what are you really?!
When I’m trying to get a sense of what an engraver actually intended to represent, I collect little snippets of coin images to help focus my eye. After a while I start seeing things; I swear this looks more like a chicken hat than anything else.
Anyway in all seriousness, the high helmet with streaming hair on this rider is the only real identifying attribute. Crawford says the following:
Do you know what DS ii, 1448 stands for? If so, PLEASE leave me a note in the comments. There’s been some recent discussion of the type, but not really about identifying the rider. I don’t think it’s Tremulus’ equestrian statue… but the Marcii Philippi’s interest in equestrian themes is striking.
Discovering Daremberg and Saglio has helped clarify things for me. It seems Crawford was drawing a comparison to this type of imperial iconography:
This cannot be right. Given the lack of flowing plumage. I may not have been too far off with my impression of feathers… I think this earlier portion of DS, s.v. galea is better parallel.
They call this curieux, but then go on to compare it to the helmet of Mars on this coin type (RRC 400/1b):
This helmet type has been linked to the concept of virtus in Republican Rome by Myles McDonnell (see esp. chapter 4; note also his connections between virtus at the equestrian representations!).
We can also draw into the conversation here the iconography of helmets on the so-called altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus:
On the iconography of the three-plumed helmet, consider the two Etruscan figurines on the left: