Featured Roman Republican No. 56: Lion(ess) or Hound?

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, May 23, 2021.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Another unresolved question, although there's certainly not as much disagreement about it (at least anymore) compared to No. 55. Hence, a shorter footnote!

    Roman Republic, Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus, AR Denarius Rome 128 BCE [Crawford] or after 122 BCE [BMCRR]. Obv. Head of Roma right, wearing winged helmet and single-drop earring, stalk of grain [Br. Corn] upright behind, monogram (*) for value (XVI asses) in right field beneath chin / Rev. Victory driving galloping biga right, holding reins in left hand and whip in right; below, man with tall conical cap holding spear right, fighting lion (Crawford, RSC, Sear) or hound (BMCRR, Sydenham, Babelon) left; above, ROMA; in exergue, CN•DOM. Crawford 261/1, RSC I [Babelon] Domitia 14, BMCRR 1025, Sear RCV I 137 (ill.), RBW Collection 1056, Sydenham 514. 18 mm., 3.85 g., 3 h.*

    Domitius Ahenobarbus denarius, hunter & lion on reverse.jpg

    *Because the moneyer’s cognomen does not appear on this coin, the attribution of the moneyer to the plebeian branch of the gens Domitia that used the cognomen Ahenobarbus [derived from the Latin for “bronze beard,” i.e. red beard] -- a branch to which many notable Romans belonged, including the emperor Nero’s father -- is not certain; he may have belonged instead to the Calvinus branch. The identity of the specific member of the Ahenobarbus branch who issued the coin (if the moneyer was one) is also uncertain. Thus, in BMCRR, Grueber identified the moneyer as the son of the Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus who was consul in 122 BCE, and grandson of a previous moneyer with the same name who was consul suffectus in 162 BCE. Therefore, he dates the coin subsequent to 122 BCE. See Grueber Vol. I at pp. 151-152 n. 2. Crawford, by contrast, dates the coin to 128 BCE (for reasons he doesn’t explain so far as I can tell), and suggests that the moneyer of this coin is “perhaps a Cn. Domitius Calvinus or a Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus from a collateral branch of the family” [i.e. collateral to the different Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus who was moneyer ca. 116 BCE; see Crawford 285/1 at p. 300]. See Crawford p. 286. Crawford names various second-century Calvini and Ahenobarbi as possible candidates. Id.

    [See my follow-up comment at https://www.cointalk.com/threads/roman-republican-no-56-lion-ess-or-hound.381034/#post-7603773 below for a explanation of the hoard evidence underlying Crawford's date of 128 BCE, and a discussion of Mattingly's reliance on more recent hoard evidence, among other things, to push the date of the coin back several years farther to ca. 131 BCE. as well as Mattingly's specific identification of the moneyer as the Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus who was Consul in 122 BCE, and served in Asia under Mn. Aquilius from 129-126 BCE.]

    Grueber states that the scene on the reverse beneath the horses shows a man with a spear fighting a hound, and proposes that “[t]he reverse type probably relates to the defeat in B.C. 121 of the Gallic tribes, the Allobroges and the Arverni, under Bituitus, near Vindalium, by the Roman consul Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus, the moneyer’s father. In this engagement Bituitus is said to have sent against the Roman soliders packs of enormous hounds in order to frighten them [citing Babelon]. If this explanation is correct these coins cannot be attributed, as Mommsen has done . . ., to the consul of B.C. 122” -- who would not, of course, have been a moneyer after being consul -- “but rather to his son, who wished to record the great deeds of his father.” BMCRR, supra p. 152 n. 2.

    I see at least two obvious issues with this interpretation. First, it fails to account in any way for the ear of grain [Br. corn] on the obverse; indeed, Grueber expressly acknowledges that “[t]he reference of the ear of corn on the obverse has not been explained.” Id. Second, if the reverse scene show a Roman soldier battling a war hound, where is his helmet? Instead of a helmet, he wears a tall conical cap extremely similar to those shown as worn by participants in games, e.g., the jockeys and desultors on the coins of the Piso Frugis (father and son) and C. Marcius Censorinus. Indeed, there are many examples of this coin on which the man on the reverse appears to wear no headgear at all.

    Crawford’s identification, rejecting Grueber’s, does account for the ear of grain on the obverse. See Crawford Vol. I p. 286 n. 1, footnoting his identification of the animal on the reverse as a lion (although it looks more like a lioness to me given the absence of a mane): “Not hound, contra Babelon and Sydenham. . . ; the type thus in no way refers to the exploits of Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus, Cos.121, against King Bituitus.” As he explains further in text (id. p. 286), “For the wild-beast fight on the reverse see W. Kubitschek, NZ 1913, 228; the fight and the corn-ear together seem to refer to the games and distributions of produce offered to the Roman people by an Aedile as a step to higher office.”

    [Edited to add: Certainly, if the coin was issued in 131 BCE or even in 128 BCE, the secondary scene on the reverse cannot depict a battle, using wild dogs against Roman soldiers, that took place in 121 BCE.]

    Crawford’s identification and explanation seem more satisfying to me than Grueber’s and Sydenham’s (based, inter alia, on Babelon), especially for the reasons I noted above, and because the animal looks more feline than canine to me (see, for example, the long sinuous tail, which doesn’t much resemble most hounds’ tails I see on Roman coins) -- more like a lion(ess) than a hound. Perhaps it could even be a panther [leopard], even though the usual spots such as those seen on the denarii of L. Livineius Regulus and C. Vibius Varus (Crawford 494/30 and 494/36) are absent. In any event, if Crawford is correct, I believe the animal on the reverse of this coin would be the earliest lion depicted (at least in its entirety) on a Roman denarius.

    Crawford’s interpretation has been generally followed, including by RSC, Sear, and the RBW Collection. Thus, even though RSC I’s numbering system and many of the identifications are taken directly from Babelon, the most recent edition (3rd ed. 1978, ed. D. Sear and R. Loosley) -- the first post-Crawford edition -- now identifies the reverse as depicting “a man attacking a lion below,” and dates the coin to 128 BCE. See RSC I Domitia 14, at p. 45. (However, as a result of what was undoubtedly an editing error, namely a failure to update the text of the previous edition, the italicized text after the entry for Domitia 14 still repeats Grueber’s explanation, stating that the reverse type represents “the defeat in B.C. 121 of the Gallic tribes under Bituitus by the moneyer’s father,” in which Bituitus is said to have “sent packs of wild hounds against the Roman soldiers,” etc. -- an explanation now rendered completely nonsensical by the change in date and identification. Id.)

    Is there anyone who disagrees with Crawford and still thinks the animal on the reverse is a hound rather than a lion?

    I have only one other Roman Republican denarius that uses a similar secondary reverse motif -- namely, a miniature scene on the reverse depicting humans and/or animals as a second substantive design element (and not simply as a control-symbol), beneath the hooves of the horses or other animals pulling the biga or quadriga constituting the primary design element. Oddly enough, and presumably as a result of pure coincidence, it's the technically anonymous denarius bearing the very next Crawford number, Crawford 262/1:

    Roman Republic, Anonymous [probably Caecilius Metellus Diadematus or Caecilius Metellus Delmaticus], AR Denarius 128 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right, wearing winged helmet, * [monogram for value: XVI asses] behind; otherwise anepigraphic / Rev. Pax or Juno driving biga galloping right, holding reins and long scepter in left hand and branch (olive or laurel) in right hand; elephant head under horses, facing right with trunk curving down, wearing bell dangling from neck; ROMA in exergue. Crawford 262/1, RSC I Caecilia 38 (ill.), BMCRR 1044, Sear RCV I 138, Sydenham 496. 18.5 mm., 3.89 g., 11 h. [Footnote omitted.]

    Crawford 262 Caecilius Metullus Roma- biga & elephant head.jpg

    I know that others exist, such as the puppy beneath the Dioscuri on the reverse of the denarius of C. Antestius (Crawford 219/1e), but the elephant head is the only one I have. I do have one with a grasshopper beneath a biga of stags, but the grasshopper is technically a control-symbol (albeit present on the substantial majority of examples of that issue):

    Roman Republic, C.. Allius Bala, AR Denarius, 92 BCE, Rome mint. Obv.: Diademed female head (Diana?) right, wearing necklace; BALA behind, control mark "R" below chin / Rev.: Diana in biga of stags right, holding sceptre and reins in left hand and flaming torch in right, with quiver over shoulder; control-mark (grasshopper) below stags; C•ALLI in exergue; all within laurel wreath. Crawford 336/1b; RSC I Aelia [Allia] 4 (ill.), Sear RCV I 221 (ill.), Sydenham 595, BMCRR 1742-1771 [no control-letter "R"]. 17 mm., 3.88 g. (Footnote omitted.)

    Allius Bala orig. jpg version.jpg

    Please post your own examples of this kind of secondary, miniature design element, depicting a living being, at the bottom of the reverse of a Roman Republican coin.

    Or: while we're here, post your Roman coins depicting lions or lionesses (no mere lion skins or lion heads, please!), particularly any from the Roman Republic:

    C. Poblicius Q.f.:

    Poblicius (Hercules & Nemean Lion).jpg

    Faustina II, reverse depicting Cybele with lion at her side next to throne:

    Faustina II -Marti Magnae (Cybele left with lion under throne).jpg

    Septimius Severus with reverse depicting Dea Caelestis riding side-saddle on lion right:

    Septimius Severus, Indulgentia, Dea Caelestis & lion - jpg version.jpg

    Septimius Severus, Africa on reverse with lion crouching to her right at her feet:

    Septimius Severus - Africa jpg version.jpg

    Philip I, lion reverse, SAECVLARES AVGG (Games commemorating 1,000th anniversary of founding of Rome):

    Philip I Antoninianus (Lion Reverse) jpg version.jpg

    Gallienus lion:

    combined Gallienus lion.jpg

    Divus Maximian (issued under Constantine I), AE Half Follis:

    Divus Maximianus Half Follis Lion Reverse jpg version.jpg
    Last edited: May 25, 2021
    Amit Vyas, Curtisimo, tibor and 22 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    M. Volteius M.f. (75 B.C)
    AR Denarius
    O: Laureate, helmeted, and draped bust of Attis right; winged caduceus behind.
    R: �Cybele driving biga of lions right.
    Rome Mint
    Crawford 385/4
  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I will take the absence so far of any responses to my question to mean that at least in this corner of the Internet, nobody knows -- or even thinks -- it's a dog.

    I was inspired by my own thread, and the theme of miniature images of living beings beneath the primary reverse images on Republican coins, to go ahead and order an example of the C. Antestius denarius depicting a puppy beneath the Dioscuri (Crawford 219/1e). Because the coin has to get to me from Europe, I don't want to jinx things by posting a photo before it arrives, and it's not in fantastic condition in any event (very nice puppy, though!). But I will mention that it has a documented quadruple provenance that's really rather impressive: CNG, RBW, BCD [a/k/a "He Who Must Not Be Named"], and ASW!
  5. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    Dear @DonnaML!

    Thank you for this in deep article. I for myself have thought that it was a big dog on the denar until I came across an article of Max Bahrfeldt.

    In "Untersuchungen über die Chronologie der Münzen der Domitii Ahenobarbi aus der Zeit der römischen Republik, Zeitschrift für Numismatik, Herausgegeben von Alfred von Sallett, 19. Band, Berlin, 1895" Max Bahrfeldt writes 1892:

    "Babelon connected the man fighting under the Biga with a large animal with the Roman story that in the battle at Vindelium against the Allobroges and Arvernes in 633 (121 BC), the leader of the latter, Bituitus, let loose packs of large dogs specially trained for fighting against the legions commanded by C. Domitius. He therefore sees in the animal a large dog, not a lion according to the previous assumption."

    And he writes further: "This explanation would fit very well if the times were correct. Since the battle of Vindelium took place in 633 (121 B.C.), but the denarius must have been struck before 629 (125 B.C.), the year of the burial of the treasures of La Riccia and Masera, the representation on the denarius cannot be connected with the narrative."

    Best regards
    DonnaML likes this.
  6. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Without regard to the story or history associated with the animal, and despite the fact that many animals on ancient coins bear little resemblance to the beasts they purportedly portray, I just can't see "dog" on Donna's coin. The tail is simply too long. It's at least twice as long as any dog tail I've ever seen.

    I can understand an undertraveled engraver not knowing what an elephant looks like (so many comically incorrect elephants on ancient coins!) but dog? Surely engravers were familiar and would not have carved such a long tail if instructed to render a dog.
  7. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    ..hiya TIF! :)
    DonnaML and TIF like this.
  8. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I vote for the cat. Not only the length of the tail, but the way it is bending around - snaky, like a cats. Dog's tails are pretty stiff. On the OP the way the animal is leaping looks lion-like to me. Not that I have a lot of big cat experiences, beyond watching Tiger King on TV. Roar.
  9. Alegandron

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

    I vote for Possum.


    Roman Republic LION

    Roman Republic Anon AE Double-Litra 275-270 BCE Apollo Lion S 590 Cr 16-1a
    Curtisimo, Andres2, Spaniard and 5 others like this.
  10. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    I would go for a lioness - here is mine

    The theme, I suggest, is the usual advertisement for bread and circuses.

    As for secondary reverse motifs,I think one should exclude controlmarks. I too have the elephant's head

    Helmeted head of Roma r.; behind star

    Rev. Goddess in biga r., holding sceptre and reins in l. hand and branch in r.; below horses, elephant's head with bell attached / ROMA.

    Babelon Caecilia 38. Sydenham 496. RBW 1060. Crawford 262/1.

  11. Alegandron

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

    Happy birthday, @eparch ... Get a bunch more!
    DonnaML likes this.
  12. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    @TIF and @Marsyas Mike, the tail is also what immediately struck me as belonging to a cat rather than a dog -- not only because of its length compared to the rest of the animal (unusual for a dog) but because of how sinuous it is. Snaky is a good word! I like @Marsyas Mike's observation about the way the animal is running/leaping, which also seems more feline than canine. Compare it, for example, with the posture and tail on Diana's hound on this denarius of C. Postumius:

    Postumius (Diana and hound).jpg

    All of this kind of exegesis is necessary, along with looking at other factors like the presence of a conical cap on the man's head rather than a soldier's helmet, and the ear of grain on the obverse -- together implying "bread and circuses," as @eparch aptly puts it -- because the animal's head is really quite ambiguous compared to the ones on most of the lion coins I posted above. (Presumably because it's a lioness or, as I mentioned, perhaps even a panther.)

    I also want to thank @Jochen1 for pointing out the reason why Crawford dated the Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus coin at circa 128 BCE, and why it's impossible that the scene could portray the battle of Vindelium in 121 BCE, with its packs of wild dogs supposedly set on the Roman soldiers: the presence of the coin in the Riccia and Maserà hoards, which were buried no later than 125 BCE, four years before the battle. In fact, that explanation can actually be found in Crawford itself, in Vol. I, Table X at p. 61, listing coins found in hoards buried from 143-125 BCE, and showing that there were 42 examples of the Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus denarius in the Riccia hoard and five examples in the Maserà.

    I apologize for not including this explanation in my original post. But I do think that my failure to find it wasn't entirely attributable to my own laziness: Crawford's entry for the coin (Crawford 261, Vol. I at p. 286) neither explains the reason for the 128 BCE date nor cross-references Table X. Instead, it generally cross-references pp. 62ff. (not with specific regard to the coin's date),
    without further elaboration -- pages which, in turn, cross-reference Table X. I missed it.

    Since the 1895 article cited by @Jochen1 and since Crawford himself, other authorities (except for Grueber between them) appear to have uniformly adopted a 125 BCE closing/burial date for the Riccia and Maserà hoards containing this coin. See, e.g., Review Article, S. E. Buttrey and T. V. Buttrey, "Calculating Ancient Coin Production Again, [etc.]" in American Journal of Numismatics (Second Series), vol. 9 (1997), pp. 113-135 at p. 125 (https://archive.org/details/AJNSecond1997Vols09to09/page/n130/mode/1up)
    ("Consider the hoarder who put together the Riccia hoard in the year 125 B.C.");
    Mark Passehl, "Dating Some Republican Mini-Issues," Journal of Ancient Numismatics, Vol. I, Issue 3 (Jan. 2009), (http://coinproject.com/jan/volume1/issue3/volume1-3-3.html) (discussing the various hoards included in Crawford Tables X and XI, including the Riccia and Maserà hoards); Kris Lockyear, Patterns and Process in Late Roman Republican Coin Hoards, 157-2 BC (British Archaeological Reports 2008) (available at https://www.academia.edu/630046/Patterns_and_process_in_late_Roman_Republican_coin_hoards_157_2_BC), at p. 66 Table 5.6 (listing the closing date of the Riccia hoard as 126 BCE and the Maserà hoard as 125 BCE).

    In two of the essays in his book From Coins to History: Selected Numismatic Studies (2004), Harold B. Mattingly pushes back the date of the Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus denarius even further, to 131 BCE, based in part on its presence in a hoard with an earlier closing date, namely the "New Italy Hoard," discovered in 1973. See “Roman Republican Coinage ca. 150-90 B.C.,” pp. 199-226 at p. 208 Table 3, p. 211 & n. 38; "The Management of the Roman Republican Mint," pp. 227-259 at p. 253 Table 2, p. 258 Table 3 (all dating the coin to circa 131 BCE).

    In addition, by contrast to Crawford, Mattingly specifically identifies the moneyer as the Cn. Domitius Ahenobarbus who was Consul in 122 BC (i.e., nine years after his term as moneyer). See the second essay cited above at p. 258 Table 3, as well as the first essay at p. 211 & n. 38. In that essay, Mattingly states that the moneyer "served in Asia under Mn. Aquilius from 129 to 126," citing the publication in 1984-85 of a newly-discovered Thessalian inscription. Id. Obviously, then, Cn. Domiitus Ahenobarbus could not have been moneyer in 128 BCE, when he was serving in Asia.

    In sum, any of you with examples of this coin should probably change its date to 131 BCE in your records, and abandon any notion you may still have that the secondary reverse scene depicts the use of wild dogs against Roman soldiers in a battle that took place ten years after the coin was issued.
    Last edited: May 25, 2021
  13. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    As some of you may remember, I requested in this thread that people post their own examples of Roman Republican coins with secondary reverse motifs consisting of miniature humans or animals as a second substantive design element (and not simply as a control-symbol), beneath the hooves of the horses or other animals constituting the primary design element. And thanks to everyone for the examples you posted.

    I now have two more to post myself -- one I already had that I forgot about, and one new one that arrived in the mail the other day.

    Here's the one I already had:

    Roman Republic, L. Procilius L.f., AR Serrate Denarius, 80 BCE. Obv. Head of Juno Sospita right, wearing goatskin headdress; behind, S•C downwards / Juno Sospita wearing goatskin headdress, standing in biga right with galloping horses, holding figure-eight style shield [prob. an allusion to the mythological Shield of the Salii priests, or ancilia] in left hand and brandishing spear in right hand; coiled serpent below horses; in exergue, L•PROCILI•F. Crawford 379/2, RSC I Procilia 2 (ill.), Sear RCV I 307 (ill.), BMCRR Rome 3150, Sydenham 772, Harlan, RRM I Ch. 4 at pp. 19-22 [Michael Harlan, Roman Republican Moneyers and their Coins, 81 BCE-64 BCE (2012)]. 20.05 mm., 3.97 g. (Purchased from Marc Breitsprecher, Oct. 2020.)*

    L. Procilius (Juno Sospita - Juno Sospita in biga) jpg version.jpg

    * See Crawford at p.396, stating that the moneyer, Lucius Procilius son of Lucius, “is presumably to be identified with the Senator attested in 56 [citing Cicero] and with the man later condemned for misconduct in that year [also citing Cicero].” The presence of Juno Sospita on both sides of the coin “reveals the moneyer’s Lanuvine origin” (id.), as does the presence of the serpent, which “alludes to a sacred ritual performed at Lanuvium.” Harlan, RRM 1, Ch. 4 at p. 20.

    Regarding the type of shield held by Juno Sospita and its connection to the ancilia, that connection is supported by David R. Sear, whose online Glossary of Frequently Encountered Terms in Roman Coin Descriptions (also found in each volume of the Millenium Edition of Roman Coin Values) states as follows: "Ancile a shield of distinctive form (narrow central section of oval shape with broad curving extensions at top and bottom). It was a particular attribute of Juno Sospita and was associated with the Salian priesthood of Mars." See https://www.davidrsear.com/academy/roman_glossary.html#Ancile. See also the discussion of the ancile at https://www.romanumismatics.com/historicarticles?view=article&article_id=509, with a photo of an example of an Augustus denarius (RIC 343) depicting two ancilia on the reverse.

    While I finish writing up the new coin, please post any other examples you may have of miniature living beings at the bottom of Roman Republican reverses -- or post your Republican snakes, your anciliae, or your coins depicting Juno Sospita.
    Curtisimo, TIF, Bing and 4 others like this.
  14. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Instead of starting a separate thread, I'll post my new "Roman Republican No. 57" as part of this thread, since it fits the theme. It's a type that I know several of you have, and the photos you've posted have made me want an example for some time.

    I promised myself that I would try to stop denigrating my own coins and calling them "mediocre" and otherwise feeling self-conscious about their quality, and I think this one is a very nice example for the most part. Even though the obverse legend with the moneyer's name is almost completely off the flan, and the reverse has what the seller called "minor flan flaws." But I admit that I was attracted almost as much by the provenance -- documented by the old tickets; see below -- as by the coin itself. I haven't seen too many coins that have a CNG provenance and were previously owned in reverse succession by people as notable as Richard B. Witschonke, BCD [I'm not going to identify BCD and risk a repetition of what happened the last time I identified him, not realizing that it's supposed to be a secret even though the connection is all over the Internet!], and Alan S. Walker. Pretty impressive, and I admit it makes me think even more highly of the coin itself if all those famous numismatists thought it was nice enough to acquire!

    Roman Republic, C. Antestius, AR Denarius 146 BCE. Obv. Head of Roma right wearing winged helmet with peaked visor [ornamented with griffin’s head?], pearl necklace, and earring of pellets in form of bunch of grapes, C • ANTESTI upwards behind [partially off flan, ANTE ligate], X [mark of value, 10 asses]* beneath chin / Rev. Dioscuri holding spears, on horseback galloping right; puppy running right below horses’ hooves, with both forefeet raised; in exergue, ROMA; minor flan flaws on reverse. Crawford 219/1e, RSC I Antestia 1, BMCRR I 859, Sear RCV I 95/1 (ill.), Sydenham 411. 19 mm.. 3.76 g., 3 h. Ex. CNG Auction 378, July 13, 2016, Lot 408; ex. RBW [Richard B. Witschonke] Collection; ex. BCD Collection, purchased by RBW from BCD March 1985; ex. ASW [Alan S. Walker, currently Dir. of Nomos AG]. **

    Antestius COMBINED 1.jpg

    Contrast increased Old Coin Tickets for C. Antestius denarius (Rev puppy beneath Dioscuri).jpg

    *My only denarius issued before the re-tariffing of that denomination to 16 asses circa 141 BCE, and my earliest Roman Republican coin of any kind.

    ** Crawford states at Vol. I p. 258 that the moneyer “is otherwise unknown,” and suggests that “[t]he moneyer’s cognomen, if the puppy is held to be significant, may perhaps be Catulus,” meaning puppy or wolf cub in Latin. (Emphasis in original.) Grueber suggests a different (and even more speculative) possibility for the significance of the puppy, namely that “[t]he dog was evidently the symbol of the Antestia gens, and consequently the earlier coins, which have that symbol and are without moneyer’s name, may have been issued by a member of this gens.” (See BMCRR p.114 n. 1.) The earlier coins Grueber refers to comprise the amonymous dog series cataloged as BMCRR 486-492 (Crawford 122/1-122/6), dated circa 206-195 BCE -- i.e., 50+ years prior to the issuance of this coin. Without more, positing a family connection to those earlier anonymous coins based solely on the presence of dogs on them would seem rather tenuous, especially given that there do not appear to be any dogs on the later Antestia gens coins, either under the Republic or under Augustus during the period when moneyers’ names were still listed.

    Some of the subtypes or varieties of this issue have the moneyer’s name on the reverse, with the puppy on the obverse behind Roma’s head. According to Grueber (p. 114 n. 1), this kind of varying interchange was an “innovation” that began with this issue.


    Personally, I prefer the variety with the puppy on the reverse -- from the examples I've seen of both varieties, one can generally see the puppy more clearly on this variety.

    Please continue to post any further examples you may have of miniature living beings at the bottom of Roman Republican reverses -- or post your coins with dogs, puppies, and hounds in any context!
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
    Curtisimo, TIF, Bing and 3 others like this.
  15. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    "Man with tall conical cap"? How many dies have the elongation?

    Elephant seems obvious.

    Rat or mouse? It really is hard to expect these engravers to get species specific in this scale.
    Curtisimo, Bing, Johndakerftw and 3 others like this.
  16. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    From scrolling through the examples on acsearch, all I can say is "more than one, but certainly less than half." Either it's a tall conical cap or the guy's a conehead. I didn't see any wearing a helmet that might suggest an intention to portray a soldier fighting a war hound. (Not that beast-fighters couldn't have worn a helmet in the arena, of course.) Obviously, though, the headgear is very minor among the reasons I think the animal is a lion rather than a hound.

    I've never seen your rat identified as a mouse, given that it's bigger than the horses' heads! Some extinct giant rat species, no doubt. I admit that my intense dislike of rats means I'll probably never buy an example of this type.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
  17. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    I hope it doesn't have to be a mammal!

    Here is a Murex - a snail - or at least its shell. Tyrian purple is extracted from these guys, and it is on this denarius as a purple pun on the moneyer's name "Purpurio." One of my earliest ancients, I got this one in 1989, back when you had to do everything by mail and telegraph and mule train.

    RR - Furia Purperia Jun 2019 (0a).jpg
    Roman Republic Denarius
    Furius Purpurio
    (169-158 B.C.)
    Rome Mint

    Helmeted head of Roma right, X behind / Luna or Diana in biga right, murex shell above, PVR below, ROMA in exergue.
    Crawford 187/1; Sydenham 424; Furia 13.
    (3.76 grams / 19 mm)

    "The gens Furia, originally Fusia, was one of the most ancient and noble patrician houses at Rome. Its members held the highest offices of the State during the period of the Roman Republic. The first of the Furii to attain the consulship was Sextus Furius Medullinus in 488 BC.

    The murex is a tropical mollusc with a shell covered with spines used to extract Tyrian purple (reference to the name Purpurio), a very expensive purplish red dye used during antique times by to evoke an important social position."

    Spaniard, Curtisimo, Bing and 2 others like this.
  18. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Non- mammals are fine! The Romans certainly liked puns.
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  19. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    @Alegandron, @Carausius, @ominus1, don't you all have examples of the Antestius coin with the puppy dog? I'd love to see them here, along with any other Roman Republican dog coins you may have.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021
    ominus1 likes this.
  20. Alegandron

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


    Roman Republic
    AR Denarius
    C Antestius
    Rome 146 BCE
    3.97g 19.0mm
    Helm Roma R X C ANTESTI -
    Dioscuri galloping R puppy-dog running ROMA
    Craw 219-1e

    Roman Republic Lucius Caesius 112-111 BCE AR Denarius Apollo dog Lares Praestitesbust Vulcan tongs above LA RE S 175 Craw 298-1

    Roman Republic C Mamilius 82 BCE AR Denarius Serrate Mercury winged petasos caduceus Ulysses Dog Argos Sear 282 Craw 362-1
    ominus1, Spaniard, Curtisimo and 4 others like this.
  21. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Beautiful coins and dogs!
    Alegandron likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page