First: Roman Republic, M. Cato, AR Quinarius [half denarius], 89 BCE. Obv. Head of young Liber (or Bacchus) right, M•CATO (AT ligate) downwards behind; below, control-mark star/ Rev. Victory seated right, holding patera with outstretched right hand and palm branch over left shoulder; in exergue, VICTRIX (TR ligate). Crawford 343/2b, RSC I Porcia 7 (ill.) (type with symbol as control-mark), BMCRR 662, Sydenham 597(c), Sear RCV I 248 (ill.), RBW Collection 1298. 15 mm., 1.58 g., 6 h. Ex. Numismatique Louis Brousseau Auction 1, Aug. 24, 2019, Lot 255.* *Issued at end of Social War. The moneyer’s specific identity and relationship to Cato the Younger (Uticensis) are unknown; he was not that Cato’s father, who died no later than 91 BCE. There is a possibility that he can be identified with M. Porcius the wine-merchant. See Crawford p. 352. The reverse figure is presumably Victoria Virgo, whose shrine was built by Cato Censorius (id., citing Livy). The control-mark of a star is not among the 67 control-marks listed in Crawford Table XXV at pp. 350-351. There is one other example of this control-mark listed in acsearch. Second: Roman Republic, Cn. Lentulus Clodianus Cornelia, AR Quinarius [half denarius], Rome 88 BCE. Obv. Laureate head of Jupiter right / Rev. Victory standing right, crowning trophy; in exergue, CN•LENT. Crawford 345/2, RSC I Cornelia 51a (ill.), BMCRR 2443-2444, Sear RCV I 255 (ill.), Sydenham 703, RBW Collection 1313. 14x15 mm., 1.99 g.* My attempt at a sharper reverse photo; at least you can sort of see a face. I wasn't able to improve on the obverse photo: *The moneyer was Consul in 72 BCE (when he was sent against Spartacus but his legions were defeated), and was later Censor in 70 BCE, and a legate with praetorian imperium under Pompey in 67 BCE. This coin was issued after the end of the Social War, to celebrate the Roman victory and/or to commemorate the “victories of M. Claudius M.f. M.n. Marcellus over Hannibal in the Second Punic War, which culminsted in the capture of Syracuse in B.C. 212.” See RSC I at p. 39. Third, another denarius -- with a bankers' mark or countermark on the obverse, and some old graffiti on the reverse, neither of which detracts from the coin's appearance in my opinion. Plus, another one of my ultra-lengthy footnotes. Roman Republic, C. Memmius C.f., AR Denarius, 56 BCE [Crawford], 57 BCE [Harlan], Rome Mint. Obv. Laureate head of Quirinus right [deified aspect of Romulus and/or Italian deity worshipped on Quirinal Hill; see footnote], hair long, beard in formal ringlets, C•MEMMI•C•F downwards to right, QVIRINVS downwards to left; banker’s mark or test mark to left of Quirinus’s eye, in shape of bird? inside flower or star/ Rev. Ceres seated right, holding torch in left hand and corn ear in right hand; at her feet, snake rearing with head right; MEMMIVS •AED• CERIALIA•PREIMVS•FECIT [translated as “Memmius as aedile first held the games of Ceres” (Harlan RRM II pp. 99-100)] downwards from upper left; old graffiti resembling a sideways cross to right of Ceres. Crawford 427/2, RSC I Memmia 9 (ill.), Sear RCV I 388 (ill.), BMCRR 3940; Sydenham 921; Harlan RRM II, Ch. 12 at pp. 95-103; RBW Collection 1532; Jones, J.M., A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (1990) [entry for “Quirinus” at p. 264]. 19.5 mm., 3.71 g.* Here's a close-up of the bankers' mark/countermark on the obverse. I think it looks kind of like a bird facing right, with a dot for an eye and its tail upright on the left, all inside a star or flower, but that could just be me seeing a face in a cloud (i.e., pareidolia). If anyone sees something different, please let me know! * Earlier authorities identified the moneyer as the son of Gaius Memmius, praetor in 58 BCE, and his wife Fausta, Sulla’s daughter. See Grueber, BMCRR p. 495 n. 1. More recent authorities have argued that Fausta was too young to have a son who was moneyer in the 50s, and have concluded instead that the moneyer was the Gaius Memmius who was tribune of the plebs in 54 BCE (see Crawford p. 451: “The moneyer is presumably Tr. Pl. 54”), and was a nephew of Pompey the Great -- namely, the son of Gaius Memmius and Pompeia Strabonia, Pompey’s sister. Harlan RRM II p. 95. (The Gaius Memmius who was married to Fausta’s daughter was a first cousin of the one who was the moneyer’s father [id.], not his father’s brother as Crawford states [p. 451], given that the two had the same praenomen.) Regarding the portrayal of Ceres on the reverse -- a portrayal used as an illustration to the Wikipedia article on Ceres! -- and the reverse legend claiming that an ancestor of the moneyer founded the Ludi Cereales (games of Ceres), see Sear RCV I at p.146: “The initial staging of the games of Ceres by the aedile Memmius, commemorated on the reverse, is an event unrecorded in history but presumably predating 210 B.C.” See also RSC I at p. 66 (“This relates to the institution at Rome of the Ludi Cereales”); Crawford at p. 451 (The “reverse … allude to the first celebration of the Ludi Cereales in or before 211”). As Harlan explains (RRM II p. 100), the founding of the Ludi Creales would have had to be before 210 if the coin’s historical claim is correct, because “the names of both plebeian aediles are known for all the years from 210 to 198” -- with no Memmius among them -- and the Ludi Cereales are known to have been celebrated by 202 BCE. However, as Harlan also points out (id.), “[w]e actually have no idea when the first Cerealia was held, nor do we have any other mention of Memmius, the aedile, who, on the coin’s evidence, becomes the first known Memmius,” given that our earliest written mention of the gens Memmia is of Gaius Memmius, legate in 174 and praetor in 172.” The coin is our only evidence of any earlier political activity by the family. Harlan goes on to discuss the general frustration of ancient authors such as Livy and Cicero over “the tampering of aristocrats with ancient events in order to credit the deeds of others to their own family.” (Id.) Thus, we will never know the truth. “But the willingness of some historians to accept the statement on this coin as historical fact is “indicative of the influence that coinage could exert not only on on the Romans of its own time, but still can exert on us today.” (Id. at p. 101.) As for the snake depicted at the feet of Ceres, see Jones, J.M., A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (Seaby, 1990), entry for “Snake” at p. 291: “Since snakes live in the earth they also frequently form a part of cults which are connected with the earth. So . . . Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, is sometimes represented in a chariot drawn by serpents, or with snakes by her side.” (Note that although a search of Republican coin types for Ceres and snake or serpent yields only this type and the M. Volteius denarius with Ceres in a biga of snakes, the same search in OCRE for Imperial coinage yields results for Vespasian, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius.) Ceres’ Greek equivalent, Demeter, was also traditionally portrayed with snakes. See https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c9/a7/d2/c9a7d29a39c7daaddc721848af2170af.jpg: Regarding Quirinus, the deity portrayed on the obverse, see Jones, supra, entry for “Quirinus” at p. 264: Quirinus was an “Italian deity believed by the Romans to be of Sabine origin (although this is doubtful), and worshipped on the Quirinal Hill at Rome. According to Roman mythology, Romulus, forty years after he had founded Rome, disappeared from the earth and became identified with Quirinus. The cult of Quirinus resembled that of Mars and was supervised by a Flamen Quirnalis.” Jones specifically mentions this coin type, stating that in 56 BCE, “the mint magistrate C. Memmius issued a denarius with a laureate head on the obverse accompanied by the legend QVIRINVS; it is possible that this is to be explained in some way as alluding to the identification of Romulus and Quirinus, but more likely that the family of Memmius was of Sabine descent.” Contra Grueber, BMCRR Vol. I p. 496, stating that the portrayal of Quirinus referred to “the ancient origin of the Memmia gens, which claimed to be descended through Romulus from the Trojan Mnestheus” (a claim later mentioned by Virgil; see Aeneid 5.117), and, therefore, must have been intended to evoke the Romulus-Quirinus assimilation. See also RSC I at p. 66 (adopting Grueber’s viewpoint). At p. 451, Crawford rejects the viewpoint of Grueber and RSC, and makes an argument (presumably the basis for Jones’s position) that because the head on the obverse is explicitly identified as Quirinus (rather than Romulus), “it therefore seems self-evident that the type is irrelevant to the assimilation of Quirinus and Romulus.” Instead, as Crawford continues on p. 452: “Quirinus was “regarded by the Romans as a Sabine deity (wrongly of course. . .; the fact that the Sabines were mostly in the tribe Quirina may have helped the error along) and the choice of type perhaps reflected the moneyer’s claim to possess a Sabine origo.” Harlan’s position is somewhere in the middle. He argues that “neither of the explanations given by Crawford or Grueber has taken adequate consideration of the real place Quirinus held in the national consciousness of the people” because of his status as the deified Romulus, an importance not dependent on particular claims of descent from Romulus given that all Romans looked to Romulus as an ancestor (Harlan, RRM II at p. 102). He cites as examples Cicero’s Republic (in which the dramatis persona Scipio expresses surprise that men of the time of Romulus, who were no longer primitive, would have believed a tale of a man becoming a god, but notes that there must have been such conspicuous talent and virtue in Romulus that people believed the story) (id.), and the fact that the Roman people “ever after continued to celebrate Romulus’ return to heaven, and acted out the events of his disappearance each year on the fifth of July.” (Id.) In other words, my reading of Harlan’s view -- which appears to me to be reasonable -- is that on the one hand, most people who saw an image identified as Quirinus would be very familiar with the Romulus-Quirinus assimilation myth, and would recognize Quirinus as the deified Romulus even without any express reminder. On the other hand, Harlan also apparently believes that Crawford is correct that Quirinus, who was thought of as a Sabine god, was more likely to be associated with the claimed Sabine origin of the gens Memmia, than with any supposed descent of that family from a Trojan ancestor of Romulus -- a meaning two steps removed from the portrayal of Quirinus. So, according to Harlan, the image would have had not one, but two probable meanings (intended and/or perceived) -- with the third, more indirect, suggested meaning less likely. Finally, at p. 103, Harlan addresses the juxtaposition of Quirinus/Romulus on the obverse with Ceres on the reverse (as well as the juxtaposition, on the moneyer’s other issue of that year [see Crawford 427/1] of Ceres on the obverse and a military trophy on the reverse): “Romulus’ legacy to his people had been a love of military pursuits and his people worshipped their founder as a god of war. Why then on Memmius’ coin is Quirinus, a god of war, coupled with the celebration of the first games of Ceres, the goddess of grain who loves peace? Why, on the scond coin, is the military trophy on the reverse and the head of Ceres on the obverse? . . . The answer lies in the Roman character as Cicero traced its development in his Republic. [Summary follows of Cicero’s discussion of Roman state following death of Romulus (see De Re Publica 2.25-7), including his successor Numa’s division of conquered lands for cultivation, establishment of games and religious celebrations, etc., thereby tempering the warlike spirit instilled by Romulus and allowing abundance to flourish] . . . . Memmius’ coins reflect the duality of the Roman character: a nature suited to the pursuit of war, but tempered by religion and clememcy; and so, our moneyer has balanced Quirinus with the games of Ceres and on the second coin, Ceres is balanced with a military trophy. The fruits of peace are enjoyed because of the arts of war and Memmius has extolled his family’s role in providing both to the Roman people.” **** Please post your own quinarii of any type, and/or your own Roman Republican coins depicting Liber/Bacchus, Jupiter, Victory, or Ceres -- or Quirinus, if you have one of this type. (There are no other Roman coins depicting Quirinus so far as I know.) .