More On Fighting Cocks

A kind colleague is reading a draft article of mine on Roman currency bars and pointed out to me that I missed Bruneau’s important (and well illustrated) 1965 article.

I am most taken by mosaic from a private villa on Crete that is now in the Chania museum.  The first two images are screen shots from the museum’s own website and even higher resolution is available there.


This is from an excellent scholar’s blog, Alexandra Kankeleit, who has a long detailed post on the mosaic.


My interest is of course because of RRC 12/1.

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

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:




Janus, c. 235 BCE

Article link.


This short, dense well illustrated article is pretty convincing.

I want to think about what it means for other janiform heads on other (Non Roman) Janiform heads, esp. the third century aes grave of Volterra (Vecchi 128-144).  Vecchi thinks Roman types may be influencing Volterran choice in this instance.


235 BCE makes sense as a watershed date for the quadrigati and the janus/prow series, but it still leaves me wondering about the as of RRC 14 which Molinari and Jaia help put into a pre-Punic War context.


Mars and Venus? (RRC 14/2)


Rejecting Crawford’s identification (Minerva/Goddess) and going with Haeberlin‘s Mars and Venus (followed by Thomson), has a big implications.  Perhaps for the historian most importantly it pushes the evidence for the synchronized foundation legends (Romulus and Aeneas) further in the past.

I think I’m ready to abandon Crawford’s vision for Thomson.  Specimens are really worn, but the defining characteristic of Minerva/Athena is her hair as a marker of gender, BUT there is no hair on pretty much any specimen photographs I’ve seen so far.  They are all worn and soapy but surely one would preserve this detail if it were there.  Above I highlight in yellow the neck guard of the helmet which might be mistaken for hair.

RRC 14/2

Haeberlin‘s plate:


It also means re thinking some of the other “Minerva” ‘s  on early aes grave semisses.

RRC 21/2

RRC 25/5

RRC 27/6

I think Crawford is wrong and all of these are Mars. Yikes.