260 out of 410 days: Profile versus 3/4s Profile

Above: Detail from Athenian red-figure clay vase, about 475-425 BC. Paris Musée du Louvre G365 © Musée du Louvre [Image links to Beazley archive]

I’m not worrying about the image above, I just think it is a pretty picture and one that can help students enter the iconographic and narrative thought world in which man-faced bull coinage was stuck.  

I am worrying about the dating of RRC 2/1: Thurian-style Athena obverse, full man-faced bull, walking right in profile, star above.  An image of which can be found on Molinari’s website, here.  Scroll down to #355, clicking on it provides a better resolution.  There is only one known specimen.  I’ve talked about how problematic that can before, twice in fact it seems.

I was adding a note in my current chapter draft about HN Italy 753 being the prototype for the reverse of  this first ROMANO coin (so HN Italy says), and decided to have another scroll through Molinari’s collection of Neapolis man-faced bull images (MFB hereafter). The thing is that even though HN Italy 753 has an eight-rayed star above the MFB on some specimens, the MFB has a 3/4 profile head. A similar 3/4 profile head is found on all  the full-bodied MFBs on bronzes of Neapolis, as far as I can tell.  [Other images are available via Luigi Graziano’s project].

Whoever carved the dies for RRC 2/1 was more familiar with a MFB in profile, rather than in 3/4s profile.  That makes it seem rather unlikely to me that he was looking at a bronze of Neapolis, let alone was also someone engraving dies for the Neapolis mint.  

I suspect somewhere in Molinari’s great collection of images one could find a better possible parallel, say something like the Hyira silver coins.  Obviously no star and wrong placement of ethnic, but overall a better ‘model’.  Crawford sees a sea-horse/sea monster/pistrix or whatever you want to call it on Athena’s helmet.  That might be another point when comparison shopping.

Obviously dating based on iconographic models is problematic anyway.  We need a few good hoards.  But don’t we always.

***

Update 8/27/14:  My thinking on this has developed a bit. See this more recent post.

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4 thoughts on “260 out of 410 days: Profile versus 3/4s Profile

  1. Info from the old collection tag of my piece, which I have not verified:

    Taliercio IIa Series No. 6 (p. 281-2, Pl. IX, 6), Hunter 102, SNG Cop 497-8 (Pl. 13), BMC 192-4 (p. 110), SNG ANS 462-464 (Pl. 13), SNG Paris 884-888 (Pl. 63), SNG Morcom 140 (Pl. VI), Sambon 650 (p. 264), HN 582

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