Odysseus and Argus, a denarius of C Mamilius Limetanus

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by red_spork, May 26, 2022.

  1. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    Here's a coin I've had for a few months but neglected to post to CoinTalk for whatever reason. I've wanted this type for a while but lately even ho-hum examples have been outside my reach, so I was happy to work out a private deal with Edgar L Owen for this coin from his personal collection. From the description of a similar coin in a Goldberg auction:

    The types on this coin allude to the moneyer's claim to descent from Telegonus, son of Ulysses and Circe, and hence from the god Mercury. The reverse features a sadly endearing scene from the Odyssey, when Odysseus returns home after twenty years disguised as a beggar and his old dog, who had been neglected, recognizes him: "So they spoke. And a dog, lying there, lifted its head and pricked up its ears. Argus was the hound of noble Odysseus, who had bred him himself, though he sailed to sacred Ilium before he could enjoy his company. Once the young men used to take the dog out after wild goat, deer and hare, but with his master gone he lay neglected by the gate, among the heaps of mule and cattle dung that Odysseus' men would later use to manure the fields. There, plagued by ticks, lay Argus the hound. But suddenly aware of Odysseus' presence, he wagged his tail and flattened his ears, though no longer strong enough to crawl to his master. Odysseus turned his face aside and hiding it from Eumaeus wiped away a tear then quickly said: 'Eumaeus, it's strange indeed to see this dog lying in the dung. He's finely built, but I can't tell if he had speed to match or was only a dog fed from the table, kept by his master for show.'"Then, Eumaeus, the swineherd, you replied: 'Yes this dog belongs to a man who has died far away. If he had the form and vigour he had when Odysseus left for Troy you'd be amazed by the speed and power. He was keen-scented on the trail, and no creature he started in the depths of the densest wood escaped him. But now he is in a sad state, and his master has died far from his own country, and the thoughtless women neglect him. When their masters aren't there to command them, servants don't care about the quality of their work. Far-voiced Zeus takes half the good out of them, the day they become slaves.'"With this he entered the stately house and walking straight into the hall joined the crowd of noble suitors. As for Argus, seeing Odysseus again in this twentieth year, the hand of dark death seized him."(Homer, Od. XVII.290-327).


    Roman Republic AR Denarius serratus(3.72g), 82 BC, Rome mint. C Mamilius Limetanus, moneyer. Draped bust of Mercury right, wearing winged petasus; caduceus over left shoulder and behind, control-mark I / C·MAMIL – LIMETAN; Ulysses standing right, holding staff and extending his right hand to his dog, Argus. Crawford 362/1

    Privately purchased from the personal collection of Edgar L. Owen 31 January 2022, ex Numismatica Ars Classica 64, 17 May 2012, 2304

    ANS SITNAM f7a7310d
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  3. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    very nice!...and in high grade too :)
  4. kirispupis

    kirispupis Supporter! Supporter

    I’m not sure which is more impressive: this coin, or a 20-year-old dog. :)
  5. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    We have a 17 year old chihuahua. I am always shocked when he makes it another year but he's doing surprisingly well for his age even though he slows down a bit each year. Some dogs just seem to go on forever.
    DonnaML and kirispupis like this.
  6. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Lovely specimen.

    Edessa, Bing and Johndakerftw like this.
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