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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numism  |  Reading For the Advanced Collector  |  Topic: TVTELA AVGVSTI: a new sestertius type for Vespasian in 71 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: TVTELA AVGVSTI: a new sestertius type for Vespasian in 71  (Read 3312 times)
curtislclay
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« on: May 10, 2011, 07:19:36 pm »

The type TVTELA AVGVSTI S C, Tutela seated left, reaching her hands to a small togate figure standing behind her and a draped female (?) figure standing before her, has so far been known only on dupondii of Vitellius in 69 and of Vespasian in 71.

Vitellius: one rev. die, attested with two varieties of his obv. legend. Paris 114, pl. XXVI; E. and F. Krupp, The Tutela Type of Vitellius, Num. Chron. 1961, pp. 129-30 and pl. XVI. These two dupondii of Vitellius were erroneously omitted in Sutherland's revised RIC I of 1984.

Vespasian: two rev. dies, both different die than the one known for Vitellius, coupled with the standard dupondius obv. type of Vespasian in 71 (COS III). First die: RIC 282 (R2), pl. 27 (Oxford spec.); BMC 527, pl. 19.17 (obv. legend tooled to COS II). Second die: BMC 596, pl. 23.6; Paris 572-3, pl. LI.

Recently I was able to acquire a previously unknown sestertius of Vespasian with the same rev. type, coupled with the VESPASIAN...COS III obv. legend of c. spring-summer 71, from London Ancient Coins 3, 27 April 2011, lot 184, 35 mm, 25.30g (25.37g in the catalogue), die axis inverted (6h); see the dealer's image below. I am grateful to the Flavian specialist collector Harry Sneh for alerting me to this piece!

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curtislclay
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2011, 07:31:35 pm »

Colin Kraay in his unpublished Oxford dissertation knew the obv. die of my new coin, his A32, coupled with four rev. dies: SPQR ADSERTORI LIBERTATIS PVBLICAE in wreath, IVDAEA CAPTA, and two MARS VICTOR. For examples see BMC pl. 33.1 (IVDAEA CAPTA) and RIC pl. 22, 175 (MARS VICTOR).

One of those same two MARS VICTOR rev. dies had been taken over from Vitellius, which made me think that maybe the new TVTELA AVGVSTI sestertius rev. die was a Vitellian die too, though the type has not yet been recorded for Vitellius on a sestertius!

On the other hand, since Vespasian's mint apparently cut its own dupondius die with this type, it might have cut its own sestertius die too, rather than just taking over a hypothetical Vitellian die.

It's a shame that the rev. of my new sestertius is more banged up than the obverse, and in particular that the important word TVTELA of the legend is so unclear; all one can make out is a rather small T...A at 9:30 and 11:30 o'clock respectively. It will be nice if a second example of this sestertius with clear rev. legend turns up someday!
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2011, 08:37:29 pm »

Cohen suggested a dynastic interpretation of this TVTELA AVGVSTI rev. type: Vitellius seated with his two children, one boy and one girl, under Vitellius; Domitilla, Vespasian's deceased wife, seated with her sons Titus and Domitian under Vespasian.

Mattingly, in BMC, p. xliv, modified Cohen's interpretation: "Cohen can hardly be right in identifying the woman with Domitilla, but the children seem to stand for Titus and Domitian, and Tutela is the guardian care of the Emperor that watches over his sons."

However, I prefer Mattingly's alternate interpretation, which he explains in a footnote:

"Or the children might represent citizens and Tutela would then be the Emperor's ward over his subjects. Cf. Suetonius, Divus Vespasianus, 5, an omen that portended 'desertam rem p. civili aliqua perturbatione in tutelam eius ac velut in gremium deventuram' ['that the Roman state, abandoned because of some civil agitation, would fall under his protection (tutela) and as it were into his lap']....Martial (v.1.7ff.) addresses Domitian as 'o rerum felix tutela salusque / sospite quo gratum credimus esse Iovem' [O happy protector (tutela) and savior of our affairs, whose continuing good health makes us believe that Jupiter is on our side']."

These quotes, and others that Mattingly indicates in the same note, show that 'tutela' was commonly used in Vespasian's day to mean the emperor's solicitous care for his subjects. Plus, the few later appearances of a Tutela type on Roman coins, under Tetricus I and Carausius, do not include children and seem to refer to governing not childrearing.

Other coin types that DO refer to imperial offspring never show Tutela, but rather the empress, Juno, Fecunditas, Pietas, Felicitas, Concordia or the like. One might also wonder whether Titus and Domitian still needed parenting from Vespasian in 71: both were already grown men, aged 31 and 20, and Titus had captured Jersualem the year before and was about to be granted imperium and the tribunician power and made virtually co-emperor with Vespasian, with whom he then celebrated a triumph over the Jews in July 71!


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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2011, 11:07:14 am »

Very, very interesting stuff, Curtis. Thanks for sharing this.
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David Atherton
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2011, 03:50:30 pm »

Congratulations on a fascinating purchase Curtis!

This early period in Vespasian's reign is so numismatically fascinating...and that coin is a good example of why. Thanks for sharing it.
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2011, 08:43:38 am »

That is a very detail historical account of this type and nice find, thank you for sharing the discovery!
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Will Hooton
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2011, 09:55:20 am »


Other coin types that DO refer to imperial offspring never show Tutela, but rather the empress, Juno, Fecunditas, Pietas, Felicitas, Concordia or the like. One might also wonder whether Titus and Domitian still needed parenting from Vespasian in 71: both were already grown men, aged 31 and 20, and Titus had captured Jersualem the year before and was about to be granted imperium and the tribunician power and made virtually co-emperor with Vespasian, with whom he then celebrated a triumph over the Jews in July 71!


It would seem odd to contemporarily represent two adults (one a proven commander and budding emperor) as children. Perhaps I am making a completely absurd hypothesis, utterly lacking in merit, by suggesting these figures may be Romulus and Remus? As I am completely ignorant of art history and Roman iconography, I can't really justify this any further. Just a guess, or at least a suggestion, that the two young lads around Tutela are figurative rather than literal. Indeed, I have never seen Romulus and Remus depicted beyond the suckling infants theme.
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curtislclay
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2011, 01:23:35 am »

But it seems out of the question that the emperor could be shown as somehow assuming guardianship over Romulus and Remus.

Over the Roman people and the Roman state, indeed, as Mattingly's citations prove. But I know of no cases where Romulus and Remus were depicted not as mythological founders, but as symbolic of the Roman people during historical times.
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2018, 03:05:44 pm »

Dear Curtis

I have just been looking at the Krupp article, Num. Chron. 1961, and there appears to be an error with the coins on his plate.  Plate XVI, 3 is supposed to be the Paris coin is said to be combined with an obv. reading GERM IMP - however, the Paris coin, though worn, reads GERMAN IMP, as stated by Cohen, CBN 114 and pl. 26, 114, and is visible on the Bnf website. Mattingly, BMCRE p.383 lists two specimens with the TVTELA AVGVSTI rev - one, the Paris coin from Cohen, reading GERMAN IMP, and the second, a cast in the B.M. of a tooled specimen from Feuardent, reading GERM IMP.  Krupp, however, describes both specimens as being casts.  The second coin, on his plate XVI.2, is supposedly the cast from the B.M., via Feuardent, yet reads GERMAN IMP, contra Mattingly.

Has Krupp disarranged the illustrations for his paper ?  None of the obverses on show appears to resemble the Paris coin.

Hope you can clarify this matter.

Regards

Paul Dinsdale
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curtislclay
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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2018, 06:01:31 pm »

According to Mattingly, BMC p. 383, the BM has a plaster cast, from an unnamed source, of a TVTELA AVGVSTI middle bronze of Vitellius with just GERM on obverse, and a tooled reverse.

It seems likely that this is the coin shown by the Krupps, pl. XVI.3: GERM on obv., rev. somewhat tooled. The Krupps say this is the Paris specimen, clearly in error; for as you say the Paris specimen, Giard pl. XXVI, 114, has GERMAN on obv., same dies as Krupp pl. XVI.1-2, and it is very worn. The Krupps illustrate neither the obv. nor the rev. of this Paris specimen.

So what is the source of the alleged GERM example, Krupp pl. XVI.3? This is not the example shown by Feuardent in 1920: the Krupps say that coin is instead their pl. XVI.2, which also has a tooled rev., agreeing with Mattingly's statement that the Feuardent coin too had a tooled reverse. Mattingly does not explicitly say that the BM made plaster casts of the Feuardent coin, but according to the Krupps there is such a plaster cast in the BM collection, their pl. XVI.2, and it was presumably by examining that cast, rather than by just relying on a written note, that Mattingly learned of the tooling on the rev. of this specimen too.

I suspect a mix-up in the BM cast collection: the obv. and rev. of Krupp pl. XVI.3 do not belong together. The rev. is worn and tooled, contrasting with the obv. which is VF and untooled. It might be possible to confirm this hypothesis by finding either the identical obv. or the identical reverse in a different, obviously correct, die combination, though I find no such coin in either Berk photofile or CoinArchives Pro. So the TVTELA middle bronze of Vitellius with GERM obv. should be regarded as non-existent, unless another example can be shown.







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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2018, 07:31:48 am »

Many thanks Curtis

Since I wrote last night, I discovered the excellent specimen Vitellius' GERMAN/TVTELA dupondius in the Berlin coll. - Staatliche Museen, Berlin (18228207) https://ikmk.smb.museum/object?id=18228207

It will be interesting to see if anyone knows of any specimens with the GERM obv.

Regards

Paul
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curtislclay
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« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2018, 06:15:23 pm »

Paul,

Yes, that Berlin specimen is very nice, like all of the Sandes bronzes that Berlin acquired. Thanks for the link!

I am proud to myself be the owner of what may be the best known specimen of this TVTELA middle bronze of Vitellius, the example that was in Leu Sale, April 1982, lot 323. I bought it at a later sale, in c. 2000, but forgot to note the auction details on my ticket, and don't find it in CoinArchives Pro, which began recording auction coins at about that time. I was hoping to find a picture of it there, which I would have posted here, but no such luck! Anyway, it is from the expected GERMAN obv. die, same dies as the Krupp and Feuardent examples and those in Paris and Berlin, not the GERM obv. die which may just be a mix-up of BM casts.

A curious aside: I had written up my specimen as a dupondius, thinking that the metal which shines through on several high spots was yellow in color, so orichalcum. Now on re-examining the coin and comparing it to a bare dupondius of Vespasian whose metal is clearly yellow, I think the metal of my Vitellius is actually reddish, so it's an As! It has happened to me before that I have changed my opinion about the metal color of a Roman middle bronze, which is why I recommend only making the decision after comparing the coin to either an unpatinated yellow dupondius or sestertius or an unpatinated red As, that is a test coin whose denomination and metal color are certain!
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