In past posts, I’ve worried quite a bit about the penates. I may have to write this all up eventually as a proper article or something. I’m still working on Dionysius ahead of my Yale talk this coming Saturday. And, my work led me back to passage on the Penates in book 1. And I found this comment by A. E. Dumser on the aedes Penates on the Mapping Augustan Rome Website.
Here are some more images just for further context:
Update 6/30/17 – just a bibliographical reference for when I come back to the penates:
M. Stöckinger, Inalienable Possessions : the di penates in the Aeneid and in Augustan Culture, p. 129-48 in Mario Labate, Gianpiero Rosati (ed.), La costruzione del mito augusteo. Bibliothek der klassischen Altertumswissenschaften, Band 141. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter, 2013. ISBN 9783825361136.
My favorite thing about numismatic databases are the things that pop up that I wasn’t looking for. This is a great example. There aren’t many known specimens, but there are two in the British Museum (example 1, example 2). Its obverse clearly echoes a much earlier republican didrachm (RRC 20/1).
It’s always interesting to see an awareness of earlier types surfacing after such an extended period–over two centuries regardless of how one wishes to date RRC 20/1. That said, it also raises questions about why this earlier type might have been attractive in this moment under Augustus. Hercules is usually associated with his rival Antony. As is Hellenistic Kingship. The connotations of the obverse type seem at odds with the Augustan program. Perhaps this explains its rarity? Perhaps the moneyer thought better of the design choice? A choice which at first which might have been attractive simply because of its antiquity and Augustus’ own rhetoric of conservative restoration?
I was thinking about tripods in a totally different framework when I came across the very smart work of Carsten Hjort Lange (again!). In his 2009 book, Res Publica Constituta, he gives a new reading of the famous plaque from the Palatine in light of the use of tripods on the coinage of 42 BC (p. 172ff). A great read, but too long to extract here just follow the link!
I also came across a reading of the Tripods on the Coins of Herod (same time frame) that I thought delightfully sensible: