Why do I always look at the plates of every book on antiquities I come across? Because you never know what you might spot!
Some names seems so familiar to the numismatist, others not all… But also the form of truncation and ligature and letter forms and punctuation feels v very familiar.
I’m struggling to find Riccio 1855 digitized to follow up on that Bahrfeld note in the previous post about a possible uncia of RRC 238. BUT that does mean I’m leafing through a lot of other digitized works by Riccio. This is so fun. I assume its a votive offering but does it represent the goddess or the petitioner, probable the later!? I’m not going to let me self be distracted but Diana Tifatina is so important in the Sullan era I wanted to record this.
I thank M. Fischer for kindly sending me the following additional 241/6 specimens! The generosity of those working on RR coins never fails to astound me and warm my heart.
RRC 242/5: the Paris specimen remains unique: 3.45 g, 16.2 mm
We finally get a mess of specimens (still pretty measly, but beggars cannot be choosers) with RRC 249/4.
Fischer has sent me a specimen known to Bahrfeld in Ravenna but not included by Crawford that would be 256/5:
Cleaned up machine translation:
“I can also give a picture of the uncia with Q · METE now in the Museo nazionale in Ravenna, based on a print I owe to Mr Icilio Bocci. Plate I, no. 23. Weight 2.5 grams, in very good condition. It proves how poorly the illustration in Riccio, Mon. fam. Plate 54, No. 20, which served as a model for a forgery, which I will talk about further below on p. 30. About the alleged uncia with A · CA in the wreath, see above, p. 17.”
AND sure enough Schaefer already knew this specimen as well, BUT given than it was sold in 1958 (BRU = Count Luigi Brunacci Collection = P&P Santamaria Auction (Rome), 24 February 1958), I don’t think I bother looking for it in Ravenna post pandemic:
Molinari 2016 would (like HB Mattingly new) put this issue in 132 BCE and I follow her judgement on dates in this period. I would note that it clearly displays an OAK wreath like some later issues. This specimen seems like it belongs more to the subsequent period of uncia because of its design, but the moneyer is quite clear no later date seems quite feasible.
21 specimens over 7 different issues is pretty bad for doing any meaningful quantitative analysis, but we can say that the while the specimens are visually very consistent their weights very significantly. I’m pretty happy to say that the weight of these coins was not a major concern in minting operations and thus not particularly tightly controlled in any way.
Do you know of other uncia of this decade that are not listed here? Do let me know!
So why start here? Well it looks like there has been about a 10 to 15 year gap in the making of the uncia before these issues and there seems to be another gap of about 20 years after. Of course another specimen could show up in a few hours and mess my gaps, but we’ll keep chatting. Dates are a big issue here in the hazy late 2nd century. If we presume that relative chronology is ok then the previous uncia was RRC 217/7 (not in Crawford, but Russo 1998, 147, for illustration bottom left specimen on this Schaefer binder page).
Hint: to find a type that isn’t in CRRO but likely known to Schaefer, go to nearest denomination in the issue in CRRO and start from the binder pages listed for that type and you’ll usually find what you need.
RRC 217 matters for dating a whole heck of a lot. A denarius of this issue was over struck by Andriscus as Philip IV meaning that 217 needs to be c. 149-150 BCE NOT 144 BCE as HB Mattingly would have it or 147 BC as Crawford gave us. However both agree on general relative chronology so we probably need to move not just this but surrounding issues earlier.
Fischer also kindly shared with me this note from M.v.Bahrfeld in his “Nachträge und Berichtigungen zur Münzkunde der römischen Republik Bd I S.20” on a uncia from L. Antestius Gragulus (Cr.238)
A slightly cleaned up machine translation (if I’ve made a meaningful error, do let me know!):
“We only know the uncia from the description by Riccio Catalogo p. 34, No. 28, sales catalog p. 13, No. 194; the coin’s whereabouts is not known. I think they are very problematic, by the way. Babelon describes the uncia on p. 148, no. 15, according to Riccio Catalogo p. 34, no. 28. But since he says “helmeted head of the goddess Roma facing right”, while Riccio says “Head of a veiled woman facing left” which suggests he did not consult Riccio, but simply asked Cohen to transcribe it.”
Fischer has kindly supplied a link to Riccio!
I’m due to produce by Mar 1 a draft of something readable on the end of small change at Rome. (I blogged a little about this last May).
I started this morning by making myself a spreadsheet by dumping csv data out of CRRO and then cleaning it up and adding new info. Dump was post 146 BCE to 82 BCE and the new info was thanks to my various marginalia in my physical copy of Crawford and also also to searches of trade databases and OF COURSE Schaefer’s binders in Archer as linked from CRRO (hence earlier random posts of today).
Do you see a type I missed that’s not in Crawford? Send me a photo or citation! I’m very curious.
So I thought at first I might take a chronological approach, but I’m now thinking I might take a denominational approach to exploring what’s going with small change and the Roman mint.
The three semuncia of c. 105 BCE seem to be a strange and wonderful revival of a tiny denomination that seems not to have been regularly by the Roman mint in some fifty years, the previous issue containing this denomination being RRC 177 (PT or TP; uncia and semuncia of this issue not known to Crawford but documented by Russo 1998, 146, see Schaefer Binder 7, p. 136, bottom row of images, image second from left hand edge).
The semuncia was never that common of a denomination (or at least we can say has a very poor survival rate). There are only 22 total examples as far as I can tell. Of course, there are lots of semunciae in Italic coinage, but they don’t really come into this discussion.
Again correct me, if I’m missing some.
RRC 308/5 and RRC 315/2 both seem to harken back to RRC 160, not RRC 177 in that they have Diana as well. The vast majority of the struck semunciae of the earlier period have Mercury as their primary obverse type. The exceptions being RRC 39/5 (part of an atypical series) which may have Cybele or a turreted personification of Roma or Fortuna Romanorum, and the Dioscuri on RRC 98A/8 (but how someone decided this unique specimen in Naples belonged to this bronze series is not yet clear to me), and the Roma on RRC 177.
Crawford thought the head on RRC 316/2 was female and this seems likely given the necklace, but barring that the hairstyle and laurel crown recall Apollo and make me think of the odd uses of Apollo on bronze denominations in the late republic.
The other thing these coins make me think of are the wreathed AE coinages of Sicily under Roman rule. … I feel a book purchase coming on: I need something for reference on Sicilian coinage…
I should also mention that RRC 308, Herennius, is not likely to be 108 BCE like Crawford would have it. Here I’m not just relying on HB Mattingly’s pref for 104 BCE based on his alternate sequence of moneyers, but rather Lockyear 2018 which says that RRC 308 denarii are probably later in the overall sequence than Crawford suggested (PDF). This suggests that these semunciae are likely all made within a one to two year period.
Tomorrow if all goes well I’ll give you a post on unicae.
Again, an unusual object in trade but with fine academic discussion. Must learn more about this individual….
Not sure what to make of this object in trade. But wanted to note it.
From Malkmus 2007 (PDF on file):
Here the thing the jumps out is the means of aligning but not necessarily strictly controlling die axis:
Here I reproduce his list of known Republican dies for ease of future reference:
Consult PDF for Geto Dacian.
ROBERTSON J.D. 1878, A Handbook to the Coinage of Scotland, London; reprint Argonaut,
Chicago, 1968, xxvii, 146 pp. Complete speculation but given how rarely CORNEL- appears on coins as a legend, seems likely this may be RRC 310/1.
Very intrigued by this turn and wave almost portrait like obverse depiction. I want to think more about it in future, esp. the free flowing Alexander/Helios type hair in lieu of a helmet or other head covering. Link to specimen.