So I like the sense of completion of hitting publish on a blog post, its a trivial little boost to mark a bit of work and the end of a thought unit. So I’m breaking my previous long post and starting a new one. There is no logic to my breaking spot maybe even some illogic, but it’s a rough January morning in a pandemic when my republic is in turmoil and my colleagues are catching Covid, and I need all the little morale boosts I can get to keep myself working away…
I love the Philippus series. I realize that lots of my writing on it hasn’t appeared in print and only some on the blog (collection one, collection two) as I’m ‘saving’ it for my kings project that might or might not be a monograph one day. Anyway. If you are interested in the denarius for scholarly reasons, ask me to send you my essay on it and other kings with coins, but there is also a good chunk in chapter 2 of the coin book, riffing on the work of Hölkeskamp who has revisited the Marcii in many valuable publications.
No as, semis, triens, or sextans or semuncia is known, just quadrantes and unciae. I’m inclined to think these might have been the only denominations made or at least the only ones prioritized. This is interesting as it suggests that these might the ‘in demand’ denominations. I want to think more about that and also think if there is an argument to be made about RR unofficial AE issues about which denominations were most likely to be made and then of course WHY.
Only two unicae are known and both in Paris (again).
Where did these come from? Was a wishing well or other votive deposit discovered perhaps in ye olden days and the nicest unciae ended up in Paris source collections…? Could archival work here help? I should go look at Nemi find and other similar sacred water coin toss finds.
Why Saturn? maybe the logic went that if no semis was made the god of the treasury would get offended if not on the coins if bronze were made? Or could there have been a little fashion for Saturn and this marks the start of it? Saturn gets some love on the denarii shortly after this , but that love for the most part seems explained in each individual case. The Memmii love Saturn for family reasons (we can assume), Saturninus for canting pun reasons, Caepio for his quaestorship….
Update: the identification as Saturn is based on the falx behind his head. See much earlier post.
And why a dog? I’m going to go with loyalty-fides resonance; see me on Ulysses and dogs and Fides. This particular dog type is some times called a Maltese or Proto-Maltese and will be familiar to many numismatists from a wide variety of coins.
The best parallel is probably from the RRC 219 series.
Some dies let you see the collar in a lovely fashion:
But there are earlier dogs on the Roman series of a similar breed cf. RRC 122. The dogs of RRC 26 have some similarity in body pose but are leaner and read more like a hound to me. This is, of course, all a little subjective.
The quadrans has a lovely bellicose rooter. I’ve written (too much perhaps) about cocks on this blog and in a forthcoming article. I’m guessing the the two types the dog and cock were chosen for their recall of manly Roman virtues: fierce and loyal, perhaps characteristics they would associate with Tremulus who is honored on the denarius.