L. Roscius Fabatus Girl feeding snake

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by rrdenarius, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    L. Roscius Fabatus scale symbol.jpg
    I am eagerly waiting for this coin from the recent Kunker Auction. Since I posted a pic of the coin, I figured why not do a write-up as well. This is a large issue (Crawford says 240 dies) so some of you newbie ancient collectors should be able to find these coins on the cheep and have a good story to go with the coin.

    L. Roscius Fabatus

    Roman Republic, AR Denarius (Serratus); L. Roscius Fabatus; 64 BC Chr., Rome
    Obv - Head of Juno Sospita r. in the goatskin cap that is tied in front, behind balance / scale, below: L.ROSCI; border of dots
    Rev - Girl stands r. feeding snake that is raised in front of her, behind box for weights, In Ex: FABATI; border dots
    3.94 g
    Crawf. 412/1, o/r dies = 240/241
    BMC 3474 – this control symbol pair; 3394 - 3510
    Syd. 915
    RSC / Bab. 1; Note: both books show the scale / box symbol pair.
    gVF, well centered and struck, nicely toned, some scratches

    On the occasion of the annual festival of Juno Sospita in Lanuvium, a virgin had to feed the snake living in the basement of the temple. If the girl was chaste, she left the cave to much celebrating from her family, otherwise she was killed by the snake.

    Crawford notes the die symbols were pairs of related every-day objects. There was no more than one die for each symbol. Bab lists 155 pairs. Grueber lists 108 pairs. Crawford lists 242 pairs.

    3.94 g.

    I bought this coin because I liked the symbol pair. I have not seen an ancient scale or balance with these features:
    · Two horizontal beams.
    · An arch below the beams.
    · A base with legs to hold the vertical post that holds the beam. Most coins are held from above the beam by hand.
    · The pan on the right is larger than the pan (weight?) on the left.

    It looks a bit like the Nuremberg ducat scale pictured below from Scales and Weights by Bruno Kisch, pg 40. When a gold ducat of low weight was placed in the right pan, the arch showed how many grains the coin was below standard. I have not seen any ancient scale pictures with the arch.
    L. Roscius Fabatus scale symbol (2).jpg

    C. Annius scale brockage NAC.jpg
    you can see a small scale at 5 on the obv and 7 on the rev

    LRF girl snake scale modius CNG.jpg
    similar to my coin, but a modius (to measure grain volume) on the reverse, note the different style scale, coin from CNG

    PISO scale cng.jpg
    Roman Republic, C. Piso L.f. Frugi. 61 BC (CNG)

    Q. Metellus Scipio and P. Licinius Crassus scale NYSale.jpg
    Roman Republic, Q. Metellus Scipio and P. Licinius Crassus Iunior, 47-46 BC (New York Sale)

    metalworker_shop scale.jpg
    It looks like a yoke is holding this 2 pan scale

    Roman butcher shop scale.jpg
    This butcher shop relief has a steelyard scale.

    If someone knows of a reference with a scale like the one below, let me know.
    L. Roscius Fabatus scale symbol (2).jpg


    Attached Files:

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  3. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Great example
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
  4. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Thanks for the interesting writeup.
  5. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    Nice symbols. @rrdenarius . Crawford dated the issue to 64 BCE, but Hersh and Walker brought that date down to 59 BCE based on their analysis of the Mesagne hoard. Michael Harlan picked a median date of 62 BCE based on some prosopographic assumptions.

    Roscius Fabatus patterned this series on the coinage of Papia, struck about 20 years earlier. Both series are struck on serrated flans, both depict Juno Sospita and both have paired obverse and reverse die symbols. It's likely that both moneyers were from Lanuvium where the Juno Sospita cult was located.

    The Roscius Fabatus coins have the additional distinction of being the last Roman Republican coins produced on serrated flans.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  6. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    What an excellent coin... and fantastic control symbols, especially that scale. I've been holding out for a decent Roscius Fabatus denarius for some time now. One like yours would put me over the moon.
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  7. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Wow! Like Zumbly, I'd like to get a Roscius Fabatus but want an interesting control mark. Yours takes the cake!
    rrdenarius likes this.
  8. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Nice example @rrdenarius with an equally nic e control mark.
    AR Serrate Denarius
    OBVERSE: Head of Juno Sospita in goat skin, L ROSCI below, Jug to left
    REVERSE: Girl standing right feeding serpent before, Unknown control mark (?) to left, FABATI in ex.
    Rome 59 BC
    3.7g, 18mm
    Cr 412/1; Syd 915
  9. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    @Bing reverse control mark looks like a wineskin to me. That would pair nicely with the obv mark.
    TIF and Roman Collector like this.
  10. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I know, but when I've tried to look up the control mark, it doesn't match with the wine skins on other coins. Also, this particular control mark is listed as "unknown". So, I guess it can be whatever we want it to be, right?:smuggrin:
  11. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    @Bing Grueber calls your symbols, his #54: jug with handle (I would add a base line) / bottle or gourd with strap. Crawford says ?
    20181012_105154 L.ROSCUS.FAB.jpg When I checked my RR coin spreadsheet, I see I have a #54 symbol coin also. Looks like I need to make a trip to the safe deposit box to take pics. Unfortunately I bought the coin in 2009 and changed computers..... so pics of the coin are on the old computer.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2018
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  12. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Thanks for the comments.
    I wonder how someone can make a head covering with the skin of a goat head. It must be a BIG goat or a small person (or goddess).
    I like Harlan's books. He gives some interesting historical perspective to the coins. I keep a spreadsheet on my RR coins that is woefully out of date. I use Crawford for the data point of date, and add a note where others have different thoughts. Grueber and Sydenham can be significantly different, but I bought those books before Crawford.
  13. Carthago

    Carthago Does this look infected to you?

    Nice Roscia, RR. A really neat set of symbols that goes well with your love for weights and measures. I can only add one coin from my collection that has a balance that I can recall.

    C. Annius T.f. T.n. and L. Fabius L.f. Hispaniensis. Denarius, Northern Italy 82-81, AR (3.90g, 19.6mm, 8h). Diademed and draped female bust r.; behind, caduceus, before, scales and below carnyx r. Rev. Victory in quadriga r. B. Annia 2 and Fabia 17. Sydenham 748. Crawford 366/1a.

    C Annius Tf & L Fabius Lf Hispaniensis Denarius NAC.jpg
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  14. Carausius

    Carausius Brother, can you spare a sestertius?

    I do the exact same thing, largely because I couldn't bring myself to add pencil notes to my first edition Crawford!** I use Crawford series numbers and date, to which I add columns with subsequent authority contra dates. The contra authorities vary by era, as applicable. I don't bother with pre-Crawford dates, because the whole idea is to have a spreadsheet showing the current scholarship, so I can avoid having to open a dozen books when cataloguing. It's not nearly complete. I try to work a section of 10 or so series at a time when I happen to be researching any particular series.

    **Not criticising those who do. Many consider a standard work annotated by an expert to be of real value. I'm just not certain MY notes would add value.
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