Left to Right, Right to Left

Bronze Coin, Frentani. ANS 1957.172.36. SNG ANS 1.129. HN Italy 621.

Check out the legends on each side of this coin.  They are both FRENTREI, but with the Rs looking for all the world like Ds and the F like an 8.  Oscan isn’t really that far off the Latin or Greek alphabet:

It’s main difference is that its written right to left (like Hebrew and Arabic), rather than left to right (like English and kin).  I like the above specimen because it has the same name written in different directions on each side.  L>R on the obverse; R>L on the reverse.  It’s as if we get a little window into the moment of evolution of the language among the Frentani.

It uses a locative ending like the first coin of Larinum to show a Roman influence.  The coins of Larinum during the Hannibalic War period continue to be of influence for the swap between Oscan and Latin and the D/R letter forms (see Rutter in HN Italy, no. 624).

post script.  Doesn’t the little beanie hat style of Mercury’s wings remind you a little of how they were rendered on Suessa’s bronzes… or at Teanum ?

Jupiter Libertas beyond Rome



Image from this webpage.  Here’s a little background from Italian Dialects (image links to an open access copy):





Here’s an earlier post about (Jupiter) Libertas at Rome.

Here’s an image of the Furfo inscription.  Some academic discussion thereof. And the text:

L(ucius) Aienus L(uci) f(ilius) Q(uintus) Baebatius Sex(ti) f(ilius) aedem dedicarunt /

Iovis Liberi Furfone a(nte) d(iem) III Idus Quinctileis L(ucio) Pisone A(ulo) Gabinio co(n)s(ulibus) mense Flusare /

comulateis olleis legibus illeis regionibus utei extremae [f]unda(m)e(nta) <sunt=OVAE> lapide /

facta hoiusque aedis ergo uteique ad eam aede(m) scalasque lapide st<r=A>u(ctas) <st=CT>(r)uend(as)<q=O>(ue) /

columnae stant citra scalas ad aedem versus stipitesque aedis hu<i=M>us tabula/

mentaque utei tangere sarcire tegere devehere defigere (e)m<e=A>ndare ferro oeti /

promovere referre [liceat] fasque esto sei quod ad eam aedem donum datum donatum dedicatum/

que erit utei liceat oeti venum dare ubei venum datum erit id profanum esto venditio /

locatio aedilis esto quemquomque veicus Furfens(is) fecerit quod se sentiunt eam rem /

sine scelere sine piaculo [vendere] alis ne potesto quae pequnia recepta erit ea pequnia emere /

conducere locare dare quo id templum melius honestius seit liceto quae pequnia ad eas /

res data erit profana esto quod d(olo) m(alo) non erit factum quod emptum erit aere aut argento /

ea pequnia quae pequnia ad id {T}em<end=PL>um data erit quod emptum erit eis rebus eadem /

lex esto quasei sei dedicatum sit sei qui h{e}ic sacrum surupuerit aedilis multatio esto /

quanti volet idque veicus Furf(ensis) mai(or) pars FIFELTARES sei a<b=P>solvere volent sive condemnare /

liceto sei quei ad huc templum rem deivinam fecerit Iovi Libero aut Iovis Genio pelleis /

coria fanei sunto

291 out of 410 days: San Martino in Pensilis Hoard


The San Martino in Pensilis hoard and Andrew Burnett’s analysis thereof is probably the most important new information on third century Roman and Italian Silver issues from the last decade.  Highlights included:

  • Evidence of a significant gap (ballpark 300-260BC) between Rome’s first and second silver issues
  • The first Roma and Pistis Locrian coin in a hoard context
  • 30 ‘fresh’ coins of Teanum, Cales, and Suessa!  (No Cora specimen, alas.)

My scanned photocopy was really crappy, so I’m just delighted to realize that it’s available open access via Persée.  No more squinting for me today!  I’m also intrigued by the location of this hoard, just north of the Gargano (if you go, you must try the mysterious and delicious Lesina eel!).  It’s just down the road from Larinum (see earlier posts).  The Frentani became allied to the Romans in 304 BC and somewhere around the mid third century Larinum shifted from minting Neapolis type bronzes with Greek legends, to Roman type bronzes with Latin legends (well Oscan language, Latin Alphabet) (HN Italy 622 vs. 623).

San Martino in Pensilis - View

Italic Horserider Imagery



Note To Self: When considering the issue of L. Manlius Torquatus below (111 BC according to Mattingly), don’t forget that there are earlier Italic precedents for the reverse design, such as the AE quinrunx of Larinum above, dated by HN Italy to c. 210-175 BC.

You will want to order from ILL the relevant literature on Larinum (listed in HN Italy) and look for other similar Italic imagery.

Notice how the Torquatus coin even places all three elements of the legend in a similar location to that of the Larinum coin. His name for the ethnic, EXSC for the five pellets, and then, most strikingly, the Q for the V behind the riders head. [See three images down for a specimen of the quinrunx showing the V.]

The obverse of the above Larinum specimen looks more like a Minerva than an Ares in the Corinthian helmet. HN Italy queries lists as “Mars(?)”. Other specimens are more ambiguous or masculine:

But then see these long necked specimens (1) and (2)… The four specimens in the ANS seem very masculine indeed, especially the ‘fat necked’ SNGANS.1.131 and SNGANS.1.132.

Update 26/11/2013: Just adding this glass paste for comparison. It is dated by the Thorvaldsens Museum to the republican period.  This rider doesn’t have the same helmet but otherwise shares many design elements right down to the the shield details.

Rytter med spyd og skjold. Romersk republikansk paste

They also given this a republican date:

Kriger til hest. Romersk republikansk paste

Second update 27 February 2014: The coinage of Tarentum (Taras) also needs to brought into discussion (esp. HN Italy 1013):





Most of the rider imagery from Tarentum has the shield behind the rider, making this type stand out.  Even here, the horse is rendered differently from above imagery, but it is certainly in the same visual repertoire.

Also see this newer post for comparative evidence.