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423/1. Servilia - denarius (57 BC)
AR Denarius (Rome, 57 BC)
O/ Head of Flora right; lituus behind; FLORAL PRIMVS before.
R/ Two soldiers facing each other and presenting swords; C SERVEIL in exergue; C F upwards on right.
3.87g; 18mm
Crawford 423/1 (99 obverse dies/110 reverse dies)
- ROMA Numismatics, E-Sale 42, lot 484.
- Artemide Aste, 11-12 June 2016, lot 253.

* Gaius Servilius C.f. (Brocchus?):

The gens Servilia was originally patrician, but our moneyer was most likely a plebeian because at this time, the only remaining patrician branch of the gens was the Caepiones. The Servilii Gemini, likewise patricians at first, lost their status during the Second Punic War for an unknown reason and their descendants had erratic cognomina, making it difficult to reconstruct the genealogical tree of the gens. The one given by Crawford for RRC 239 is dubious, although possible.

Crawford also says that our moneyer was perhaps a brother of Marcus Servilius C.f., Tribune of the Plebs in 43 BC. He was possibly the Gaius Servilius Brocchus, son of Gaius, mentioned as Military Tribune by Flavius Josephus (Jewish Antiquities, xiv. 229), who tells that he served under the Consul L. Cornelius Lentulus Crus in Asia. It would match a career started in the 50, during which the Pompeian party was dominating, and continued as Pompey's supporter during the Civil War.

The meaning of his denarius has been debated. According to Crawford, the obverse legend refers to the priesthood of Flora, probably held by the gens, contradicting the view of Mommsen, who thought it was celebrating the establishment of the Ludi Florales in 173. This view has been in turn challenged by Robert Palmer, but without giving an explanation of his own*. It should also be mentioned that Pliny the Elder tells that there were statues of Flora, Triptolemus and Ceres by Praxiteles in the "Servilian gardens" (Natural History, xxxvi. 4), which obviously belonged to the gens, showing that Flora was of special importance for the Servilii.

The reverse reuses a common theme on Servilii's denarii: the duels of Marcus Servilius Pulex Geminus, Consul in 202, who was famous for his 23 victories in single combats (Plutarch, Aemilius Paullus, 31). The scene was depicted with variations on RRC 264 (horseback duel), RRC 327 (duel on foot), and RRC 370 (rider charging). It is also possible that RRC 239 shows another duel on horse, but disguised as the Dioscuri riding apart. The fact that our moneyer used this theme links him to the other direct descendants of Servilius Pulex Geminus, thus supporting Crawford's theory that he was a grandchild of Gaius Servilius, Praetor in 102.

* "Flora and the Sybil", in Ten Years of the Agnes Kirsopp Lake Michels Lectures at Bryn Mawr College, edited by Suzanne B. Faris, Lesley E. Lundeen, Bryn Mawr, 2006, pp. 58-70.
File information
Filename:423-1_Servilia2.jpg
Album name:Joss / Roman Republic
Keywords:Servilia
File Size:735 KB
Date added:Oct 25, 2018
Dimensions:1200 x 591 pixels
Displayed:31 times
URL:http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/displayimage.php?pos=-150377
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Canaan  [Oct 25, 2018 at 06:17 PM]
Great coin, details and toning, congrats!!
Joss  [Oct 25, 2018 at 07:57 PM]
Thanks!
Jay GT4  [Oct 26, 2018 at 12:58 AM]
Really nice