Featured Roman Republican Denarius # 45

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Feb 4, 2021.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I think this is only the second Roman Republican denarius I've bought this year. At this rate, I'll end up with only about one-third as many purchases as in 2020. As I mentioned elsewhere earlier today, I'm finding it more and more difficult to find Republican types I want in decent condition at an affordable price.

    To the coin -- plus, as usual, a lengthy explanatory footnote for anyone interested in that level of detail.

    Roman Republic, L. Cassius Longinus, AR Denarius, 63 or 60 BCE, Rome Mint. Obv. Veiled and diademed head of Vesta left, control-letter “A” before her, kylix (two-handled cup) behind her / Rev. Togate figure standing left, dropping a voting tablet favorable to proposed legislation, inscribed “V” (Vti Rogas [= “as you propose”]) into a cista before him, LONGIN III•V downwards behind him. Crawford 413/1, RSC I Cassia 10 (ill.), Sear RCV I 364 (ill.), Sydenham 935, Harlan, RRM II Ch. 6 at pp.49-53, BMCRR 3929 (control-letter “A”); see also id. 3930-3936 (other control letters). 3.96 g., 19 mm., 6 h. Formerly in NGC slab, Cert. No.4280866-009, Graded Ch. XF, Strike: 4/5, Surface 4/5.)*

    Dealer's photo:

    Cassius Longinus - Vesta - Voting scene jpg version.jpg

    I think this photo of the obverse shows the folds in Vesta's veil a little better than the dealer's photo:

    Cassius Longinus - Vesta - voting scene Obverse 2.jpg

    Here's a photo of the NGC slab. I'm glad I didn't have to take the coin out myself!

    NGC Slab Cassius Longinus - Vesta 3.jpg

    *Crawford & RSC date the coin to 63 BCE, Harlan dates it to 60 BCE based on hoard evidence (see Ch. 6 at p. 49), and Sear notes the different dates but offers no opinion (see Sear RCV I at p. 141).

    Crawford identifies the moneyer as the L. [Lucius] Cassius Longinus who was proconsul in 48 BCE (see Vol. I p. 440), and was the brother of Gaius Cassius Longinus, Caesar’s assassin. Harlan argues against this identification on the ground that the assassin’s brother would have been too young (in his early 20s) to be the moneyer of this coin, and concludes that the moneyer was someone otherwise unknown. (See pp. 50-51.) Regardless of the specific identity of the moneyer, all authorities note that he omitted express mention of his nomen, Cassius (from the gens Cassia), and his praenomen, L. (for Lucius) from the coin, mentioning only his cognomen, Longinus, on the reverse. He was the only Republican moneyer from the gens Cassia to do so. Instead, he disclosed his praenomen and nomen by means of the control-letters on the obverse: the only control-letters used spell out his praenomen and nomen, as L CASSI (with one S reversed). See Sear RCV I at p. 141, Crawford at p. 440, Harlan at pp. 49-50. (See Crawford 362/1 at p. 377 for a discussion of the other known example of a moneyer spelling out his name via control-letters, the denarius of C. Mamilius Limetanus). Harlan suggests that this moneyer’s reason for omitting his praenomen and nomen from the coin may have been to avoid confusion with another Lucius Cassius Longinus, praetor in 66 BCE, who had been condemned as a participant in the so-called Catiline conspiracy, exposed in 63 BCE, only two years earlier (according to Harlan’s dating of the coin). See Harlan at p. 50.

    The “III•V” at the end of the reverse inscription stands for “IIIVIR” or triumvir. See the Numiswiki entry for IIIVIR, at https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=IIIVIR: “On coins of the Roman Republic IIIVIR is used as a shortened abbreviation for IIIVIR AAAFF, which abbreviates "III viri aere argento auro flando feiundo" or "Three men for the casting and striking of bronze, silver and gold," a moneyer or mint magistrate.”

    The veiled depiction on the obverse of this coin is generally taken to be a portrayal of Vesta despite the absence of an inscription to that effect. Note the kylix cup behind her head, similar to the bowl in Vesta’s hands on Crawford 512/2, as well as the similarity of the portrait to the specifically identified portrait of a veiled Vesta on Crawford 428/1, issued by Quintus Cassius Longinus in 53 BCE -- also with a voting scene on the reverse. (But see the equally similar veiled portrait specifically identified as Concordia on a denarius issued by Lepidus Paullus in 62 BCE, Crawford 415/1.)

    Crawford assumes without discussion that the obverse portrait depicts Vesta, and concludes that her portrayal on the obverse, taken together with the voting scene on the reverse, constitute a reference to the election in 113 BCE of another member of the Cassius gens, Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla, as a special prosecutor to retry two acquitted Vestal Virgins (one of the three originally charged was convicted the first time) on allegations of breaking their vows. They were convicted on retrial and buried alive as punishment. See Crawford p. 440; Harlan at p. 182-183 (discussing the voting scene on the reverse of Crawford 428/1).

    In BMCRR, on the other hand, Grueber concluded that the reverse type commemorated the passage in 137 BCE of the Lex Cassia tabelleria, proposed by the same Lucius Cassius Longinus Ravilla, as tribune of the plebs, to curb the power of the nobility by expanding the recently-instituted secret ballot law to trials held before the people. (See BMCRR Vol. I p. 494.) If one thing is clear, it is that unlike Crawford 328/1, the reverse of this coin cannot refer to the retrial of the Vestal Virgins itself, since the scene on this reverse depicts a legislative vote (determined by votes of Vti Rogas [= “as you propose”] or Antiquo [= “I vote against it”]), rather than a trial, as depicted on the reverse of Crawford 328/1 (determined by votes of Absolvo [= “I absolve”] or Condemno [= “I acquit”]).

    Harlan adopts neither view, arguing as follows (see pp. 52-53):

    “We should ask if we want to assign this depiction of voting to the passage of one specific law. By the time this coin was minted it was not the specifics of Longinus’ law that people recalled, but that voting tablet laws represented the liberation of the people from the oppression of the nobility [Quotation from Cicero’s speech Pro Sestio, concerning the voting tablet law of 137 BCE, omitted.] . . . . Our moneyer’s coin reminded the people how his family had traditionally championed the people’s interests over the nobility’s and how their interests have been furthered through constitutional means rather than violent revolution which threatens the interest of all citizens. The recent involvement of a Cassius Longinus in Cataline’s attempt to effect change through violent revolution was not representative of the true values of the Cassii Longini.”


    I had been looking for an example of this coin for a long time, but I wanted one on which Vesta's face was in reasonably good condition, the "V" on the voting tablet was visible, and the togate citizen had at least a vaguely human-looking face and body. I thought that this coin met all those standards, and the price was affordable to me, so I bought it as soon as I saw it. Although I do have to ask: is the togate man wearing a hoodie, or is that supposed to be his hair?

    Please post your own coins with voting scenes, your coins issued by members of the gens Cassia, and/or your coins with a portrait of someone wearing a veil -- whether Vesta, Concordia, or anyone else.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2021
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  3. rrdenarius

    rrdenarius non omnibus dormio Supporter

    Great coin. I am a fan of RR voting coins.
    DSCN0029.JPG DSCN0031.JPG
    DSCN3215.JPG DSCN3214.JPG
    Cassius voting urn BFI 5.20.13.jpg
  4. Alegandron

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

    Super nice, @DonnaML .

    Nary a voting coin, but here is a Cassi

    Roman Republic
    AR silver denarius.
    Struck circa 42 BC, at a mobile military mint moving with Brutus & Cassius, probably located in Smyrna.
    C CASSI IMP LEIBERTAS, veiled & draped bust of Libertas right.
    Reverse - LENTVLVS SPINT, jug & lituus. 18mm, 3.3g.
    Ex: Incitis
  5. Mammothtooth

    Mammothtooth Stand up Philosopher, Vodka Taster

    A beautiful coin.
    DonnaML likes this.
  6. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Nice addition! And thank you for the interesting discussion on the type.

    This is one of my favorite RRs.

    RR - L Cassius Longinus Voting 3482.jpg ROMAN REPUBLIC
    AR Denarius. 3.94g, 19.5mm. Rome mint, 63 BC. Crawford 413/1; Sydenham 935. O: Veiled and draped bust of Vesta left, C before, kylix behind. R: Togate voter standing left, dropping tablet inscribed V (for VTI ROGAS, "as you ask") into cista, LONGIN.III.V downwards to right.
    Ex Rauch Auction 36, 1986, lot 114
  7. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    You did well @DonnaML. The reverse on this issue is most frequently weak.
    DonnaML likes this.
  8. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Wonderful example Donna! I've wanted one of those voting types for some time. Glad you snagged such a beauty...even if you have been slow with the quantity, your quality never ceases to stun:artist::woot:
    With little to show but always wanting to contribute, I'll point out that lefties in RRs are sparse. So here is a Scipio southy:
  9. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Here's my only other coin from the gens Cassia, this one from a Quintus Cassius Longinus 5-7 years later:

    Roman Republic, Q. Cassius Longinus, AR Denarius, 55 BCE [Crawford] or 53 BCE [Harlan], Rome Mint. Obv. Young male head of Genius Populi Romani [Crawford & RCV] or Bonus Eventus [RSC & RRM II] right, with flowing hair, scepter behind, border of dots / Rev. Eagle, with wings spread, standing right on thunderbolt, lituus [curved augural staff used in reading auspices] to left and capis [jug used in same rituals] to right, border of dots; Q • CASSIVS in exergue. Crawford 428/3, RSC I Cassia 7 (ill.), Sydenham 916, Sear RCV I 391 (ill.), Harlan, RRM II Ch. 23 at pp. 180-187, BMCRR Rome 3868. 19 mm., 3.77 g., 6 h.*

    Cassius Longinus - Eagle denarius jpg version.jpg

    *According to Crawford (Vol. I at p. 452), the eagle, lituus, and capis together symbolized imperium. He suggests that they refer to the Lex Cassia of 104 BCE, introduced by L. Cassius Longinus, under which individuals who had been deprived of imperium by popular vote, or had been convicted of a crime in a popular assembly, were excluded from the Senate. This coin is also discussed in Roberta Stewart, The Jug and Lituus on Roman Republican Coin Types: Ritual Symbols and Political Power, in Phoenix Vol. 51, No. 2 (Summer, 1997), pp. 170-189 at pp. 181-182 (DOI: 10.2307/1088493, https://www.jstor.org/stable/1088493). The author notes that the eagle and thunderbolt were “auspical signs associated with Jupiter, the god of the auspices,” and that both moneyers in 55 BCE were adherents of Pompey, “whose position in 56-55 was problematical.” Thus, the coin’s allusion to these traditional symbols of political power -- reading auspices was a predicate to the conduct of public business -- “identif[ied] Pompey’s desire for political and military prestige with the political and religious values of Rome.”

    As far as other veiled portraits are concerned, I think I have only one other from the Roman Republic:

    Roman Republic, A. Postumius A.f. Sp.n. Albinus (Aulus Postumius Albinus, son of Aulus [mint magistrate ca. 96 BCE], and grandson of Spurius [Consul 110 BCE]), AR Serrate Denarius, 81 BCE, Rome mint. Obv. Veiled head of Hispania right, with disheveled hair; HISPAN behind / Rev. Togate figure standing left, raising right hand towards legionary eagle to left; fasces with ax to right; A •/ ALBIN/ N • S [AL in monogram] across fields; POST • A • F in exergue. Crawford 372/2, RSC I Postumia 8 (ill.), Sydenham 746, Sear RCV I 297 (ill.), BMCRR Rome 2839-42, Harlan RRM I Ch. 1 at pp. 6-7 [Harlan, Michael, Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins, 81 BCE-64 BCE (2012)]. 19 mm., 3.92 g., 6 h. (Purchased from Brad Bowlin; Ex.“old French collection in Paris.” Double die-match to Die AB for type, RRDP, Schaefer Binder 5, p. 193-0; see http://numismatics.org/archives/ark:/53695/schaefer.rrdp.b05#schaefer_372-2_b05_p193.)*

    A. Postumius A.f. Sp.n. Albinus. 81 BC. AR Serrate Denarius.jpg

    * RSC I (p. 82), and BMCRR (p. 352 n. 1) agree that the coin may relate to the praetorship of the moneyer’s ancestor Lucius Postumius Albinus (Praetor 180 BCE) over Spain, his successful expeditions against the Vaccari and Lusitani, and the levying of troops for this campaign. Crawford concurs, stating (Vol. 1 at p. 389) that “the reverse, combining a togate figure on the one hand with an eagle and the fasces on the other, perhaps simply alludes to civilian and military imperium; taken with the obverse type, the reference is doubtless to the Spanish command of L. Postumius Albinus, Pr. 180.”

    Harlan also details the victories of Lucius Postumius Albinus in Further Spain, and his triumph in Rome in 178 BCE. RRM 1 at p. 7. However, Harlan also ties this coin to contemporary events, namely the fact that after Sulla’s victory over Marius, there remained one bastion of Marian resistance to Roman imperium, namely in Spain, where the governor, Sertorius, refused to obey the Senate, establishing an independent state and a refuge for the defeated Marians. Sulla sent an army against Sertorius in late 82 BCE, although the conflict continued at least until 80. Sertorius found his greatest support among the Lusitanians; hence the relevance (beyond the moneyer’s family history) of L. Postumius Albinus’s victories over the Lusitanians a century earlier. Id. at pp. 6-7. Thus, according to Harlan, the “unnamed togate magistrate flanked by the fasces and the legionary eagle is a symbol of Roman imperium. Postumius’ coin shows that Spain, represented by Hispania on the obverse, must also recognize Roman imperium and embrace Rome as the head of things just as Italy had done. Id. at p. 7. (See this moneyer’s other coin, Crawford 372/1, and its theme of Rome as caput rerum for Italy. RRM I Ch. 1 at pp. 1-6.)

    These Imperial coins also have veiled portraits or reverse figures, even if the veils aren't always as prominent as on Republican coins:

    Diva Faustina I, veiled Ceres on reverse:
    Diva Faustina I - Ceres reverse - jpg version.jpg
    Crispina, veiled Juno on reverse:

    Crispina jpg.jpg

    Herennia Etruscilla, veiled Pudicita on reverse with gun to her own head:

    Herennia Etruscilla jpg.jpg
    Veiled Diva Mariniana:

    COMBINED Diva Mariniana.jpg

    Veiled Divus Maximian:

    Divus Maximianus Half Follis Lion Reverse jpg version.jpg
    Veiled Fausta on reverse holding Constantine II Caesar and Constantius II Caesar:

    Fausta jpg version - RIC VII 40, Sear RCV IV 16582.jpg

    As I mentioned in the OP, if you have other gens Cassia coins or other voting scenes (including Crawford 428/1, which I believe is itself a Cassia) I'd like to see them -- I'm sure someone here must have them besides @rrdenarius, who already posted one. But if not, who has veiled portraits or figures? Aren't there coins with Caesar and/or Octavian/Augustus wearing veils?
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2021
  10. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    This one counts I think?
    Diva Faustina Sr, AR Denarius, Rome Mint, 18mm, 3.08 grams.
    DIVA-FAVSTINA, draped bust right
    AETER-NITAS, Aeternitas, standing front, facing left, holding globe, veil billowing out around her head and behind her.
    RIC 351, RSC 32, BMC 373
  11. Everett Guy

    Everett Guy Well-Known Member

    Thats a very beautiful coin. Great history as well.
    DonnaML likes this.
  12. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Lovely coin, Donna.

    I have one of those - back before the Internet when I started squandering my budget on low-grade stuff:
    RR - Cassia Longinius voting 1992 (0).jpg
  13. ewomack

    ewomack 魚の下着 Supporter

    My only Republic


    Roman Republic AR denarius
    P. Clodius Turrinus Rome mint, 42 BC
    Laureate head of Apollo right; lyre to left / Diana Lucifera standing facing, head right, bow and quiver on her shoulder, holding lighted torch in each hand; M • F at left, P • CLODIVS at right 3.5 g, 19 mm Crawford 494/23; Syd 1117
  14. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    @zumbly. the togate citizen on both of our examples, as well as on @Marsyas Mike's, has what looks like a very distinct strap diagonally across his chest. Is it simply part of his toga, or something else? I don't recall seeing anything looking like that on other portrayals of men in togas.
    Everett Guy likes this.
  15. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    I've always just assumed it was part of the toga. The way it's been engraved, it does look like the strap of something. Perhaps an ancient man bag??
    DonnaML likes this.
  16. Everett Guy

    Everett Guy Well-Known Member

    I remember seeing senate members wearing togas, i wonder if wearing togas was a status symbol/dress ?
  17. Alegandron

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

    Dude - Quick, easy find-outs: WIKIPEDIA


    And, when I was in school, this film came out. Yup, purdy much how we were in my short-termed fraternity life - stupid times, but FUN for a couple years:

  18. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Love your new coin @DonnaML, and although it's a detail, love even more the oil lamp control mark behind the obverse portrait

    Here's my toned example

    L. Cassius Longinus, Denarius - Rome mint, 63 BC
    Veiled bust of Vesta left. Control mark L below chin
    LONGIN IIIV, togate citizen standing left, voting
    3.93 gr
    Ref : RCV # 364, RSC, Cassia # 10, Crawford # 413/1, Sydenham # 935

  19. Nick Zynko

    Nick Zynko Supporter! Supporter

    Great Post Donna! Your Vesta is Stunning.
    DonnaML likes this.
  20. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    She's beautiful, isn't she? She looks to me as if she might actually have been modeled after a real woman.
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