Oath Scenes Again.

I seem to be spending too much time with imperial coins for someone writing a book on the Republic. I came across this coin in this article. It has its weak points, many of which are pointed out by this more recent piece. It too is not as complete in its treatment of the evidence as I’d like. The type above seems very likely to provide the prototype for the EETIA? type I’ve been obsessing over. Most obvious is the bare-headed obverse with the prominent ear. Second is the ‘civilian’ dress of the pig holders on the reverse, as well as the suspension of the pig. Obviously its not a perfect match. These pig holders have their heads covered as is appropriate for a Roman making a sacrifice and the altar is depicted and their outer arms are not outstretched. And,yes, the pig is upside down! The legend even tells us what we’re seeing, the Foedus Gabinum. Unfortunately, nothing about the legend, however, helps us puzzle out what is on the EETIA? coin. The type is repeated a couple years later in gold by a member of the same gens:

This time Augustus is laureate. Farney gives the only really substantial discussion of these moneyers’ choice. For the background of the foedus and the role of the Antistius see Dionysius of Harlicarnassus’ account. He says the treaty still existed in his day written on the cow (not pig!) hide that was the sacrificial victim at its consecration. All in all, it is a story that paints the Tarquinii in a really awful light, with the Gabini being incorporated into the Roman power structure as a calculated and unexpected gesture of magnanimity designed to ensure their loyalty, even after being the victims of a terrible deception in which they were tricked into stoning one of their most loyal leading citizens… The story as Dionysius tells it is hardly appropriate for numismatic commemoration. R. E. A. Palmer, ‘A new fragment of Livy throws light on the Roman Postumii and Latin Gabii’, Athenaeum 78 (1990), 5-18 thought there was a different foedus in the forth century but his reading of the new fragment is rebuffed by Gabrielli. Perhaps there is new light on what the coins might mean in this newer article, but its still behind the pay wall even with my university’s subscription, so I won’t know today.

Other thematically relevant bibliography may include: Bensmann, Alexa. – Die « republikanische » Seite der augusteischen Münzprägungen : Bemerkungen zur Bildsprache der « IIIviri aere argento auro flando feriundo ». Numismatisches Nachrichtenblatt: 2008 57 (9) : 346-349 ill.

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