I came home in awe of the presenter’s PowerPoint skills. It was a visually stunning two hour talk and was googling around for an image of a fun trishekel minted by the Carthaginians in Spain, the one with the diademed head and a ship prow. I thought I’d write about that. No reason other than it captivated my imagination. But in my digging, I ended up here. I was about to move on as I’m trying to avoid images not in museum collections on this blog as much as possible, but I was struck by the similarity of the reverse of HN Capua 494:
To a coin of about 56 BC minted by Sulla’s son (same series as the first coin in the last coin post):
So I started searching for Selene or Luna on Roman Republican coins to find the Faustus coin and any relevant predecessors. The Faustus coin was entered as Diana so didn’t appear, but it did return the lead coin above–a spectacular image of Luna appearing Sulla in a Dream, a story known from Plutarch. The BOOK as approved by my publisher and series editor ends in 49 BCE. This epiphany coin playing on the Endymion/Selene iconography dates to 44 BC. That said, it directly contextualizes the Diana in a biga coin by demonstrating a contemporary awareness of the Plutarch narrative. I think I better include it. The Capua coin is also likely to make an appearance as it strengthens Crawford’s suggestion that the divinity on the coin should be linked this passage:
“It was while Sulla was ascending Mount Tifata that he had encountered Gaius Norbanus. After his victory over him he paid a vow of gratitude to Diana, to whom that region is sacred, and consecrated to the goddess the waters renowned for their salubrity and water to heal, as well as all the lands in the vicinity. The record of this pleasing act of piety is witnessed to this day by an inscription on the door of the temple, and a bronze tablet within the edifice.”
Mount Tifata directly overlooks Capua. The temple of Diana Tifatina still stands, at least in part, as the Basilica di Sant’Angelo in Formis. I find no need to choose between the Plutarch or the Velleius narrative. Diana, Luna, Selene, Artemis, we are still firmly in the realm of moon goddesses. There is no meaningful iconographic distinction in the coins.