Featured A Beautiful Gold Stater... of Brutus?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Curtisimo, Dec 24, 2021.


Who do you think struck the Koson staters?

  1. Brutus

  2. A Geto-Dacian King

  3. A Thracian or Skythian King

  4. Other (Please explain)

Results are only viewable after voting.
  1. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    SKYTHIA, Geto-Dacians
    AV Stater, struck mid-1st century BC
    Dia.: 20 mm
    Wt.: 8.35 g
    Obv.: ΚΟΣΩΝ; Roman consul accompanied by two lictors advancing left; monogram to left
    Rev. Eagle standing left on scepter, holding wreath.
    Ref.: RPC I 1701A; HGC 3, 2049; BMC Vol. III Thrace 1 (pg. 208)
    Formerly slabbed by NGC

    The mystery of who struck this coin has been discussed at length for centuries. Instead of making up my mind and trying to argue for one point of view or the other I figured I would use this thread to lay out my current understanding of the various theories as best as I can. I anticipate that I will be coming back to this thread in the future to make updates and to add links to sources as I find them.

    As such please bear with me if you find a mistake or if I miss an important point here or there. Understanding this coin will be a work in progress and many of the references I would like to read on the subject I have been unable to find so far. I have posted several links and references for further reading. I hope the below will be helpful and entertaining despite being a typically overlong post from Curtisimo. :bookworm::oops::D

    1: General Information Important to all Theories

    1.1 The Historical Context
    From about ca. 82 BC, a leader by the name of Burebista began to unify the Getea and Dacian tribes under his kingship. This process was substantially complete by 60 BC. In 55 BC, Burebista launched a campaign which led to the conquest of the Greek cities on the west coast of the Black Sea. One of these cities was Olbia.

    Olbia was a Greek colony of Miletus founded in the 6th century BC at the very edge of the Greek world. It bordered the steppe to the north which meant that is was often dominated by, and had to pay tribute to, Scythian nomads. In the first half of the 1st century BC it came under the control of Mithridates IV and remained so until his death ca 63 BC. It was into this power vacuum left by Mithridates IV that Burebista stepped into when he conquered and sacked Olbia and the other cities on the Black Sea coast ca. 55 BC.

    Map showing the extent of Dacian power at the end of Burebista's reign (ca. 44 BC). (Author's map)

    In Caesar’s Civil War, Pompey Magnus secured the support of Burebista and the Dacians against Caesar. Dacians fought at the Battle of Pharsalus on the side of Pompey. After Caesar’s victory the Dacian mercenaries were forced to flee. Any fear that the victorious Caesar would retaliate was put to rest when he was assassinated in 44 BC. Only a few months later Burebista was also assassinated by nobles who resented his absolute power. After Burebista’s death the newly unified Dacian state fractured into multiple smaller kingdoms whose extent and influence is difficult to determine.

    The king of one of these post-Burebista kingdoms was named Kotison. Kotison chose to ally himself with Marcus Antonius against Octavian in the War of Actium. A few years after Octavian defeated Antonius at Actium he followed up by defeating Kotison in a battle in 25 BC. Some sources claim that Kotison was killed in this battle [7]. In 9 BC the Romans launched a campaign into Dacia itself and some sources speculate that it was during this invasion that Kotison was killed [7]. In either case, after the Roman victories against Dacia under Augustus it would be almost a century before the region would pose a serious threat to Rome again.

    1.2 The Discovery of the Koson Staters
    The first mention of this coin type was in 1520 by Erasmus of Rotterdam [4][iv] (Thanks for the reference @Sulla80 !). In 1543 a large hoard was found, most probably around Sarmisegetusa [4]. I am unsure as to the primary reference for this.

    1.3 The Design
    One of the only things that is known with any certainty is that the design of this stater is based on two Roman Republican denarii.

    The obverse is based on a coin issued by Brutus in 54 BC. I acquired a much loved example of this coin earlier this year.
    Roman Republic
    M. Junius Brutus
    AR Denarius, Rome mint, struck 54 BC
    Dia.: 20.5 mm
    Wt.: 3.56 g
    Obv.: LIBERTAS; Head of Liberty right
    Rev.: BRVTVS; Consul L. Junius Brutus walking left between two lictors, each carrying fasces over shoulder, preceded by accensus
    Ref.: Crawford 433/1, Sydenham 906, Sear 397
    Ex Michael Kelly Collection

    The reverse is based on a very rare Republican denarius issued by Q. Pomponius Rufus in 70 BC. I don’t have an example of this coin but you can find images of them at CNG here. The eagle bears a resemblance to others in Roman art such as this bronze eagle ca. AD 100-200.
    This is a photo I took of a bronze eagle from the 2nd century AD in the Getty Villa in Malibu. The eagle was probably part of a larger sculptural group showing either Jupiter or the emperor. The note said it probably held an orb or a thunder bolt but I suppose a wreath wouldn't be out of place here either. (Author's photo)

    1.4 The Monogram
    The Koson staters were struck in two types: examples with a monogram and examples without a monogram.

    I am aware that there are probably as many interpretations of the monogram as there have been papers written on this coin type. I have chosen four of the interpretations that seem to me to be the most common opinions. I don’t find any of them particularly convincing so please feel free to chime in with opinions or alternate interpretations.

    Some interpretations of the monogram are;
    • BR - (BR)utus: Reading an “R” into the monogram does not look very convincing to me. In BMC Vol. III the drawn illustration makes the BR interpretation look much clearer than any of the examples I have seen in real life. This is one of the drawback of drawn illustrations. Perhaps the “R” is supposed to be completely superimposed within the “B” but that would make the tail portion meaningless.
    • OLB - (OLB)ia: This looks the best when compared to the actual monogram but I don’t know why the latin “L” would be used here instead of the Greek “Λ” considering the rest of the script for this coin design is in Greek. Barclay Head actually did propose to read a “Λ” in the monogram but I honestly can’t see it.
    • BA - (BA)silews: Here also, I do not find the reading of an “A” into the monogram to be very convincing.
    • LBR - (L)ucius Junius (BR)utus: Considering that the denarius design of 54 BC that the Koson stater is based on was meant to reference this 6th century BC ancestor of M.J. Brutus I suppose this is a plausible interpretation. However, this interpretation would presuppose that there was value to Brutus in highlighting his ancestry to foreign mercenaries... which is debatable. The LBR reading compared to the actual monogram looks more convincing than most of the other interpretations except perhaps OLB.

    1.5 The Metal
    First I should mention that these staters were struck on the standard used by Mithradates IV and not on the Aureus standard.

    As for the metal composition, this topic is quite interesting. There has been a good bit of scientific analysis done recently. Instead of trying to summarize the paper I will simply link to it below.
    What I took from the analysis was that the gold used in the Koson staters without monogram match the composition of the naturally occurring gold in the region of ancient Dacia as well as known Dacian artifacts. Meanwhile, the Koson staters with the monogram were struck with refined gold that is not consistent with the processes known to be used by the ancient Dacians.

    2: Three Theories to Explain the Coin Issuer

    Theory 1: Brutus
    In 43 BC Brutus was in Greece preparing for the civil war with the Caesarians that he knew was coming soon. According to Appian he was collecting money and organizing his army when he received an unexpected stroke of luck. Polemocratia, the wife (widow?) of a Thracian prince came to Brutus and presented him with the wealth of her husband in exchange for the protection of her young son. Appian says that this yielded “an unexpected quantity of gold and silver. This he coined and converted into currency.” [ii]

    The theory (first proposed by Mommsen?) is that Brutus used this unexpected windfall to coin the gold Koson staters in order to pay for mercenaries from the various northern Balkan tribes (Thracians, Dacians, Getea etc.).

    The central evidence for this interpretation is the use of the obverse design that can be definitely linked to the denarii of Brutus as shown above. The KOΣΩΝ legend has been interpreted to mean “of the Consol.” [1] If the monogram were taken to be BR then the obverse would read “of the Consol Brutus.” [1] The fact that refined gold was apparently used to coin the staters with monogram could be interpreted as further evidence that the gold was of Roman origin or coined under Roman supervision.

    Working against this theory is the fact that Brutus was not a Consol. The Calgary Coin link below discusses this further. It is also not clear why the legend should be in Greek if this was struck by Romans for use by non-Greek speakers? Additionally the arguments for reading “of the Consol” for KOΣΩΝ do not seem particularly strong even if they are technically plausible. Lastly, the copying of a Rufus reverse design seems out of place if this coin were struck by Brutus. Brutus was perfectly capable of executing competent and original coin designs as evidenced from his time as moneyer and would not have needed to resort to copying a design that was 30 years old at the time.

    Theory 2: A Dacian King
    As discussed above there was a king by the name of Kotison who ruled at least part of Dacia between 44 BC and 25/9 BC. When Horace references his defeat at the hands of Augustus he says “Occidit Daci Cotisonis agmen” (The Dacian Cotison is beat) [iii]. Accounting for us English (and Latin) speakers and our useless use of the letter “C” when a “K” would do the trick it seems reasonable to render the name KΟΤΙΣΩΝ in Greek. The most common theory I have read is that KOΣΩΝ is a contraction of the name KΟΤΙΣΩΝ. It is also possible that KOΣΩΝ is the name of a predecessor, successor or contemporary of Kotison.

    Since we know from the metal analysis that the gold in the Koson staters with monogram was not of Dacian origin I can think of only two ways in which the gold could have been acquired for minting by the Dacians. One is tribute payment in gold from the Greek cities on the Black Sea and the other is a payment of gold for mercenaries to the Dacians by Marcus Antonius or Brutus.

    The best evidence that I see for this theory is the copying of the design for the staters from two separate denarii. This was a noted practice that has been well documented among Dacian imitations. Further, the fact that the denarii that inspired the designs were minted 16 years apart suggests an element of randomness that would not be expected from a Roman issued currency. @Valentinian and @Volodya both have very helpful educational pages on Dacian imitations that are worth referencing.
    It seems entirely plausible that a king would be impressed by the design of the Brutus denarii and would want to substitute BRVTVS with his own name. If we take the monogram as BA then we can read the obverse as “Basilews Koson” or “King Koson.” Even if we assume that the monogram stands for OLB (Olbia) this would not be out of the realm of possibility since Olbia was conquered under Burebista. I was not able to determine when the Greek cities of the Black Sea were freed from Dacian dominion. Most likely Olbia was still subject to Dacian authority or tribute in some form until after the defeat of Kotison in 25 BC. The fact that the inscription is in Greek and the gold standard is the same as that used by Mithridates IV argues strongly for a connection of this coin to the Greek cities on the Black Sea coast.

    The attribution of the staters without monogram to Dacia seems like a reasonable possibility based on metal analysis. The type with monogram being struck in Olbia or another Greek city and the type without monogram being struck in Dacia proper seems like a plausible thoery. However, I personally do not see as drastic a change in style between the types with and without monograms as has been suggested in some of the below sources. It would not be hard for me to believe that both, either or neither of the Koson types were struck by Dacians. I suppose that leaves me back at square one. :oops::sorry:

    Working against a Dacian origin theory is the fact that the metal analysis does not support a Dacian source for the gold of the staters with monogram. Even if the staters without monogram were struck by the Dacians that does not prove that those coins were not simply copying the monogram type that may have had a different source. Further, the argument for equating Kotison with Koson is not particularly strong and there are no other Dacian figures recorded in the sources to put forward as a possibility.
    This is a photo I took in the Vatican Museum that shows the bust of a Dacian. The sculpture is from the era of Trajan (ca. early 2nd century AD) but I couldn't resist showing this beautiful piece of art in the context of a possible Dacian connection to the Koson staters. (Author's photo)

    Theory 3: A Scythian or Thracian King
    Barclay Head wrote that a reading of the monogram as ΟΛΒ (Olbia) could be taken as evidence that the staters have a Scythian origin and that Koson is an otherwise unrecorded Scythian king . He states that the known locations of hoard finds support an interpretation of a source in Scythia over Thrace (from what I have read the find locations could support a Dacian interpretation as well). I was not able to find much additinal information on this theory but considering that Olbia often had to pay tribute in gold to the Scythians this interpretation is possible. It does, however, hinge on the monogram being interpreted as a mint mark for Olbia. It also doesn’t explain the metallurgical differences in the staters with and without monogram.

    Many of the above arguments for a Dacian origin could be just as easily be argued here. An example would be the weight standard and Greek script connecting the Koson stater with the Black Sea cities. Interestingly enough, this coin was formerly slabbed and the NGC label listed it as Thracian or Scythian. My guess is that there is more to this theory than I am currently aware. Hopefully my research will allow me to come back and update this section in the future.

    Further Reading

    [8] General Comments about the Type. Of specific interest is the connection with the Koson staters and the Lysimachus type staters. See this post.
    Munteanu, Lucian. (2011). Some Remarks Concerning the Gold Coins with the Legend ‘ΚΟΣΩΝ’, in N. Holmes (ed), Proceedings of the “XIV International Numismatic Congress, Glasgow 2009”, I, Glasgow 2011, 304-309.​

    [i’] Head, Barclay, Historia Numorum: A Manual of Greek Numismatics, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1911 (pg. 289)

    [ii] Appian, The Civil Wars Book IV 75: https://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/e/roman/texts/appian/civil_wars/4*.html

    [iii] Horace, The Works of Horace Vol. I: http://google.cat/books?pg=PA268&vq...21187332&lr=&id=ByMJAAAAQAAJ&output=html_text

    Sources I Haven't Found Yet
    Max Bahrfeldt, Über die KOΣΩN-Münzen, Berliner Münzblätter, 1912
    Note: There may be an earlier and more thorough discussion of the subject by Bahrfeldt from 1911 that I have seen alluded to but I have not found that one either.​

    Anything outlining hoard evidence or die studies.

    Pile On
    Lots of room to pile on here people… no excuses for not getting in on the fun! :woot: Please post your;
    • Koson Staters :woot:
    • Coins of Brutus
    • Coins of Q. Pomponius Rufus :greedy::jawdrop::D
    • Coins of Caesar :cool:
    • Coins of Pompey
    • Coins of Marcus Antonius
    • Coins of Octavian
    • Dacian imitations :artist:
    • Coins referencing Dacia
    • Coins with unknown issuers :banghead:
    • Other stuff!!!! :angelic:
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2021
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  3. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana

    I was waiting for the reveal of the gold coin you bought this year, and wow, it does not disappoint! That's a terrific example of one of these desirable Koson staters to complement your Brutus denarius.

    As usual, I enjoyed your comprehensively researched writeup. I voted for Geto-Dacian king as I think most of the evidence presented so far, especially the hoard evidence, points to that. The metallurgical differences between those with and without the monogram pose an interesting mystery, but I don't think it proves a wholly different striking authority, or that the refined gold was necessarily Roman in origin/method of treatment.
  4. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Well-Known Member

    Wow !
    Wow !
    Wow !

    Yes, three times. A very good example of a very sought after coin. One out of many that have been in my dreams for decades. I love your in depth description and analysis too
    Thank you @Curtisimo for this Christmas gift !

    Although I don't have it in hand yet (hope the Gods of postage will not take it as an offense ...), here's something that should reach my doorstep in the days to come

    Image courtesy of Leu Numismatik

  5. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana

    Wow, and congrats on that one, Q. One could say the same about yours - "a very good example of a very sought after coin." I'm always looking longingly at this type in the catalogs. One of these days!
  6. Jay GT4

    Jay GT4 Well-Known Member

    Excellent write up and coin! I tend to lean towards the Brutus interpretation and have spoken to Robert of Calgary coin on several occasions about his theory. It's fascinating stuff.

    Here's my pair


  7. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Curtis, I think the research posted by Robert Kokotailo of Calgary Coin along with the experiments conducted by Romanian Academy have successfully solved the mystery of the Koson Staters. I have also posted threads on CT about these coins. There are three types of Koson Staters; one type that has no monogram on the obverse, another type that does have a very crude monogram, see the photos below. Both of these types are very crude in style & the fineness & composition of the metal indicate they were made from native Dacian gold.

    HA S.S. 2022 A.jpg

    HA S.S. 2022 B.jpg

    The third type is like the coin you posted along with a photo from an example in my collection. This type was made from Roman gold & these coins were most likely made from a traveling mint of Brutus. Brutus probably used these coins to pay Dacian mercenaries to fight on his side. The two types pictured above were probably copies made in Dacia after the original coins were struck by Brutus.

    2491172-001, AK Collection.jpg
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2021
  8. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)


    Thanks to everyone who has read and commented so far. I hope you are all having a wonderful Christmas! :joyful:

    Thank you Z! Good memory. I enjoyed your “old gold and sold” Aureus thread earlier this year. :) This is my first ancient gold and I bought it more for the interesting mystery than for the metal type... I still do like that it’s big shiny gold though. :D

    I agree that there are ways to explain how a Dacian dynast could have gotten his hands on refined gold: tribute from conquered cities, Roman bribes paid in bullion etc.

    Most of what I was finding online in terms of an explanation of the type was written from the perspective of someone who has made up their mind on their favorite theory. I wanted to lay out my research and thoughts in one place and give a fair balance to all the main schools of thought I knew about. I feel that I undersold the Thracian / Scythian possibility but as I said the thread is a work in progress. :writer::bookworm::happy: I need to look into / find some resources that discuss hoard and find spot information. My guess is there won’t be a lot of information available.

    Thanks Q! You are too kind my friend. That is such a great coin. I hope the postal gods will smile on you this time! :happy:

    I don’t have one of these Ahala / Brutus coins but someday I plan to go after one. The resemblance to the Capitoline Brutus is striking in my opinion.

    Here is a photo I took and the discription I wrote in my thread on my Brutus denarius earlier this year.
    This bronze sculpture was discovered in Rome during the Renaissance (sometime before AD 1532) and since that time has been attributed as a representation of Brutus’s ancestor Lucius Junius Brutus. It dates as early as the late 4th century BC. Modern opinions cast doubt on the attribution to Brutus and it is true that there is no direct evidence for the attribution. Despite that disclaimer, Plutarch does mention that there was a statue of L. Junius Brutus on the Capitoline Hill and the style bears some resemblance to coins struck be M. Junius Brutus so it is not impossible that this statue is meant to depict the early Republican hero. I took this photo in the Capitoline Museum in 2018.

    Wonderful coins Jay! The reverse of you Koson in particular is excellent.

    The Calgary reference was certainly helpful and I encourage everyone who is interested to give it a read. If you are aware of any resources that I haven’t linked to in my OP please let me know and I will add them to the further reading section. As I said I hope to update this thread over time if the mods will indulge me a bit to edit a few more times going forward.

    I assume the “Sulla” was supposed to be “Curtisimo?” :)

    Your example is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT! Congratulations on that coin. I will have to compare further and do an overlay on my computer later but it looks like our coins might be obverse die matches. :cigar::)

    I know I might be in the minority on this opinion but I don’t see enough of a stylistic difference between the first two coins and the last to assume that they could not have been struck under the same authority. (I wasn’t aware that some of the monogram types were struck with unrefined gold?).

    There are some interesting points in favor of the Brutus interpretation though so I am not saying that there wasn’t two different authorities, just that I am not completely convinced. I tried to give a fair shake to all of the possibilities I’ve been researching.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2021
  9. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE

    Nice write-up, my friend. And, I really like your writing for posterity and the fluidity of updating.

    Beyond gorgeous coins! Well done!

    Liberty is quite fragile...

    Buddy of Brute…
    Roman Republic
    AR silver denarius.
    Struck circa 42 BC, at a mobile military mint moving with Brutus & Cassius, probably located in Smyrna.
    C CASSI IMP LEIBERTAS, veiled & draped bust of Libertas right.
    Reverse - LENTVLVS SPINT, jug & lituus. 18mm, 3.3g.
    Ex: Incitis
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2021
  10. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE

    @Cucumbor , I always enjoy your Ahala!

    My example will make yours look even better! :)

    It really bookmarks two incredible stories in Ancient Roman Republic…

    Roman Republic
    AR Denarius
    Struck by the famous Marcus Junius Brutus when he was moneyer in 54 BCE
    Obv: Bust of L. Junius Brutus, the Consul of 509 BC
    Rev: Bust of C. Servilius Ahala, master of horse, 439 BC.
    Ref:Sear 398. Crawford 433/2. Junia 1
    Ex: From the awesome collection of our Good Man - Warren Esty

    Rome had been ruled by Kings traditionally since 753 BCE. However, her last King, after many offenses and excesses at the expense of the Roman people... Lucius Tarquinius Superbus was deposed in 509 BCE. The Monarchy was replaced by a Republic.

    Instrumental in the overthrow of the monarchy, one of the first two Consuls of Rome in 509BCE, was Lucius Junius Brutus. He was consul with Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus and later Publius Valerius Publicola. According to Livy, one of Brutus' first acts as a Consul was to have the Roman citizens swear an oath to never allow a King of Rome. Even when his own two sons were caught in a conspiracy to restore the monarchy, under orders of the Consuls, he stoically witnessed their execution... Tough love...

    Later, in 439 BCE Republican Rome was gripped in a severe famine; people starving, suffering abounded. Enter Spurius Maelius, a wealthy Plebeian, who saw an opportunity to seize Rome... He purchased a large amount of wheat to distribute - at a low price - to the starving people of Rome. However, his ulterior motive was to foster support to usurp the fledgling Republic and proclaim himself Rex (King). A hated word in Roman vocabulary! The cry of the people arose and Maelius was to appear before the aging Cincinnatus, (the elected Dictatorduring this crisis.) Enter Gaius Servilius Ahala, Magister Equitum (Master of the Horse). Maelius refused to appear, and was hunted down and killed by Ahala. Ahala then razed his home to the ground and distributed the withheld wheat to the starving people.

    Fast forward to 54 BCE: Long descendant of the two early Republic Heroes, Marcius Junius Brutus, (also known as Quintus Servilius Caepio Brutus), new to politics at 31 years old, enters the membership of the vigintisexvirate (the three Moneyers authorized to mint coinage). This was the first step on the cursus honorum - the road to political office in the Republic. Because of his deep-rooted love for the Res Publica, he honors his ancestral heritage by placing the busts of both great family forefathers, Brutus and Ahala, on the obverse and reverse of the denarius issue of 54BCE.

    You all know the rest of the story as Senator Brutus, who on the Idus Martiae, 15-Mar-44 BCE, delivered the killing blow to the Tyrant Gaius Iulius Caesar, usurper of the Res Publica...
  11. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    You forgot to include a poll option for, “Uhhh, geez, I dunno- some random dude with a hammer, I guess?” ;)

    Lovely coin and writeup, as usual, even if I wasn’t up to speed on these.
  12. TIF

    TIF Always learning.

    I love it when the writeup adds interest to the coin!

    As for who issued this coin, I'm torn. The difference of metal between the one with the style of monogram found on your coin and on Al's coin surely must have some meaning, whether significant or trivial. Al asserts the issue of issuer has been laid to rest but I haven't read those articles and can't comment with any weight. I'd like for it to be Brutus but I don't see strong evidence... but I don't see strong evidence for any other of the possibilities either.

    Nice work on the monogram graphics :). Would a monogram composed of Latin letters be unusual on a coin that has a Greek legend?
    Sulla80, 7Calbrey, DonnaML and 3 others like this.
  13. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    I think Al has it right. Here is mine... IMG_0122.JPG IMG_0123.JPG IMG_0184.JPG griechen-889290.jpg
  14. TIF

    TIF Always learning.

    The reason I asked was to raise the possibility of the monogram representing letters not already considered. For instance, Rho Upsilon (P Y):

  15. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE

    SOLVED: Rho Upsilon = RY = @Ryro !!!

    Life is better.
  16. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    I also found the use of Latin letters in most of the interpretations I’ve seen to be strange. Only the BA interpretation uses Greek letters but I don’t see the A as very convincing.

    Your P Y interpretation looks very good! I have not seen that anywhere. I looked to see if it could be a mintmark for any of the cities on the Black Sea but nothing comes to mind.

    More thought needed. :D

    Edit to add: I think you might really be on to something here TIF. In my example the P looks very distinct from where you have drawn the Y. There is a clear depth change in the engraving where the upper left part of the Y meets the bottom loop of the P.

    Thanks @TIF
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2021
    TIF likes this.
  17. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Curtis, Sorry about the screw-up :shame:. I should have waited to post my comments after my morning coffee :confused:. Going through my morning emails I did read one from SullaCoins that must have froze my brain... I'll edit the error :D.
    7Calbrey, panzerman and Curtisimo like this.
  18. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    Great coin and write up @Curtisimo I have learned something new on this Christmas day 2021
    Curtisimo likes this.
  19. TIF

    TIF Always learning.

    I also looked to see if any rulers of that region (and related regions) might have names amenable to a P Y monogram. Nope, but I did not try very hard :D. Of course it could just be the monogram of a magistrate/underling whose name would not necessarily make the history books.

    Ryro, Curtisimo and Alegandron like this.
  20. TIF

    TIF Always learning.

    The more I consider P Y, the more I also like it. Among other things that bothered me about the monogram containing a B: why curve the lower bout like they did? If there is a Latin R in there, why is it drawn so oddly and attached in that position?

    Now if you can only solve for PY... :).
    Ryro and Curtisimo like this.
  21. TIF

    TIF Always learning.

    More notes on why I don't think it's a Brutus monogram.

    Wouldn't it be more likely to draw a BR monogram like this:


    But even so, why would he use "BR" as his monogram? Would he more likely use MJB for Marcus Junius Brutus? I suppose if Ti is Tiberius it is possible that the monogram is an upper case B and lower case r but it just seems like a stretch. It is hard to envision an upper case B and lower case R because when superimposed, the r disappears. I played around with some variations and wasn't happy with any of them.

    Of course just like doctors' signatures that look nothing like a name, I guess a monogram could look like anything :D.

    Also, just because I don't think the monogram stands for Brutus, that doesn't mean the coin couldn't have been issued by him. I just don't know.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2021
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