Featured The Story of the Coin Struck to Fight Hannibal: The First Denarius and its Influence

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Curtisimo, Jul 26, 2017.

  1. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    The coins I get the most excited about adding to my collection are those that tell the most compelling story. Those coin types that can be traced to long distant events that inspire the imagination. I feel very fortunate to have acquired just such an ancient coin recently. This coin was very likely struck from silver looted from some of the most famous cities of the ancient world and then used by the Roman Republic to pay for the soldiers and supplies needed to fend off the assaults of the mighty Hannibal. This denarius was the first of its kind (Crawford 44/5) and would go on to become one of the most iconic and influential issues in numismatic history. Be aware that this is likely to become a long (even for me) two part post.

    Roman Republic, Second Punic War (218-201 BC)
    AR Denarius. Anonymous, 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. Sydenham 167. RBW 169.
    Old cabinet tone

    1.0 – The Mediterranean World before the Introduction of the Denarius

    Figure 1 – The Mediterranean at the start of the Second Punic War (Wikipedia)

    The year is 212 BC and the Mediterranean world is in turmoil. To the Hellenistic east the Seleucid and Ptolemaic empires are nursing their wounds after concluding another bloody and costly conflict in their seemingly endless struggle for control of Syria and Judea. In the west the Roman Republic and the Carthaginian Empire are at the height of the Second Punic War.

    Just four years earlier the Roman Republic had nearly been brought to its’ knees after a series of devastating encounters with the brilliant general Hannibal Barca of Carthage. On the Italian peninsula, at the battles of Trebia, Trasimene and Cannae, Rome had suffered a humiliating string of defeats and had lost a demoralizing 20% (1 in 5) of its’ male citizens of military age [1]. In Hispania and Gaul, Roman and Carthaginian armies jostled to gain the upper hand. In Macedonia, King Philip V of Macedon had concluded a treaty of alliance with Hannibal that opened up yet another front for the bruised and financially stretched Republic.

    After the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC many of Rome’s previously loyal allies became convinced that it would lose the war and defected to Carthage. Capua, a city with close cultural and political ties to Rome, was the most shocking of these defections. Northern Italy (Cisalpine Gaul) had already been in open revolt and had even supplied troops to Hannibal after his initial invasion. To top all this off the Greek city-state of Syracuse came under the sway of an anti-Roman faction after the death of Hieron II. This was a situation that had the potential to cut the grain supply to Rome from that important region. Compare Figure 1 above to Figure 2 and you start to get a sense of the dire situation that the Romans found themselves in around 212 BC. They had lost control of vast expanses of territory and were in financial ruin with a shortage in precious metals leading to a severe debasement of the republic’s silver currency, the quadrigatus, from 97% in 218 B.C. to as little as 30% by 212 B.C. [3][4]. Rome knew that in order to survive it would have to find a way to punish its disloyal allies and find new sources of bullion to fund its desperate struggle with Hannibal.

    Figure 2 – Roman territorial losses at the time of the Siege of Syracuse

    2.0 – The Siege of Syracuse

    Figure 3 – The city of Syracuse. The city’s geography and defenses made it difficult to assault (Wikipedia)

    Because of the importance of keeping control of Sicily the Roman senate sent perhaps its finest general, Marcus Claudius Marcellus, to end the Syracusan threat. Marcellus was famous in his own time for being possibly the only historically verifiable person to win the Spolia Opima by killing an enemy general in single combat during battle. Despite his skills and accolades the city held out against his assaults for over two years. This was partly due to the ingenuity of the great scientist and mathematician Archimedes, who designed war machines and inventive countermeasures to repel all of the assaults that Marcellus made on the city [2].

    This success seems to have made the Syracusans over-confident and when Marcellus heard that the city was preparing to celebrate the feast day of Artemis he decided to stage a surprise attack on a stretch of underdefended wall near the Hexaplon fortress to the north. He managed to take most of the mainland portion of the city with this assault and even the practically impregnable Euryalus Fortress was cut off from resupply and soon surrendered [5]. Marcellus took the rest of the city through treachery by bribing a Spanish mercenary to open the Arethusa Gate [5](See Figure 4). The sack that followed was brutal and it was at this time that Archimedes was killed (allegedly too busy studying to pay the Roman soldiers any attention).

    The treasury of Herion II at Syracuse was famed in antiquity and we know that it was located on the island of Ortygia. So it would have been during the last phases of the siege that the Romans would have gained access to the precious metals they would need to prop up their economy. We are not given an exact amount of silver that was captured during the sack but Livy does tell us that;

    “Such, by and large, was the capture of Syracuse, and the quantity of booty taken was so great that more would hardly have been forthcoming if it were Carthage that had been captured [2]”

    Syracuse Siege  Map_Final.jpg
    Figure 4 – Important Stages of the Roman Capture of Syracuse

    Euryalus Pic.JPG
    Figure 5 – Remains of the Euryalus Fortress Showing the Extent of the Impressive Fortifications of Syracuse

    The capture of Syracuse was a major turning point for the Roman Republic in the Second Punic War and would likely provide the bulk of the silver used to strike the first denarii. The Romans had managed to take the city that both the Athenians and the Carthaginians at the height of their power could not. With the end of the siege the last great independent Greek city-state from the Greek Classical Era had fallen and with it the world had lost perhaps its greatest scientific mind in Archimedes.

    3.0 – The Capture of Capua

    Adding to the bounty from Syracuse was the successful capture of Capua (Italy’s second largest city at the time) in 211 B.C. The Romans were particularly harsh to the disloyal Capuans and in this instance Livy does tell us that the sack yielded 31,200 pounds of silver and 2,072 pounds of gold [2].

    4.0 – The First Denarii and the Enigma of Roma

    Flush with newly looted silver from the sacking of Syracuse and Capua the Romans were in a good position to stabilize their silver currency after it’s debasement had led to severe inflation by 212 B.C. [3]. Instead of trying to restore faith in the old currency the Roman senate chose to institute an entirely new system based on an entirely new denomination, the denarius, which was valued at 10 newly reduced bronze Asses of the sextental standard (thus the X behind Roma).

    The first denarius and its fractional denominations would serve as the primary means of paying the legions fighting Hannibal. It would also go on to serve as the backbone of the Roman monetary system for over four and a half centuries. Crawford places the first denarius issues as running from roughly 211 to ca. 208 BC [6] and groups several types into this initial mintage. Subsequent scholarship conducted by Hersh [7] using hoard evidence has clarified a more linear chronology of these types. The first few he lists in his chronology are as follows.

    1. Crawford 44/5 – Sydenham 140, 167 & 168

    2. Crawford 46/1 – Sydenham 140

    3. Crawford 45/1 – Sydenham 166

    In around 210 BC the general who would ultimately defeat Hannibal, Scipio Africanus, would take approximately 2,400,000 of these early denarii (11.9 tons of silver!) with him to fund his conquest of Hispania [6].

    4.1 – Obverse: Roma with Winged Helmet

    For the obverse of the new silver issues the Romans chose to exclusively depict the personification of their city, Roma, instead of gods such as Apollo or Mars that had featured prominently in previous silver issues. To our modern eyes this may seem like a natural and obvious choice but to other ancient Mediterranean peoples the way the Romans personified their city would have been somewhat strange. In the Greek world of the third century BC the most common personification of a city would have been a local variant of the goddess Tyche (Fortuna) wearing a mural crown made of the city’s walls [10]. The famous Tyche of Antioch is a good example of this and would have been known to the Romans. However, having such a tame and fickle goddess represent their mother city was something that the culturally war minded and aggressive Roman people could not tolerate. As Roman artists began to look around for influences to model Roma after they seem to have quickly settled on the warrior goddess Athena/Minerva (Figure 6)[10]. In the decades leading up to the introduction of the denarius it is possible to follow the influence of the Greek Athena on depictions of Roma as seen in Figure 7. Take special note of the shift from the Phrygian helmet to the Attic helmet by the time of the denarius. Also notice the reverse of the Republican didrachm showing Nike, commonly associated with Athena in Greek art.

    Figure 6 – Tyche of Antioch with mural crown and Athena Parthenos carrying implements of war (Modified from Wikipedia images)

    Athena to Roma.jpg
    Figure 7 – Stylistic Progression from Athena to Roma on Coins

    By the time the denarius was first struck it seems that Roma’s iconography had developed to the point that the celators were incorporating more and more local influences into her depiction. I was very happy to find an image of the below winged Attic helmet and the funerary painting (background) showing Italic helmets from the Samnite tribe in South-central Italy. Notice that in addition to the wings both examples show the helmet topped with a griffin head.

    Roma Helmet.jpg
    Figure 8 – Italic Influences on Roma

    4.2 – Reverse: The Dioscuri

    The reverse of the first denarii depict the Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux) riding horses, carrying spears and wearing a pelius cap or helmet. The twins were especially sacred to the Romans because according to Roman legendary history the twins disguised themselves as young Equites and fought with the Romans to repel the last attempt by the Roman King Tarquinus Superbus to retake the city at the Battle of Lake Regillus (499 or 496 BC ). The inclusion of the pelius may have been understood to represent the remnants of the egg that the twins were born from [9] or perhaps even a very early example of the cap’s association with liberation considering the twins had helped liberate Rome from the monarchy by joining the Romans in battle. Perhaps the Romans were even hoping that the twin deities would see fit to join battle with the Romans once again against Hannibal as they had done against Superbus.

    Figure 9 – The Dioscuri Fighting in the Battle of Lake Regillus (Photo from Wikipedia)

    5.0 – Analysis of the Silver and Lead Isotopes in Early Republican Coins to Establish Provenance

    This essay outlines the most established theory regarding the introduction of the denarius. However, there is not universal agreement on the subject as can be seen from differing attribution information from some major auction houses. While researching this essay I came across a recent research paper published by Geochemical Perspectives Letters that looked at the silver and lead isotopes of pre and post reform Roman coins. The study concluded that pre-denarius silver was largely sourced from southern Spain and can most likely be linked to the tribute silver that was paid to Rome by Carthage after the First Punic War [8]. The study further concludes that the silver used in the first denarius came from a new source, most likely from the sack of Syracuse and Capua [8]. The lead isotope analysis indicates that much of the silver refining of the first denarii was facilitated with scrap lead instead of from a consistent and steady source as would be seen with later Roman silver [8]. This might indicate that the currency reform that produced the denarius was the result of a sudden windfall of silver resources into the Roman treasury, such as silver obtained from looted cities. These results seem to support the conclusions of Crawford that the reforms that produced the denarius can be dated to 211 BC or slightly before.

    [1] Cottrel, Leonard. Enemy of Rome. Evans Bros, 1965, ISBN 0-237-44320-1. pg 102

    [2] Livius, Titus.The History of Rome. Online: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/txt/ah/Livy/

    [3] Harl, Kenneth. Coinage in the Roman Economy, 300 B.C. to A.D. 700. Pg. 30

    [4] http://research.omicsgroup.org/index.php/Roman_Republican_currency

    [5] Dummet, Jeremy. Syracuse, City of Legend. I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd. 2010

    [6] Crawford, M. Roman Republican Coinage. Cambridge University Press, 1974; Cambridge, UK.

    [7] Hersh, Charles A. Notes on the Chronology and Interpretation of the Roman Republican Coinage: Some Comments on Crawford’s “Roman Republican Coinage”. The Numismatic Chronical 137: p. 19-36

    [8] Albarede, F., Blitchert-Toft, J., Rivoal, M., Telouk, P. A Glimpse into the Roman Finances of the Second Punic War through Silver Isotopes. Geochemical Perspectives Letters v2, n2. April 2016.

    [9] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castor_and_Pollux#CITEREFKerenyi1959

    [10] Burnett, A. M. 1986. The Iconography of Roman Coin Types in the Third Century BC. The Numismatic Chronicle 146: p. 67-75.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
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  3. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    6.0 – Influence of the First Denarii on Modern Coins

    The basic obverse design of the first denarii remained popular on the subsequent denarii designs for well over over 100 years after its introduction. It’s design, and specifically the portrait of Roma, have been incredibly influential to modern coin designers. Some of the most beautiful classic coins from around the world have drawn their inspiration from it. I’ve highlighted a few below that I hope you will all find interesting.

    6.1 – The United States – 1916 - 1943 Mercury Dime

    In my research for this essay I have found that there is some disagreement about whether the US Mercury dime drew inspiration from Republican denarii. However, considering the amount of Roman Republican symbolism that went into it’s design I consider the suggestion the the artist (Adolf Weinman) was not fully aware of his coin’s similarities to it’s ancient predessessor to be entirely absurd. However, this actually enhances my estimation of Mr. Weinman’s design abilities because he was still able to produce a unique and interesting piece of numismatic art.


    Okay, so I know what some of you are thinking... “Has Curtisimo lost his mind? What is he doing posting one of his modern coins in the ancients forum! Lets run him out of town!” Please hear me out my friends! The coins I intend to discuss will be appealing to all major branches of numismatics.

    For this write up I would like to focus on the ancient symbolism of the coin but those of you who are interested to learn more about the coin’s production and design might find the below article interesting.


    The obverse of the Mercury Dime shows Liberty wearing a Phrygian cap with wings. The wings were included to represent freedom of thought and are reminiscent of the denarius. From about the 18th century the Phrygian cap was used as a symbol of freedom because it was believed at the time that it was this cap that was associated with the manumition of slaves in ancient republican Rome. However, this was a mistake! The Phrygian cap was associated in antiquity with the ancient Kingdom of Phrygia (ca. 1200-700 BC) which is said to have fought on the side of the Trojans during the Trojan War (Figure 10). As such, in ancient art the Phrygian cap was used to signify someone (like the Trojan, Paris) who came from the east.

    Figure 10 – Anceint Near East ca. 824-671 BC (Wikipedia)

    The cap associated with the manumision of slaves in the late Republic was known as the pileus cap. It was given to a freed slave as part of a ceremony performed by a praetor. The most famous use of the pileus cap as a symbol of liberty is the famous Eid Mar denarius. The cap, flanked by daggers, is clearly a message from Brutus that by killing Caesar he had freed Rome from slavery under a tyrant (Figure 11).

    Figure 11 – EID MAR Denarius CNG; Triton XIX, Lot: 421 (Obviously not my coin :))

    The pileus is simple and conical in shape as opposed to the Phrygian cap with it’s distinctive long top pulled forward. See Figure 12 for comparisson.

    Figure 12 – Mistaken symbolism on the US Mercury Dime (Modified from Wikipedia Photos)

    The reverse is also full of ancient symbolism with the inclusion of the fasces. The fasces was a bundle of wooden sticks tied together, sometimes around and axe. The sticks represented the strength of a unified state and the axe represented the states authority over life and death. The fasces were carried by lictors (basically bodyguards) that travelled with a magistrate (see figure 13). It was illegal for anyone but a dictator to have an axe in their fasces within the sacred city, or pomerium, of Rome which makes its inclusion on the dime somewhat curious. In an unfortunate coincidence the fasces would later become a symbol of Mussolini’s fascist party and provide the basis of its name.

    Figure 13 – The ancient fasces

    6.2 – Albania - 1927-R Frang Ar

    Perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing and stylistically consistent example of influence from the ancient republican denarius comes from a rare issue of the Albanian 1 Frang Ar. This might at first seem like a strange place to find ancient Roman imagery until you realize that this coin was actually struck in Rome and designed by an Italian, Giuseppe Romagnoli, during what might be considered a golden age in Italian neoclassical coin design.

    Victor Emmanuel III was the King of Italy at the time (from 1900 to 1946) and was one of the most prolific coin collectors in history. During his reign he insisted that the mint draw inspiration from Italy’s classical past. This even extended to the coinage of countries such as Albania that were de-facto client states to Italy at the time.

    Image curtesy of Todd at http://www.bluccphotos.com/

    Everything from the style of the facial features to the detailing of the helmet and articulation of the wing is very consistent with my ancient example. The reverse shows the prow of an ancient Roman ship with the “R” at the bottom to signify it was minted in Rome. The reverse is likely an homage to the ship design started on the large cast Aes coinage of Rome that commemorated Rome’s relatively new-found prowess as a naval power just before the Second Punic War.

    The beautiful example above belongs to CTs own @Stork who was kind enough to give me permission to reference it in this essay. On top of that I had an opportunity to browse through her website which I found to be an amazing resource and learning tool for world coins. I have included a link below for those of you who are interested in taking a look at the site.


    6.3 – St. Pierre & Miquelon (France) – 1948 2 Francs

    This is a nice world coin that continues with the theme of wing headed female personifications. It was designed by Lucien George Bazor and struck at the Paris Mint for the French administered island of St. Pierre & Miquelon for only one year in 1948. The obverse shows an interesting Art Deco take on the classic designs we have seen so far and the reverse features a ship.

    So is there anyone still with me?...

    If so please

    POST YOUR ROMAN REPUBLICAN COINS! I know you got ‘em so let’s see ‘em.

    And just to mix it up a bit lets also

  4. Ken Dorney

    Ken Dorney Yea, I'm Cool That Way...

    Now you've gone and done it! Now I want to get one for myself, though I am not particularly interested in silver. But I do love a good story behind a coin!
    ominus1, Deacon Ray, TJC and 3 others like this.
  5. red_spork

    red_spork Triumvir monetalis Supporter

    Awesome coin and even better writeup. Really excellent work! These early denarii really tell the story of both the massive expenditures and the massive geographical scope of the Second Punic War. I do not have a fully anonymous denarius from Rome itself but here are some various silver denominations from the same period as yours(plus or minus a few years) and various field mints:

    Quinarius(5 asses or 1/2 denarius), Rome, Cr. 44/6:

    Sestertius(2.5 asses or 1/4 denarius), Rome,Cr. 44/7:

    Denarius, Sicily, possibly Katane, Cr. 68/1b:

    Quinarius, Apulia(Southeast Italy), possibly Venusia Cr. 85/1a:

    Victoriatus, Etruria, Cr. 106/1a:

    There are also issues in silver from Spain, Sardinia, Central Italy, Corcyra and other mints which I'm still hunting down.
  6. Alegandron

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

    WOW, WOW, WOW @Curtisimo ! WELL done, NICE work! I absolutely LOVE this period of Roman History, and you NAILED it!

    Here are a few of my Quandrigatii to illustrate the devaluation of the Silver during this time: (I captured them just for those reasons...)

    RR Anon AR Quadrigatus Janus 225-215 BCE Cr 28-3 Sear 31
    High Silver Content...

    RR Anon AR Quadrigatus 215-213 Janus Roma Relief tablet S 32 Cr 29-3.jpg
    RR Anon AR Quadrigatus 215-213 Janus Roma Relief tablet S 32 Cr 29-3
    Appearance of lessening Silver content...

    RR Anon 225-214 BCE BILLON Quadrigatus Janus-Jupiter galloping quadriga r 18.2mm 4.1g Cr 28-3 S 33
    Ouch! Times were really tough...Low Silver content... Billon
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
  7. Alegandron

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

    I THOUGHT that I had the Crawford 44/5 Denarius, however, @red_spork researched that mine was actually minted in Sicily:

    RR Anon AR denarius Roma 211-206 BCE ROMA incus Dioscuri single horn-helmet Sear-- Crawford 68/1b SICILY ISSUE RARE (was crawford 44/5)
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
  8. Alegandron

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

    And, the cool Early Denarii coinage was cool:

    RR 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

    RR Anon 211-206 BCE Victoriatus STAR Very Rare Sear 49 Syd 233a Craw 105-1.JPG
    RR Anon 211-206 BCE Victoriatus STAR Very Rare Sear 49 Syd 233a Craw 105-1

    RR Anon AR Victoriatus 211-206 BC Jupiter Dioscuri  FINE S 49 Cr 44-1.jpg
    RR Anon AR Victoriatus 211-206 BC Jupiter Dioscuri FINE S 49 Cr 44/1

    RR Anon AR Quinarius 211-208 BC Roma Dioscuri S 42 Cr 47-1a.jpg
    RR Anon AR Quinarius 211-208 BC Roma Dioscuri S 42 Cr 47-1a

    RR Quinarius 212-195 BCE 1.8g Luceria mint Anon Craw 098-B1 L VERY RARE.jpg
    RR Quinarius 212-195 BCE 1.8g Luceria mint Anon Craw 098-B1 L VERY RARE
  9. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Very nice work, Curtis. An excellent coin and wow, what a write-up.

    I'll share my beat-up anonymous Dioscuri denarius.

    Anonymous issue

    AR Denarius. 4.36g, 18.8mm. Rome mint, after 211 BC. Crawford 53/2. O: Helmeted head of Roma; X behind. R: Dioscuri riding right, ROMA in outlined tablet.
  10. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Oh, how I love this write-up! A perfect intersection of history and numismatics. And a superb coin to boot. Bravo!
  11. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum

    Curtisimo likes this.
  12. Alegandron

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

    Oh, man, @Curtisimo , I could just keep going. I am sure that I have over a hundred coins from the Punic Wars... this is a well written Thread! @David Atherton stated it perfectly.

    I even received an AR Carthage Coin today from the 2nd Punic War!
    TJC, red_spork and Curtisimo like this.
  13. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    Great coins everyone and thanks for the coin cudos :)

    Keep 'em coming Brian! Your extensive collection of Punic/Republican coins is drool worthy. I especially love that quadrigatus. Thank you for illustrating the debasement so clearly... fascinating when you can follow history with coins in such an obvious way!
  14. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish) Supporter

    I love the eye appeal on that quinarius!... and that Victoriatus has every bit as fascinating a history as the denarius. Great examples!
    Ancient Aussie likes this.
  15. 4to2centBC

    4to2centBC Well-Known Member

    You just made me smarter. That was excellent.

    Here is something that should fit your theme. purchased from a vcoins dealer. He knows who he is.

    United States, World Columbian Exposition, 1892 Copper Medal, 50mm, 41.99 grams Obverse: Head of Liberty left wearing pileus with LIBERTY, border of stars, 1892. Reverse: Scene of Christopher Columbus and party landing at San Salvador planting flag
  16. Ajax

    Ajax Supporter! Supporter

    Awesome coin Curtis and a really enjoyable write up too!
    Curtisimo likes this.
  17. Alegandron

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

    How about Pre-Denarius Roman Republic DRACHMAE:

    RR Anon AR Drachm Half Quadrigatus 225-212 BCE 3.1g 18mm Janus dotted border Jupiter in Quadriga LEFT Victory ROMA Craw 28/4 Sear 35

    RR Anon Ca 240 BCE AR Drachm 16mm 3.0g Rome Helmet Hd Mars r - Horse’s hd sickle Craw 25/2 Syd 25 RSC 34a Rare

    RR Anon Quadrigatus AR Drachm 216-214 BCE Janus ROMA Jupiter Victory Quadriga LEFT Craw 29/4 Sear 35 Scarce
  18. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES! Supporter

    Fantastic write up @Curtisimo !


    Every time I see Britannia I think of Roma.


    This is my only Republican AR this year...


    C. Egnatuleius C.f. 97 BC. AR Quinarius Rome mint.

    O:Laureate head of Apollo R: Victory standing left, inscribing shield attached to trophy; at base, carnyx to left; Q in field. Crawford 333/1; King 36 14x16 mm, 2.0g.

    An "X" Roma denarius is at the VERY TOP of my list.
  19. TIF

    TIF I am not an expert Supporter

    WOW, what an in-depth writeup! Fantastic!

    Information such as this makes coins so much more interesting. Previously, I found this type of RR denarius somewhat bland. Now not only does the design seem more beautiful, I am inundated with history when viewing it.

    Dang. Now I have to have one.
    ominus1, Theodosius and Curtisimo like this.
  20. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    fantastic write up Curtis , many thanks.

    10x RR bronze as= 1 silver X denarius


  21. Mikey Zee

    Mikey Zee Delenda Est Carthago

    I couldn't agree more!!!

    Superb presentation and so many wonderful posts!!

    I'll share this later denarius by Sulla's son honoring his fathers exploits:

    Faustus Cornelius Sulla. AR Denarius (18-19 mm, 3.44 g). Rome, 56 BC.
    Obv. FAVSTVS , diademed and draped bust of Diana right, crescent above, lituus behind.
    Rev. FELIX , Sulla seated left on raised platform between King Bocchus of Mauretania on left, presenting him with wreath, and King Jugurta of Numidia on right, hands bound behind him, both kneeling.


    The moneyer of this coin was the son of the dictator Sulla. The reverse commemorates one of the most important events of his father’s early career: the capture of Jugurtha. Jugurtha was a Numidian prince who had served in the Roman auxiliary cavalry, but who had come to blows with the Romans. Metellus Numidicus was given command to defeat Jugurtha, but Jugurtha was proving a wily adversary and through several campaigning seasons Numidicus was unable to defeat him. In 107 BC one of his legates, Marius, who disagreed with Numidicus’ strategy for prosecuting the war, gained the consulship and also command in Numidia. However, Jugurtha was proving just as slippery for Marius as he had been for Numidicus. One of Marius’ junior officers was Sulla, and he managed to capture Jugurtha through a ruse. He invited both Jugurtha and Bocchus, the King of Mauretania and Jugurtha’s father-in-law, to a meeting. In advance of the meeting he had convinced Bocchus to betray Jugurtha, and when Jugurtha arrived unarmed his attendants were ambushed and Jugurtha was captured. Bocchus immediately handed him over to Sulla. Sulla had a signet ring engraved showing the event, and the reverse of this coin may be a direct copy of that signet ring.

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    Last edited: Jul 27, 2017
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