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Coelia




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COELIA, or Coilia (for anciently the dipthong oe was written oi) was a plebeian gens, but of consular rank. Some assert that the head of this family was Coelius Vibulo Etruscus, who came to the aid of Romulus against the Sabines, and gave his name to the Coelian Mount at Rome.

There are twenty one varieties. Silver common. Gold of the highest rarity. The two following are it's rarest coins, as described by Riccio, p. 58 and 59.

1. Obv. C. COEL. CALDUS COS.  A bare and beardless male head to the right, between a vexillum inscribed HIS(PANIA), and a boar.

Rev. C. CALDUS IMP. A. X. (Imperator augur Xvir agris dividendis), written in two perpendicular lines. Two trophies, between which is a table, or altar, where a priest is preparing the lectisternium, or banquet for the gods, in allusion to which, on the table, is inscribed L. CALDVS VII. VIR. EPVL(ONUM). Beneath is CALDVS IIIVIR. See the word EPULONES, under which head an engraved specimen of this remarkable denarius is given.

This silver coin was minted by the monetary triumvir, Coelius Caldus, in 703 (B.C. 51), before the dictatorship of Julius Caesar, when the moneyers of the republic were increased from three to four, though reduced again by Augustus to the old number. Borghesi and Cavedoni (as cited by Riccio), believe C. Caldus to have been Cicero's quaestor in the year 703, and monetary triumvir about 696 (B.C. 58). This man, besides his own name, had evidently in view to recall on these coins the memory of the most famous members of his family, viz. :

Caius Coelius Caldus, tribune of the plebs, and consul in 660 (B.C. 94), whose striking physiognomy appears on the obverse of this denarius. After his consulship, he obtained Spain for his proconsular province, as is usually inferred from the coins of this gens, bearing his name, the word HIS(PANIA), and the figure of a boar, which Eckhel refers to the town of Clunia.

To Caius Caldus, imperator, augur, and decemvir (viz., one of a commission appointed to superintend the distribution of lands), belong the two trophies represented on the reverse. The subject is known solely through the monetal remembrance of the grandson (or great nephew). As to whom he gained these warlike spoils from; when and on what occasion he was proclaimed imperator; at what time he filled the offices recorded on the coin, that coin alone shews, but in so laconic a manner, as to leave the meaning very obscure.

Lucius Coelius Caldus, perhaps the son of the consul, and the father of the mintmaster; here styled Septemvir Epulonum, is he, to whom appertains the veiled priest that sits or stands at the lectisternium. The epulones were members of the sacerdotal order, whose duty it was to assist the pontiffs in preparing all things necessary to rites and sacrifices. In the earlier times of the republic there were only three of them. See SEPTEMVIR EPULONUM.

2. C. COEL. CALDVS COS. Head of the Consul Caius Caldus; behind it L.D. in a tabella.

Rev. CALDVS IIIVIR. Head of the sun radiated, to the right; before it is a round shield ornamented; behind is an oblong shield, charged with the fulmen. Sometimes behind the head there appears an isolated S. This in gold is RRRR.(?) valued at 40 piastres by Riccio, and at 300 fr. by Mionnet.

On this coin, the same moneyer repeats the portrait of his grandfather or greatgrandfather, Caius Coelius Caldus, consul 670 (B.C. 84). The two letters L. D. behind the head, signify Libero -- Damno. I absolve -- I condemn -- bearing reference to the law which he carried during his year of office, 647 (B.C. 107), as tribune of the plebs, and by which the right of secret voting (by ballot) was conceded to the people; this lex tabellaria was also extended to the courts of justice, in cases of high treason. Cicero (De leg. iii. 16), states that Caldus regretted, throughout his life, having proposed this law, as it did injury to the republic.

The head of the sun has been considered by some numismatic writers to allude to the name of the monetarius himself, namely Coelius, because in heaven, or firmament, that greater star holds his course; and Caldus, from the heat which the sun produces. Borghesi, on the other hand, contends that the head of the sun, and the shields, arc emblems of the East, and have reference to the victories won by the Imperator Coelius Caldus in the East, probably in the Mithridatic war, about the year 680 (B.C. 74), and not later than 696 (B.C. 58), the presumed date of the coin in question.

Borghesi moreover recognizes in the consul of 660 (B.C. 94), the father of the Septemvir Epulonum; and this father or brother of the Imperator, from whom might have sprung the triumvir of 696, and quaestor in 703 (B.C. 51).







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