Lex Papiria – disputed date?

So all the ELP and LPDAP issues are listed as c. 91-90 BCE by Crawford. Mattingly concurs about would put them all in 90 BCE.

No numismatist I know of has had a problem with this date, It didn’t cross my mind as even a question until moments ago when I decided to try to figure out which Papirius it was who was responsible for this law. Crawford knew Broughton’s dating but doesn’t directly address the issue.

What does Broughton say? He thinks the law goes in 89 BCE and to C. Papirius (34) (Cn. f.) Carbo.

Crawford would attribute it to this guy’s brother Gnaeus, Tribune of 92 or 91. The was the same Carbo that was consul three times and thus obviously was a major Marian/Cinnan partisan: 85, 84, 82. This brother ends up proscribed by Sulla and executed by Pompey. By contrast the Tribune of 89 was a Sullan partisan likely holding the praetorship in 81 BCE under the dictatorship and in 80 his own troops mutinied against him and he died.

So was it the Marian or the Sullan brother who brought this legislation. Crawford puts weight on the fact that the reduction in the bronze was a ‘cost saving’ measure in the face of the Social War. They didn’t NEED to strike bronze at all (esp. in a lot of little denominations), so why even bother if one is trying to cut costs. The ELP sestertii now those seems like they might be useful in a crisis, I guess, kinda, no I don’t buy that all…. Too few to actually be part of any real economic strategy or plan. BUT The denarii of the series that made ELP types, Silanus and Piso, are huge, absolutely part of a war effort and Social war makes the most sense.

So the Marian soon to be Cinnan is our guy. Just as Crawford said, but maybe not precisely for the reasons he says. But I need to go pull the Numismatic Chronicle 1964 article to see the details. More after that.

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