11 out of 410 Days: Prosopography, Topography and other beautiful things.

Silver coin.[There are two ANS specimens but they are a little harder to see.]

I decided to start with coins today to ensure a happy start and so I didn’t feel like I was rushing at the end of the day or stepping away from editing the chapter too soon.  I didn’t have any plan other than to open up a real book and see where coins entered the history.  Bispham mentions the coin above in relation to two Volumnii, possible cousins, who set up an in inscription (CIL i2. 1505 = CIL 10, 05971) in Signia (modern Segni) as quattorviri with jurisdictional power.  Bispham’s concern is to elucidate the nature of this local magistracy, but refers to an article by Badian which tries to grapple with Volumnii family.  While there are Volumnii of the early period attested in Livy, the family emerges suddenly in Roman politics in the 1st century BC.  The L. Volumnius Stabo who minted this coin above in 81BC is thought to be same as the military tribune of Gn. Pompeius Strabo at Asculum in 89 BC known from this inscription and also the same at Senator Volumnius mentioned by Cicero in his Letters.  Based on the Signia inscription, Badian suggests that Volumnii of the late republic acquired their Roman citizenship through serving as magistrates of this Latin Colony.

I then swapped over to thinking about Signia.  Wallice-Hadrill has a fabulous reading of the evidence from the site (p. 121-126).  Besides the giving the Roman World waterproof concrete, opus signinum, Signia is also known for its monumental building program of the late second century BC, including a temple of Juno Moneta and a nymphaeum whose architect signed is work and maybe have also build Marius’ temple to Honos and Virtus in Rome and even the sanctuary at Praeneste.  Zevi has hypothesizes a strong regional connection between these communities and the Marians.   Regardless, the building renaissance of Signia and its neighbors of which Bispham’s inscription is but further testimony, came to an abrupt halt after the Social and Civil Wars.  Think of Sulla’s sack of Praeneste just the year before this coin was struck.

That the Volumnii, or specifically one particular L. Volumnius Strabo, should be found climbing part of a cursus honorum (mit. trib., IIIvir monetales, quaestor? –> senator) at Rome right as his home(?) community is dwindling in significance is worthy of note. A community to which his ancestors had been very generous. Perhaps Signia and its neighbors waned as their elite redirected their energies toward securing recognition in Rome.  Or perhaps the elites felt compelled to move to greener pastures as the region suffered in aftermath of war.   Or a bit of both.

The meaning of the type is obscure… for now.

[Some have thought the Volumnii were Etruscan, see bibiography at Farney, p. 128 n.9]

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