Featured Sulla's grandson and a rare obverse die

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Sulla80, Dec 8, 2019.

  1. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Curule Chair.jpg After the first Social War (91-88 BC), in which Lucius Cornelius Sulla distinguished himself as a general especially in his defeat of the Samnites. He was elected consul in 88 BC with Quintus Pompeius Rufus. In the same year, his partnership with Pompeius was cemented with the marriage of Cornelia, the daughter of Sulla and his first wife Julia, and Q. Pompeius Rufus, the son of the co-consul.

    Sulla, 50 years old, was married to his third wife, Cloelia, whom he pushed aside on grounds of sterility so that he could marry his fourth wife, Metella, establishing a valuable linkage with the powerful Metelli family. And another prized assignment went to Sulla in the same year, that of suppressing the revolt of Mithradates VI of Pontus. However, political maneuvers, led by Caius Marius and Publius Sulpicius Rufus, switched the assignment to Marius. Marius agreed to support Sulpicius’ legislative agenda and in exchange Marius would get command of the Mithridatic legions.

    Sulla was driven to the home of Marius by a murderous mob raised by Sulpicius to promote the cause of Marius with the senate. This mob of Marius supporters murdered Sulla's son-in-law Quintus, the son of Pompeius married to Cornelia Sulla, and others.[Lives] Somehow the brief marriage of Cornelia and Quintus produced two children, Pompeia who would grow up to marry Julius Caesar, and Quintus Pompeius Rufus, same name as his father and grandfather, who would strike these coins as moneyer in 54 BC.

    Crawford in Roman Republican Coinage counts 111 obverse dies for this issue in which Pompeius celebrates his paternal grandfather Q. Pompeius Rufus, and his maternal grandfather, Sulla.
    Q Pompeius Rufus Blu.jpg
    Q. Pompeius Rufus, 54 BC, AR Denarius, Rome mint
    Obv: Q. POMPEI. Q. F RVFVS above, curule chair flanked by arrow and laurel-branch; COS on raised tablet below
    Rev: SVLLA. COS above, curule chair flanked by lituus and a wreath; Q. POMPEI. RVF on raised tablet below
    Ref: Crawford 434/2

    Of the 111 dies - only one is known to produce the obverse legend on this coin - note the "RVRVS" on the obverse. This coin ex Jonathan P. Rosen Collection.
    Q Pompeius Rurus Blu.jpg

    Two examples below of this obverse with two different reverse dies are in the British Museum Collection. The first one a double die match to my coin above.

    As always, comments, corrections, and additions to any of the above are appreciated. Post you coins with misspelled legends, and other die distinguishing errors or anything else you find interesting or entertaining.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2019
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Informative write-up and nice coin! It's always a bonus to find a die-matched example in a museum collection, too.
    Sulla80 likes this.
  4. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    Interesting write - up. I was lucky enough to obtain an example
    of Crawford 434.1 (less than 10 dies per Crawford) , with portraits of both Sulla and Q.Pompeius Rufus

  5. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    A very nice coin and great to have the portraits in the thread of the two grandparents that go with the chairs. Thanks for posting!
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
  6. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Both nice examples and a great writeup. The rest of the story is interesting too. Here's what I have: "In 54 BC, our Pompeius was convicted of electoral bribery and exiled to Campania. He was tribune of the plebs in 52 BC and although he was Caesar's brother in law (through his sister Pompeia), he supported Pompey in the civil war. The last instance in which the sources mention Pompeius is that in 51 BC his enemies spread false rumors that he had murdered Cicero on his way to Cilicia."

    I need a new photo of mine:
    Screen Shot 2019-12-11 at 11.16.43 PM.jpg

    (BTW, is "57 BC" in the writeup a type for 54?)
  7. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Thanks for sharing your excellent coin and the added history. It looks like I did have a typo - I appreciate you pointing it out, and I have edited in the OP.
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