Numismatic and History Discussions > Roman Coins

A Nasal Question about Trebonianus Gallus

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lawrence c:
I have what might be yet another unanswerable question. I recently got this Trebonianus at auction. What is interesting about it to me (and why I bought it) was the very pronounced nose on the portrait. My other Trebonianuses show a rather snub nose on the portraits. Most of those have an Antioch mint attribution. The auction house showed a Rome mint attribution for this one. For those of you who know more about this period than I do (and that would include almost anyone), was the "big nose" versus "small nose" portrait a function of the mint or were there simply a lot of variations among the die cutters? Thanks much.
Best,
Larry

AMICTUS:
Variations in engravers’ styles and ability are always possible but a more or less pronounced nose seems to be quite a common feature in Trebonianus Gallus‘ portraits.

This pronounced nose is also present on the various sculpted portraits identified as those of Trebonianus Gallus (cf. in particular the bronze portrait in Florence museum), so monetary portraits seem to be close to the  real  face of this emperor and not a fantasy of engravers.

This feature is also a very common one in the monetary portraits designed by the various western mints, both imperal and colonial (Rome, 2d western mint, Viminacium, Dacia), all places where Trebonianus Gallus stayed in 251. It points again to a true and realistic representation of this emperor.

The difference with eastern mints (where  Trebonianus Gallus never stayed) which present less commonly on their monetary portraits this feature and above all in a less marked way, could be explain at first by the ignorance of the real portrait of Trebonianus Gallus and then by delays in transmission of the ‘imago’. However, at least, all their coinage types (antoniniani, colonial coinage) also show regularly such a more or less  pronounced nose. So not a sufficient criteria to distinguish between western and eastern mints.

lawrence c:
Thanks much.
Best,
Larry

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