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SERVILIA, an Alban family, transferred to
Rome, after the destruction of Alba, by king
Tullus, and elected into the patrician order,
according to Livy and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.
It became divided into many branches, none of
whose names, however, are recorded on coins
except Ahala, Caepio, Casca, and Rullus. The
two last were plebeian.
Ahala. -- A coin of the Servilia family (most
rare in gold, though common in silver,) exhibits
on one side the head and name of AHALA, and
on the other the head and name of BRVTVS, remarks on which denarius will be found under the head of Junia. -- See Ahala.
Caepio. -- For denarii inscribed PISO CAEPIO
Q. -- See Calpurnia.
The following silver coin, belonging to the
Servilia family, is of historical interest : -- A
laureated female head. No legend. -- Rev. Q.
CAEPIO BRVTVS. IMP. (on some others PRO COS.) Two captives at the foot of a trophy.
The above are the names and titles of that
M. Junius Brutus, who stabbed Caesar. It is
thus that he is designated on denarii, and the
fact is confirmed by writers of his time ; among
others by Cicero, who, at the end of the Tenth
Philipic, repeatedly calls him Q. Caepio Brutus,
proconsul. Whence (adds Eckhel) it becomes
certain that he was adopted by Q. Servilius
Caepio ; who was his uncle on the side of his
mother Servilia. But he did not, after the usual
custom of using the family name, call himself
Junianus ; perhaps because at that period there
was already a Crassus Junianus ; but he turns
the surname of his adoption Caepio into the
name, retaining his cognomen of Brutus.
With respect to the inscription of IMPerator
on the above denarius and others of Brutus,
Dion assigns the time and the reason of Brutus's
accepting this title, namely, that he went on an
expedition against the Bessi of Thrace, as well
with a view to punish the hostilities of that
savage tribe, as in order to gain for himself the
name and dignity of Imperator (see the word),
wherewith he might the more easily carry on
war against Caesar, and against Antony, and
make an end of both. According to Plutarch,
Brutus, together with Cassius, was proclaimed
Imperator by the army, at Sandis.
On a denarius of Brutus, bearing on its
obverse a female head and the word LIBERTAS,
the reverse is charged with the inscription
CAEPIO BRVTVS PRO. COS., and the type is a
lyre between a laurel branch and a stylus.
The word PROCOS is affixed (instead of Imp.)
on this coin and others of M. Brutus, because
he governed the province of Macedonia with
Casca. -- Connected with this surname there
are two coins, one most rare in gold, the
other very rare in silver, both inscribed CASCA
LONGVS ; the gold has on the obverse a trophy
between two prows, the silver bears the laureated head of Neptune. On the reverse of the former is BRVTVS IMP. and the bare head of Marcus Brutus. The reverse of the latter exhibits
Victory marching, with a garland and palm
branch, and the same inscription BRVTVS IMP.
Plutarch states that the two brothers Servilii
Cascae were amongst the assassins of Caesar.
Of these P. Casca, whom Dion asserts to have
been a tribune of the people, struck the first
blow at the Dictator. Afterwards, when war
was declared against the murderers, he associated himself with Brutus, amongst whose friends in that war P. Casca is classed by Plutarch, and we see their names united on the above described coins. Appin states that Caius was the prenomen of the other Casca. But there is a prolix and tedious examination in Havercamp, as to whether Casca and Longus be surnames (cognomina) of different families, and whether Longus be the agnomen of Casca, or otherwise. -- The types of these two denarii allude to some maritime victory ; which it was is uncertain. -- Doct. Num. Vet. vol. v. p. 308.
Rullus. -- A common silver coin exhibits the
cognomen of the Servilia family, namely, RVLLI,
with the bust of Minerva. On the reverse side
P. SERVILI. M. F. and Victory galloping in a
P. Servilius Rullus is known as that plebeian
tribune whose agrarian law Cicero, when consul,
stoutly opposed in an oration which is still
extant. The father of the tribune, also named
P. Servilius Rullus, was the man of whom
Pliny says, that he first at feasts served up a
wild boar whole to table. It is uncertain to
which of the two this denarius belongs.
Amongst other uncertain coins of the Servilii,
Eckhel takes a copiously intelligent notice of
a denarius of no rarity, but nevertheless of
some historical interest, from the legend and
type of its obverse, allusive to the public shows
celebrated at Rome under the name of Floralia.
-- See FLORAL. PRIMVS.
To which M. Servilius, lieutenant (LEGatus)
of Brutus and Cassius the following coins belong,
has been matter of much controversy, hitherto
with no benefit resulting. He seems to have
been the same individual whom Cicero calls a
tribune of the people, and to have arrayed himself on the side of liberty ; but the surname
does not appear. The former of the two denarii
(very rare in gold) presents types that agree with the times of Brutus and of Cassius ; namely C. CASSEI. IMP. A young female head laureated. -- Rev. SERVILIVS. LEG. The aplustrum.
The latter denarius bears the same head on
its obverse, and on the reverse appears the
inscription SERVILVS (M.) LEG., with a crab
fish griping an acrostolium in its claws ; below
it is the flower of the pomegranate (balaustium)
and a diadem unbound. -- On this enigmatical
reverse both Vaillant and Havercamp have offered comments, abounding more in the wondrous, but partaking much less of the probable, than the following remarks of Eckhel :-- "As the above type is plainly allegorical, the
very manes of the ancients will pardon us, if
we sometimes decline attempting to explain the
riddles under which they often veil the truth.
The following conjecture alone perhaps carries
probability with it, namely, that the balaustium or
flower of the pomegranate (since this obviously
was the symbol of the Rhodians), alludes to the
victory gained by Cassius over these islanders,
recorded by Dion and Appian. It may be
added, that there appears in the lower part
of the coin, a diadem unbound ; and that it
is a diadem, I confidently assert, from an
inspection of the best preserved specimens of
this denarius in the Imperial Museum (at
Vienna) ; although in engravings it is always
represented as if it were a shoot springing from
the stem of the pomegranate flower. It is
difficult to imagine what is the meaning of this
diadem ; unless it may perhaps allude to the fall
of the regal power which Julius Caesar aimed at."
For a description of the acrostolium see the
word in loco.
Twent-five varieties of the Servilia coins are
given in Morell. -- The gold are extremely rare,
the silver common. The brass pieces of this
family are parts of the As, and are very rare.