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Musae



Please help us convert the Dictionary of Roman Coins from scans to text by typing the original text here. Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
  MVS (Muses), the goddesses of song, of verse, and of civilization, given to mankind through the medium of music and poesy.―
The daughters of Jupiter and of Mnemosyne (Memory), their usual abode were the heights of Parnassus, except when they assisted at the banquets of the gods.  At first there were only three of them, but the poets successively increased their number to nine, and artists represented them sometimes together, at others in separate figures, in a great variety of compositions.  Amongst the rest, the muses are found on the denarii of the Pomponia family, on account of the analogy between the name of Pomponius Musa (who caused their images to be thus exhibited), and the generic designation of these "Heavenly maids."  They are ordinarily depictured in long dresses and the neck covered.  Sometimes, however, the shoulder and the arm are naked, to facilitate their performance on the cithara or harp.― At Rome on temple of worship was common to them and to Hercules Musagetes.
  In Morell's Thesaurus Fam. Rom., amongst the coins of the Pomponia family, are given the types of denarii, on which Ursin, Vaillant, and Havercamp have, each in their turn, exercised their spirit of research and ingenuity, to distinguish successively by their habiliments and attributes the respective personifications of the whole choral troup.  The same difficulty has, however, opposed itself to the success of this attempt at discriminating the different demi-goddesses, which is experienced with regard to the sculptures of the celebrated sarcophagus published by Spon; because, unlike the case of the Herculaneum pictures, no names of muses are inscribed, but the inquirer is left to identify each member of the "tuneful choir", merely from the accompanying insignia, which are not in all instances either clearly delineated, or exclusively appropriated. ― Of each of this series, the obverse bears the head of a yound female, laureated, (representing the muse,) with a volumen, or a star, or a garland, or some other distinctive mark, behind it. ― On the reverse we see a female figure, and the words MVSA. Q. POMPONI.― The types and substance of the explanations are as follow, viz:―


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