Hercules’ Lion Pellet

Andrew McCabe’s Image

I’m working on illustrations for the book and hence have been looking at a good number of specimens.  One of the fun things I noticed about some, but not all, specimens of RRC 229 is that they take the time to represent bottom half of Hercules’ lion pellet.  No. 1 on the image above shows the care taken to represent the fur of the lion scalp, but look a no. 2!  that a tail and more furry pelt flying out behind the god.  Fun.   By contrast other dies reduce the to just a little squiggle of flying drapery, as in the image below.capture

A little crankiness: So CRRO seems to have made up a new RRC number, 229/2, this seems to be just a data entry error, but could cause much confusion.  Also, it gives RRC 229/1a and 1b separate dates.  Again a typo, but potentially problematic.  I used to send these errors in for correction, but they don’t seem to have a fixed procedure for cleaning up the data yet, and thus my emails were just a nuisance.   Ho Hum.  One day.  Still a great resource.

Romulus and Mars

So I’m waiting to hear back from the peer-reviewers, but I’m hoping you’ll be able to read an article by me in the AJN this year entitled, ‘Romulus’ Apotheosis (RRC 392)’.  I’m pretty excited about it.  I send it off last September or thereabouts.  It’s all about this type:

CNG 103, lot 637

You’ll have to wait to read it.  The main point of this post is that I found myself looking again at a much earlier republican coin type (RRC 232/1)  in light of my work on the one above and now I’m thinking I need to add a note to that article.

image from acsearch.info

I’m pretty confident in my identification of RRC 392.  I have lots of literary and visual parallels to back me up.  So my big questions are about the attributes of the figure standing next to Mars in this chariot on RRC 232.  Is that a toga?  I think it may well be.  Although it isn’t as well rendered as on other types.  If it is a toga, than I’d be very comfortable calling this an apotheosis scene, celebrating Rome’s divine foundation and continuing divine protection.

If you can tell me why it can’t be a toga, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

There is certainly hierarchy of scale used to distinguish the rear figure from Mars, but I have a hard time agreeing with Crawford that the figure is in any way represented as a captive.  The body position is not humbled; the drapery is not tattered or distressed; there is no restraint; and care has been taken to represent the figure’s right arm as free.

Addendum later the same day.

So as I thought more about the above ideas and how they might make me adjust/tweak the AJN submission, I decided to have a good read through the fragments of Gn. Gellius in new Fragments of the Roman Historians. ( It is widely accepted that the historian and the moneyer are likely to be the same individual.) This has not really clarified my opinion, but rather made me wonder at why Crawford dismissed the Nerio/Neria idea.  It also made me once again think about that drapery.  Is it feminine dress?!  Or is it a toga?  I can’t quite decide.  This is the relevant material from Aulus Gellius Attic Nights 13:



I find myself wondering how this religious conception of the divine intersects with the Divine Qualities discussed in Anna Clark’s book.   I was also surprised the Myles McDonnell didn’t discuss the passage given the reference to the Virites of Quirinus.  Maybe this will be a little conference paper one day…

Ogilvie on Livy:



The Sestos Inscription

Why do cities mint coins?  One of the only written pieces of evidence we have from the ancient world is the ‘famous’ Sestos Inscription (OGIS 339).

From Hill 1899:


It is well discussed in a modern context by Katsari 2011 with up to date bibliography in footnote 22, missing only Le Rider 2001: 242-244.

Lines 43-51, translated by J. R. Melville-Jones in Testimonia Numaria, Greek and Latin Texts concerning Ancient Greek Coinage, Vol. I (1993), no. 377:

… and when the people had decided to use its own bronze coinage, in order that the city’s type (charakter) might have currency, and the city might receive the profit which would accrue from a revenue of such a kind, and had selected those who would preserve this position of trust piously and justly, Menas, chosen together with his colleague, discharged the appropriate responsibilities, as a result of which the people, through the righteousness and love of honour of these men, has the use of its own coinage.  And in the other offices and liturgies for which the people has selected him, he has presented himself as impartial and righteous …

Martin 1995:


I am officially back at work on my coin book project.  I’m editing my draft of chapter 1 right now and realized I needed to expand what I had to say about this inscription, hence the post.

Curule Chair and Accompanying Objects

Ny Carlesberg Glyptotek inv. no. 1465

I’m looking for the inventory number of a piece in the Glyptotek I need to footnote in this article I’m trying to send off.  Hence, I’m trying to find just the right word to get the Danish National Database of Museum holdings to spit out the right information.  Given that the database only functions in Danish (not one of my languages!), I keep getting distracted by my interesting, but incorrect search results.  Thus, this flurry of posts.

Anyway, I wanted to keep a record of this image from the high empire because of how it juxtaposes the scepter with the chair and crown.  I also want to think more about the barbarians as leg supports and how this may have evolved out of the ‘creative’ feet on some of the curule chairs in republican iconography.  I’m thinking the lion feet on the chair of the P. Fourius Crassipes on his issue as curule aedile (RRC 356/1).

The Religious Life of Animals

Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek inv. no. 0858
This is the back of an altar the front of which is commonly used to illustrate Roman sacrificial practices.  I’m taken by how it imagines the deer participating in its own ritual offering, placing a filleted palm branch on an altar.  Perhaps for some interdisciplinary conference on animal studies I might write a short piece contextualizing this images with other evidence for Roman thinking regarding the religious life of animals.

First Sketch


I’m in the last stages of getting ready to send an article out.  This is my first ever pencil sketch of a coin (well part of a coin).  Of course I used a light box and high quality image to produce it (I wanted it to be accurate after all!), but nonetheless I’m exceptionally pleased with how it turned out and how is emphasizes details I’m discussing in the publication.