Troublesome Quadrupeds

Silver coin.
RRC 123/1; BM registration no. 2002,0102.572

Crawford labels this quadruped as a ram.  Not a great fit.  Hersh thought differently:

Denarius circa 206-195, AR 4.30 g. Helmeted head of Roma r.; behind, X. Rev. The Dioscuri galloping r.;
below, ram r. In exergue, ROMA in linear frame. Sydenham –. Crawford 123/1. Extremely rare. Lightly toned and extremely fine The symbol on this issue has been called a ram and a calf, but Charles Hersh, in his review of Crawford, asserts that it is, in fact, a heifer, and that the distinguishing feature is abundantly clear on his specimen, now in the BM Collection. In any event, the coin a great rarity. (RBW) [NAC 61 (5/10/11) lot 561

I hate to disagree with Hersh, but I don’t think that’s an udder hanging down.  I think it really must be a calf, a male calf.  I submit as evidence specimens of RRC 526:

Reverse of RRC 526/2. 1960.170.9
Reverse of RRC 526/2. ANS 1960.170.9
Reverse of RRC 526/4. 1935.117.30
Reverse of RRC 526/4. ANS 1935.117.30.
Reverse of RRC 526/1. 1967.153.37
Reverse of RRC 526/1. ANS 1967.153.37.

Can we by extension guess that moneyer might be a Vitulus?!  Or perhaps its too early for such punning symbolism.  The main family to use the cognomen in the 3rd century were the Mamilii, namely the consuls of 265 and 262 BC.

Of course bulls and bull calves and Italian identity go together more generally (Pobjoy 2000: 201):

Image

 

But then again it could just be just another symbol to distinguish the series.  Something vaguely thematically appropriate (abundance, sacrifice …) but of no special significance.

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