioned the reasons why the radiate CONSENSV was disbanded. The radiate crown he wears on the coinage signifies that he is descended from Divus Augustus -- same for Nero, only he could claim kinship with both Divus Augustus and Divus Claudius.
End Notes+ I should like to thank Prof. John Pollini, Dean of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California, for his help in locating many materials on the portraiture of Caligula. I should also like to thank Brooks Levy at the Princeton Umiversity Library for insightful views on Caligula's radiate crown. Many thanks to the Classics Department at the University of California at Berkeley for their scholarly seminars on numismatics, especially Prof. R. Stroud and Prof. R. Knapp. I am also thankful to the San Francisco Ancient Numismatic Society, and thanks to Susan Wood for her help in in finding material on the portraiture of Caligula. Lastly I would like to thank Miriam Griffin for her encouragement and the first book she suggested on the Julio Claudians.
Bibliography1. Suetonius, Cal 8.1: Fasti Vallenses and Fasti Pighiani; also see Dio 59.61. A Barrett, Caligula: The Corruption of Power, Yale University Press, 1989 (Barrett 1989), while not rejecting Suetonius, raises questions, pp.6-7, Also see J.P.V.D. Balsdon, The Emperor Gaius, Oxford, 1934 (Balsdon 1934), p.4. 2. Seneca, De Constantia Sapientis, p.18. See also Suetonius, Calig. p. 50.3. BMC I 160/88-92: RIC I 56; AE dupondius. Obverse: Augustus radiate head left. Reverse: seated figure on curule chair holding branch and globe. Attribution to the reign of Caligula now seems certain. See H. Chantraine, Die Antiken Fundmuzen Von Neuss, Novaesium VIII, 1982. pp. 20-21.4. (supra n. 3 ); The seated figure has been accepted by most scholars as Augustus, the description of it as an honorific statue apparently goes back to I. Eckhel, Doctrina Numorum Veterum VI, 1828, p. 126. Also see B.E. Levy, "Caligula's Radiate Crown,"Schweitzer Munzblatter, 38/152, 1988 (Levy 1988), pp. 101-107, Also see H.M. von Kaenel, "Augustus, Caligula oder Claudius," Gazette Numismatique Suisse 28, 1978, pp. 39-44. As Levy points out a fuller investigation into: 1st century and Hellenistic evidence would be rewarding. E. Kantorowicz, Oriens Augusti, Dumbarton Oaks Paper 17, 1963, 119-133, examines the association of solar imagery with imperial accessions and epiphanies. Unfortunately it starts with the 2nd century A.D. 5. Swift, F.H., "Imagines in Imperial Portraiture," AJA 28, 1923, pp. 286-301. M. Stewart, "How Were Imperial Portraits Distributed Throughout The Roman Empire?" AJA 43, 1939, pp. 601-617. J. Pollini, The Portraiture of Gaius and Lucius Caesar", New York, 1987 (Pollini 1987), pp. 2-3 for a photo of a terracotta head in the Louvre, see Kiss, L'iconographie, figs. 312-13, p. 99.6. Fullerton, M.D., Rev. of Pollini 1987, AJA 92, 1988, pp. 615-17, probably the most difficult of the Julio-Claudians to attribute; an insightful review. Also see R. Brilliant, "An Early Imperial Portrait of Caligula," AAAH 4, 1969, pp. 13-17. Also see J. Pollini, "A Pre-Principate Portrait of Gaius (Caligula)?" JWAG, Vol. 40, 1982 (Pollini 1982), pp.3-4. I believe this portrait that Pollini speaks of is indeed the only pre-principate likeness, which is similiar to the Dresden and La Spezia Portraits.7. DioLX22. Also see M. Bergemann and P. Zanker, "Damnatio Memoriae'-Umgearbeitete Nero und Domitians Portrats: Zur Ikonographie der Flavischen Kaiser und des Nerva," jdI 96, 1981, pp. 317-42. See also J. Pollini, "Damnatio Memoriae in Stone: Two Portraits of Nero Recut to Vespasianin American Museums," AJA 88, 1984, pp. 547-66. For a photo of a mutilated small bronze of Caligula, see F. Johansen, " The Sculpted Portraits of Caligula," Ancient Portraits in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Vol. 1, 1987 (Johansen 1987), figs 19a-19b. For a portrait of Germanicus mutilated in late antiquity, See S. Walker, Roman Art in the British Museum, 1991, fig. 33, p. 31. For the greatest work to date on Caligula in the round. See D. Boschung, Die Bildnisse des Caligula", Das Romische Herrscherbild, Vol. 4, part 1, Berlin 1989 (Boschung 1989), no 30, pls. 27, 1-4, 45.1. 8. Jonas, E., " A Damanatio Memoriae alkalmazasa egyik duponiusan Caligula, Numizm Kozlony, 1937-38, pp. 89-91. 9. Barrett 1989, pp. 179-80. D.W. Mcdowall, " THe Economic Context of the Roman Imperial Countermark NCAPR," Acta Numismatica I, 1971, p. 87.10. Callu, J.P. and F. Rosati, "Les Depot monetaire du Posarello," MEFR, 1964, pp. 51-90.11. Carson, R.A.G., "The Bredgar Treasure of Roman Coins", NC, 1959. pp.17-22.12. Seminar held at the University of California-Berkeley. April 1995, Berkeley Classics Department.13. Barrett 1989, p. 180.14. Stewart, M. (supra n. 5), pp. 601-17.15. IGR IV, 1022.16. CIL XII, 1848, 1849.17. Dio LIX.4 IG VII, 2711.18. IG, 2nd ed., vols 2-3, 3266-67. Athens together with Drusilla; Graindor, BCH 38, 1914, no. 18, p. 401. Seyrig, RA, 1929, p. 90. See also T. Pekary, Monumentum Chiloniense, Amsterdam, 1975, p. 107. E. Koberlein, Caligula und die agyptische Kulte, Meisenheim am glau, 1962, p. 54. 19. Poulsen, V., "Portraits of Caligula," A Arch 29, 1958, pp. 175-90. On the Worcester head, Poulsen speaks about "an unmistackable nervous tension," For a description of the so-called "crazy Caligula portrait," see D. Kleiner, Roman Sculpture, New haven, 1992, p. 128. See also J. Pollini, Roman Portraiture: Images of Character and Virtue, Los Angeles 1990, pp. 8-12. 20. For more on the Fulda head, see Johansen 1987, p. 95. Poulsen (supra n. 19), pp. 178-79. See also H. Heintze, Die antiken Portrats in SchloB Fasanerie bei Fulda, Mainz, 1968, no. 21.21. Copenhagen head 637a : Th pupils, eylashes and irises were added in paint; only those on the left of the Copenhagen head are still preserved. See Kleiner (supra n. 19), p. 127. J. Pollini told me in conversation that the Docents at the NY Glyptotek like to scare the children with the so called "Crazy looking Caligula" 22. Pollini 1982, pp. 2-4.23. Poulsen (supra n. 19), p. 186. Johansen 1987, p. 106. Kleiner (supra n. 19), p. 126. All agree that the Worcester head is as possible postumous issue from Neronian times.24. A very controversial issue. See Strabo, 4.3.2; CIL Xiii (supra n. 10), pp. 1820, 1799.25. Mattingly, BMC cxiii-iii.26. C.H.V. Sutherland, " The Mints of Lugdunum and Rome under Caligula: an unsolved problem,"NAC 10, 1981, pp. 297-99.27. Girard, J.B., "les emmisons d'or et d' argent de Caligula dans l'atelier de Lyon," RN, 1976, pp. 69-81. There is a danger that these were forgers's does. See also H.M. von Kaenel, " Die Organasation der Munzparagung Caligulas," SNR 66, 1987, pp. 42-43. H.B. Mattingly, NC 145, 1985, p. 256; Barrett 1989, pp. 244-54. 28. Balsdon 1934, p. 146.29. On the other imagery of Caligula, see locally produced glass medallions thought to bear Caligula's image from the Rhine area, see D. Boschung, Romische Glasphalerae mit Portratbusten," BJ 187, 1987, nos. 2,7, 27. For convincing identification of the seated male figure on a gem in the Vienna Kunsthistoriches Museum, as Caligula and not Augustus, see H. Kyrieleis, "Zu einem Kameo in Wien," Archaologischer Anzeiger, 1970, figs. 1,3, pp. 492-98. Pollini 1982, p. 3. For pre-accession portrait of Caligula on colonial issues from Carthago Nova in Spain (usually crude portraits), see A. Banti and Simonetti, Corpus Nummorum Romanorum 13, Florence, 1977, pp. 141-50.; M Grant, Aspects of the Principate of Tiberius, New York, 1950, 35, 101, pl. 6.3. 30. RIC, 36.31. Breglia, L., Roman Imperial Coins: Their Art and Techniques, 1968, pp. 44-50. Also see Kleiner (supra n. 19), pp. 141-63; Boschung 1989, p. 18.32. RIC I, 110, no.32.33. Ritter, H.W., Adlocutio und Corona Civica unter Caligula und Tiberius," JNG, 1971, pp. 81-96.34. This identification was already made in the auction catalouge, Munzen und Medaillen, AG Basel 43 (12-13.11.1970), no. 289.35. Boschung 1989, pl D, Figs. 1-8.36. Boschung 1989, pp. 24-25; H.M. von Kaenel (supra n. 4), pp.39-44.37. Poulsen, V. (supra n. 19), p. 185; Johansen 1989, p. 104.38. For discussion for the typology in identification of Caligula. See Pollini 1982, pp. 1-12.39. Johansen 1987, p. 97. Probably made shortly after Caligula's accession, this head I have seen personally at the J. Paul Getty Museum. A most impressive head from Asia Minor. See Pollini 1982, p. 6.40. Dio 59.6.1; Suet Calig. 14.1. Also see A Jackobson and H. Cotton, Caligula's Rescusatio Imperii, Historia 34, 1985, pp. 497-503.41. Grenade, P., Essai sur les origines du principat, 1961, p. 283. 42. Kuthmann, H., "Claudius, Germanicus und divus Augustus," JNG 10, 1959/60, pp. 56-57.
43. Kleiner, F.American Journal of Numismatics 3-4 New York (1992): Review of D. Boschung's 'Die Bildnisse des Caligula' Gerbruder-Mann (1989)44. Smallwood, E.M., Documents illustrating the reigns of Gaius, Claudius and Nero, 1967, no. 126. Also see M. Charlesworth, CAH X, 1952, p. 654, nt. 1; G.J.D Aalders,"Helios Gaios," Mnemosyne 13, 1960, pp. 242-43.45. BMC 145/ 49-51.46. First, I have come across at least (as of 5/15/06) 9 known examples of Caligula radiate?(I hope you realize it is caligula). Here is part of the theory: The Die-Cutter for some reason has shortened the "T" in ET' for some reason. Could it have been that this was to make room for the rays? For one piece where the crown is quite evident see: Catalog of the Vierordt sale Shuluman 5.3 1923, no. 573. A. Banti and L. Simonetti has considerable samples in CNR VI (1974) 65-72. It's strange when you are not aware to look for something you don't see it! My eyes now scan the Consensv dupondii very closely. Sometime the "T" is delibretaly raised, but it always seems to be raised to a certain degree. The point regarding Caligula being the seated figure is obvious, since the curule chair is the seat of the living Princeps before the Flavian era. The best portrait, which I have is a photo of Caligula (iconographically) in the Bern historical Museum. We can't assume becasue the die-cutters abberations . When we look at provincial coinage we clearly find Caligula radiate during his principate. Did the proposed radiate crown = divine election? Could this attribute come at the beginning of the issue and then pressure from Rome discontinued it? Or was the radiate added later with Caligula's self exaltation? ON THE EMBASSY TO GAIUS THE FIRST PART OF THE TREATISE ON VIRTUES (De Virtutibus Prima Pars, Quod Est De Legatione Ad Gaium) Philo (95) Afterwards, when he thought fit to do so, he laid aside these ornaments, and metamorphosed and transformed himself into Apollo, crowning his head with garlands, in the form of rays, and holding a bow and arrows in his left hand, and holding forth graces in his right, as if it became him to proffer blessings to all men from his ready store, and to display the best arrangement possible on his right hand, but to contract the punishments which he had it in his power to inflict, and to allot to them a more confined space on his left. There is a very similar case in Flavian coinage, a sestertius issued for Titus at the beginning of his reign (BMC 178-81). The reverse shows V. and T. holding a globe between them; the head of one figure, on some but not all preserved examples, has very small rays. It’s always been thought this was Vespasian, but for numerous reasons must be Titus. As with Caligula, this detail defines him as the emperor-elect. The radiate crown he wears on the coinage signifies that he is a descended from Divus Augustus -- same for Nero, only he could claim kinship with both Divus Augustus and Divus Claudius.
47. Levy, B.E., " Portraits of the Heir Apparent: Geta or Caracalla," AJA, 1992, p. 350; B.E. Levy, Calpurnius Siculus/ I 84-88: The Iconograhy of Imperial Succession," APA, 1989, p. 15.
48. R. Fears, ANRW II.17 (1981)72, note 347. See also Zanker, Paul, Provinzielle Kaiserporträts: Zur Rezeption derSelbstdarstellung des Princeps, Munich: Bayerische Akade-mie der Wissenschaften, 1983Boschung, Dietrich, “Die Bildnistypen der iulisch-claudischenKaiserfamilie: ein kritischer Forschungsbericht,” Journal ofRoman Archaeology 6 (1993)