This one sadly got away from me, but it's so cool and I have such a burning question about it that I felt compelled to start a thread! It was in Sunday's Naville, described as follows (lot is here): Theoderic, 494-526. In name of Anastasius. Half siliqua Milan 494-526, AR 12mm., 0.93g. Pearl-diademed and draped bust r. Rev. Victory advancing r., holding palm branch and wreath. MEC – . Deno -. Metlich 46c. Very rare, edge incomplete, Good Very Fine. My question is: that's a snake underneath Victory on the reverse, right?!? In which case I think there's a good argument that it represents Theoderic's victory over and murder of Odoacer, with the snake representing the latter. Let me lay it out. First, the coins. Here are the images I've been able to find of this type so far: The legends are: D N ANASTASIVS P AVG (the lone "P" is apparently characteristic of the Milan mint) and INVICTA ROMA, "invincible Rome". (It can also be "IMVICTA." On coin (d) the "R" is malformed, looking more like a reversed "N".) Milan was Theoderic's earliest mint in Italy, and Metlich (The Coinage of Ostrogothic Italy, Spink 2004) attributes this rare issue (type 46) to Milan. As I understand it from the British Museum's document here – I don't have Metlich myself – type 46 comes in 3 varieties, with Victory holding a cross (46a), a rudder or a trophy (46b), and a rudder or trophy with a star above (46c). Coin (a) above is clearly type 46a, with a cross. It's also very well engraved, and most resembles the Naville example. I'm not sure why Naville has said theirs is a 46c... I suspect it's a 46a. (More on the snakes below!) Coin (b): The British Museum says of this example, which they call a type 46a variant, that "Victory holds a long rudder and not a cross; there is also evidence of a possible mint mark in exergue –three dots, ●●●, placed between two lines. This interesting specimen is possibly transitional between Metlich 46a and 46b." I'm not sure this is a rudder, it could well be a sketchy cross. Coin (c)'s Victory seems to be holding a trophy (although the BM says "rudder or trophy"... I continue to be skeptical there are any rudders here!), and coin (d)'s Victory is holding... well, a thingie of some sort! It's pretty crude engraving. Coins (c) and (d) have nothing visible in the exergue, but as you can see, that's not necessarily because there was nothing there on the original die. Now we come to the snake. To my mind, the Naville example is clearly a snake, and the Wildwinds example, coin (a), must also be a snake. If the BM is right that coin (b) is transitional, then the "three dots, ●●●, placed between two lines" is simply a devolved snake. That looks exactly right to me. Here are the details: Thus far I'm pretty confident of my conclusions: it's a snake on the Naville coin, coin (a), and coin (b). But what does this snake represent (if anything), and how does it fit with the rest of the coinage from this period? Here are some speculations. First, we need some historical context. My source is primarily Peter Heather's excellent account in The Restoration of Rome (Macmillan 2013). In the late 5th century, the eastern emperor Zeno had two big problems: a Gothic horde (Theoderic's) sitting around being dangerous near Constantinople, and Odoacer, who had deposed the last Roman emperor in the west and set himself up as king of Italy. Zeno suggested to Theoderic that he pay a less than friendly visit to Odoacer, and Theoderic liked that idea very much, thank you! He arrived in Italy in 489, initially defeating Odoacer, but was beaten back and forced to take refuge in Pavia (near Milan) until 490. Over the next year the tables turned, Odoacer fled to Ravenna, and Theoderic blockaded the city from August 492 until March 493. Ravenna is nearly impossible to take due to its marshes, and the two leaders ultimately negotiated a compromise by which they would share power. However, at the celebratory banquet, there was a surprise in store for Odoacer: ...Theoderic himself rushed forward and struck him with a sword on the collarbone... The fatal blow cut through Odoacer's body as far as the hip, and it is said that Theoderic exclaimed, 'There clearly wasn't a bone in the wretched man's body!' --John of Antioch, fragment 214a Due to his treachery (and butchery!), Theoderic was left in sole command of all of Italy, and Zeno had reduced his number of big problems from 2 to 1. It hardly mattered, though, because Zeno had a much bigger problem: he was dead. Now Theoderic was Anastasius's problem instead. Theoderic presented himself publicly as the divinely chosen Roman rescuer of Italy, also in his letters to Anastasius. In 507, a Catholic deacon called Ennodius said that God had brought Theoderic to Italy to subdue the "demon-possessed" Odoacer. Since the snake is the classic Christian representation of evil, it makes a lot of sense to interpret the snake as representing Odoacer, being trampled specifically by Victory. Why would Theoderic want to trumpet his treacherous deed quite so prominently, though? Well, when you're defeating the devil, any means is a righteous means, so it would actually be in Theoderic's interests to represent Odoacer in these terms. This is a familiar use of the snake in late antique iconography. We all know it on Constantine's first coin featuring the labarum, which is often taken to represent (at least in part) Constantine's defeat of the "evil" Licinius. Here's that coin, another coin (of Valentinian III) showing the emperor trampling a snake with a human head, as well as a mosaic showing Christ trampling the evil snake in The Archbishop's Chapel, Ravenna. The mosaic was made shortly before 500, just when our Theoderic coins were likely issued. Note the cross over Christ's shoulder, mirroring Victory on coin (a). So are you convinced that our Anastasius coin represents Theoderic's defeat and even murder of Odoacer? The timing of these issues is more difficult to establish. One observation I would make is that the northern Italian silver issued in the name of Zeno is markedly cruder than later issues in the name of Anastasius. One possible explanation is that under Odoacer, mint performance stayed at the low level exhibited in the previous twenty years' chaos, but that some mint reform took place early in Theoderic's reign. The British Museum has two half siliquae in the name of Zeno, one attributed to Milan and the other to Ravenna, which are both very crude but clearly feature Victory facing the opposite direction: The BM can't say whether these siliquae are Odoacer's or Theoderic's. My suggestion is that they are either Odoacer's or very early Theoderic, prior to Odoacer's murder. (Perhaps Theoderic adapted an earlier type of Odoacer; also it may be that the crude coin (d) above is from this early period, just after the accession of Anastasius in 491.) Once Theoderic had established control, he is known to have busied himself with domestic affairs; apparently this included mint reform, with the leap in quality observed in the coinage. With time, inevitably some deterioration set in, as evidenced by the transition from the Naville coin/coin (a) to coin (b), but it never deteriorated to its pre-493 state. Of course I like this story since it fits perfectly with the hypothesis that the snake represents Odoacer, and that those particular half-siliquae were minted starting soon after the murder in 493... but I admit that's all rather speculative! OK, I think I've got this coin out of my system now. But, pretty please, if it's yours, reassure me that you would have gone well past 300 GBP... because at the moment I'm definitely regretting not taking it that next increment, even though it's broken. It was sitting at 90 GBP for so long I figured I'd snag it for 200 or a little more... & then I didn't have the gumption when it kept going. Had I done all this research first, I'm sure I would have! Edit: Please post anything remotely relevant, even if you have to scrape the barrel!! And if anyone has Metlich... please do tell.