302 out of 410 days: Lycophron and Rome’s Foundations

RRC 16/1a. ANS 1969.83.7. Image links to all ANS specimens of this type.

I came across the passage of Crawford below and decided I might kick the main discussion of the type above out of the chapter I’m working on at the moment (Rome and Italy) and put it in the previous one (The Legendary Past).  



Since Crawford wrote this passage (RRC II.714) thinking about Lycophron and Roman foundation legends has developed. Here’s Wiseman’s translation of the relevant passage from his Remus:


Coin geeks will know Aphrodite Castnia from the coins of Metropolis in Thessaly [links to an example with a side story from the collector illuminating acquisition practices].  Literary buffs will be more likely to reference Callimachus Iambus 10; Kerkhecker 1999: 207:



[Other relevant bibliography on Callimachus includes Clayman 1980 and Acosta-Hughes 2002.]

Wiseman 1995 has shown many ways lions may be present in the now lost myths of the foundation of Rome before the establishment of the Romulus and Remus tradition (p. 63ff) and has endorsed Stephanie West’s dating of the above passage and others to the second century (181 n. 5).

The lion and goddess seem to me very much in the South Italian and Sicilian repertoire of iconography (cf. Velia and Syracuse for Lions among other mints), evoking power and divine protection, but not necessarily an intersection with a specific foundation narrative.  

And I’m still moving away from Russo’s suggestion that RRC 16, 17, and 23 form a series, amongst other reasons already discussed, because of Crawford’s comments about the different circulation patterns of RRC 16 and 17 in CMRR, p. 38 with App. 9 (p. 285) listing hoards. 

256 out of 410 days: Helmet Hair

So I was looking at the Neapolis coins that served as prototypes for the earliest coins in the name of Rome.  And, Apollo has a very flippy hairdo of a not terribly typical type.  Here’s another to prove I’m not making this up:

That flip was feeling familiar.  And not from just the Roman type (RRC 1/1):

Here’s a link to one more of these.  Anyway.  It struck me that that hair flip is visually quite related to the neck flap that appears on Roma’s helmet on certain early types like these:

Or to a lesser extent on these earlier bronzes (not to mention Rome’s first silver piece with bearded Mars and Horse’s Head probably also minted at Neapolis, modern Naples):

But that’s clearly not the direction of influence.  The culprit must be the pegasi of Corinth that became so common in S Italy at the end of the 4th century BC:

The interesting iconographic borrowing isn’t really the Roma helmets, but the Neapolis (and soon-to-be-Roman) Apollo who gets his flip and snaky tendrils by way of Athena’s Corinthian manifestation.

Update 4 March 2014:  Check out images of Roman types at Nick Molinari’s site, note especially the image of the RRC 2/1, known from only one specimen.