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PLANCVS COS



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PLANCVS COS. - The bare head of Munatius Plancus.

   Rev. S. P. Q. R. OB. CIV. SER. - Within an oaken crown. A medal, in large and middle brass, bearing the above legend and type, formerly belonged to the cabinet of M. D'Ennery. A similar one was published by Goltzius, and, at a much later period, was given in the Pembroke collection; but in both these instances the word cos is wanting.

   The author of the Catalogue d'Ennery professes to regard each of these coins as genuinely antique, and supposes them to have been struck by the Lugdunenses (people of Lyon, in France), in gratitude to L. Munatius Plancus, who planted that colony of the Romans. (Eckhel v., 258.) This extremely rare medal could not, in the opinion of M. Visconti, have been issued as money. "It is known," says this learned numismatist, that "on the occasion of feasts and of funeral games, medals were struck, which served as tesserae, or admission tickets to the public shows, and were distributed among the people. - The one before us exhibits on one side the head of Plancus, at a very advanced age. The legend records his name and dignity, PLANCVS COS. (Plancus Consul). The type of reverse is a representation of the civic crown, which that consul had caused to be offered by the Senate to Octavian, with the title of Augustus, and which was to be suspended before the gate of his palace. The inscription, engraved within the centre of his crown, announces it to have been decreed by the Senate and by the Roman peole to the saviour of the citizens: S.P.Q.R. OB CIVES SERVATOS." - (See Iconographic Romaine, Part i, p.158.)

   There are, as is well known, three more medals, which recall to mind the dignities with which the Consul Plancus was invested. The first is a denarius, bearing on one side the head of Julius Caesar, with the legend DIVVS IVLVS, and on the reverse L. MVNATI PLANCVS PRAEFectas VRBis. - The second is a gold coin of the consular class, having on its obverse C. CAESAR DICT. TER., with a head of Victory, winged on the shoulders, and on the reverse the sacrificial vase named Praefericulum, used to contain the wine with which the victim was sprinkled at the altar. - The legend, L. PLANCVS PRAEF. or PR. VRB., is the same as the preceding one.

   The third is a denarius, inscribed on its reverse L. MVNATIVS PRO COS. - See Munatia family.

   Plancus, after Caesar's death, leaned sometimes towards one side, sometimes towards another, always, however, declaring himself in favour of the dominant party. An able and profound politician, from the moment that he saw civil war approaching, he decided for Octavian, to whom every probability augured success. A refined and highly cultivated intellect, an exquisite literary taste, a prudent though timid conduct, a character whose suppleness could accomodate itself to times and circumstances - these were the qualities which, added to great skill in the management of public affairs, both civil and military, together with the favours of fortune, carried Munatius Plancus to the pinnacle of honours and dignities under Julius Caesar, under Mark Antony, and under Octavian. During his lifetime he had caused a magnificent mausoleum to be built near Gaeta, on an eminence which commanded a view of the sea, where he doubtless had a villa. This monument, which has been preserved to the present time, is described as a model of purity in its design and of elegance in its ornaments, this proving the good taste of the individual who had destined it to contain his ashes. - There is yet to be seen, in the court of the Hotel de Ville, at Basle, in Switzerland, the statue which that city raised in 1528 to the memory of Plancus, founder of the Roman colony of Augst. (Augusta Rauracorum.)

   The inscription on the above-mentioned monument at Gaeta, of which Gruter furnishes the following copy, clearly explains those on the denarii and other coins of the Munatia family: - L. Munatius L. F. L. N. L. Pron. Plancus Cos. Cens. Imp. iter. VIIvir epul, triump. ex Raetis, aedem Saturni fecit, de manubiis agros divisit in Intalia Beneventi, in Gallia colonias deduxit Lugdunum et Rauricam. "Lucius Munatius Plancus, son of Lucius, grandson of Lucius, great grandson of Lucius: Consul, Censor, declared general of the army for the second time; one of the seven superintendents of the banquet of the gods; triumphed over the Rhaeti; built, out of the spoils of the enemy, the temple of Saturn; divided amongst the soldiers the lands of Beneventum in Italy; established two colonies in Gaul (namely), Lugdunum and Raurica.

 



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