Cybele (at Paestum?)

How is it possible I could be letting so much precious writing time slip by obsessing about the coins of Paestum while trying to just find a few decent images for  this last chapter?! 

How is it possible I don’t have a copy of RPC vol 1 to hand?  Do you?  Do you want to tell me if this coin from Paris is listed there?

It comes up on image searches for Paestum in their database but is not in Crawford or HN Italy.  It certainly looks like Paestum …


The rendering of Cybele reminds me of her look on RRC 332/1.


Also notice the highlighted tongs and anvil which may well refer to the office of the moneyership, cf. RRC 464/2:


There are other Paestum coins that refer to striking.  I’ve come to think that coin (after jump) is likely inspired by the Caepio Piso issue, RRC 330/1.

The figure on the reverse is clearly a mistress of the beasts type representation, maybe Artemis of Ephesus, but perhaps a manifestation of Cybele herself?

2 thoughts on “Cybele (at Paestum?)”

  1. I have spent some time with RPC Vol I for you this evening. This coin is not listed there under Paestum. None of the Paestum types listed has a turreted female head obverse (not Cybele and not Fortuna). Some do have a laureate head (usually with a lituus before) but like you and the Paris cataloguer, I see these as city towers, not upright laurel leaves. The legends do not match. (I read this coin as CAES S[E? P? C?]R but perhaps you can make it out better than I can.). None of the RPC I Paestum coins are listed as being in/from the Paris BN collection.. Apparently, the full catalogue of the Paestum/Poseidonia coinage (at least types) is Crawford in La Monetazione di bronzo di Poseidonia-Paestum (Suppl. AIIN XVIII-XIX, 1973) which I do not have. Looking farther afield in RPC I than Paaestum, there are no coins that seem to match. None listed as having a Cybele obverse (although there is a female head turreted and veiled from Lilybaeum but that is within a triangle). I suspect this is not Paestum or, if it is, then it is later than the period covered in RPC I (or earlier…as Andrew McCabe is fond of saying, there is a need for an RPC 0 (or -1)).

    As you note, this coin doesn’t seem to be in HN Italy (certainly not plated and does not match any of the indexed descriptions).

    If you want me to scan or photo the pages from RPC I Paestum for you, please send me an e-mail with an e-mail address to which I should send it.

    1. THANK YOU! I’ve got the Crawford. I must confess that I’ve been cheating on this blog by posting some of my numismatic stuff over on twitter, mostly for a amusement or when I want to nudge numismatists there to help with a problem. Apparently there is a new Paestum catalogue by F. Carbone 2014: this thread started via a different coin type but is relevant. Clare Rowan says she’ll scan the catalogue for me this week and I’ll share with you. I think that catalogue will incorporate all RPC I material with updates so hold off on your very very kind offer. Once I get Carbone I’ll let you know what I need. I’ll also email you with another matter potentially Paestum related I’m not yet ready to blog about, but might be of interest, and that will give you my address. RPC is needs some re-invigoration. I’d love to see RPC 1 put into the online catalogue. I’ve run through all the pseudo autonomous types with a wreath on the obverse and not found a friend for this coin in database: It seems odd that the coin is in Paris and Amandry or others would not have catalogued it *somewhere* in one of the type catalogues; its exclusion from RPC 1 almost suggests Amandry would put it earlier or later. Meadows has talked about working on a pre-RPC project in the past; I don’t know if that is in the works. Once this book is *finally* launched and I clear my back log of articles (much of draft one of the book has not made the cut in draft two – the short/sweet version, and will need to come out in a series of articles), maybe just maybe I’ll turn my mind to finding some grant funding for such a project, if it hasn’t already been done or claimed by then. Though, I’ve got other ideas as well…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s