Dionysus and Panther at the Meta Sudans

This post is being updated and evolving: some edits have been made, more are likely to come.

Ex RBW collection

I’ve been reading a little about the Meta Sudans thanks to Harriet Flower’s new(ish) book. Its my bedtime reading right now.

So was very excited to see Molinari published the coins.  Just some tantalizing info for those of us most interested in the Republic.

An English (Machine with Human editing ) Translation of a portion of Molinari’s 1995 piece.

“Period 1 (late-Republican age)
Only one coin (No. 1) was found in such an ancient context. Although the specimen is not in a good state of preservation and therefore difficult to read, the identification of the piece can be considered correct also supported by the fact that these findings are quite rare in the basement of Rome, as witnessed by Cesano for the finds coming from the Tiber in the last century and from Travaini for those recently published, discovered at the Lungotevere Testaccio. The currency type variously attributed to Capua or Caiazzo for the legend, was instead assigned to the mint of Orvieto by Garrucci on the basis of the numerous attestations in the Umbrian town. The discovery of six other specimens in the excavations at Cosa justifies the assignment of this series to a location called Etruria. On the basis of a reconception, Grant attributed the type mentioned here to 30 BC, while Buttrey and Burnett dated it to the II-I BC . The piece discovered near the Meta comes from a phase of abandonment of the via glareata, in use at least from the end of the IV century a.c. in the middle of the 3rd century BC. On the basis of the stratigraphic evidence the conclusion of the phase of abandonment cannot be dated beyond the middle of the second century BC .; in this chronological limit also the coin series in question should be placed.”

Images of Italian original text and accompanying catalogue entry below.

So… This picture of the dating of the abandonment of this particular via glareata needs to be reconsidered in light of overstrikes (over RRC 338/4 an LPDAP quadrans of c.91 and RRC 350B/1 a semis of c. 86 BCE) and further finds of this type that have now come to light:

Stannard and Sinner 2014 with additional information in Stannard and Sinner 2016

All the overstrike data is in Stannard 2017

Crawford 2002 in CH 9, p. 274 mentions that he knows of 3 overstrikes with the Janus in wreath / OPPI  (Romano-Sicilian?) undertype.  A CNG catalogue suggests that this undertype was made by M. Oppius Capito, Mark Antony’s naval prefect, circa 39-35 BCE, but that seems far too late… I think this is a misreading of Crawford’s meaning.   I cannot find just now an image of the coin Crawford means but it is described here.

On the lead tokens/coins discussed in 2014 also see:

Stannard, C., A. G. Sinner, N. Moncunill Martí and J. Ferrer i Jané (2017). A plomo monetiforme from the Iberian settlement of Cerro Lucena (Enguera, Valencia) with a north-eastern Iberian legend, and the Italo-baetican series. Journal of Archaeological Numismatics: 59-106.

They have a Numismatic Chronicle article forthcoming (2019 or 2020) on this topic and there is a Warwick blog post building on their material that discusses iconography of the man with a shovel.

Distribution they summarize thus:


Why would a philo-Roman group overstrike Roman coins?!

The Socii were ALL ABOUT Dionysus…

Also note that Molinari notes the find of an imitation quadrans found in Period 5 but dated c. 91 BCE as part of the Meta Sudans excavations.  Given that the Dionysus Panther type is being associated with a pseudo mint (Minturnae?) perhaps this should be brought into the conversation too:




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