The coin above is just there as a reminder that boars do appear on early Roman coinage in other contexts. The main point of this post is put up this curious theory about the elephant and pig currency bar (RRC 9/1):
Taken from p.462 of Borba Florenzano, Maria Beatriz ‘Aes signatum bars, signa and coins: emblematic objects and apotropaism’ from XII. lnternationaler Nurnismatischer Kongress, Berlin 1997 (2000), 460-465.
My earlier post about military standards is here. I don’t really believe the rest of Maria Beatriz Borba Florenzano’s framing of the issue in terms of Roman religious thinking and this rationalizing view doesn’t account for the other folkloric accounts of elephants and pigs, but it is still an intriguing thought… And who doesn’t love a bit of Ennius now and again. Unfortunately for her argument and for our own hope of some answer to the pig problem, Skutsch pretty much tore apart Nenci’s reading of this line in his BICS 1977 article.
I would just note in comparing the boar above to our friend the sow below, that both are represented with an impressive line of bristles down their backs. I do think, however, the two engravers have carved the animals in such away as to plainly distinguish their genders. And, I have my doubts that the legions would use the female, instead of the male, as their totemic creature…