Featured ScipiOh no! Afr-I-think-I-can-I-think-I-can-us

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ryro, Feb 23, 2021.

  1. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Scipio Africanus may have his image on a couple of coin types. He may have it on none.
    He may be the first living Roman to have his likeness on a coin. Or not.
    We're not even sure if this is his likeness:
    (If this is him, then the legends are true of him being the world's first unified staring contest champion)

    We do know that after Hannibal's brother, Hasdrubal Barca (those Carthaginians had some rad last names. Barca=thunderbolt), killed Scipio's father and uncle at the battle of the Upper Baetis he was the only Roman willing to lead another attack on this rampaging enemy. Everyone else believed the position an assisted suicide.
    This Scipio though was the little Roman who could... and would bring down the second greatest threat Rome would ever know.

    He was a 25 year old kid, a decade too young to even hold the proconsular position the Roman people gave him in hopes of some of that Scipio magic.
    As we all know, Lil Scipio wouldn't disappoint. Bringing Hannibal and essentially all of Carthage to their knees... with a nice Chianti!

    Cut to: At what point do you cut off the leg to save the life? How bad does the gangrene need to be before, whack?
    The answer is on the reverse of my Scipio(?) Afri- couldbe:
    1578520_1607413923.l-removebg-preview (1).png

    Yep. I purchased this amazing rarity, with quite possibly the image of our and Rome's hero, on the cheap due to the very obvious bronze disease attack on the horses hind and a bit on top by the horses head.
    I've spent the last month or so soaking it in distilled water for a few days, scrub with cut down toothbrush and poke with a tooth pick, repeat.

    Until most of the BD was no longer visible. I then had to use my exacto knife to cut out the rest (some was hiding under the thick patina).
    Baked the victor of Zama at 350 degrees for 40 minutes followed by a relaxing session of Verdi-care applications. I've yet to have BD return following this outline.
    And now, we're alright;)
    Spain, Carthago Nova Æ Unit. Roman Occupation, after 209 BC. Bare-head left (Scipio Africanus?) / Horse standing right; palm tree behind. CNH Class XI, 282; SNG BM Spain 127-128. 10.98g, 22mm, 12h.
    Good Very Fine. Excellent for issue. Rare.
    Bertolami Jan 2021
    "Villaronga's Class XI, dated 218-206 BC covers that period of the Second Punic War when the Romans, under the leadership of Scipio Africanus, took the war to Carthage's possessions in Spain in order to cause Hannibal to withdraw from Italy. Though still a young man, Scipio displayed extraordinary skills in leadership and by 209 BC brought the provincial Carthaginian city of Qart Hadasht in Spain under his control. Differing substantially from the earlier regional issues which may depict the Barcid generals, this youthful Roman-like head is most likely that of Scipio himself. The rarity of this issue, both in silver and bronze, attests to its short period of striking, and may reflect the Romans' republican views regarding the depiction of a living individual on their coins, even those that would circulate outside of Rome itself."

    Is it beautiful? Naw. But it wasn't before, nor is the type known for its artistic beauty. But I believe that I have cut out the disease and sealed up the wound saving the coin from a certain and uglier demise.

    There is also the lovely RR UPS driver version of Scipio (he just looks so unassuming with that dainty nose and pencil neck!):
    Cn. Blasio Cn.f..
    Denarius, 3.64g. (h). Rome, 112-111 BC. Obv: Helmeted head right (Scipio Africanus?), mark of value above, caduceus behind, [CN BLA]SIO CN F before. Rx: Jupiter standing. between Juno and Minerva, dot in field, [ROMA] in exergue. Crawford 296/1a. Sydenham 561. RSC Cornelia 19. Minor weakness on reverse. Bold, lustrous EF.

    Other than these two types I'm not aware of any more coins purported to have Scipio's portrait... are there any?

    And let's not forget coins of the opposition:

    I'll leave you with the possibly\probably made up stories by Livy and Appian of when the two generals met up years later to discuss who truly was the greatest general of all time (keeping in mind they had no way of knowing that one day a Ryro would rise above all):

    “Africanus asked who, in Hannibal’s opinion, was the greatest general of all time. Hannibal replied: ‘Alexander, King of the Macedonians, because with a small force he routed armies of countless numbers, and because he traversed the remotest lands. Merely to visit such lands transcended human expectation.’ Asked whom he would place second, Hannibal said: ‘Pyrrhus. He was the first to teach the art of laying out a camp. Besides that, no one has ever shown nicer judgement in choosing his ground, or in disposing his forces. He also had the art of winning men to his side; so that the Italian peoples preferred the overlordship of a foreign king to that of the Roman people, who for so long had been the chief power in that country.’ When Africanus followed up by asking whom he ranked third, Hannibal unhesitatingly chose himself. Scipio burst out laughing at this, and said: ‘What would you have said if you had defeated me?’ ‘In that case’, replied Hannibal, ‘I should certainly put myself before Alexander and before Pyrrhus – in fact, before all other generals!’ This reply, with its elaborate Punic subtlety, and this unexpected kind of flattery…affected Scipio deeply, because Hannibal had set him (Scipio) apart from the general run of commanders, as one whose worth was beyond calculation.
    Livy, The History of Rome from its Foundation XXXV.14″

    The Historian Appian also tells this story in his History of the Rome.

    ” It is said that at one of their meetings in the gymnasium Scipio and Hannibal had a conversation on the subject of generalship, in the presence of a number of bystanders, and that Scipio asked Hannibal whom he considered the greatest general, to which the latter replied, “Alexander of Macedonia.”
    To this Scipio assented since he also yielded the first place to Alexander. Then he asked Hannibal whom he placed next, and he replied, “Pyrrhus of Epirus,” because he considered boldness the first qualification of a general; “for it would not be possible,” he said, “to find two kings more enterprising than these.”

    Scipio was rather nettled by this, but nevertheless he asked Hannibal to whom he would give the third place, expecting that at least the third would be assigned to him; but Hannibal replied, “To myself; for when I was a young man I conquered Spain and crossed the Alps with an army, the first after Hercules. I invaded Italy and struck terror into all of you, laid waste 400 of your towns, and often put your city in extreme peril, all this time receiving neither money nor reinforcements from Carthage.”

    As Scipio saw that he was likely to prolong his self-laudation he said, laughing, “Where would you place yourself, Hannibal, if you had not been defeated by me?” Hannibal, now perceiving his jealousy, replied, “In that case I should have put myself before Alexander.” Thus Hannibal continued his self-laudation, but flattered Scipio in a delicate manner by suggesting that he had conquered one who was the superior of Alexander.”

    So please post those coins of Scipio Africanus, Carthaginian or Roman coins of the time, thoughts, stories or whatever gets your enemies elephant's to turn and trample them
    Justin Lee, bcuda, Shea19 and 24 others like this.
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  3. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    A nephew of Scipio Africanus , not succesfull as a general:

    P1170390 (3).JPG
  4. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Oh man, that is a lovely one with a pleasing toning.
    This is one of my first RR purchases... not so lovely, but just serrated:
  5. Alegandron

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



    Carthago Nova SCIPIO Africanus Roman Occupation 209-206 BCE Sear Vol2 6575 R

    Carthago Nova Scipio 209-206 BCE AE 14 Horse Head R
  6. Silphium Addict

    Silphium Addict Supporter! Supporter

    Can't resist one of my favorite topics. The Punic Spain coins are anepigraphic and there is no historical documentation that the heads are an individual's portrait, but here is my theory based on my shekels:
    AR shekel 220-209 BC 7.24 gm ACIP 603
    O: male head left / R: horse standing right before palm tree
    AR shekel 208-203 BC 6.99 gm ACIP 625
    AR shekel 209 BC 7.11 gm ACIP 606

    The head on the first shekel represents Hannibal, the second is Scipio and the third is a transition with a recut die to "Romanize" a Punic portrait.
    Since Alexander the Great, tendency for god’s features on coins to resemble a person.
    Scipio had access to silver and an intact mint when he captured Cartago Nova.
    Tendency of Spanish tribes to identify with individual leaders.
    Portrait styles – “Carthaginian” features changed to “Roman” features.
    Match known sculptures & images (In addition to the bust above, the Museo Nazionale in Naples also has a gold signet ring of Scipio dated to the late 3rd - early 2nd Cetury BC shown below)

    So, there is no conclusive evidence but the circumstantial evidence is intriguing.
    These coins most likely represent “unofficial portraits”
  7. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    I was not aware of the possibility that this coin represents Scipio Africanus! Now I shall have to get one too. :wideyed::greedy::p

    Fun thread @Ryro !

    Instead I’ll share a coin type that Scipio took with him to Spain to kick start his little adventure. According to Crawford over 11.9 tons of silver ~ 2,400,000 denarii.
    3E46DD14-EE07-4FD0-AF33-AAA0738FEA11.jpeg Roman Republic
    Second Punic War (218 – 201 BC)
    Anonymous AR Denarius, Rome Mint, struck ca. 211 BC
    Wt.: 4.2 g
    Dia.: 20 mm
    Obv.: Helmeted head of Roma right. X in left field
    Rev.: Dioscuri galloping right. ROMA in exergue and partially incuse on raised tablet
    Ref.: Crawford 44/5 Brinkman Group 5. Sydenham 167. RBW 169.
    Ex Numismatic Ars Classica Auction 100 Part II, Lot 1368 (May 30, 2017)
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2021
  8. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    This type may have been minted under Scipio in Spain. It is traditionally attributed to Etruria but more and more find evidence for this and the related pentagram victoriati suggests Spain. Additionally, in Latin "Scipio" means "staff" or "walking stick" much like the staff on the reverse of this coin
    20160917234502-b6a67ed0-me (3).jpg
    Roman Republic AR Victoriatus(3.07g, 18mm, 4h). Anonymous("Staff and club" series). 209-208 B.C., Spanish mint. Laureate head of Jupiter right. Border of dots / Victory standing right, crowning trophy with wreath; Staff between. ROMA in exergue. Line border. Crawford 106/1; Sydenham 209; RSC 24n.
  9. Alegandron

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

    That is a cool comment!

    Here are some other denominations that were probably from that tonnage of Silver and may had been with Scipio also:

    Roman Republic
    AR Sestertius
    After 211 BCE
    12mm 1.0g
    Rome mint
    Roma r IIS -
    Dioscuri riding stars in ex ROMA
    Sear 46 Craw 44-7 RSC 4

    Roman Republic
    AR Quinarius
    after 211 BCE
    Helmeted hd Roma -
    Dioscuri riding
    Craw 68-2b RSC 3 SICILY ISSUE
    ex Clain-Stefanelli

    Roman Republic
    AR Victoriatus
    211-206 BCE
    Sear 49 Craw 44-1

    Roman Republic
    AR Denarius
    211-206 BCE
    ROMA incus Dioscuri single horn-helmet
    Sear-- Craw 68-1b SICILY ISSUE

    Attached Files:

  10. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Congrats! This is a must-have type for anyone interested in the second Punic war.

    Quarter-shekel (Hannibal?):
    Screen Shot 2021-02-23 at 4.18.30 PM.jpg

    Same as the OP coin:
    Screen Shot 2021-02-23 at 4.17.35 PM.jpg

    And the Scipio Asiagenus denarius seen elsewhere in the thread:
  11. Alegandron

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

    Carthage Second Punic War

    Carthage mint
    2nd Punic War 203-201 BCE
    BI 1½ Shekels
    24mm 9.4 g
    Wreathed Head Tanit -
    Horse stndng R hd L, raised foreleg Pellet
    SNG COP 394

    Carthage Zeugitania
    AR ½ Shekel
    17mm 3.8g
    2nd Punic War 218-202 BCE
    Sicily mint 216-211 BCE
    Tanit l
    Horse r sun as double uraeus
    SNG COP 359

    Bruttium Carthage occupation
    2nd Punic War
    AR Half-Shekel
    Horse SOLARdisc Ureai
    HN Italy 2016

    AE Trishekel
    220-215 BCE 2nd Punic War
    30mm 17.6g
  12. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    Some stunners here that would bring certain great nations, rhyming with Scmarthage, to their knees:woot:
    Can always count on @Curtisimo to bring the cool

    ... comments and knowledge:singing: and @Alegandron to again show the most dominant collection of coins from this period:wideyed:I've seen:) but that blazing sun behind your half shekel:shifty::

    @Silphium Addict your showstopping ARs and theory, that seems probable to me, are making me look more into the silver from the period... and a second mortgage;)
    Interesting @red_spork:bookworm: Thanks for the wonderful insight. I'd no idea:bucktooth: I've a little Victoriatus with a arrowhead:

    And @Severus Alexander I hate to work my way backwards, but that reverse image of Jupiter with his thunderbolt is exceptional:cigar:
    Your Scipio might be my favorite that I've seen... and an AR Hannibal:jawdrop:
    I will say I'm surprised not to have seen more girthy Roman coins so far.
    I don't know something like:
    ROMAN REPUBLIC. Anonymous. AE Aes Grave Triens (92.37 gms), Rome Mint, ca. 225-217 B.C. VERY FINE.
    Cr-35/3a; TV-53. Obverse: Helmeted head of Minerva left; four pellets (mark of value) below; all set upon raised disk; Reverse: Prow right; four pellets (mark of value) below; all set upon raised disk. A pleasing specimen despite its crudeness, with charming green surfaces. A test cut across Minerva's face is noted for completeness.
    Ex Stacks & Bowers 2020
  13. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    I can't offer anything remotely related, but great writeup, @Ryro, and nice job dealing with that BD.
    ominus1, Silphium Addict and Ryro like this.
  14. Curtis

    Curtis Supporter! Supporter

    This is a great topic, @Ryro ! I do tend to favor the view that the bronze, the "Escipión Africano" at the Naples Museum, is Scipio, and also that it resembles the supposed portraits on Iberian and Roman coins. (Of course, one has to mind the possibility of wishful thinking.) @Silphium Addict , I like your explanation of those three Shekels! What a wonderful set.

    I still need to upgrade my Spanish AE "Scipio," and hopefully get one of the bigger issues. I haven't got these top three cataloged yet, but here's my
    (1: top left) Cornelius Blasio denarius (112/1 BCE) with the head of Mars-as-Scipio Africanus (?);
    (2: top right) little "Scipio"/horse Iberian AE14 from Cartagonova (?) after kicking Hannibal out; and
    (3: bottom) the Q. Metellus Pius Scipio Denarius (47/6 BCE) with the elephant on the back, struck in Africa (during the Pompey's & Caesar's Civil War), evoking the successes of his illustrious ancestor Scipio Africanus the Elder in Africa and Iberia during the 2nd Punic War.

    Below that are some other fun coins related to 2nd Punic War.

    Scipio Africanus types x3.jpg

    Second Punic War Biunx and Halved Shekel crop.jpg (Left) Punic Spain, the Barcids, temp. Second Punic War. Halved AR Shekel or "Drachm/Denarius" (4.09g). Cathago Nova (?), circa 237-209 BCE (temp. Hannibal, 218-206?).
    One might speculate that after Hannibal was expelled from Iberia, this Shekel was subjected to a "currency conversion," interestingly, cut to substantially more than "half," more like ~62% of a 6.65g original Shekel, assuming the missing half was of equal thickness/density.

    (Right) Latin Colonies & Allies of Rome, temp. Second Punic War. Northern Apulia, Luceria AE Aes Grave Biunx (cast, 17.86g, 26mm [9mm thick], 3h). Struck circa 217-212. Shell / Astralagus [knucklebone]. L and two pellets (mark of value).
    I'm sure others here know better than I do where the Aes Grave and other coinage cast or struck at Luceria circulated. My understanding is that a major Roman mint was located there during the 2nd Punic war. Were these coins cast at Luceria for local coinage, for use by Romans, or both?

    CONSERVATORI-Hannibal Carthage Quarter Shekel.png
    Carthage, Punic Spain, Carthagonova AR 1/4 Shekel (1.70g, 14.5mm, 12h). Struck c. 237 - 209 BCE (disputed dating; temp. Hannibal & Second Punic War? c. 218-209).
    Obverse: Laureate bust of Melqart-Hercules (with features of Hannibal?) left, club over far shoulder.
    Reverse: African elephant advancing right, ground line, dotted border.
    References: Robinson-6c, plate II; SNG British Museum 989; SNG BM Spain 102; SNG Copenhagen 293; CNH-14; AB-487; Vill-15 (Villaronga, MHC suggests Hasdrubal based on dating).
    Pedigree: Ex-Soley y Llach Auction 1112, Lot 49 (27 February, 2020)

    CONSERVATORI-Saguntum AE Sextans - Sixth Unit.png
    Spain, Arse-Saguntum. AE Sextans (c. 1.6g, 14 x 12.5mm, 9h). Mid-2nd cent AD.
    Obverse: Scallop or cockle shell.
    Reverse: Dolphin right; crescent above, Iberian character & star below.
    References: CNH 35; SNG BM Spain 1113-5; ACIP (Villaronga, Ancient Coins of the Iberian Penninsula) 1979; Alvarez-Burgos (FAB) 2064.
    Pedigree: Ex-Lucernae Numismatica (Antonio Hinojosa Pareja, Alcala la Real, Spain; 1 Sep 2014).
  15. bcuda

    bcuda El Ibérico loco Supporter

    Well I can not believe I missed this post.
    Great write up Ryro.

    Well I had the exact same coin like yours (4th image) @Ryro that I also just finished up soaking in distilled water for over a month and half had to clean out the spot with a dentist stainless pick then dryed it in the oven followed up with a treatment of Verdi-care and no more bronze disease. We just did the the same exact thing to the same exact coin my friend !
    The coin is Alright Now just like this super cool song.

    So I guess I need to post up some pics now I hope you like them.
    Here is the good ol Scipio

    Cartaginesa Scipio1a.jpg IMG_7008.jpg scip2a.jpg scip6.jpg

    And Scipio's arch rival Hanibal who thought Scipio was Bad Company


    Some of the opposition but does not have Hanibal's image.



    Next up a coin from Sagunto
    From The Siege of Saguntum, was a battle which took place in 219 BC between the Carthaginians and the Saguntines at the town of Saguntum, near the modern town of Sagunto in Spain. The battle is remembered because it triggered one of the most important wars of antiquity, the Second Punic War.

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
    Curtisimo, Bing, Justin Lee and 4 others like this.
  16. Ryro

    Ryro They call me the 13th Caesar Supporter

    That is an incredible story! How wild is that!?
    For some reason coins, around this time, from Spain and Sicily seem to have a higher likelyhood of getting BD.
    Aaaaand that has got to be the most handsome and dashing Scipio ever! Excellent patina:wideyed:
    And a Hannibal Melqart and elephant !!!:cigar:
    Justin Lee and Alegandron like this.
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