Liberty and Sunshine

A nice example of the  use of sun/light/rays imagery used in conjunction with the theme of freedom in a non-racialized context.  I particularly like the cock (rooster) used to as a symbol (I believe) of the ‘dawn’ of a new era’ Also rather fun classical reception generally.  Product of Boulton’s mint.


Illustrated type in trade, but for academic reference specimen in BMAG (1885 N 1536.97) discussed Mason 2009:92-93.

Great online exhibition on images of liberty on early American coinage:

French Neo Classical explanation of the iconography, Thanks Delafosse!


What’s Ovid playing at?!

In the Fasti, why does he make up the goddess Muta as a name for Lara in book 2 on the Feralia?  The Romans already had a goddess of silence and she already had her own place on the calendar!

The Divalia of Angerona:

Pliny NH 3.36: It seems pertinent to add at this point an instance of old religion established especially to inculcate this silence: the goddess Angerona, to whom sacrifice is offered on December 21, is represented in her statue with a sealed bandage over her mouth.



InscrIt-13-02, 00017 = EE-09, 00740 = Gordon 00036 = AE 1898, 00014 = AE 1922, 00096 = AE 1953, +00236 = AE 1993, +00144 = AE 2002, +00181 = AE 2007, 00312

[C XII Di]va(lia) n(efas) p(iaculum) feriae diva[e Angeronae quae ab anginae morbo] / appell[atur quod remedia eius quondam] / prae[cepit statuerunt eam ore obligato] / in ar[a Volupiae ut moneret ne quis nomen] / occul[tum urbis enuntiaret 3] / [3]m aiunt ob an[3] / [3]m / [D XI c(omitialis) Laribus Perm]arinis in porti[cu Mi]nucia / [E X La]r(entalia) n(efas) p(iaculum) [fer]iae Iovi Accae Larentin[ae Parentalia fiunt] / hanc alii Remi et Rom[uli nutricem alii] / meretricem Herculis scortum [fuisse dic]unt / Parentari ei publice quod p(opulum) R(omanum) he[redem fece]rit / magnae pecuniae quam accepe[rat testame]nto / Tarutili amatoris sui / F [VIIII c(omitialis)]

Is he playing around with the identity of the Mother of the Lares and her connection with Acca Larentia?  I’m thinking about Coarelli 2003: 12-13 and how he builds on Wiseman 1995.


Divine Twins

Wiseman 1995: 71:


I am sympathetic to a view of ancient myth where narratives bleed one into another emerging as new wholes.  I’ve worried a good deal about the connection of the Penates and the Dioscuri. And then, in that context how similar the iconography of the Lares Praestites is.  In this context, when I find myself persuaded of the emergence of the Romulus and Remus narrative out of the Lara, Lares story, I immediately start wondering if we shouldn’t also add in the Dioscuri.  I’m comforted by the fact that Schwegler already made this leap:


I’m especially intrigued by the reference to Servius, Aen. 7.678 and the identification of the dii Indigetes at Praeneste as two brothers and the assertion that this is the same as at Rome.


Vergil a little earlier had just mentioned the twin kings of Tibur.

tum gemini fratres Tiburtia moenia linquunt / fratris Tiburti dictam cognomine gentem / Catillusque acerque Coras Argiua iuuentus (6.670-2)

This portion of book 7 is a mini mythological geography of the region around Rome, an opportunity for Vergil to weave in the esoterica that was not central to his narrative but potentially of sentimental attachment to parts of his audience.

I’m left with the sense that most communities around ancient Rome has pairs of founding or protective young male deities and that dii Indigetes in the unmarked plural probably generally refers to this type of god.  I take part of my support for this idea from this reading of Vergil’s Georgics.


By the same poetic logic as this above (Romulus – Indiges) in Silius Italicus,  Punica 9.294 the suggestion is that the Indigetes include Faunus, Quirinus and Castor and Pollux.  This reminds me of the composition of the Bolsena mirror!

This is also consistent with all the plural references to the di Indigetes in the Latin corpus.

Serv. V. Aen. 12.794 ~ Serv. V. Geor. 1.64

Livy 8.9.6 – Decius’ devoto

Lucan BC 1.556 – statues weep to foretell civil war

Silius Italicus,  Punica 10.436 – another military oath

The only epigraphic reference to the di Indigetes is discussed here. The article also has excellent bibliography of both the plural and singular divinities.

My one quibble would be their differentiating the Indiges of the Dec 11 festival (epigraphic evidence here) from the cult of Sol Indiges on the Quirinal known from other calendars (see below).  The key text reads: Ag]on(alia) Ind(igeti)  and we know of a connection between the Quirinal and the name Agones from Festus (images below) and Dionysius.

Singular references to Indiges seem to always refer to the god worshiped near the Numicus river, associated with both Aeneas and Jupiter.

Tibullus elegies 2.5.44

Livy 1.2.6

V. Aen. 12.794

Ovid Meta. 15.862

Aulus Gellius NA 2.16.9

Silius Italicus,  Punica 8.39

Serv. V. Aen. 1.259

There is also a frieze decorating the tomb of T. Statilius Taurus which shows the battle of Numicus and Aeneas’ apotheosis.

There is nothing that stops Aeneas Indiges from being an Augustan age creation or embellishment at very least.

Update 7/5/17:

An elogium of Aeneas from the forum of Emerita (an Augustan Colony) refers to his apotheosis and his assumption of the name Indiges Pater.  It came to light in 1986 excavations.  This elogium is nearly identical to one found in Pompeii:

CIL 10, 00808 (p 967) = CIL 10, 08348 = EE-08-01, 00311 = EE-08-01, 00854 = PompIn 00016 = InscrIt-13-03, 00085 = D 00063 = AE 2013, +00195

Augustan age epigraphy also testifies to the cult of Sol Indiges on the Quirinal. Cf. Also another calendars for reference to the same cult:

CIL 09, 02319 = CIL 09, 02320 = CIL 01, p 0217 = InscrIt-13-02, 00024 = Allifae 00002 = Allifae 00003 = RECapua 00212 = RECapua 00213 

CIL 09, 04192 (p 698) = InscrIt-13-02, 00025 = ZPE-153-266 = Freis 00001

Festus refs:







Phalluses and Fireplaces

Dion. Hal. 4.2:

There is also current in the local records another story relating to his birth which raises the circumstances attending to the realm of the fabulous, and we have found it in many Roman histories. This account — if it be pleasing to the gods and the lesser divinities that it be related — is somewhat as follows: They say that from the hearth in the palace, on which the Romans offer various other sacrifices and also consecrate the first portion of their meals, there rose up above the fire a man’s privy member, and that Ocrisia was the first to see it as she was carrying the customary cakes to the fire, and immediately p269informed the king and queen of it.  Tarquinius, they add, upon hearing this and left beholding the prodigy, was astonished; but Tanaquil, who was not only wise in other matters but also inferior to none of the Tyrrhenians in her knowledge of divination, told him it was ordained by fate that from the royal hearth should issue a scion superior to the race of mortals, to be born of the woman who should conceive by that phantom. And the other soothsayers affirming the same thing, the king thought it fitting that Ocrisia, to whom the prodigy had first appeared, should have intercourse with it. Thereupon this woman, having adorned herself as brides are usually adorned, was shut up alone in the room in which the prodigy had been seen.  And one of the gods or lesser divinities, whether Vulcan, as some think, or the tutelary deity of the house, having had intercourse with her and afterwards disappearing, she conceived and was delivered of Tullius at the proper time. This fabulous account, although it seems not altogether credible, is rendered less incredible by reason of another manifestation of the gods relating to Tullius which was wonderful and extraordinary.

Plut. Rom. 2.3-6:

and others still rehearse what is altogether fabulous concerning his origin. For instance, they say that Tarchetius, king of the Albans, who was most lawless and cruel, was visited with a strange phantom in his house, namely, a phallus rising out of the hearth and remaining there many days.  Now there was an oracle of Tethys in Tuscany, from which there was brought to Tarchetius a response that a virgin must have intercourse with this phantom, and she should bear a son most illustrious for his valour, and of surpassing good fortune and strength. Tarchetius, accordingly, told the prophecy to one of his daughters, and bade her consort with the phantom; but she disdained to do so, and sent a handmaid in to it.  When Tarchetius learned of this, he was wroth, and seized both the maidens, purposing to put them to death. But the goddess Hestia appeared to him in his sleep and forbade him the murder. He therefore imposed upon the maidens the weaving of a certain web in their imprisonment, assuring them that when they had finished the weaving of it, they should then be given in marriage. By day, then, these maidens wove, but by night other maidens, at the command of Tarchetius, unravelled their web. And when the handmaid became the mother of twin children by the phantom, Tarchetius gave them to a certain Teratius with orders to destroy them. This man, however, carried them to the river-side and laid them down there. Then a she-wolf visited the babes and gave them suck, while all sorts of birds brought morsels of food and put them into their mouths, until a cow-herd spied them, conquered his amazement, ventured to come to them, and took the children home with him. Thus they were saved, and when they were grown up, they set upon Tarchetius and overcame him. At any rate, this is what a certain Promathion says, who compiled a history of Italy.

A little modern discussion.

Birds are an interesting portion of the numismatic evidence…

Magpies and Woodpeckers

Reading Coarelli 2003 again I wonder if his argument might be strengthened if he considered “Colle delle Picche” to possible derive from picus not pica.  Both derive from pingo, it is thought.  And the picus is of course the bird of Mars.


On the whole his landscape speculations and optimistic readings of Festus and Strabo are a bit much for me, but I did start thinking about woodpeckers again.

Arpi and RRC 15/1


I find Rutter in HNItaly convincing for his suggestion of Syracusan influence here.  I also give Crawford’s views below.  I just wonder if Arpi isn’t the inspiration or even the mint location for RRC 15/1.  At very least it shows earlier reception of the Syracusan types among Rome’s allies.

RRC II.714 (Sorda should read Sordi):


CMRR 64:


This is what Sorda says that Crawford dismisses:


Update 12/30/2020:

The follow proposes a radical redating that ignores the hoard evidence and that of the weight standard.

López Sánchez, Fernando. “Numidian kings and Numidian garrisons during the Second Punic War: coins and history.” Potestas 3 (2010): 17-52.

Images for Scholarly Publications

I received a very happy email from the Münster coin cabinet!    There publicly stated policy is Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License. This unlike Yale’s public domain images, or York and Dublin’s CC BY-SA 4.0 would exclude scholarly publications or at least some scholarly publications.  However, upon inquiry they offer blanket permission for scholarly publications!  There are 119 republican coins online now.

The ANS policy is very permissive as well and is probably the best choice for images for journal articles.  However, they begin charging for books with print runs that exceed 500.  And I at least believe one should be allowed to dream of larger print runs and even paperback editions.