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Imperatorial Rome

Moneyer: Lollius Palicanus
Held Office: 45 BC
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: Rome 45 BC
Obverse: Diademed head of Libertas right; "LIBERTATIS" behind.
Reverse: View of Rostra in the Roman Forum, ornamented with ships' beaks and surmounted by subsellium (tribune's bench). "PALIKANVS" above.
Reference: RRC 473/1; HCRI 86; Sydenham 960; RSC Lollia 2; RCVM 465
Weight: 3.8 gms
Diameter: 19.0 mm
Comment: This type would seem to make reference to the tribunate of the elder Palicanus, father of the moneyer, during which vigorous efforts were made to restore the rights and privileges of the tribuni plebis, representatives of the common people, which had been severely curtailed during the dictatorship of Sulla. The appearance of Libertas, personification of the freedom of the individual citizen, was also relevant to contemporary events as Caesar was regarded as the 'Liberator' of the state following the final destruction of the Pompeian opposition at Munda.


A rostrum (singular) was the reinforced oaken beam of a war galley, the part used to ram other ships. In 338 BC the consul Gaius Maenius attacked the Volscian fleet in Antium harbour and utterly defeated it. To commemorate the end of the Volsci as a rival power to Rome, Maenius removed the beaks of the ships he had sent to the bottom or captured, and fixed them to the Forum wall of the speaker's platform tucked into the side of the well of the Comitia. Ever after, the speaker's platform was known as the rostra - the ships' beaks. Other victorious admirals followed Maenius's example; when no more ship's beaks could be fixed on the rostra wall, they were fixed to tall columns erected in the area of the rostra.

The remains of rostra can be seen in the Roman Forum to this day.

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