So this is a pretty left field thought. But as I’m thinking about the coins of Teanum I can’t help but think how weird it is to have a triga, a three-horse chariot. It’s not really a well known or convenient hitching configuration. One could speculate that it comes from copying a quadriga type like that found at Selinus or other Sicilian mints where the front horse rather obscures the next one so that it almost looks like a three horse configuration.
Could there have been a little fad for drawing inspiration from old allied coins of the Punic Wars at the end of the second century? Probably not. Let’s call it a fun coincidence.
Update 4/18/14: I came back to this post briefly when I read this passage in Woytek’s chapter in Metcalf’s Handbook (p. 326):
Ritter, H. W. (1982). Zur römischen Münzprägung im 3. Jh. v. Chr. Marburg.
Update 4/30/14: On die engravers making errors in the number of horses they carve when copying a prototype, see:
Hollstein, Wilhelm. – Ein kurioser Quadrigatus im Kestner-Museum Hannover. NNB 1996 45 (9) : 8. AP Abstract: Among the Quadrigati the museum (=> 60-10031) is a specimen (No. 107), in which the Quadriga has five horses with ten front, but eight hind legs.
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.
They also given this a republican date:
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.