177 out of 410 days: Auspicio and Imperio


Ryan published a 2006 article suggesting a new resolution of one of the legend abbreviations on this coin, The IMP A(V) X.  Crawford had suggested that each element represented a different part of the moneyer’s grandfather’s career: Imperator, Augur, Xvir sacris faciundis.  Badian rejected this [Badian, Ernst. – Two numismatic phantoms : the false priest and the spurious son. Arctos 1998 32 : 45-60 ill.].  He argued for IMP AN X = Imperator annos X, meaning commander for 10 years. Notice that the AV or AN are in ligature thus confusing the resolution of the second letter.  Ryan argues for imperio auspicioque decies as the resolution, ten times he had command under his own auspices.  Much hangs on how traditional this phase imperio auspicioque would be and, of course, Ryan cites comparative evidence.  All three resolutions have some issues but Ryan’s got me thinking about how common that phrase is.

First the literature.  Here’s a link to relevant database search.  As a linked pair, twice in Plautus’ Amphitruo.  Nothing, nadda, zip in Cicero in terms of verbal pairing.  Which is just plain weird.  Five uses in Curtius Rufus’ History of Alexander of all things!!  Some relevant ones in Livy:  10.8.10, 22.30.4, 27.44.5, 28.27.5, 29.27.2, 41.52.5, 41.28.8.  Other clear pairings of the two words: Val. Max. 2.8.2, Sabidius,Gram. 2.3.  

On to the epigraphy.  Ryan is right the best parallel is the Mummius inscription

L(ucius) Mummi(us) L(uci) f(ilius) co(n)s(ul) duct(u) / auspicio imperioque / eius Achaia capt(a) Corint(h)o / deleto Romam redieit / triumphans ob hasce / res bene gestas quod / in bello voverat / hanc aedem et signu(m) / Herculius Victoris / imperator dedicat

Other direct epigraphic parallels are hard to come by.  Here’s the relevant database.  One can’t link to search results, but just put in auspici in Search text 1 and imperi in Search text 2 to see results.

Noticeably none of these results record numerals in relation to the phrase.



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