Roman Republican Coins #s 71, 72, & 73

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Jun 5, 2022.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    Unless things change significantly here, I doubt that I will be posting many more new threads in this forum, although I do still plan to visit on occasion to like and/or comment on others' posts. But given that I've posted write-ups here of all my newly-acquired Roman Republican coins since my 30th (see list of links below for reference purposes), as well as several un-numbered write-ups even before then, I thought I'd post one more group of write-ups to conclude the series here.

    The first one is a rather common type, but I think the reverse has better details than the average examples I've seen.

    Roman Republic, C. Servilius Vatia, AR Denarius, 127 BC. Obv. Head of Roma right wearing winged helmet with star on helmet’s neck-piece, triple-drop earring, and beaded necklace; below, ROMA; behind, lituus; under chin, mark of value (* = XVI ligate = 16 asses) / Rev. Horseman [M. Servilius Pulex Geminus, see fn.] with plumed helmet, cape flowing behind, and shield inscribed M on upper half, charging left and piercing with his spear another horseman fleeing left before him, but turning back towards first horseman with shield in right hand and sword raised in left hand, as his horse (seen from behind) loses footing; in exergue, C•SERVEIL (VE ligate). Crawford 264/1; BMCRR II 1166 (ill. BMCRR III Pl. xxx No. 4); RSC I Servilia 6 (ill. p. 88); Sear RCV I 140 (ill. p. 100); Yarrow pp. 100-101 (ill. Fig. 2.52) [Liv Mariah Yarrow, The Roman Republic to 49 BCE: Using Coins as Sources (2021)]; RBW Collection 1069 (ill. p. 221) (2014). 19 mm., 3.81 g. Purchased from Savoca Coins 133rd Silver Auction, 15 May 2022, Lot 297; ex Savoca Coins 124th Silver Auction, 23 Jan. 2022, Lot 385.*


    *The authorities agree that “the reverse type of the denarius probably refers to the propensity for single combat of the moneyer’s ancestor, M. Servilius Pulex Geminus, Cos. 202 [citations to Livy and Plutarch omitted.]. . . . The letter M on the shield thus stands for Marcus.” See Crawford Vol. I p. 289. As RSC elaborates at p. 88, based on a footnote in BMCRR I (p. 179 n. 2), “The horseman represented here is M. Servilius Pulex Geminus, who was elected Augur in B.C. 211 and who filled that office for about 40 years and who was consul in B.C. 202. He is said to have received wounds in twenty-three single combats and to have been victorious in all.” See also Yarrow p. 101, emphasizing the importance of the way in which Pulex’s opponent is portrayed: “For Pulex, the raised sword of the fleeing horseman . . . illustrates the ‘frontality’ of his own scars in contrast to those he inflicted (Figure 2.52). The depiction of the horse from behind draws inspiration from Hellenistic battle scenes, such as the Alexander mosaic (House of the Vetii, Pompeii), which places such a horse at the very center of its composition.”

    Next, this subtype (along with all the similar subtypes grouped under Crawford 282) is not difficult to find, but this example particularly appealed to me because I believe the reverse design is also well above average in how clearly it shows the warrior, his shield, and his dragon carnyx.

    Roman Republic, L. Porcius Licinius, L. Licinius Crassus and Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus, AR Serrate Denarius, Narbo Mint [Narbo Martius colony (Narbonne), Province of Gaul], 118 BCE [year of Narbo’s founding].* Obv. Head of Roma right wearing winged helmet, necklace, and drop earring, with hair in two curling locks extending down from helmet; L•PORCI upwards in front; LICI downwards behind followed by mark of value * [= XVI asses] behind neck / Rev. Naked, bearded Gallic warrior [possibly Bituitus, king of Arverni; see 2nd fn.] driving galloping biga right, holding shield with criss-cross pattern, dragon-head carnyx, and reins in left hand, and hurling spear with right hand; in exergue, L•LIC•CN•DOM. Crawford 282/5; BMCRR I Rome 1187; RSC I Porcia 8 (ill. p. 81) [this type is also RSC I Licinia 15 and Domitia 19]; Sear RCV I 158; see also Yarrow p. 110 & Fig. 2.68 at p. 113 [Liv Mariah Yarrow, The Roman Republic to 49 BCE: Using Coins as Sources (2021)]; RBW Collection 1110 (ill. p. 229); Foss p. 2 (The Republic No. 2a) [Clive Foss, Roman Historical Coins (Seaby, London, 1990)]. 20 mm., 3.39 g., 8 h. Purchased from Roma Numismatics Ltd., E-Auction 96, 5 May 2022, Lot 893 (from "Vitangelo" Collection).**


    *On stylistic and other grounds, Mattingly argues for a somewhat later date, ca. 115-114 BCE. See See Harold B. Mattingly, “Roman Republican Coinage ca. 150-90 B.C.,” in From Coins to History (2004), pp. 199-226 at pp. 210-211.

    **See Sear RCV I at p. 106 regarding the five different types of Crawford 282, i.e., this type (Crawford 282/5) and Crawford 282/1-282/4: “This extraordinary issue, distinguished by flans with serrated edges, was minted at the newly-founded city of Narbo, the first Roman colony in Gaul. The two principal magistrates (Licinius Crassus and Domitius Ahenobarbus) produced their coins in association with five junior colleagues” – one subtype for each of them, in this case L. Porcius Licinius. For each subtype, the junior magistrate’s name appears on the obverse and the two principal magistrates’ names appear on the reverse. See also Crawford I p. 298.

    For identification of the three moneyers/magistrates named on this type, see Crawford I pp. 298-299:

    “The L. Licinius who is one of the two senior monetary magistrates was surely the L. Licinius Crassus responsible for the [founding of the] colony . . . . [and] was Cos. 95; Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus seems to have struck coinage as moneyer also (no. 285) and to have been Cos. 96. Their junior associates did not have distinguished careers - . . . . L. Porcius Licinus is presumably the grandson or great-grandson of L. Porcius Licinus, Cos. 184.” See also BMCRR I pp. 184-185 n. 1 (re the two senior magistrates); p. 185 n. 1 (re L. Porcius Licinus).

    Regarding the scene on the reverse, Crawford states as follows at Vol. I p. 299: “The accoutrements of the figure in the biga forming the reverse type are purely Gallic (note the carnyx and the criss-cross pattern on the shield, similar to those on [Crawford] no. 281/1 [issued by M Fovri L.f. Philus]. . . . The figure is clearly a Gaul . . . ; that the figure is the Gallic king Bituitus, captured by the father of Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus according to the probably mendacious account of Valerius Maximus . . . and Eutropius . . ., seems incapable of proof.” Contra BMCRR I pp. 184-185 n. 1: “The reverse type, which is common to the coins of all the moneyers of this issue, records the victory in Gaul of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, the father of the [magistrate], over the Allobroges and their ally, Bituitus, king of the Arverni, who is represented in his chariot. Bituitus was shortly afterwards taken prisoner by C. Fabius Maximus, and figured in Rome in his own chariot of silver at the triumph of Fabius.” RSC I (3rd ed. 1978), although published post-Crawford, continues to follow this interpretation. See id. p. 18 (note to Aurelia 20).

    Without addressing the specific identity of the Gallic warrior on the reverse of this issue, Yarrow places the scene in context; see Section 2.2.6 at pp. 106-108, 110:

    “The Roman concern to honor both the gods and their ancestors for their military successes and the territorial hegemony those victories had granted to the populus Romanus required the development of a very specific visual language. The desire was not to communicate a general celebration of the divine or of militarism but rather to hold up as exempla specific deeds as proofs of Roman (and familial) exceptionalism. To this end, the Romans chose to appropriate symbols associated with the strength and prowess of their enemies and transform them into an iconography of Roman conquest: falcatas (Iberian-style swords), torques, elephants, camel cavalries, and Macedonian shields all fall into this category. Just as actual torques, carnyces (Gallic dragon-shaped war trumpets), shields, and falcatas were displayed in Rome as the spoils of war – dedicated in temples and hung on the houses of the generals as lasting testimony to the victories – so too the alien symbols on the coinage testify to the defeat of a specific formidable enemy. This desire for iconographic specificity was not, of course, particular to the Romans, and they borrowed heavily from Hellenistic precedents for their choice of symbols. What is unique is the breadth, nuance, and frequency of this symbolic repertoire. While use of these and similar symbols was not originally limited to the coinage, given how few other Republican monuments survive, coins remain our prime means of tracing this development. . . . [Continued below]


    Third, another example of a common coin that I believe is well above average in quality. I purchased it from its buyer at the 2021 CNG auction referenced below.

    Roman Republic/Imperatorial Period, P. Accoleius Lariscolus, AR Denarius, Sep-Dec. 43 BCE, Rome Mint. Obv. Draped bust of Diana Nemorensis right, head closely bound with fillet, and hair arranged in close locks above her forehead; behind, P • ACCOLEIVS upwards; before, LARISCOLVS downwards / Rev. Triple cult statue of Diana Nemorensis (Diana-Hecate-Selene) facing, supporting on their hands and shoulders a beam, above which are five cypress trees, the figure on left (Diana) holding bow, that on right (Selene?) holding poppy or lily, with Hecate probably in the center. Crawford 486/1, RSC I Accoleia 1 (ill. p. 9), BMCRR I 4211, Sear CRI 172 at p. 109 [David Sear, The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators 49-27 BC (1998)], Sear RCV I 484 (ill. p. 161), RBW Collection 1701 (ill. p. 363). 19 mm., 3.32 g., 10 hr. Purchased May 2022; ex Classical Numismatic Group [CNG] Electronic Auction 491, 5 May 2021, Lot 349 (from the Lampasas Collection); ex CNG Electronic Auction 409, 8 Nov. 2017, Lot 535; ex CNG Sale 76/2, 12 Sep. 2007, Lot 3242 (from John A. Seeger Collection).*


    *See John Melville Jones, A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (Seaby, London 1990) (entry for “Diana,” at p. 97) explaining that in Roman religion Diana was not only generally equated with the Greek goddess Artemis as the divine huntress, but “was also equated with Luna (the Greek Selene) and Hecate [the Greek goddess associated with night, magic, necromancy, the underworld, etc.]. A triple Diana, combining these three forms, appears once on Roman coins, on a denarius of P. Accoleius Lariscolus (43 BC) which shows her as she was worshipped at Aricia near Lake Nemi, the home of the mint magistrate’s family. This Diana Nemorensis is portrayed in the form of a triple statue on the reverse of the coin, the head of the goddess being the obverse type (an earlier interpretation of the type as a representation of the Nymphae Querquetulanae is less satisfactory).” (For that earlier interpretation, see RSC I at p. 9, stating that the referenced Nymphae “preside over the green forests and it was to them that the groves of the Lares on Mount Coelius were consecrated.”)

    Crawford follows the Diana Nemorensis interpretation, stating that “the types refer to the Aricine origin of the moneyer.” (Crawford Vol. I p. 497.) However, he rejects the theory of Andreas Alföldi that the type was also connected to the fact that Octavian’s mother Atia, who died during her son’s consulship in 43 BCE, was born in Aricia, stating that Lariscolus’s “appointment as moneyer will have taken place in 44 and hence have owed nothing to Octavian.” (Id.) However, in Sear CRI at p. 107, David Sear argues the contrary in the latter part of his discussion of this type:


    If anyone has any other thoughts or information regarding which of the three goddesses on the reverse is which, I'd like to know. I identify the figure on the left as Diana holding a bow, and the figure on the right as Selene holding a poppy (or lily), following the description by @Jochen1 in his thread at . The standard authorities generally identify the object held by the figure on the left as a poppy rather than a bow, and the one held by the figure on the right as a lily rather than a poppy, without specifying which goddess is which. In fact, on my specimen, the flower on the right does seem to resemble a lily more than a poppy. I am not aware of any tradition identifying Luna/Selene with either. Although I believe that lilies do open at night.

    People should post anything they think is relevant.

    Finally, for future reference and for anyone interested in reading some of my previous Roman Republican coin write-ups, here are links to the ones I could find:

    I guess I never posted a No. 66!

    Apparently I skipped No. 57 as well! And I have no idea why the previous two links are boldfaced. [Sulpicius Galba] [L. Cassius Longus, Vesta/voting scene]

    Don't ask me what happened to Nos. 41 & 42! [Should be No. 33] [Including No. 31]

    And that's basically where I started counting, although I did post a number of Roman Republican coin acquisitions before that.

    So long for now. For the most part, it's been an enjoyable 2 1/2 years.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2022
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  3. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    Sorry to see you are relegating us to the back burner. Posting on the other forum is kind of like "preaching to the choir", nothing wrong about that, but on CT, more people who know little about ancients can appreciate your coins and be attracted to the hobby.
  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    I understand, and I do have some regrets, but there are "newbies" there too, as well as medieval and world collectors. And I have what I think are good reasons, both general and personal. In any event, I hope my list of more than 40 detailed coin write-ups serves as a useful reference for anyone interested in learning about quite a few different Roman Republican coin types. I make no claim to original thinking for any of them, but I do believe they synthesize the various secondary sources reasonably well.
  5. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

  6. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    I did not clearly understand what was the problem with this forum. I have seen there had been arguments here on non-numismatic issues, and I must confess I just left it aside and did not pay much attention to it. Maybe I should have, but I am fed up with this kind of debate. I didn't come on this forum to talk politics, religion or such great principles. As long as I am not banned - it happened once - I'll come here from time to time.
    People are different from one another and it is always intellectually profitable to be in touch with people who do not think the way we do. Our times are getting ugly. People seem to be more divided than ever. Topics such as secularism, freedom of speech and even of thought, human equality, birth control, even democracy and rule of law are now being seriously questioned in the name of partisan or religious interests. In USA of course, but also in Europe - and we usually say that what appears in America shall reach Europe some time after. I used to naively trust the pillars on which modern civilized societies were founded, but in our Western world they are more and more shaken, people are increasingly separated from each other and locked in their own ideological fortress.
    It reminds me a Greek Orthodox joke. A Greek Orthodox is the only survivor of a sunken ship and swims to an uncharted desert island. What is the first thing he will build there? Answer : two churches, the one he will go to and the one he will not.
    Is it the right moment to secede, to decide there are people with which we shouldn't talk?
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  7. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I have been coming here for Ancient numismatics for a long time. I do not want to discuss anything other than that! I don't care about anyone's politics, sex life, race, etc. I like everyone's coins regardless. This hobby and this forum is my escape and I would like to keep it that way. It is a shame so many left CT because of some perceived ideological differences. Those differences would never have come to the fore if we just stayed on topic. However, there is a faction, at least here in the US, that believes you must espouse their ideology or you are outcast and cannot be respectfully entreated.

    Dafydd, sky92880 and Kentucky like this.
  8. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    @GinoLR, my post explaining why I wouldn't be doing any new write-ups here for the foreseeable future was almost a month ago. I don't know why you're responding now. I added to the thread yesterday only to post a link to a new write-up at the other place about my three most recently purchased Roman Republican denarii, in case anyone here who used to like reading my Republican coin write-ups was interested. I'd be happy to explain to you privately in more detail the reasons why I write about ancient coins at the other place now instead of here -- along with more than 100 other people who used to post about ancient coins here -- but there's no reason to rehash the whole episode publicly again. I'll say only this: the people who left were not the ones who injected politics into this forum. I'm not sure that as someone who isn't American, you can understand very easily what was going on.
    Etcherman and ValiantKnight like this.
  9. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Just couldn't help yourself could you? And your statement is patently false!
    Evan Saltis, sky92880 and Kentucky like this.
  10. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    Right back at you for your gratuitous little rant!
    ValiantKnight likes this.
  11. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  12. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    That's really sad.
  13. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    For me, it is time management, or lack thereof. I've tried to split my time between the two forums, but with other things going on in my life it is hard to maintain my previous level of participation at CT. I'll try to do a better job.
    Kentucky and Bing like this.
  14. tenbobbit

    tenbobbit Well-Known Member

    Not offended nor insulted but, that was a Trump statement for sure @DonnaML .

    Maybe you should be a little more Considerate and a little less Confederate with your opinion of non Mericans intellect ;)

    See what i did there :D
    Kentucky, sky92880 and Bing like this.
  15. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    I joined the other forum and started to be active there. The only reason is that Ancient section has been severely depopulated.
    I have nothing against CT and to be honest I ignored the thread or threads that caused the problem. Usually I read and post only in discussions that interest me. Being active on various boards for 20 years, this was always my strategy.

    I am not American and I probably didn't fully understand the subtle background implications but this was not the reason I joined CT.

    It's a pity as I learned 90% of what I know from the people who posted here. When I wrote my first post in the Ancients section, my knowledge was almost zero and all I had was curiosity and desire to learn. In contrast, I also joined another board in the same time but it was not nearly as friendly as CT.

    I will keep posting here but rarely - especially helping in identification threads when I can (except those where the first question is "Is it rare?". Again, I have full admiration for people who helped me in my first steps in this hobby.
    Kentucky, sky92880 and Bing like this.
  16. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    This is the thing that makes me saddest. Many people who come to CT have little idea about coins and even less about Ancients. After being here awhile they either 1) get discouraged and quit 2) stick around and have some interest or 3) gain an appreciation of coins (particularly ancients...after all, this is the Ancients Forum) and become active, enthusiastic collectors. This has less chance of happening now. Perhaps those who left will come back. I don't intend to argue the point, just saying how I feel. :(
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  17. Macromius

    Macromius Well-Known Member

    Words of wisdom: Don't come here threatening to stop posting if things don't change to suit you. Marcus Aurelius himself would tell you how foolish that it is.
    Move on!

    If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment. --M. Aurelius

    Those of you whining about how this forum has become "depopulated", and how sad you are aren't helping. This forum will recover with new people and new blood. It will take time but it will happen. If you are knowledgeable please step up to the plate and contribute. Now's your chance to make your mark and help those younger collectors thirsting for knowledge.

    Current politics: Lots of narrow minded idiots on both sides. Politics is low, slimy repellent emotional stuff. Yuck! How about some more ancient politics with your coins. You can express yourself though that. Talk about how the Rome lost the republic. Maybe someone who doesn't have the IQ of a pineapple will "get" what that might mean to us today.
    PlanoSteve and Bing like this.
  18. Ricardo123

    Ricardo123 Well-Known Member

    In english, can we call a trouble-maker ?
  19. Kaleun96

    Kaleun96 Well-Known Member

    One problem with this, and I think it's behind the reason so many other members left who did not participate in the "flag" issue, is that the auto-mod tools here are frequently preventing new members from joining or banning them out-right.

    This has been well-documented on the forum in the past but the admins aren't exactly forthcoming in what is causing it or how to avoid it from happening. Often the excuse is that technology is magic and no one really can understand it or that the matter can't be discussed for whatever reason because it concerns the "security" of the website. There's always the offer to contact the admin directly but if you've ever asked anyone who's been unable to register due to these issues, they never hear back.

    Since no one is willing to discuss the issue in detail, and it's either hand-waived away by "server errors happen - you can never know why" or "we can't talk about private matters relating to users", we still have no clue as to what the problem is. I'm sure some of these users had previously created accounts years ago and then forgotten about them and tried to make another (oops, that's a perma-banning), but there are so many other users who have never heard of CT before and have been unable to register. Most of them end up on reddit or discord because there's not too many other places to go.

    So, IMO, the forum probably could recover with "new blood" if it wanted to but it's more likely to die out due to the inability of the administration to acknowledge any potential technical issues on their end and the arrogant way in which they handle matters like this.
    zadie, DonnaML and red_spork like this.
  20. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    This forum as a whole has 67,000 members
  21. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    Bingo. I still watch Cointalk Ancients and read most posts, but I hope more people will come to the new forum. I don't honestly care about what happened in the "flag" thread or any of that or how anyone feels about that thread. I do however care that I can't invite people to Cointalk. More than once someone I recommended create an account and start posting has found himself banned shortly after creating an account, or just randomly after a year or more of posting and this experience is not unique to me or the people I invite. The administration here simply refuses to listen to appeals or even admit that there's a problem both with automated banning and heavily handed moderation. For that reason, I'll be focusing my energy on the new forum. I like the crowd here, I hope more of y'all will sign up, but this place has some serious problems to address. Even if you don't plan to post, I recommend you keep NumisForums bookmarked because you may well be the next winner of the random ban game.

    Oh, and @stevex6 is active over there too!
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