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Aes Formatum
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The Age of Gallienus
Alexander Tetradrachms
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
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Augustus - Facing Portrait
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A Cabinet of Greek Coins
Caesarean and Actian Eras
Campgates of Constantine
A Case of Counterfeits
Byzantine Christian Themes
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Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Danubian Celts
Damnatio Coinage
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Denarii of Otho
Diameter 101
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Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
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ERIC - Rarity Tables
Etruscan Alphabet
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
Fel Temp Reparatio
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Friend or Foe
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The Hexastyle Temple of Caligula
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Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
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Julian II: The Beard and the Bull
Julius Caesar - The Funeral Speech
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Library of Ancient Coinage
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Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
     Saturnus. -- Saturn, under whose fabled reign
-- the "golden age" -- the happiest times were
enjoyed by all, was nevertheless affirmed by the
ancients to have been himself expelled from his
kingdom of felicity by his son Jupiter, and to
have sought refuge in Italy at the court of king
Janus. -- There is a passage in Macrobius (quoted
by Bimard) which attributes, not to Saturn (as
Jobert makes Eutropius do), but to Janus, the
first use of money, adding, however, that out
of respect for Saturn (in Saturni reverentiam)
Janus caused to be engraved, on these first
specimens of coinage, the ship which had
brought Saturn to Italy. -- Saturn was regarded
as the God of Time, and is represented on
ancient monuments as a decrepit old man holding
a sickle or reaping-hook, called falx. Sometimes
also he is represented with his infant son
in his arms, and lifting the child up to his
mouth, as if intending to devour it, as the old
myth relates on that point.
   Spanheim (in his Notes on the Caesars of
, p. 10) refers to this god a figure on an
ancient marble published by Spon, in which
Saturn is represented in the form of an old man
veiled, and with his falx. The same writer also
mentions to have seen a small silver medal
bearing a similar bust, which he likewise refers
to Saturn, on account of the attribute of the
curved knife, also engraved upon it. Besides
which (he adds) there is a medal in the French
King's Cabinet, struck under Elagabalus, by
the city of Heraclea, and published in the
collection of Patin, which represents Saturn, or
Time, with a scythe in his hands, and moreover
with wings on his shoulders. -- According to
Plutarch, he was believed by the Romans to
have presided over agriculture and fruits --
to have been, in short, the guardian of rural
affairs, as well as the Father of the year and of
the months. -- For this reason a laureated and
bearded head, with a sickle behind it, on a
denarius of the Calpurnia moneyers, commemorative
of the mission of Piso and Caepio as Quaestores
AD FRVmentum EMVndum
, to buy corn, and
distribute it among the people, is considered by
Eckhel as most probably the head of Saturn. --
Another head of the same deity, as designated
by the falx asperis dentibus, or reaping-hook,
with serrated edge -- an instrument allusive to
him as the reputed inventor of agriculture, and
whence he is called falcifer by Ovid, is to be
found on coins of the Memmia, Servilia, and
Sentia moneyers.
   Saturn is most certainly represented on a
silver coin of the Neria moneyers -- his symbol the
harpa, or falx, is prominent behind the head.
"But this (says Eckhel) is not the only proof
that it is Saturn. The title given to NERIus
of Quaestor VRBanus, and the military standards
which are on the reverse additionally testify
it. It is well known that the Quaestors were the
Praefects or principal officers of the Roman
treasury (Praefecti aerarii), but it is also
known that the aerarium was in the temple of
   Saturn is considered to be typified, in a
quadriga, on a denarius of Saturninus. -- See
the Sentia moneyers.
   Saturni navis. -- The ship of Saturn, which
appears on the reverse of the Roman as, was in
the most ancient times the peculiar symbol of
Saturn, it being, according to the story, with a
fleet that he came to Janus, in Italy.
   Saturn, under the form of a man with a
beard, veiled, and wearing the toga, who standing
holds the harpa in his left hand, appears on
coins of Valerianus and of Gallienus, as a symbol
of Eternity. See AETERNITATI AVGG.
   It is thus that Eckhel decidedly considers the
above described effigy should be understood,
and not as an image of Pluto, which Tanini
supposes it. In proof of it being Saturn, he
refers inter alia to the harpa (reaping hook),
the beard, the veil covering the head, all sure
indications of that pagan deity, the two former
attributes being never ommited in his typification.
The Romans gave him the falx or harpa on
account of agriculture, over which they commonly
believed him to preside. Macrobius says :
Simulacrum ejus indicio est, cui falcem insigne
messis adjecit
. Cyprian observes: Rusticitatis
hic cultor fuit ; inde falcem ferens pingilur

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