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Porcia




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PORCIA, a plebeian moneyer, whose surnames on its coins are Cato, Laeca, Licinus.--Out of twenty-six varieties of types, the following two are the only rare and (historically speaking) interesting for their legends or reverses.

   Cato.--M. CATo PRO PR.  A female head, behind which is ROMA. --RevVICTRIXVictory seated, holds out a patera in her right hand, and a palm branch in her left.
   There is a quinarius similar to the above denarius, but without the word ROMA; and doubtless struck by the same person, that

is to say, by Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis as is generally supposed, although there is a difference of opinion on this point;  inasmuch as some imagine them to have been coined, when Cato was sent to Cyprus, as Propraetor, to receive the treasure of Ptolemy, while others think they were struck when the war was carried on by Scipio against Caesar in Africa.  The question remains doubtful.--Havercamp unites the legend of the obverse with that of the reverse, so as to read ROMA VICTRIX.--The more ancient view seems to be taken by Ursin, viz., that the ancient glory of the Porcia moneyer was restored by Cato.  According to the account of Livy, A.V.C. 561; "at the same time Marcus Porcius Cato dedicated a small temple to Victoria Virgo, near the temple of Victory."  The illustration is from a quinarius.

   P. LAECA.--The winged head of Pallas; in the field of the coin X and above the head, ROMA.  On the reverse a man, in military dress, standing, places his right hand on the head of togated citizen; near him stands a lictor with rods; below PROVOCO.
   This remarkable silver medal recals the memory of the Porcian Law carried by Porcius Laeca in the year of Rome 454, in favour of Roman citizens, to whom it gave, on appeal (provocatio), exemption from the ignominious punishment of scourging.  Porcia Lex,  says Cicero, virgas ab omnium civium Romanorum corpore amovit; hic misericors flagella retulit.---Orat. pro C. Rabirio.  This exemption, however, was confined in its operation to towns and cities.  Soldiers on duty were still left entirely dependent on the will of their commander-in-chief.--See PROVOCO.

   The brass pieces of the Porcia moneyer were struck in Cyrenaica (now Barca) in Africa.


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