Via Tiberina (CHRR 81)

In the original 1969 publication of CHRR Crawford says “There is no good reason for regarding this hoard as a votive deposit.”

In 2003 re revised his views, but still did not commit himself to believing it was a votive deposit:

This question is of some interest to me as I’d be curious if it meant all these objects were actually in circulation together or had a long period of sequential deposit. But the main issue is that I failed to include this in my #NotAllElephants article from 2021 (formatted full text). It doesn’t change my argument in the slightest but it makes my maps and tables incomplete and that bugs the heck out of me!

The hoard contained 6 fragments of Roman currency bars (so called aes signatum):

RRC 7/1, RRC 10/1, RRC 12/1, RRC 11/1, RRC 5/1, RRC 4/1

Not illustrated:

“Another roughly triangular fragment, with an undulating fracture line that runs along two of the three sides of the piece; which presents in relief on the two wide faces a wavy line in relief which could also be or rather hint at one of the stylized floral ornaments of the lightning clasped in the claws of the eagle, of the quadrilateral EAGLE-PEGASUS (3) while, on the other face nothing can be identified. Weight gr. 72; cm. 4 X 2.6o X 1.30 thick.”

“An almost shapeless triangular fragment where it is difficult but certainly possible to recognize traces of the feet of the bull appearing on the two sides of the relative BULL-BULL quadrilateral (2). Weight gr. 58; cm. 3.6o x 2.50 x 1.10 thick.” (Machine translations)

Cesano not only talks about the coins but also gives weight details for the Aes Rude that make up the largest category in the deposit:

One weird thing is the gap in this find between currency bars and the next Roman coinage which starts with the prow series libral standard aes grave. Was there a gap in deposition during this time?

I wanted to think about weights of the aes rude as a counter point for the currency bar fragments so I made some charts:

However, we shouldn’t just think about weight but also size, as Cesano says:

“The pieces are of two types, compact and heavy bronze and lighter spongy slag, whereby the weight is not indicated by the volume of the pieces themselves.” {machine translation}

The images and above quotes are from Cesano 1942 with a lovely colleague just sent me.

Currency Bar Finds known in 1882

From Gallica; Donum citation

“When I mapped findspots for #NotAllElephants I used “Find spots taken from Vecchi 2014, pp. 29-31 with the addition of Lavinium, Sutri, Viterbo, and the region north of Naples.”

A draft map of Vecchi’s list appeared on this blog.

I’m worried I might have missed the following find spots from Garrucci’s list, but they could be listed in Vecchi under another place name!

Ardea (area of the Rutules)


Fabbro near Orvieto


Now if I’d mapped in Google Earth this would be much more simple to reconstruct and check. Doh. I’m going to leave the question for today, but definitely want to circle back and follow up.

aes signatum

Ariminum types, Roman Currency Bar types

ANS Specimens of Ariminum Cast Bronze. Click image form more details.

It strikes me that that the cast bronze types of Ariminum bear a marked similarity to the types of the Roman currency bars.  Ariminum became a Latin colony in 268 BC and the cast bronze dates to sometime after that date.  The one type I couldn’t find to illustrate has a shield as the reverse type.  Its as seems to be heavier than the Roman (350-400g) and it divides the as into a base-10, instead of base-12 fractions.  It shares these characteristics with Hadria and Vestini (Crawford, CMRR, p. 43 & HN Italy p. 17).

Ariminum types above all represent different denominations. [Scale can be so deceptive in online images!] Shield = quincunx, Sword and scabbard = quadrunx, trident = teruncius, dolphin = biunx, rostrum = uncia, shell = semuncia.

This suggests they were created as a series at one moment in time.  Perhaps they took their inspiration from the currency bars?  With the exception of the shell all of these are well known images on the bars.  Below is a collection of images to refresh your memory.  And one more specimen of Ariminum, the trident of which better parallels the bars.

AND, just as icing on the cake, the rostrum on the uncia confirms Kondratieff’s interpretation of the currency bar iconography from a different angle.  [HN Italy got the uncia identification right, but still kept the trident of RRC.]

There is nothing that comes to mind that would preclude the possibility that the shield and sword currency bars were made at the same time as the naval types…

File:Aes Signatum.jpg

1. République (-280 à -27) -

You may know ancient Ariminum better by its modern name Rimini.

Update 4/22/2014: The main study of the Ariminum mint is available online: G. Gorini, La monetazione di Ariminum, Revue Numismatique 2010