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Latin Help with Early Commentary on Neapolitan/Suessan Overstrike

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In Nicola Ignarra's work The Wrestling School at Naples, he has a long section devoted to the identity of the man-faced bull, whom he says is always Acheloios.  In the plates he has a coin from Neapolis with the SUESA inscription appearing as the undertype, and judging from the footnote he devotes to the coin it seems that he was unsure what it was (or perhaps just the circumstances of when it was issued).  This is interesting because it is a very early scholarly engagement with overstrikes!

Here is the Latin and my horrible translation. I've bolded the section that seems to have the essence of the footnote, but I don't quite grasp its meaning.  Any help appreciated.  Attached also is the picture.

Ibi persipicue cusum apparet SVESA, primo fibilo dumtaxat superne evanido. Nummum contemplandum obtuli Domenico Baroni Ronchio, in re vetusta nummaria cum primis versatissimo: is autem negavit se umquam vidisse similem, nec quid de eo explicate diceret, habere. Conjecit tamen, quod et mihi etiam in mentem inciderat, Suesam tunc temporis in ditione suisse Neapolitanorum, a queis ut leges, sic monetam, qua uteretur, accepisse. Quamquam et illud etiam suspicari succurreret, societatem inter Neapolitanos et Seusano eo tempore intercessisse; eaque gratia Suesanos curasse, ut in moneta Neapolitana jam percussa, que et ipsi promiscue uterentur, vox Suesae incideretur. Nam hoc etiam contemplatione dignum est numisma, quod to Suesa non initio exaratum suit, sed alio tempore, et cuso jam numismatii, ibi ubi locus vacuus dabatur, impressum, uti nummum contrectani pater.

"There very clearly appears SVESA, with the first part disappearing above. I offered the coin to Domenico Baron Ronchio for consideration, one of the most thoroughly versed in ancient financial affairs; but he denied that he had ever seen something like this, nor did he explain what it meant. He conjectured, however, that what occurred to me also occurred to him, that [it was made] at that time Suessa was in the possession of the Neapolitans, from whom they received their laws and the money which they were using. And yet it occurred to him also to suspect that an alliance between the Neapolitans and Suessans had occurred at that time; and that by this grace he had taken care of the Suesani, that the word Suesa, which was already being struck in the Neapolitan coin, which they themselves might use indiscriminately, might be cut short. For this coin is also worthy of contemplation, which is not inscribed to Suessa at the beginning, but at another time, and now look to the coin, there, where the place was empty, is imprinted,  to firmly determine the coin's origin."

I'd eventually like to publish a translation of this footnote to accompany some commentary, and I'm happy collaborate (co-author) if someone wants to refine the Latin. My reading is that he thinks an inscription was added to a Neapolitan coin, rather than recognizing it as an overstrike.

Here are the sentences leading up to the footnote (which is footnote 35):

Tres de industria segli typos, ut causae, quam peroro, inserviam, appaeatque simul, per semibovis, bovisque notam unice ad Acheloum suisse spectatum, quo etiam Cornu Copiae collineat. Primus horum obvius est, sed inscriptione, quam in dorso bos barbatus gerit (35), oppido rarissimus.

Three types are deliberately chosen, so that I will serve as the cause, which I have concluded, and it will appear at the same time that he has smothered the brand of half-bull, considered only to Achelous, in which he also outlines the Horn of Plenty. He was the first of these to meet him, but the inscription, which he wears on the back of a bearded ox (35), is very rare in the town.

"I have deliberately chosen three types to support the thesis that I am advancing, and to make it obvious that the figure of a bull or a man-headed bull can only refer to Acheloios, an identification with which the cornucopia also agrees. The first of these types is common, but quite extraordinary because of the inscription that the bearded bull bears on his back, where SVESA can clearly be read, though the first letter is weak at the top. I showed this coin to Baron Domenico Ronchio, one of our most knowledgeable ancient numismatists, but he responded that he had never seen anything like it, and had no idea how to explain it. But he did mention a possibility that had occurred to me too, that Suesa at the time had perhaps fallen under the domination of Naples, so was obliged to take over that city's laws and to use its coins. One might also conjecture that such an alliance between Naples and Suesa had recently fallen apart, and for that reason Suesa had decided to stamp its own name on coins of Naples that had already been struck and were in circulation at Suesa. For the possibility seems worth considering that the name SVESA was not stamped on the coin from the beginning, but only later, after the coin had already been struck, choosing a space on the coin left empty by the original type, as will be apparent to anyone examining the coin."


I don't understand the last clause, "uti nummum contrectani pater". Are those words completely and correctly transcribed?

A couple of other problems or possible corrections:

"segli typos". "selegi"?

It might have affected my translation to know what argument Ignarra is drawing from "the cornucopia".

"The learned numismatic baron's name. I don't know how it would be correctly transcribed into Italian or English.

"explicate". Maybe "explicare"?

"Seusano". needs an additional "s" at end.

"percussa, que". "qua" rather than "que"?

"hoc etiam contemplatione". "hac" rather than "hoc"?

"exaratum suit". "fuit" not "suit".

"cuso jam numismatii". Ending presumably "e" rather than "ii"?

Maybe no article here, since you're right that the idea of an undertype doesn't occur?

Best regards,



Thank you for translating.  I will consult the original today and answer your questions. 

About publishing, I was indeed hoping he didn’t call it an overstrike because that is what I find so interesting—what two early numismatists thought they were seeing.  Now I’m wondering what other theories were out there this early concerning overstrikes, so I’m hoping Mac chimes in.


Correction of last line:  "uti nummum contrectanti patet"

Appears to be "explicate" though the line on the final e did not come through so it looks like "explicatc"

"selegi typos"

"percussa, qua"

"hoc," not "hac"

"exaratum fuit"

"cuso jam numismati"  so just one i


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