Patricia Lawrence


The coins showing Apollo the Lizard Slayer, Sauroktonos, are limited in obviously significant ways, but we have no external evidence to explain either their existence or their variety.  Similarly, the replicas in marble and bronze show that the statuary type was familiar in Rome (and so do the ancient authors) and Greece, and was created by Praxiteles, but no author names the place where the original stood and no civic mint commemorated it as its own, in the way that Alexandria Troas did Apollo Smintheus or Parion its Eros.

Both the coins and the statuary evidence need to be restudied, incorporating for the coins those unknown a century ago and, for the statuary, leaving behind the nineteenth centuryÕs preoccupation with the irrevocably lost originals.

For preliminary study on line, we shall present the evidence of the coins first, separately, since its own questions can be addressed more plainly and its scholarly baggage is much lighter.

Except for one from Prusa ad Olympum, 9, all the Sauroktonos coins are from Philippopolis in Thrace or Nicopolis ad Istrum, which was governed as part of Thrace before Septimius Severus.  Thereafter, when Nicopolis ad Istrum became one of the principal mints of Moesia Inferior, all the Sauroktonoi were issued there, and none is known later than the governor M. Cl. Agrippa for Macrinus and Diadumenian.  The numerous Apollos of several types at Apollonia Rhyndacum include a pastiche using the pose of the Lizard Slayer but without either the Lizard or the Tree that it requires.   Like all other Late Hellenistic and Imperial pastiches, these are interesting in their own terms (they do attest to the currency of this leaning pose), not as Lizard Slayers.  See at end.

We do not know what kind of models the die engravers had.  B. Pick thought that Nicopolis may have had a Sauroktonos, and he may have been right, but if so they never showed it in a naos as Marcianopolis did its Apollo of the ÒApollo LykeiosÓ type or Apollonia Rhyndacum its leaning Apollo.  Intaglio gems or their impressions and, especially for Philippopolis, even a painting also are possible.

The Sauroktonoi on the coins are classified as follows:

—as true if they faithfully convey the identifying traits known in the substantive replicas, especially those in the Louvre and in the Vatican;

—as deliberate variant if they follow that issued for Caracalla by Tertullus;

—as aberrant if inexplicable in terms of the substantive replicas and probably due to ignorance;

—as pastiche if departing intentionally, but using the type, for some artistic reason; only one pastiche, that for Faustina II at Philippopolis, is included in this list, and only by reason of its Antonine Philippopolitan context.

The list is according to the reverse type.  Where a reverse die is shared (12, 15, 16, 17), obverses conventionally listed separately are subsumed.  Where Behrendt PickÕs listing and description, AMNG I, 1, has been cited in later literature without further discussion, its citation stands alone.  Prusa apart, the letter forms are unremarkable for the period, and there are no ligatures.  The sigma is always lunate, only in three cases (7, 19, 20) squared lunate.  All omegas are W.




Issued by Zeno (AD 140–c.145; A. Stein, 1920, pp. 18–19)

1 ® 20.  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Antoninus Pius, head to r.  AU T ADRIA | ANTWNEINOS.   Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos, stg. r., his left hand on the tree trunk, his right drawn slightly back; on the tree, where preserved, crawls a lizard.  HGE ZHNWNOS | NEIKOPOLI.   Pick, p. 349, no. 1225 (true). 


Without legateÕs name (closely related to 1)

2 ®  19.  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Antoninus Pius, head to r.  AUT AI ADRIA | ANTWNEINOS.  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos, stg. r., his left hand at top of tree trunk, his right drawn back, close to his body; on the tree, plainly preserved, lizard opposite his r. hand.  The protuberance lower on the tree trunk is probably a lopped branch of the tree.  NEIKOPO | LEITWN.  4.62g  Varbanov I (E), p. 202, no. 2116 (true).


3 ® 19.  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Marcus Aurelius, draped bust to r.  AURH OUH | ROS KAIS (cf. Pick 1229, obv.).  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos, stg. r., his left hand at top of tree trunk, his right drawn back, close to his body;  on a second specimen, the lizard is roughly preserved .  NEIKOPO | LEITWN.  (true)


4. ®19  Philippopolis.  Antoninus Pius, laureate, head to r.  Probably [A]NTïNEI  |  NOS SEB [EVSEB] Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos, type similar to Nicopolis, 1–3,with foreshortened r. forearm; style distinctive.  4.74g  PHILIPPOP  |  OLEITïN.  Not listed.  (true)


Issued by Gargilius Antiquus (AD 161. A. Stein, 1920, pp. 24–26)

5 ® 28/29   Philippopolis. 17.56g  Antoninus Pius, laureate, head to r.  AU T AI ADRIA ANTWNEINOS.  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos stg. r., his left hand on a minimal treetrunk, his l. leg miscrossed, in front of the r. leg; ApolloÕs hands are ill preserved in the photograph from a cast, and the lizard is not discernible.   Like early Severan Sauroktonoi, the Apollo is shown with his r. arm drawn back.  The statues suggest that the intaglio cutter felt compelled to choose between the forearm folded over the torso or flapped outward.  HGE GARGILI ANTIKOU NEIKOPO | LEITWN J. Overbeck, GKM 4, Apollon, p. 304, no. 94; MŸnztafel V, 2 rev. only), whence  G. E. Rizzo, Prassitele, Milan, 1932, pl. 62, 1 (Munich, MŸnzkabinett); after Rizzo, Picard 3 (1948), p. 543, fig. 225. (true)


Without magistrateÕs name

6 ® 25.  Philippopolis.  Faustina II, draped bust to r.  FAUSTEINA SEBASTH.  Rev., Boy (Apollo?) in a pose similar to the Apollo Sauroktonos; his l. hand rests on the top of a column (or stele) and he holds an object in his r. hand, drawn back ready to throw it; this object is sharp at both ends and may be a dart.  Leaning against the base of the column is a tubular object, perhaps a quiver (S. Boutin says Òune colonne dÕo pend son carquoisÓ).  FILIPPOP | OL | EITWN.  Overbeck, GKM, Apollo, p. 304, no. 89, MŸnztafel IV, 43 (Athens); the best specimen known to me, S. Boutin, Catalogue des monnaies grecques antiques de lÕancienne  collection Pozzi, Maastricht, 1979, p. 259, no. 2700, pl. 121. (pastiche; unquestionably this reverse die issued for the CaesarÕs mother would not exist but for his fatherÕs and grandfatherÕs Sauroktonoi, but it is nonetheless a pastiche.  There seem to be two reverse dies, but most specimens also were seriously damaged in cleaning).

7  ® (?).  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Commodus, probably head to r.  ---] | KOMODO.  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos, apparently type similar to 3.  NIKOPOL | PROS I (?).  (Oxford, Ashmolean.  Image 10519s1). (true)     From RPC Antonine on line.


8  ® 18.  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Commodus, laureate, bearded head to r.  Obv. legend preserves traces of names.  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos stg. r.; the right hand is ambiguous, the left rests at the top of, apparently, a spindly tree, on which, opposite ApolloÕs knees is, apparently, a lizard; on the second of two specimens its head and feet are clear, but on the first it might as well be a torch or a quiver.  Between the r. hand, at waist level, and the tree trunk there may be a laurel twig.  [NIKO]POL | PROS ISTRON (?).  G. Dzanev, Coins of the Rousse Region (in Bulgarian), Rousse, 1998, p. 68, calls the figure Dionysos, so does not address the typological question, but both dies are illustrated, the same as those examined by me.  (Aberrant)   

9  ® 23.  Prusa ad Olympum.  Commodus, laureate, head to r.  AUT K M AURHLIOS | KOMODOS ANTWN.  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos stg. r., but nearly frontal; the type is perfect, but the dart and lizard are only implied.  PROUS  |  AEWN.  Waddington, RG II, p. 580, no. 25, pl. 99, 21. (Oxford, Ashmolean, Image 4800s1).  (true)          From RPC Ant no. 4800s1


Septimius Severus and his immediate family


Without magistrateÕs name, die-linked to unsigned coins of time of Auspex

10 ® 25.  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Septimius Severus, laureate, head to r.  AU KAI (?) L SE  |  SEUHROS.  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos stg. r., the stance as on 10, but with a twig in the r. hand (though drawn back as on the normal type) and a baldric across his chest.  The little sauros, longer-necked than usual, is opposite the boyÕs thigh.  On this coin, the face and hands are exceptionally clear.  NIKOPO LI  |  TWN[PROS ISTR].   (aberrant)                     

            Doug Smith noticed immediately that this is no standard Sauroktonos.


More recently other specimens have appeared, all from the same die pair.  One may be seen in CoinArchives on line, not the same specimen as those here.  One is quite seriously mis-struck.  The next specimen is 6b on and the other, not shown there, is the same dies but as incompetently produced as 7b on that web page.  These sub-Auspex (so to speak) echoes of his signed ones hover between nearly official (meaning perfectly Greco-Roman) and nearly barbaric.  This third one shows that the weight-bearing leg is frontal and completes the reverse legend.

These remarkable coins are important because they are the earliest Apollo Sauroktonos for Septimius.  Considering the other echoed types discussed on the Auspex web page, one signed by Auspex might exist.  They recall the small Commodus issues only perhaps in spindliness, but they are less aberrant.  The twig instead of a dart is nonetheless held high like a dart, and the very long lizard (or snake: cf. the bronze statue in Cleveland) is a reasonable copyistÕs variant.  These are aberrant rather than ÔvariantÕ because they suggest ignorance in the same way as some Commodus coins do.


Issued by Ovinius Tertullus

11 ® 28.  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Caracalla, laureate, draped bust to r.  AU.K.M.AUR . | ANTWNINOS.  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos stg. r., like the large copies, except that his r. hand is lowered and holds a laurel twig; the lizard, open-mouthed as a New World gecko, crawls up the tree trunk. UPA OOUI TERTULLOU NIKOPOLITWN PROS I.  Pick, p. 400, no. 1518, known to him in a less well preserved single specimen; there are now several others.  (variant)                                              .

This reverse type is a perfect Sauroktonos, a boy Apollo posed like the Borghese one in the Louvre, leaning forward, with the lizard in the expected place; he looks rather like Caracalla himself.  The style and engraving are those of TertullusÕ best artists, though the narrow rib cage, which leaves the boyÕs left pelvic arch detached, betrays ignorance of foreshortening that would shock ZenoÕs engraver.  Apollo holds a large twig low behind his back rather than any sort of dart or arrow.  Since we shall see this variation deliberately and clearly repeated, it is a variant (rather than aberrant) type.


Without legateÕs name

12a ® 17.  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Septimius Severus, laureate, head to r.  AU KAI SE  |  SEUHROS. Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos stg. r., the torso and r. leg nearly frontal, head to r., the r. arm, with large arrow, drawn back.  NIKOP | OL | I . | PROS I.  G. Dzanev, Coins of the Rousse Region (in Bulgarian), Rousse, 1998, p. 66.  (true)

This small copper Sauroktonos for Septimius, a die not shared with his sons,
is, like the Longinus reverse for Macrinus, 18
, a modest masterpiece.  It shows, too, that the engraver was familiar with a fine Sauroktonos, either a statue or a very fine gemstone ring like those in London illustrated by Rizzo and now, Pasquier, Alain and Martinez, Jean-Luc, Praxitle, 2007, nos. 9–11.  How many of these might there have been?  Since the Rousse museum published its specimen first, I refer to this die, unknown to Pick, as the Rousse Sauroktonos.

12b ® 14 (irregular).  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Septimius Severus, laureate, head to r.  AU K[AI] S[E]  |  SEUHROS.  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos stg. r., but generalized and with miscrossed legs.  NIKOPOLI  T  |  PROS IS.  Pick, p. 375, no. 1354 (® 17), citing the illustration (ungenau) in von Sallet, Berlin, Beschreibung der antiken MŸnzen I, p. 74, no. 8, which also shows a different obv. die.  (true)

12c  ®16 2.65g  axis 7:30h  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Septimius Severus.  Apollo Sauroktonos.  Pick 1354 (true), from a different die pair, slightly aberrant with respect to the tree.  On all of these, not only the Rousse dies, the portrait of Septimius looks genuinely early, but not, I think, as early as Auspex.  Those designated 13 here, on the other hand, share dies with Geta as Caesar.



13 ® 17.  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  (a) Septimius Severus, bust, draped over armor, to r.  [AU] K L S  |  SEUHROS (complementing the Bucharest specimen); Pick, p. 375, no. 1355; Grose, Cambridge, Fitzwilliam, II, pl. 163, 12, preserving the omega in the ethnic, or (b) Geta, draped bust to r.  L.AUR.KAI  |  GETAS; Pick, p. 424, no. 1639.  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos in the same stance as on 9, but with (true) position of the arm as on 1–3.  NIKOPOLIT  W  N PROS IS.  (true)

13a In this case, SeptimiusÕs  are less commonly encountered and perhaps secondary to GetaÕs.  Each of these affords a bit of evidence.

13b Doug SmithÕs is still the best specimen, and surely the best photograph:

Compare the narrow ribcage and the ÔexternalÕ pelvic arch with CaracallaÕs  11.

In spite of all the differences due to preservation or conservation, apparently all same dies


Issued by Aurelius Gallus

14 ® 26.  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Septimius Severus, laureate, head to r.  AU L SEPT  |  SEUHR PER.  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos stg. r., his stance as on 1–4, but sturdier torso and with the elbow drawn back more purposefully.  UP AUR GALLOU NIKOPOLEITWN PROS and in exergue ISTRON.  Pick, p. 362, no. 1288, pl. 14, 34; SNG Munich 386. (true)


This is, quite rightly, the textbook Sauroktonos, shown repeatedly from the plaster cast in OverbeckÕs Kunstmythologie plates (as in AMNG I, 1, Taf. 14, 34 or, perhaps most famously to Art History students, in G. M. A. RichterÕs Scultpure and Sculptors of the Greeks, fig. 673 in the 3rd edition, where their juxtaposition on the plate shows its resemblance to the Borghese statue in the Louvre).  The specimens shown here are inferior but benefit from new photography—and show both obv. and rev. dies.

15 ® 27.  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  (a) Septimius Severus, laureate, head to r.  AU K.L.SEP  |  SEUHROS PE; Pick, p. 362, no. 1289, citing the illustration (ungenau, but not uncertain) in von Sallet, Beschreibung der antiken MŸnzen I, p. 74, no. 7; J. FriedlŠnderÕs publication of this coin, among other new acquisitions, was the occasion of identifying the type as PlinyÕs Sauroktonos: AZ 27, 1869, Pl . 23, 4; or (b) Caracalla, laureate, draped bust to r.  AU.K.M.AU.  |  ANTWNINOS (thus punctuated, clearly on one specimen).  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos stg. r. in same stance as 14 but with arm drawn back, also wooden and disproportioned; on at least two specimens the dart in his hand is plain.  UP AUR GALLOU  |  NIKOPOLITWN and in exergue PROS I ..  Pick, p. 404, no. 1539; SNG Munich 414; and (c) a second die pair for Caracalla, as above but with a more childish face on the obv. and, on the rev., the torso leaning forward, the dart held higher, and, in the legend, UP AUR GALLOU  | NIKOPOLIT. (sic) and in the exergue [PR]OS IS.  (true)

15a Though the first published and described as a Sauroktonos, the Septimius coin, Pick 1289, is quite scarce.  We owe the image of this one to J. Wrenn.

15b The Gallus Caracalla Sauroktonos die-linked to his fatherÕs needs two specimens, the sound patina of the first obscuring a couple of details:

15c Though not well struck, the specimen below shows an alternative die pair for the Caracalla issue:

16 ® 26.  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  (a) Plautilla, draped bust to r.  FOUL PLAU  |  TILLA SEBAS (completed from the same die with Herakles stg. r. reverse and Varbanov I, nos. 2529-2530, illus. from Lanz Auct. 97 and CNG Mail Bid Sale 57); Pick, p. 420, no. 1626; SNG Munich 421; the ill preserved reverse of the Munich specimen, despite its condition, seems to be a different die from that shared with Geta, described here.  It resembles, rather, that shared by Septimius and Caracalla, 15a-b.  (b) Geta, draped bust to r.  .L .SEPTIMI .GETAS.KAISAR, as on the specimen linked below and LšbbeckeÕs described by Pick; this is the same fine portrait die as on Pick, no. 1656.  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos (the lizard and dart are visible on the examples known to me) stg. r., with the r. arm drawn far back; UPA AUR GALLOU.NEIK OPOLITWN PROS IS.

16a Two specimens from one die-pair for Plautilla, the only female given a Sauroktonos

16b GetaÕs Gallus Sauroktonos, linked to the reverse of his sister-in-law rather than that of his father and brother:


Issued by Fl. Ulpianus

17 ® 27.  Nicopolis ad Istrum.  There are separate reverse dies, but in exactly the same type.  (a) Septimius Severus, laureate, head to r.; one of the Ulpianus dies ending in SEUHROS P, probably that of Pick, p. 371, no. 1337, which shares a reverse with no. 1580 (see below).  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos stg. r., but in the variant of 11, holding laurel twig in lowered r. hand.  Alex Malloy, list XXVII, 1989, lot 182 (described as Dionysos with grapes and a thyrsos) U FL OULPIAN  |  NI  KOPOLIT  and in exergue PROS I.  (b) Caracalla, laureate, bust in scale armor with cloak.  12.37g  AU K M AUR  |  ANTWNINOS, the same obverse die as  Pick nos. 1576 and 1580, pl. 19, 24, the Concordia reverse of AD 209.  Rev., Sauroktonos as for Septimius, but with slenderer proportions, exaggerated lateral oblique muscles, extra trimmed-off branches on the tree trunk, and more detailed lizard (cf. 11) and legend: U FL OULPIAN.NIKOPOLIT PROS I, continuous.  The reverse die is unpublished.  (variant)

17b The variant type, CaracallaÕs from the Tertullus issue, showing him, at a date when he was bearded and tough, as a bright-faced boy again, but the narrow rib cage is gone.


Macrinus and Diadumenian

Issued by Longinus

18 ® 26. Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Macrinus, laureate, bust in armor with fringed cloak, to r.  From Pick, p. 445, no. 1736 (same obverse die), AUT K M OPEL  |  SEUH MAKRINOS.  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos to r., rather like the Prusa of Commodus if seen in ¾ view or like the Louvre marble from the same vantage point; the figure is remarkably lithe, and the dart is plain in his r. hand (drawn back to throw), while the lizard may have been present before wear.  Neither specimen examined preserves more than -OU of the legateÕs name; an additional, very damaged specimen preserved Sta Longinou, faint but full, and, from Pick no. 1736 with the same obv. die, and spacing, we have [U]P STA LONGINOU NIKOPOLITWN PROS IS and in exergue TRON; the ending of the legend comes from two specimens. (true)

Issued by Pontianus

19 ® 27. Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Macrinus, laureate, head to r.  From Pick, p. 431, no. 1679, which itself restores the obv. legend from no. 1682 (same die):  AU K OPPEL SE  |  UH MAKRINOS.  Rev.,  ÒApollo, with legs crossed, stg. to r., his right arm drawn back (with arrow in his hand?), his left leaning on a tree (with lizard?).Ó  UP PONTIANO | U  |  NIKOPOLIT and in exergue WN  and across field, in two lines, PR || OS / IS || TR.  (true)

This is
Obv. B, Rev. 08.  Illus. here, strictly fair use only.

Issued by Agrippa

20 ® 28. Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Macrinus, laureate, head to r.  AU K OPPEL SE  |  UH MAKRINOS.  Rev., Curious version of Sauroktonos, stg. r.; from Pick, p. 433, no. 1687: ÒNude Apollo with crossed legs stg. to r., his r. arm drawn back, his left on a tree trunk, from which a lizard (?) leaps across to him.Ó UP AGRIPPA NIKOPOL  ITWN PROS IS and across field TR || W.  On some specimens, a dart held in ApolloÕs raised left hand is evident.  See above on 8.  (aberrant)

Many specimens exist, and the old (Overbeck, AMNG) image of the reverse from a cast is very well known, but this Sauroktonos is aberrant in just the same was as the Commodus coppers, 8, with Apollo evidently holding a dart in his left hand and the right hand strangely absent, with the ÔconnectorÕ from torso to tree being not quite a laurel and not quite a lizard (which end is its head?).  Several of us have collected this die pair (always the same) assiduously, without gaining even a hint of what, if anything, is in front of his chest.  Such aberrance is more puzzling when it harks back to the Commodan ones.


21 ® 26. Nicopolis ad Istrum.  Diadumenian, head ro r.  K M OPPEL ANTWNI DIADOUMENIANO S (small lunate sigma).  Rev., Apollo Sauroktonos, but with laurel twig in his lowered r. (as 9 and 17); there seems to be a lizard on the worn or weakly struck tree trunk.  UP AGRIPPA NIKO  |  P  OL [---] , and in exergue STRO or STRW.

This is the only Sauroktonos, so far, for Diadumenian, and it was not known to Pick; it is the last Apollo Sauroktonos known to me.  In its slightly wooden anatomy it resembles that issued by Pontianus for Macrinus, but the large, leafy twig held in his lowered right hand is the mark of the deliberate Caracalla variant of 11, 17a, and 17b.  It is not an aberrant accident.  Though we cannot say why the Caracallan variant rejected the dart or arrow (specified by the literary sources as well as the statuary replicas), and though the Gallus issues did not adopt the variant, somehow associated with CaracallaÕs elevation to Augustus, its use under Ulpianus to evoke CaracallaÕs boyhood and here for Diadumenian, evidently asserting his dynastic right to be called Antoninus, surely demonstrate that it was deliberate and significant.




In an essay called ÒTheir Inherited ImagesÓ, I already considered the idea of pastiche in its non-derogatory sense.

The principal illustration was a coin of Deultum, where a statuary Type we call ÒNarcissusÓ (its old soubriquet) is reversed and Òmade newÓ by the addition of a bow.  It had been created to show a boy-athlete resting after his victory, dedicated in the sanctuary (probably Olympia) by a family who could afford an outstanding sculptor, but subsequently famous (just as other athletic victors became more famous for PindarÕs Odes than for their feats) in its own right: an opus nobile. The Deultum coin shows a pastiche which made it into Apollo.

In touristic shrines (like the Asklepieion at Cos, the site of HerondasÕ famous fourth mime), as in many churches (such as the Frari in Venice), there was more than prayer and healing to be had.  The coins themselves show that, besides its ancient (stiff) statue, Alexandria Troas had a Late Classical one, perhaps by Skopas:


Apollonia ad Rhyndacum

For a town that also may have relied on tourism, on its shrine and its adornments, Apollonia ad Rhyndacum exhibits, even in the limited illustrations of H. von Fritze, AMNG IV, Taf. IV, 10 (Domitian)–V, 16 (Otacilia), a remarkable display of Apollo images; one for Gallienus, finally, but with column and arrow, is not illustrated.  The Apollo in a leaning pose, surely derived from Praxiteles, is also shown in a tetrastyle naos or beside a tree with a large climbing snake, very friendly.  There is a citharoedus and even an Apollo and Daphne, which might imply a painting at the sanctuary.  One Apollo for Lucius Verus, in the British Museum, inv. 1859.1219.44, beautifully illustrated by Jean-Luc Martinez in the aforementioned Praxitle catalogue of 2007, fig. 127, and the reverse of one of Septimius Severus in Berlin, AMNG IV, Taf. V, 7 (for the reverse) was already in OverbeckÕs GKM, p. 307, 87 and Munztafel IV, 41.  These closely resemble FaustinaÕs pastiche at Philippopolis: they have the leaning pose, and some have a trace of a dart or arrow, but none has a lizard and the leaning-support is always a column or a stele.  I am the proud owner (a generous gift, illus. above) of one where the leaning-support shown, as with three lion feet, is a candelabrum:

¥ 04 09 07 ®18 3.40g axis 7h  Apollonia ad Rhyndacum.  Nerva, laureate, head to r.  AVT NERVA KAI  |  SAR SEB.  Rev. (von Fritze), "Apollo, nude, standing r., in his slightly raised backward right hand an arrow (its point downward); his outstretched left arm rests its elbow on a high candleabrum with lion feet."  AMNG IV, Taf. IV, 13, shows that this is a double die match with AMNG IV, no. 217 (and the previous owner's identification with Minionnet 2, 519, 34 of no. 218, where the candelabrum feet are destroyed, otherwise 'ebenso', suggests that it may be the same).  Von Fritze's listing relies mostly on spec. 1, Berlin, which has letter-for-letter and space-for-space the same obv. legend as this one.  With a vantage point farther to the r., the same Apollo is illustrated on Taf. IV, 10, for Domitian, idem p. 70, no. 210; this one von Fritze calls Apollo Sauroktonos; the column with a capital notwithstanding.  An Apollo in this pose is shown by the coins, alone and in a shrine, to have been one of several Apollo statuary types exhibited in this city.

The question is not whether these should be called lizard-slayers but whether, even in the context of Philippopolis, FaustinaÕs itself ought not to be excluded, even as a pastiche, from the list of Sauroktonoi.  From his hesitating even when true Sauroktonoi had some trait worn off the available specimens (not to mention CaracallaÕs laurel twig variant), I am morally sure that Pick would not have listed them as Sauroktonoi.

The problem, as usual, is that J. Overbeck GKM illustrated them as such.  L. Lacroix, Les reproductions de statues sur les monnaies grecques (1945), who mastered copy-and-paste long before computers, lists them faithfully, while omitting the true Sauroktonos of Commodus at Prusa ad Olympum, which was unknown to Overbeck.  Pasquier and Martinez, Praxitle, p. 52, no. 4, make do with a specimen of 20, the aberrant Agrippa issue for Macrinus, that being what the Cab. des MŽdailles affords them.  In fact, the museum-distribution of Sauroktonos coins is very uneven, depending on the collections at their core.

Apollonia Rhyndacum had, and at a date earlier than any of the Sauroktonos coins (i.e., the early 140s AD, dated by Zeno), its own ÔoriginalÕ version, its own leaning-pose pastiche, of the Apollo shown on their coins.

Just so much of the other half of my inquiry, the questions surrounding the related statuary, must be mentioned here.  Study the beautiful Praxitle catalogue closely.  Martinez, p. 52, says that the Apollonia coins have been wrongly, abusivement, called Sauroktonoi, but includes the Faustina of Philippopolis, to which the same objections apply, among the Sauroktonoi; getting rid of old lists is not easy.  Notice, too, that Pasquier and Martinez have refused to name Sauroktonos, abusivement, the London Apollonia for Lucius Verus, ibid., p. 209, fig. 127, and rightly take to task CorsoÕs blithe erection of an hypothesis on an admitted error.  I do doubt that Praxiteles went on from Parion to make, himself, a variant leaning Apollo for Apollonia Rhyndacum.  Likewise, I would not make a single Antonine coin, 9,  into a claim for Prusa ad Olympum.  The life-size replicas of the Sauroktonos are from Greece and Rome.  But even to say that much is to stray into the other half of this study.  Like Pick, I suspect, though, that Philippopolis or Nicopolis ad Istrum did have a replica; gemstones may account for 1–5, but surely, 10-21 demand something else; needless to say, we are not thinking of its being the original.


Tentative general conclusions regarding the coins

 Setting apart the Apollos of Apollonia Rhyndacum as the subject of a different study (difficult because too few of them are well published), larger by itself than the present one, we must say, I think, that the raison dՐtre of the Danubian series, 1–21, also is different.  Though Philippopolis was Hellenistic and rich, she was not the same kind of city as those of Mysia and Bithynia, and Nicopolis ad Istrum was, in a word, Trajanic.  Their prosperity doubtless depended on Danubian commerce and engaged in service industries for the legions.  It was Philippopolis and Tomis that were Metropoleis.  That is not to say that Nicopolis had no endowments, as its remarkable Nymphaeum coin (AMNG I, 1, pl. III, 23) shows.

It only takes one, perhaps, to start a series.  Suppose that, when Zeno was governor of Thrace, he or the emperorÕs advisers added to the conventionally dynastic divine infants, such as Eros, and divine parents, such as Aphrodite, the Type of Apollo Sauroktonos as a divine boy.  This was for Marcus Aurelius as Caesar, who, in turn, honored his son Commodus in the same way.  When Septimius became secure he followed suit, as father of Sauroktonoi.  Caracalla was already as Caesar re-named Antoninus.  He and Domna already had had Aphrodite reverses, and a sleeping Eros who had stolen the arms of Herakles, is die-linked to DomnaÕs Aphrodite.  The earlier coppers, 12 a-c, are not much later.  From TertullusÕs governorship through most of GallusÕs is the period when even Geta, even Plautilla (though never Domna) have Sauroktonos coins, Severan excess without restraint.  For Macrinus and his own young Caesar, another nominal Antoninus, Apollo Sauroktonos was a requisite type.  Not for Elagabalus, evidently not for his mother and grandmother, perhaps.

It is best to emphasize that for the foregoing the coins alone must bear witness.

I would repeat: this is a unique phenomenon.  A famous statuary type used in one region and, as a series: nowhere else.  Never before Antoninus Pius, never after Diadumenian.   Martial writes it up at Rome, but it never appears on a Rome-mint coin.  Marble copies are found in Greece, but it does not appear on Greek Imperials from the Greek peninsula or islands.  Most puzzling of all is the singlet, 9, at Prusa ad Olympum.