My first coin with the Dioscuri

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, May 24, 2020.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Despite my interest in Roman Republican coins, and the large number of them that depict the Dioscuri (especially early on), I had never bought one showing the heavenly twins until now. The one I decided to buy is one of the very few (if not the only one?) that shows them doing something other than galloping on horseback in the same direction:

    Roman Republic, C. Servilius M.f., AR Denarius 136 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right wearing winged helmet, wreath behind neck, ROMA beneath with * [XVI monogram] to left / Rev. Dioscuri on horseback riding in opposite directions, heads turned back to face each other, twin on right holding spear downwards behind horse, C. SERVEILI M F in exergue. RSC I Servilia 1, Crawford 239/1, Sydenham 525, Sear RCV I 116 (ill.), BMCRR Italy 540. 19.35 mm., 3.89 g. [According to Sear, this is the first Republican coin with the “ROMA” legend on the obverse.]

    Seller's images:

    Servilius - Dioscuri denarius jpg version.jpg

    My own attempts (not because I think I can do better -- although I think the obverse may be slightly blurred in the seller's photo -- but to show a little more detail, as with the Postumius Albinus/priest & heifer photos I posted yesterday).

    Servilius (Roma-Dioscuri) Obv 1.jpg

    Servilius (Roma-Dioscuri) Rev 2.jpg

    Does anyone know of any other Republican (or Imperial) coins showing the Dioscuri doing something other than galloping in the same direction?
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  3. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    That's a very attractive coin.
    DonnaML likes this.
  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you! There are a lot of small cracks on the reverse, but they're not noticeable except under magnification.
  5. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Another question I forgot to ask: if you look on the reverse directly above the "EIL" in SERVEILI. you'll see a group of small, vaguely globular objects. Does anyone have any idea what they're supposed to be?
  6. Marsman

    Marsman Well-Known Member

    Beautiful coin. Never saw this type before with the two brothers riding in opposite directions.
    Looks kind of funny :)
    DonnaML likes this.
  7. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    At least they're looking back at each other. As we know, they find parting very difficult!
  8. Limes

    Limes Well-Known Member

    That's a very lovely coin. Unfortunately i dont have a coin with the Dioscuri on it.

    A search learns me that there are denarii with the Janus-type obverse of the Dioscuri. And there's a type with them standing next to the horse. The absolutely most brilliant one is a medallion on which they are sitting next to Jupiter. You'd better start saving money if thattype is on your wantlist:)
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
    DonnaML likes this.
  9. Limes

    Limes Well-Known Member

    I think they are part of the behind legs of the right horse.
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  10. Alegandron

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

    Gorgeous and well done, @DonnaML ... but, FINALLY you got one! :D


    RR Servilius 136 BCE Roma Dioscuri galloping S 116 Cr 239-1

    Just lookin' around:
    (Close-ups of their heads as they are galloping towards each other...)

    RR AE Aes Grave Sextans 270 BCE 37mm 55.28g Dioscuri R and L

    Horses DEMANDED to quit galloping!
    ( Just STOP it, already!)

    RI Maxentius 306-312 CE AE Folles Dioscuri holding their horses She-Wolf

    My SMALLEST Dioscuri...
    (and, it is a REAL SESTERTIUS! Not that Imperial AE stuff...)

    RR AR Sestertius After 211 BCE 12mm 1.0g Rome mint Roma r IIS - Dioscuri riding stars in ex ROMA Sear 46 Craw 44-7 RSC 4
  11. Alegandron

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

    @DonnaML asked: "Another question I forgot to ask: if you look on the reverse directly above the "EIL" in SERVEILI. you'll see a group of small, vaguely globular objects. Does anyone have any idea what they're supposed to be?"

    Well, LOL, it COULD be their hooves... or if you know horses, it could be ROAD APPLES...

  12. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    You're right! How silly of me not to realize that.
    Alegandron likes this.
  13. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    Wonderful coin from an amazing time! Your coin was minted just a few years before the age of the late republic when it all would come crashing down. Thanks to the grandsons of Scipio Africanus... the Gracchi bros.
    Being a Gemini, I've always been partial to the dioscurri:
    4036527A-925B-46FC-B05D-F120B136C2A8.png C63B3910-DC1F-4461-A332-ED058E006113.png 64959886-1E7F-4681-8293-00E001CD2754.png
  14. Limes

    Limes Well-Known Member

    On second thought, I think @Alegandron Is right: road apples!:) Hence the globular shape of the object!
  15. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    I would view those small cracks as a pedigree...
    That reminds me of a performance of Aida, in Rome, 1969, at the Caracalla Baths.

    This was a grand opera production, against the stunning setting of the Baths. At the part of the production, where the victorious Egyptians were celebrating their victory over the Ethiopians, complete with full orchestra playing wonderful, majestic processional music, the chorus of one hundred singers with song praising the triumph of Pharaoh, lavish costumes, etc., in comes a two-horse drawn chariot carrying the victorious commander, Radamès. He gets off the chariot, and then the horses become very restless.

    So, they exit, stage left, leaving a nice, large steaming (cool night) pile of horse poop, center stage.

    To their credit, the production moved on, but they had to be very careful where the Ethiopian captives were thrown to the ground....
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  16. Alegandron

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

    LOL, very common. In fact you must COUNT on them dropping a load. I have attended many a show, event, of course parades, Horse Exhibitions, etc. where they all exhibit nature calls!
  17. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Great coin Donna,Dancing in the temple pediment.
    Maxentius. Temple of Roma.
    Maxentius follis. Quite scarce with Dioscuri in pediment.
    6.79 g, 23.1 x 25.2 mm.
    RIC VI:208 for Rome. Struck 308-310 AD.
    OBV.: Maxentius right, IMP C MAXENTIVS PF AVG.
    REV.: Roma seated facing, head left, in hexastyle temple, holding globe and scepter, shield at side; Dioscuri in pediment and Victories as acroteria, CONSERV VRB SVAE, REP in exergue.
  18. akeady

    akeady Well-Known Member

    This is a very corroded fourrée of the "other" Brutus denarius. The reverse has the Dioscuri, but you'll have to take my word for it at this stage!

    Denarius of L. Servius Rufus
    Obv. L. SERVIVS RVFVS - Bare head right (Servius Sulpicius Rufus or Brutus?)
    Rev. Dioscuri standing facing, each holding spear and with sword hanging from waist. Border of dots
    Mint: Rome (41 or 43 BC)
    Wt./Size/Axis: 2.48g / - / -
    • RSC 10 (Sulpicia)
    • Sydenham 1082
    • Crawford 515/2
    • HCRI 324


    I bought this for the obverse portrait - traditionally regarded as a portrayal of Servius Sulpicius Rufus, who lifted the siege of Tusculum in 377 BC. However, especially on better-preserved solid silver specimens, it's very close to the portrait of Brutus on the Eid Mar denarius.

  19. Ignoramus Maximus

    Ignoramus Maximus Well-Known Member

    Congrats with your first Dioscuri!

    Here's my denarius without galloping Dioscuri. I believe this is the one Limes mentioned erlier on in the thread. In my view one of the most elegant Republican denarii...Sorry for the poor picture quality. The coin looks much better in hand and the porosity doesn't show. And I always love a dark patina.

    C. Fonteius.Rome. 114-113 BC. 20mm, 3,93 gr.
    Obv: Janiform heads of Dioscuri H and star.
    Rev: Galley to left with 3 rowers (and 5(!) ores)and helmsman.

    font.png fonte.png
  20. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    Lovely example of this C. Servillius type, one of the earliest deviations from the what had been a pretty standard depiction of the dioscuri riding right for the previous 80 years. Both the obverse and the reverse are among my favorite designs. Here is mine.
  21. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Congrats on your first Dioscuri! here's my coin of this type - the reverse according to Crawford is referencing the moneyer as grandson of C. Servilius Geminus (consul in 203 BC).
    C Servilius Dioscuri.jpg
    C. Servilius, AR denarius, 136 BC, Rome mint
    Obv: ROMA legend with winged, helmeted head of Roma right, helmet surmounted by head of an eagle, wreath and star behind head
    Rev: C SERVEILI M F legend beneath the Dioscuri galloping in opposite directions and each looking back
    Ref: Crawford 239/1

    The Dioscuri show up Janiform on the denarius of C. Fonteius, Crawford 290 and stand side-by side on the denarius of L Memmius, Crawford 304. There are others as well. Here's a Greek coin of Dioskurias, ΔΙΟΣΚΟΥΡΙΑΣ, a trading post which according to tradition was founded by the Dioscuri:
    Colchis Dioscuri.jpg
    Colchis, Dioskourias, 150-100 BC, Bronze Æ
    Obv: Caps of the Dioskouroi surmounted by stars
    Rev: ΔI-OΣ KOΥ-ΡIA Δ-OΣ, thyrsos.
    Ref: SNG BM 1021
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