A Statue on the Capitoline

Aemilius Lepidus, puer etiam tum, progressus in aciem, hostem interemit, civem servavit. cuius tam memorabilis operis index est in Capitolio statua bullata et incincta praetexta senatus consulto posita: iniquum enim putavit eum honori nondum tempestivum videri qui iam virtuti maturus fuisset. praecucurrit igitur Lepidus aetatis stabilimentum fortiter faciendi celeritate, duplicemque laudem e proelio rettulit, cuius eum vix spectatorem anni esse patiebantur: arma enim infesta et destricti gladii et discursus telorum et adventantis equitatus fragor et concurrentium exercituum impetus iuvenibus quoque aliquantum terroris incutit, inter quae gentis Aemiliae pueritia coronam mereri, spolia rapere valuit.

While still a boy, Aemilius Lepidus went into battle, killed a foeman, and saved a fellow countryman. As a token of so memorable an exploit, a statue was placed on the Capitol by decree of the senate with a locket, enveloped in a boy’s gown. For they thought it unfair that one who had already shown himself mature for valour should be held unripe for honour. So Lepidus ran ahead of the firming that comes with age by his precocious gallantry and brought double glory back from a battle which his years would scarce allow him to watch. For hostile arms, drawn swords, darts flying here and there, the noise of advancing cavalry, the violence of conflicting armies strike some terror even into grown men. Amid it all the boyhood of the Aemilian clan could win a crown and seize a spoil. (Val. Max. 3.1.1)

I think the ID of the reverse of RRC 419/1 is correctly identified as this statue, but I wanted to note the visual representation differs from the literary text. No trophy, different costume. Above is clearly appropriate military garb, not the clothes of a male citizen child.

I’m here posting this as I think there is a chance that this statue is the same one shown much earlier by M’. Aemilius Lepidus c. 111 BCE (RRC 291/1).

I got here because of how similar the obverses are, both unidentified goddesses with both crown and laurel wreath and that they are made by members of the same branch of the same gens and both have statues on the back.

Crawford has the moneyer as the father of the consul of 66 BCE and the son of the consul of 126 BCE BUT we don’t know how the family tree goes back after. Who is the father of the consul of 126 BCE? Is it the consul of 158 BCE? Is it the son of the consul of 187 BCE who was military tribune in 190 BCE? How many kids did the consul of 187 BCE have anyway? The DPRR team entertains the idea that he could have been the father of 158 BCE or even the cos of 126 BCE or the cos of 137.

We just don’t know. But could this Manius be celebrating a Marcus as ancestor? Sure even if the relationship isn’t true.

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