Trojan ancestry in Republican art

Stumbled over an article and couldn’t resist reading:

Rose, Charles Brian. “Forging Identity in the Roman Republic: Trojan Ancestry and Veristic Portraiture.” Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome. Supplementary Volumes 7 (2008): 97–131.

Here starts from the coins of which I approve but I’m not so sure he makes the most of them a less informed reader my think Fig. 1 dates to the Pyrrhic War!

The first Phyrgian helmet on the Roman series is RRC 19/2. RRC 14, 18, 19 are all of the same time period, probably just before the first Punic War, so early 260s, maybe 270. I have a hard time connecting it to the Pyrrhic war, but do agree it invokes a Trojan ancestry (Yarrow 2021: 93). I’d also quibble and say a helmet and a cap is not necessarily the same thing, esp. in iconographic terms.

Rose goes on to make a comparison between the garb of the priests of Cybele and the costumes used in the lusus Troiae. His views observations especially on the torque and the relationship of the circus Maximus to the temple are very smart indeed.

My only quibble is that these games seems to have been a ‘restitution’ (i.e. invention) by Julius Caesar and not an authentic republican tradition. These are things be cannot be sure of but their importance in dynasty formation is well attested, cf.

Menichetti, Mauro. “« Troiae lusus »: mettere in scena le origini di Roma.” La Parola del Passato 74, no. 2 (2019): 287-299. [ILL requested]

For the numismatically inclined

SMITH, DEREK R. “The DECVRSIO Sestertius Types of Nero and the Lusus Troiae.” The Numismatic Chronicle (1966-) 160 (2000): 282–89.

has proposed a connection between these bronze coin images of Nero and the Troy games, while also moving away from the idea that they are depicted on the base of Antoninus Pius in the Vatican. (I tweeted a different version of this coin and it created a stir about apparent stirrups). None of these costumes are reminiscent of the cult of Cybele, but then again the identification is tentative…

I just have to straight up disagree with this based on the reception of Battakes in 102 BCE as reported by Diodorus. On this I like Bowden’s chapter, but there are new pubs now. The next bit though is right to emphasis the importance of the under utilized

—some how I lost a great deal of my content that came after this point in the post and auto saves only restored to this point, I can’t quite be bothered to write it all out again but as I did upload the images here they are as a slide show —

1 thought on “Trojan ancestry in Republican art”

  1. fascinating. trying to follow the argument about the denigration of the priests of Cybele; oh, I think I see, Battakes’ negative reception shows that pre-Parthian conflict, you have some negative attitudes toward priest of Cybele? The whole set of issues is very interesting, thank you — and for Pyrrhus and coin chronology at top.

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