The little nubbins sticking out of the head of Demetrius Poliorcetes (if that’s the correct identification of these statues) are the base of goat horns that have broken off. These aren’t on a helmet, but are still clearly part of the royal iconography of Philip V’s predecessors on the throne of Macedonia. (Images and Discussion from Pollitt; Cf. also Ridgeway 1990: 125).
My concern over the identifications is based on the oft-stated ‘similarity’ between portraits in the round and coin iconography for Demetrius. On the coins he wears bull horns from the his temples not goat horns from his hairline right over his forehead:
Coins link to Acsearch.info. I chose these two types both for the portrait variations they represent, but also as nice comparative examples of early Hellenistic horse and rider iconography and a nice clear aplustre as a naval victory symbol.
I’m still worried about the development of the iconography of crowning and its symbolism. In whom does the power lie? The crowned or the crowner? Which is the superior position? Most of the time it seems to be the crowned but not always… Anyway here are two more early images to throw into the mix.
So I was reading a old blog post as I’m writing about Scaurus’ aedile issue for other reasons. This made me re read this passage of Pliny below. Do you know what’s really weird about this? At the very moment Scaurus is importing 360 columns for a temporary theater, his former commander Pompey is in the process of building a REALLY opulent permanent theatre on the Campus Martius that will be dedicated in just 3 short years. Pliny tells us that largest of the columns went to Scaurus’ atrium afterwards, but what about the rest?! Did he auction them off? Did they end up in Pompey’s theatre complex. Was the whole thing a way of getting extra mileage and spectacle out of the Pompeian building project. How did Pompey feel about it if it wasn’t? Surely upstaging your former commander was a bad idea. How did Pompey feel about Scaurus’ claiming the Aretas victory… ? The politics of 58BC makes my brain hurt.
In the ædileship of M. Scaurus, three hundred and sixty columns were to be seen imported; for the decorations of a temporary theatre, too, one that was destined to be in use for barely a single month. And yet the laws were silent thereon; in a spirit of indulgence for the amusements of the public, no doubt. But then, why such indulgence? or how do vices more insidiously steal upon us than under the plea of serving the public? By what other way, in fact, did ivory, gold, and precious stones, first come into use with private individuals? Can we say that there is now anything that we have reserved for the exclusive use of the gods? However, be it so, let us admit of this indulgence for the amusements of the public; but still, why did the laws maintain their silence when the largest of these columns, pillars of Lucullan marble, as much as eight-and-thirty feet in height, were erected in the atrium of Scaurus? a thing, too, that was not done privately or in secret; for the contractor for the public sewers compelled him to give security for the possible damage that might be done in the carriage of them to the Palatium. When so bad an example as this was set, would it not have been advisable to take some precautions for the preservation of the public morals? And yet the laws still preserved their silence, when such enormous masses as these were being carried past the earthenware pediments of the temples of the gods, to the house of a private individual!
NAC cataloging is usually above question, but I’m going to need some die links to convince me that this is actually a hybrid and not an ancient imitation. I agree with what ever ancient decided to cut it open to check it’s purity. It looks a wee bit fishy as an authentic product of the Roman mint. (Although I acknowledge controls on the style of dies isn’t particularly strong at the mint) It’s an interesting specimen either way!
This series is redated by the Hersh and Walker to 58 BC (419/3). Crawford doesn’t commit himself but he acknowledges that the traditional interpretation of this obverse is as the Vestal Aemilia. This is the MMR II, p. 486:
So I never noticed before that the middle trophy on this type issued by Sulla’s son, Faustus to honor Pompey, makes a distinction between the middle trophy and the outer two. But on some specimens it’s clearly visible that the central helmet is shown with a triple crest (or side horns?!) and the outer two helmets only have a single central decoration. The type is thought to reflect Pompey’s signet ring and in design both that ring and this type recall Sulla’s coinage and later signet ring. (426/3 CRRO entry).