So still on Holliday 2002. Normally lictors are only depicted with the fasces bundled and over their left shoulder. The fresco representations reminded me of another strange image (RRC 301/1):
I’ve always assumed that on the coin the rod in the right hand was the threat from which the citizen is being protected. But if Holliday’s reading of the Arieti tomb is right it might just be a ceremonial representation of lictors at this time, not with a an implied threat of use.
H0lliday calls the right-hand stick/rod a commetaculum. We don’t really know that much about this term. Festus says the following:
commoetacula : virgae quas flamines portant pergentes ad sacrificium ut a se homines…
And thus the flamen dialis is identified as holding on on the ara pacis:
Basically its assumed than since usually lictors cleared the way for priests at sacred functions the commetaculum by extension was an attribute of the lictor (see various discussions).