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QVI LVDIT ARRAM DET QVOD SATIS SIT




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QVI LVDIT ARRAM DET QVOD SATIS SIT.-On the reverse of a third brass coin, or tessera, published by Peter Sequin.

(Selecta Numismata Antiqua) appears this remarkable legend, accompanied by the type of four astragali, or tali lusorii (bones of four sides to play with - in other words gamesters' dice.)- On the obverse of this piece is the head of a woman, with the letter c. on one side and s. on the other.

Sequin calls this the medal of Sors.  He supposes the female head to be that of the ancient goddess of chance, or destiny, and that the letters c. and s. placed near it are to be explained Casus, Sors, influences which certainly govern most games, and especially that of the dice.  The reverse of this tessera contains a saying of the gaming table - namely, let him who plays put down arram, or his stake of money, as agreed upon by the rule of the game.  The subject itself therefore shows (says Eckhel) to what uses small coins of a similar description were applied.  Det, quod satis sit, is a known form of legal expression, employed in testamentary documents.

Baudelot de Dairval thinks that this medal may be interpreted by referring the c. and the s. on the side of the head to the feast of the Saturnalia at Rome, and reads it Comi Saturnalia or Consueludine Saturnaliorum, or Convivio Soluto, in joining it with this legend of the reverse, Qui ludit arram det quod satis sit, which is in the midst of four little pieces of bone, as above described.- Indeed, it is certainly (adds the ingenious author of L' Utilite des Voyages) that the ancients made few festivities which did not terminate in play, as among other expressions of Plautus, this jeu de mots demonstrates: Accuratote ut sine talis, domi agitent convivium.

Be careful that they have not the liberty at mine to make feasts
; which means, drive them away from my house.  The poet avails himself of a quick pun of the common people, which plays upon the Tali, or small bones, because that word in the plural expresses the same thing.  Lucian makes Saturn order that folks should play partucularly at that game; and Macrobius, saying that the Saturnalia did not anciently begin till 14th of the January kalends, adds- Quo solo die apud aedem Saturni convivio dissoluto, SATVRNALIA. claimitabantur.  Sat. c. x.- On which day only, at the end of the banquet given in the temple of Saturn, they made a cry, or exclamation of Saturnalia.  Thus the medal should be a symbol of those festivals, and for the feast of some quarter, and for the gaming which is about to take place.  For these are marks which were so called at that time- Symbolum dedit, coenavit: "he has given his sign and has supped," says an actor in the Andria.  Baudelot goes on to adduce another passage from Macrobius, which seems to him capable of throwing light on the medal of Monsieur Sequin; but at the same time, he confesses himself (as well he may) to be not yet entirely satisfied.  For instance, he admits that he is totally at a loss to conceive whose was the female head on the obverse; but a learned friend of his, he adds, had no hesitation in pronouncing it to be that of Copa Syrisca, a famous woman of Rome, who kept an academy for gambling, feasting, and lascivious dancing; and was the subject of an epigram written by Virgil, in which her Greek head-dress (caput Graia redimita mtella), and her accommodations for drinking and gaming (merum et talos) are alluded to in a lively manner.  This rich and luxurious courtezan, it is remarked by the friend of Baudelot, could well afford to have her portrait engraved on the symbol (the tessera) which she was accustomed to bestow on those who frequented her abode; and also to have inscribed thereon the first letters of her name- c. s. Copa Syrisca.  Be that as it may, comparing the Pone merum et talos of the epigram with the bones delineated on the reverse of the medal in question, Baudelot de Dairval thinks they do not ill serve to confirm the conjecture which he has endeavoured to explain- namely, that the legend and type of this singular medalet bear reference to the Saturnalian celebrations at Rome.  This piece is engraved in Pinkerton's Essay on Medals.

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