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Latin abbreviation: Ludis Saecularibus Populo Fruges Accepae - The people took fruits to (or at?) the secular games.


Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.

A. POP. FRVG. AC. - These abbreviated words, preceded by those of COS. XIIII. LVD. SAEC. appear on the reverse of a first brass coin of Domitian. The type represents the emperor habited in the toga, seated on a suggestum. Before him stand two (or, to speak after more minuteness of inspection, three) togated figures,

one of whom holds in both hands, a sort of small sack, out of which he is in the act of pouring grain or fruits. Behind is a temple. On the exergue S.C.
This coin forms one of a set, minted under the prince above-named, A.U.C. 841 (A.D. 88), to commemorate his celebration of the Secular Games. The legend, chiefly owing to the ancient practice of verbal abbreviations, presents a difficulty of no ordinary kind.- Spanheim considers that it is to be explained thus:- A. POPulo FRVGes ACceptae, and that these words are to be referred to the first offerings of fruit , wheat, barley, and beans, which it was customary for the entire people to dedicate, at the commencement of these (the Secular) Games, to the deities who presided over the solemnities, and which on their termination were, as Zosimus observes, distributed amongst the citizens. According, therefore, to the opinion of Spanheim and other writers, it was the people, who received the fruits, or, to adhere to the phraseology of the coins, by whom the fruits were received (fruges acceptae sunt.") An author of great learning, Steph. Antonius Morcellus has advanced another mode of explaining the abbreviations, viz., COS. XIIII. LVDis SAECularibus POPulo FRVGes ACcepit, and expresses his surprise, that it should not have occured to Spanheim, when that eminent writer, with his usual erudition, has pointed out the allusion to the offering of the first fruits by the Pontifex Maximus to the Gods.- "Perhaps (says Eckhel, vi. 387) Morcellus may have been induced to adopt his reading by the structure of the legend. For in it are expressed only the words - COS. XIIII. LVD. SAEC. without the FECit, which invariably appears on other coin of this mintage. But it might possibly happen, that the word fecit was omitted to make room for the rest of the inscription, though it is still necessary to supply (or understand) it; just as on coins of Augustus, struck A.U.C. 737 (B.C. 17), and of the Sanquinina family, we read only AVGVST. DIVI. F. LVDOS. SAE. where fecit, though omitted, must nevertheless be supplied. A more probable reason [for Morcellus entertaining his opinion] may have been, that the natural law of the inscription seems to dictate its own proper interpretation. For, as it commences with the nominative case COS. XIIII. the sentence could not terminate with the word ACceptae, but ACcepit. I am (adds Eckhel) far from denying, that on Morcellus 's plan of interpretation the legend presents greater elegance and terseness of expression, though I strongly doubt whether it be equally in accordance with truth and facts. For, if we so read it, the recipients of the fruits will be not the people, but Domitian himself, and at the hands of the people. Whereas, we have no ancient records of presents made by the people to their princes during the Games in question, but rather of the reverse. As, therefore, such a fact cannot be established, and the very author of the new reading does not attempt to prove it by the slightest argument, we may for the present adhere to the generally perceived interpretation of the legend, and conclude that the benefit alluded was conferred upon, and not by, the people."
[And yet it is worthy of notice, though seemingly overlooked by the great scrutinizer and critic of numismatic monuments, that in the very type which he has himself described and commented upon (and which is here faithfully copied from a well-reserved specimen in the British Museum) one of the figures personifying the Populus Romanus (the entire Roman people) is in the attitude of pouring out a contribution of FRVGes, at the base of a raised platform, on which the Emperor, with his right hand outstretched, is seated. Now, with all due willingness to acquiesce generally in what our illustrious guide and master himself defers to, as an explicatio recepta, let it nevertheless be permitted us in this instance to hazard a conjecture: viz. that the fruits here evidently offered, were possibly meant to represent those accepted by the emperor on such occasions, at the hands of togated citizens (i.e. men of substance), for the purpose of their being first dedicated to the gods, and afterwards distributed amongst the common people- that "fruges consumere nati" class, who were content to be the slaves of every imperial tyrant, so that they were allowed to enjoy the "circus and the dole". Be this, however, as it may, we have here, at any rate, on the reverse of a genuine and well-known coin, the typification of fruges brought to Domitian.]

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