Baglione, M.P. 1976. Su alcune serie parallele di bronzo coniato. In Contributi introduttivi allo studio della monetazione etrusca.Atti Convegno Napoli 1975: 153-180. Roma.
Baglione records 158 known specimens at that time, the vast majority in public collections. Baglione endorses (if I’ve read the Italian right!) Robinson’s dating and notes that W. V Harris, Rome in Etruria and Umbria (Oxford 1971) p. 140 also follows Robinson’s interpretation. I’m wary of dating by type alone and would like some new good hoard or excavation evidence to confirm this hypothesis. I’d also think a little die study might be of use to get an idea of the size of the issue: it seems at first glance that we’re looking at multiple dies for each letter under the elephant (four different Etruscan letters are well attested) and a number of obverse dies. Elephants do appear elsewhere in the Second Punic War on the coinage of rebelling Italic communities. The most impressive example being the aes grave of Meles in Samnium which copy the Barcid silver coinage (Robinson, Essays Mattingly, 1956: 40, fig. 3A; HN Italy 441-42 (but no illustrations)).
I’m more interested in the unusual votive offering. Ambrosini draws the parallel with the famous plate in the Villa Giulia (inv. 23949) with a depiction of a war elephant and her cub. There is a second similar plate from maybe Sardinia that I can’t put my hand on a reference at this moment. from Corsica:
Roma mediorepubblicana; Aspetti culturali di Roma e del Lazio nei secoli IV e III a.C (Rome 1973), no. 33 = Villa Guilia and no. 34 = Corsica.
The votive offering confirms the theme of elephant and cub in a military context. That, of course, made me think of that passage in Dionysius that I quoted in a previous post about how the Roman’s wounded a cub to gain a tactical advantage over Pyrrhus’ use of elephants.
The coin above is just there as a reminder that boars do appear on early Roman coinage in other contexts. The main point of this post is put up this curious theory about the elephant and pig currency bar (RRC 9/1):
Taken from p.462 of Borba Florenzano, Maria Beatriz ‘Aes signatum bars, signa and coins: emblematic objects and apotropaism’ from XII. lnternationaler Nurnismatischer Kongress, Berlin 1997 (2000), 460-465.
I would just note in comparing the boar above to our friend the sow below, that both are represented with an impressive line of bristles down their backs. I do think, however, the two engravers have carved the animals in such away as to plainly distinguish their genders. And, I have my doubts that the legions would use the female, instead of the male, as their totemic creature…