I’m not worrying about the image above, I just think it is a pretty picture and one that can help students enter the iconographic and narrative thought world in which man-faced bull coinage was stuck.
I am worrying about the dating of RRC 2/1: Thurian-style Athena obverse, full man-faced bull, walking right in profile, star above. An image of which can be found on Molinari’s website, here. Scroll down to #355, clicking on it provides a better resolution. There is only one known specimen. I’ve talked about how problematic that can before, twice in fact it seems.
I was adding a note in my current chapter draft about HN Italy 753 being the prototype for the reverse of this first ROMANO coin (so HN Italy says), and decided to have another scroll through Molinari’s collection of Neapolis man-faced bull images (MFB hereafter). The thing is that even though HN Italy 753 has an eight-rayed star above the MFB on some specimens, the MFB has a 3/4 profile head. A similar 3/4 profile head is found on all the full-bodied MFBs on bronzes of Neapolis, as far as I can tell. [Other images are available via Luigi Graziano’s project].
Whoever carved the dies for RRC 2/1 was more familiar with a MFB in profile, rather than in 3/4s profile. That makes it seem rather unlikely to me that he was looking at a bronze of Neapolis, let alone was also someone engraving dies for the Neapolis mint.
I suspect somewhere in Molinari’s great collection of images one could find a better possible parallel, say something like the Hyira silver coins. Obviously no star and wrong placement of ethnic, but overall a better ‘model’. Crawford sees a sea-horse/sea monster/pistrix or whatever you want to call it on Athena’s helmet. That might be another point when comparison shopping.
Obviously dating based on iconographic models is problematic anyway. We need a few good hoards. But don’t we always.
Update 8/27/14: My thinking on this has developed a bit. See this more recent post.
4 thoughts on “260 out of 410 days: Profile versus 3/4s Profile”
There is one full bodied MFB with head in profile from Neapolis. See Sambon 650, or number 287 on my site:
It’s a scarce variety, I’ve only seen three (I was lucky enough to acquire one), but Sambon might list additional specimens in his notes.
Thanks so much! It is great to have expert feedback.
Info from the old collection tag of my piece, which I have not verified:
Taliercio IIa Series No. 6 (p. 281-2, Pl. IX, 6), Hunter 102, SNG Cop 497-8 (Pl. 13), BMC 192-4 (p. 110), SNG ANS 462-464 (Pl. 13), SNG Paris 884-888 (Pl. 63), SNG Morcom 140 (Pl. VI), Sambon 650 (p. 264), HN 582
[…] Back in March Nick Molinari pointed out to me the coin above and how it is a good parallel to RRC 2/… That lead me to put a note about in my book manuscript. Yesterday, I came across the passage and found a marginalia by a helpful reader “explain or cut”. I realized I hadn’t really thought it through it myself. […]