Online Exhibition No. I


A Selection of Denarii from the Roman Republic



The Roman Republic


During the time of the Roman Republic (509 – 27 BC) the Roman Empire grew from a local power to the largest state of the then known world. Many aspects led to this considerable success, including the sophisticated political system and the fast military expansion. This history can be traced through objects that the people used daily – money. Coins were used beside their primary monetary usage as a mass medium to transport commemoration and promotion of ideas, events and individuals.


Only little is known about the early years of Rome. The mythological founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus in 753 BC is equally a legend as the most of our knowledge about the kings of Rome (until 509 BC). The early Roman Republic first had to deal with other local power, especially the Etruscans. After the Republic was established, the expansion begun. Until the mid 3rd century BC, Rome was the largest state in Italy and started to compete with the biggest powers in the Mediterranean region. Rome now had to face the naval power Carthage. The first Punic War (264-241 BC) was fought largely on the water and in Sicily. Rome conquered Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. During the second Punic War (218-201 BC) Rome suffered its heaviest defeat: Hannibal crossed the Alps and in the Battle of Cannae (216 BC) 50,000 Roman soldiers have fallen. But Rome was able to turn the tide by attacking Carthage. A peace treaty was concluded, which strongly restricted the punier. 55 years later, Rome completely destroyed Carthage.

During the 2nd century BC the republic conquered the Greek east. Besides the Parthian Empire almost the whole Mediterranean region was under Rome’s control. This led to significant domestic problems. Tensions arose between the conservative Roman nobility (optimates) and the common people (populares). Also the Italian allies of Rome wanted the Roman citizenship, which granted them many privileges. The Social War (91-87 BC) caused a complete Romanization of Italy and the Roman citizenship was extended to all peninsular Italy.

Within the increasing trouble individual persons got more power. Civil wars erupted. Gaius Marius was not only seven times consul, he also defeated Iugurtha and Cimbri and Teutons in the legendary battles of Aquae Sextiae and Vercellae. For these victories he received many honors and was able to strongly affect politics. Lucius Cornelius Sulla gained reputation as commander during the war against Mithridates VI of Pontos. He marched in 88 and 83 BC on Rome against the followers of Marius, and had himself appointed dictator in 82 BC. In 79 BC, Sulla retired from politics. Soon, other politicians entered the stage of power. In 60 BC, Gaius Iulius Caesar, Gnaeus Pompey Magnus and Marcus Licinius Crassus formed an unofficial alliance to support their own goals – the first triumvirate. The alliance broke up in 49 BC at the latest when Caesar crossed the Rubicon and the civil war started. The Roman Republic had a complex constitution. The offices were filled with at least two persons annually. To get high offices it was necessary to accomplish a default number of lower offices, the cursus honorum. One of the first offices was the moneyer. Besides the office career, the ancestry was an important part of the reputation in Rome. It was believed that the virtues and skills were transferred within the family. Therefore, many families claimed to trace their ancestry back to mythological heroes or deities. This effected is also reflected in the coinage.


Coinage of the Roman Republic

The earliest Roman form of money was used in the 4th century BC and consisted of bronze bars that were usually used by the Etruscans. In the 3rd century BC, Rome introduced the first coins. First large cast bronze coins and smaller silver coins were used, they were connected to both the Etruscan and Greek monetary systems. These coins were only issued irregularly. 

The most important reformation of the Roman coinage, the introduction of the „denarius-system“, took place during the difficult times of the second Punic War (218-202 BC). It was based on the earlier Roman monetary system, with the as as ground unit. The denarius was named after his value of ten asses (lat. deni = ten each), also shown on the obverse of many coins with an X. In the 140s BC the value was raised for a probably short time to sixteen asses. From the introduction on, the denarius was a coin known for his consistency in use, value and metal content. These coins circulated from Portugal to Turkey and from Egypt to Britannia.

Since the 3rd century BC the coinage was organized and supervised by a college of three moneyers, the IIIviri monetales, that held the office for one year. It was one of the lowest steps of the public career. Many of the moneyer became consul or other high offices.

From the introduction of the denarius it first showed only little variation, the main type with Roma head on the obverse and Dioscuri or a deity in a quadriga or biga on the reverse were constantly used to make the coins easily recognizable. After the Roman coins were well introduced, in 137 BC, depictions appear that were linked to individual moneyers. The complex figurative representations often related to (deceased) members of the same family, their accomplishments, origin or virtues. With the raise of the military commanders and important politicians the depictions became more current and were more and more connected to these aspects, religious practices, political rights, public infrastructure, the past, careers of notable people and military successes.

It is worth mentioning that to understand the sophisticated images on the coins very well knowledge of the Roman history and politics were essential. Even today, some coin types seem enigmatic and can not be fully understood.


Roman Republic. Anonymous. Denarius (Serratus), 209-208 BC, Sicily mint (?).

Obverse: Head of Roma with winged helmet right, behind X.

Reverse: Dioscuri, holding a spear and wearing a cloak, on horses riding right, above each one star, below wheel of six spokes; in exergue ROMA.

Dimensions: AR,3.55 g, 20 mm, 2h.

Condition: Fine patina with iridescent toning, some minor weakness on revers, slightly double striked obverse. Almost extremely fine.

Comment: This coin is not only one of the first issues of denarii, but also the first emission of serrati.

Based on style comparisons, this coin can be allocated on Sicily. It was minted during the 2nd Punic War against Carthage by an anonymous moneyer with an identical iconography to the coins minted in Rome. It was very probably produced to pay Roman soldiers.


Roman Republic. Anonymous. Denarius, 207 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Head of Roma with winged helmet right, behind X.

Reverse: Dioscuri, holding a spear and wearing a cloak, on horses riding right, above crescent, below ROMA in linear frame.

Dimensions: AR, 4.05 g, 21 mm, 3h.

Condition: Die rust, slightly off center. Lustrous and beautifully toned. Extremely fine.

Comment: This coin is a beautiful example of the early denarii. The first denarius was struck in 211 BC, thenceforth the images stayed unchanged for almost 70 years. In this early times, the influence of single persons on the motifs was very small. The only difference apart from the style are the control marks, in this case the crescent above the Dioscuri.

The Dioscuri


The divine siblings and sons of Jupiter, Castor and Pollux, were called the Dioscuri. Probably they had their roots in Indo-European culture, but they regularly appeared in Greek mythology, i.e. with Iason and Heracles, and were born by Leda in Therapne near Sparta. The Dioscuri came to Rome via the Greek south Italian cities. In Roman history they are closely linked to the  legendary battle of Lake Regillus around 496 BC. In the final battle of the first Latin War, where Rome fought against the Latin League, Castor and Pollux appeared on horses and fought alongside the Romans. After the successful battle, one of the earlier temples in the Roman Forum were built in the place where they had watered their horses.

It is assumed that the Dioscuri were put on one level with Roman protective gods. Because of that they were depicted on the early denarii from their introduction until the 120s BC. After that they occur occasionally.

The Dioscuri can be recognized though the cap they are wearing, the pileus, a cone-shaped, tight-fitting headgear made of fur, felt, leather or wool. It was a roman symbol of freedom. Castor and Pollux were mainly depicted as horseman wearing a cloak and holding a spear. Above each one a star is usually depicted. The stars that were named after them, were important for the seafaring.


Roman Republic. M. Aburius Geminus. Denarius, 132 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Head of Roma with winged helmet right, behind GEM, below chin denomination XVI (ligated).

Reverse: Sol holding a whip and reins riding a quadriga right, below M ABVRI (ligated), in exergue ROMA.

Dimensions: AR, 3.85g, 19mm, 7h.

Condition: Lustrous from fresh dies, light iridescent patina; minor scratch on obverse. Extremely fine.

Comment: In the 140s BC a reform rearranged the aes and silver coins and the value of the denarius changed from 10 asses (X) to 16 asses (XVI ligated). The new denomination mark is shown on the obverse of this coin. New researches show some problems with the revaluation, even after the ligated XVI appeared on coins, the X mark was also used.

The moneyer
M. Aburius Geminus – This moneyer is only known through the coins. Probably C. Aburius, moneyer in 134 BC, was his twin. M. Aburius was a member of the plebeian gens Aburia. The most famous member of this gens was Marcus Aburius, probably an ancestor of M. Aburius Geminus, who was plebeian tribune in 187 BC and praetor peregrinus in 176 BC. He tried to prevent the triumph of Marcus Fulvius Nobilior, but was persuaded by Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus.


Roman Republic. D. Iunius Silanus. Denarius, 91 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Head of Roma wearing a winged helmet right, behind A.

Reverse: Victory holding reins and riding a biga right, above II, in exergue D SILANVS L / ROM[A].

Dimensions: AR, 3.95g, 20mm, 9h.

Condition: Averse-die used, with a fresh revers-die. Lustrous with a light patina. Extremely fine.

Comment: This coin shows two control marks. The obverse of this emission depicts letters of the Latin alphabet, here an A. The reverse shows the numerals I to XXX, in this case a II. There are several dies per control mark and various combinations between obverse and reverse die. The marks were connected to the administration of the mint, but it is not known in which closer relationship they were.
The coin show the typical Roma on the obverse and a common reverse image, Victory in a biga (carriage with two horses). The reverse motif represents the general victoriousness of Rome.

The moneyer
D. Iunius Silanus – He was an important politician and senator. Silanus took part in the senate hearing on the punishment of the captive followers of Catiline. He was married to Servilla, who had a son, Marcus Iunius Brutus from her first marriage.


Roma was a roman deity that symbolized the personification of Rome. She embodied Rome’s political, moral and religious ideas about itself, its advancement and its eventual domination of its neighbors. Her depiction was mainly influenced by the Greek deities Athena, Minerva and Tyche. She was portrayed as a female with long hair, sometimes wearing earrings, with an attic helmet with wings and a figurative presentation. This shows her military connotation that was iconic for Rome. Roma represents “manly“ virtues, a personification of an empire built on conquest. She was worship religiously not only in Rome itself, but in the whole empire. Under Hadrian, a huge temple was built for Roma and Venus.

She first appears in the 3rd century on coins. She was the standard obverse type for denarii from the introduction (211 BC) until the 110s BC. Then the obverses show much more variation, and she nearly disappears from coinage. The denarius was already well introduced, and there was no need to use the Roma head as a sign to recognize a denarius. Some revivals of the Roma head appear in moments of crises: after the Social War, during Sulla’s march on Rom in 82 BC or when Pompey gains power.


Roman Republic. C. Vibius Pansa. Denarius, 90 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Head of Apollo wearing a laurelwreath right, behind PANSA, below the chin control mark.

Reverse: Minerva, wearing a helmet, holding a tropaion, a spear and reins, riding a quadriga right, in exergue C VIBIVS C F.

Dimensions: AR, 3.85g, 19mm, 3h.

Condition: Averse-die partly rusty, revers-die with nice details. A beautiful dark patina. Almost extremely fine.

Comment: This coin type was minted with and without a Victory over the quadriga. They were probably issued to reflect the Roman successes in the Social War. Apollo is often associated with the restoration of social order, the important games in honor of Apollo, the ludi Apollinares, were introduced during the hard times of the 2nd Punic War. References to Apollo appear in particular in run-up and after the Social War. Minerva may have a family connection, she also occurs on other coins of this gens.

The moneyer
C. Vibius Pansa – He was a follower of Gaius Marius and was ostracized during the dictatorship of Sulla. Vibius Pansa was probably father-in-law of Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus, an important roman politician and consul of the highly political year of 43 BC.


Roman Republic. L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi. Denarius, 90 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Head of Apollo wearing a laurelwreath right, behind CXXIII.

Reverse: Equestrian, holding a palm branch in the left and reins in the right hand, riding right, above CL–, below L C PISO FRVGI / control mark.

Dimensions: AR, 3.85g, 19mm, 2h.

Condition: Averse-die rusty with a minor die-break, revers sharply struck with bold details. Extremely fine.

Comment: This coin is closely connected to the Social War. It was an emergency issue with an unusual high mintage. Both sides show control marks that document the magnitude of the issue.
The obverse and reverse motifs are connected to the family history of the moneyer: The Apollo-head and the equestrian refer to the ludi Apollinares, important annual solemn games in honor of Apollo – a common depiction on coins in this time and connected to the restoration of social order. Moreover, these games were introduced in 212 BC by an ancestor of the moneyer, L. Calpurnius Piso.

The moneyer
L. Calpurnius Piso Frugi – He is mainly known through his coins and was politician and Praetor in 74 BC. He should not be confused with his same name ancestor, who was a roman historian.


Roman Republic. L. Iulius Bursio. Denarius, 85 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Draped male bust with laurel wreath and wings right, behind trident and headdress of Isis.

Reverse: Victory, holding a wreath in her right hand and reins in her left hand, riding a quadriga right, above control mark, in exergue L IVLI BVRSIO.

Dimensions: AR, 4.20g, 20mm, 7h.

Condition: Struck on a broad flan, beautifully toned, reverse slightly off center. Almost extremely fine.

Comment: A fascinating depiction is shown on the obverse of this coin: The head combines the attributes of Apollo (laurel wreath and hairstyle), Mercury (wings) and Neptun (trident). In addition to that, the control mark refers to the Egyptian god Isis. The head is sometimes referred to the Roman god Veiovis, in fact this theory is highly controversial. The name Veiovis can be translated as „harmful Jupiter“ or „youthful Jupiter“ – the depiction on this coin rather resembles Apollo and is probably more likely connected to his meaning.

The moneyer
L. Iulius Bursio – He is only known through his coinage.


Roman Republic. C. Norbanus. Denarius, 83 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Head of Venus wearing a diadem, earrings and a necklace right, below C NORBANVS, to the left XXXXVIIII.

Reverse: Fasces with axe in the middle, to the right a corn ear and to the left a caduceus.

Dimensions: AR, 3.90g, 18mm, 7h.

Condition: Nicely toned specimen with a minor flan fault on the obverse. Good very fine.

Comment: This coin refers to the same name father of the moneyer. As consul, he organized the grain supply of Rome in 83 BC. The Caduceus (symbol of prosperity) and the corn ear refer to this. The fasces, a bundle of rods, was a symbol of the imperium, it probably refers to Sulla. The Venus head is maybe also connected to Sulla, who had a tremendous relationship to Venus. See Plutarch, The Parallel Lives, The Life of Sulla, 6ff.


The moneyer
C. Norbanus – The family of Norbanus came from the Italian city Norba. He was politician and Praetor in 43 BC. His same name father was consul in 83 BC and organized the grain supply of Rome.


A number of the coins presented here are serrati (No. 1, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15). The term (denarius) serratus means that the edge of the coins are serrated (serra (lat.)= saw). The cuts were made before the coin was minted by striking the edge of the flan with a chisel. The first emission of serrati in the Roman Republic was issued in 209/8 BC (No. 1). They appear in irregular intervals from 209/8 until 64 BC, with a peak in the 80s and 70s BC. It was argued that the serrated edge should protect against clipping the coin, but this theory is unlikely, since in this period it was not common to clip denarii and clipped serrati are known anywhere. The more likely theory is that the serrated edge was a protection against counterfeits, especially subaerati (silver coins with a copper core). The concern about unauthentic coins was especially strong from c. 110 to c. 80 BC. Serrated coins as well as control marks were probably a resource to fight these anxieties in the population. The attempt may influenced the confidence in coinage, but also subaerate serrati are known.
Similar serrated coins were also used in Carthage and the Seleucid Empire in the 2nd century BC. The Seleucids only minted serrated coins in bronze. In contrast to the roman serrati, the edge was not cut, instead the form is connected to the manufacturing process of the flans.

In ancient literature, Tacitus related to the serrati as being popular with the ancient Germanic tribes:
“The coinage which appeals to them is the old and long-familiar: the denarii with notched edges, showing the two-horsed chariot. They prefer silver to gold: not that they have any feeling in the matter, but because a number of silver pieces is easier to use for people whose purchases consist of cheap objects of general utility.“
(Tacitus, Germania 5.3; Loeb translation).


Roman Republic. Q. Antonius Balbus. Denarius, 83-82 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Laureate head of Jupiter right, behind S C.

Reverse: Victory, holding a wreath in her right hand, reins and a palm branch in her left hand, riding a quadriga right, below P, in exergue Q ANTO BALB / PR (ligated).

Dimensions: AR, 3.90g, 19mm, 5h.

Condition: Stunning dark cabinet tone, slightly off center, minted from fresh dies. Extremely fine.

Comment: The S C on the obverse of the coin is the abbreviation of senatus consulto „by the authority of the Senate“. This means the coin is a special issue, for which the senate had to authorize the silver. Therefore, the metal probably came from the inventory of a Roman temple. Unusually the moneyer Q. Antonius Balbus, followers of Marius, was a Praetor, who was allowed to mint coins to pay the soldiers in Sardinia to resist Sulla. The army was defeated in Sardinia by Sulla’s legate, L. Philippus.

The moneyer
Q. Antonius Balbus – Q. Antonius Balbus was Praetor in Sardinia in 83 BC and follower of Marius.


Roman Republic. P. Crepusius. Denarius, 82 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Head of Apollo, wearing a laurel wreath, right, behind sceptre and N.

Reverse: Horseman right, holding a spear in his right hand, behind CCTXV, in exergue P CREPVSI.

Dimensions: AR, 3.70g, 17mm, 6h.

Condition: Slightly toned specimen with  outstanding reverse details. Extremely fine.

Comment: The identification of the horseman on the reverse is unknown. It does not show a statue, because a support is missing. The man seems to be in a military context because of the spear he is holding. Only little about the family is known, it is not possible to recognize a safe context for this reverse depiction.
The obverse may have a connection to ludi Apollinares.
This coin is a superb example of the type with outstanding details, especially the face of the caricature face of the horseman is rarely preserved.

The moneyer
P. Crepusius – He is only known through his coins.


Roman Republic. P. Crepusius, C. Limetanus and L. Censorinus. Denarius, 82 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Draped and veiled bust of Venus, wearing a Diadem, earrings and a necklace, right, behind L CENSORI.

Reverse: Venus, holding reins in her right hand and goad and reins in her left hand, riding a biga right, above III, below C LIME[TA], in exergue P CREPV[SI].

Dimensions: AR, 3.75g, 18mm, 10h.

Condition: Slightly toned and slightly off center, small flan fault, reverse slightly corroded. Otherwise extremely fine.

Comment: Normally a republican denarius is struck by an individual moneyer and member of the IIIviri monetales. There are only few cases were all three moneyer of a year issued a joint denarius. This coin is one of these. The precise reason for this cooperation is not known, and the meaning of the depiction is equivocal. The Venus portrayed probably has no connection to Sulla.

The moneyers
P. Crepusius – See above.

C. Limetanus – See below.
L. Censorinus – He is only known through his coins, but his gens was well-known in Rome. In the 2nd and 1st century BC, members of his family were important politicians and also consuls.


Roman Republic. C. Mamilius Limetanus. Denarius, 82 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Draped bust of Mercury, wearing winged petasus, right, in the left field I and caduceus.

Reverse: Ulysses, wearing pileus and mariner’s dress, standing right, leaning on staff in left hand and extending his right hand, in front of him Argus, who advances toward Ulysses, in the left field C MAMIL, in the right field LIMETAN (ligated).

Dimensions: AR, 3.75g, 20mm, 7h.

Condition: Beautifully toned example with minor area of weakness. Otherwise extremely fine.

Comment: The Tusculan gens Mamilia claimed to be descendants from Telegonus, son of Ulysses and Circe, who founded Tusculum. Ulysses was a great-grandson of Mercury, or Greek Hermes. With this coin the moneyer refers to his divine ancestor and at the same his families’ origin. On the reverse Ulysses is depicted arriving home after his wanderings and being welcomed by his dog Argos, this representation was also used on other medium and expressed confidence and loyalty.

The moneyers
C. Mamilius Limetanus – He was a republican moneyer and presumably a son of C. Mamilius Limetanus, who was Tribune of the Plebs in 109 BC.


Roman Republic. C. Mamilius Limetanus. Denarius, 82 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Head of Venus, wearing a diadem, earrings and a necklace, right, behind S C.

Reverse: Victory, holding reins in both hands, riding a triga right, above TXXVIII, in exergue C NAE BALB (ligated).

Dimensions: AR, 4.05g, 20mm, 5h.

Condition: Obverse slightly off center with a minor area of weakness, small scratch on the reverse-relief, beautifully toned. Otherwise extremely fine.

Comment: This emergency issue shows a particular interesting reverse: Victoria in a chariot with three horses, this motif only occurs on this type and denarii of Ap. Claudius (111/110 BC). A special meaning for this is not known. The Venus head and the Victory in triga refer to Sulla himself and his victory over Mithridates VI of Pontus around 85 BC.
Also, this coin feature the abbreviation S C, which means that the coin was struck on decree of the senate as an emergency issue.

The moneyers
C. Naevius Balbus – His family had probably Phoenician roots and settled in Spain. He is only known as being moneyer of the year 79 BC.

S C – senatus consulto

The abbreviation S C or EX S C appears occasionally in Roman Republican coinage. Written out, it means „ex senatus consulto“, translated: on decree of the senate.
This term may be misleading in concluding that not all legal issues were minted under senatorial control. In fact the senate supervised the financial resources by the mid-second century BC. The term appears from 116/15 BC until 40 BC. Many of the 43 S C or EX S C issues were minted in an emergency context (i.e. No. 9). In these cases it probably needed a special provision for striking the coins. For the other cases, it is not clear, why the term appears. It stands in context with the complex financial administration at that time, probably the senate decided the mintage at the beginning of each year and further issues had to be authorized by the senate. The term disappears in the 30s BC, because since then the members of the triumvirate had much more control over the coinage and minted a huge number of them in moving military mints.

Under the Roman Emperors, the S C was still present. In the 1st century it appears on all aes-issues showing the formal senatorial control over the base metal coinage. This control was in fact only formal, in effect the emperor supervised the whole coinage. The term stayed part of the base metal currencies and appears on all official aes-issues until the coin reform of emperor Diocletian in 294.


Roman Republic. T. Claudius Nero. Denarius, 79 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Draped bust of Diana, wearing a diadem and bow and quiver of the shoulder, right, in front S C.

Reverse: Victory, holding a wreath in her right hand and palm-branch and reins in her left hand, riding a biga right, below A XXXXV, in exergue TI CLAVD TI [F / AP N] (ligated).

Dimensions: AR, 3.90g, 19mm, 10h.

Condition: Slightly off center, nice details, some weakness on obverse and reverse. Otherwise extremely fine.

Comment: As many others of this period, this coin was struck on decree of the senate (S C). The reverse perhaps also refers to the victory of Sulla. The meaning of Diana on the obverse is controversial. Some numismatists argue that it refers to the Sabine origin of the moneyer.

The moneyers

T. Claudius Nero – He was Praetor before 63 and from a well-known gens. The later emperor Tiberius was also a member of this family with Sabine origin.


Roman Republic. T. Claudius Nero. Denarius, 79 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Draped bust of Diana, wearing a diadem and bow and quiver of the shoulder, right, in front S C.

Reverse: Victory, holding a wreath in her right hand and palm-branch and reins in her left hand, riding a biga right, below A XXI, in exergue TI CLAVD TI F / AP N (ligated).

Dimensions: AR, 3.90g, 19mm, 7h.

Condition: Slightly off center, minted from fresh dies, lustrous. Almost extremely fine.

Comment: As many others of this period, this coin was struck on decree of the senate (S C). The reverse perhaps also refers to the victory of Sulla. The meaning of Diana on the obverse is controversial. Some numismatists argue that it refers to the Sabine origin of the moneyer.

The moneyers

T. Claudius Nero – He was Praetor before 63 and from a well-known gens. The later emperor Tiberius was also a member of this family with Sabine origin.


Roman Republic. L. Marcus Philippus. Denarius, 56 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Head of Ancus Marcius, wearing a diadem, right, behind lituus, below ANCVS.

Reverse: Equestrian statue right, at horse’s feet flower, standing on an aqueduct with five arches, to the left PHILIPPVS, within the arches AQVA MAR (ligated).

Dimensions: AR, 3.85 g, 19 mm, 8h.

Condition: Obverse slightly off center, with one scratch, minor area of weakness on the reverse, beautiful light toning. About extremely fine.

Comment: This denarius has a particular interesting historical connection: On the reverse the equestrian statue of Q. Marcius Tremulus, which was situated in front of the temple of Castor in the Roman Forum, is depicted. He was consul in 306 BC, conquered the Samnites and captured Anagnia. For these successes this statue was dedicated to him. Even Cicero mentioned it.
The statue of Marcius Tremulus was highly important to the Marcius Philippus family and appears three times in Roman republican coinage. On this coin, the statue is represented on an aqueduct, the Aqua Marcia. It was the longest aqueduct that supplied Rome with water. The aqueduct was built in 144-140 BC by Q. Marcius Rex and named after him. Later, the family claimed that it was only a restoration of a project by king Ancus Marcius, who is shown on the obverse. The Marcius Philippus family was not related to the king.
The lituus on the obverse probably refers to the augurate of an ancestor of the moneyer.

The moneyers
L. Marcus Philippus – He was a supporter of Caesar, who made him Praetor in 44 BC, and also stepbrother of Octavian. In 38 BC he became consul.


Roman Republic. Q. Sicinius. Denarius, 49 BC, Rome mint.

Obverse: Head of Fortuna populi Romani, wearing a diadem and earrings, right, before FORT, behind P R.

Reverse: Palm-branch with fillet and winged caduceus in saltire, above wreath, in field [II]I – VIR, below Q SICINIVS.

Dimensions: AR, 3.85 g, 19 mm, 2h.

Condition: Slight corrosion and minor scratches on the obverse, reverse off center, unregular flan, edge split. Otherwise good very fine.

Comment: The coins in the first century BC often carry highly political images. This one is no exception: The reverse of the coin refers to the famous triumvirate of C. I. Caesar, C. Pompey Magnus and M. L. Crassus. At the time the coin was struck, Crassus was already dead, and the alliance was almost broken. Because the moneyer was a supporter of Pompey, he depicted the hopes of the Republicans at the beginning of the Civil War: prosperity (caduceus) and victoriousness (palm branch), above it stands the successes of Pompey (wreath). The obverse supports these hopes with the depiction of Fortuna P(opuli) R(omani), the personification of fortune of the Romans.

The moneyers
Q. Sicinius – He was follower of Pompey Magnus and later moneyer in his moving mint during the Civil War.


To learn more about Roman Republican Coinage, you can use the bibliography attached. The most important work on this topic is the publication of Michael Crawford from 1974. It is a comprehensive catalog and research on many aspects. The catalog itself was digitalized by the American Numismatic Society and is available online on the platform “CRRO“. In „The Roman Republic to 49 BCE. Using Coins as Sources“, Liv Mariah Yarrow deals with many important and iconic coin designs, and she gives a summary of the development and interesting phenomenons.

  • Albert
    R. Albert, Die Münzen der Römischen Republik. Von den Anfängen bis zur Schlacht von Actium (4. Jahrhundert v. Chr. bis 31 v. Chr.). 2nd edition. Regenstauf 2011.

  • Babelon
    E. Babelon, Monnaies de la Republique Romaine. Paris 1885.

    H. Gruber, Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum. London 1910.

  • CHRR
    American Numismatic Society, Coin Hoards of the Roman Republic Online.

  • Crawford
    M. Crawford, Roman Republican Coinage. Cambridge 1974.

  • CRRO
    American Numismatic Society, Coinage of the Roman Republic Online.

  • Haeberlin
    E. Haeberlin, Aes Grave. Das Schwergeld Roms und Mittelitaliens. Frankfurt 1910.

  • RBW
    R. Russo, The RBW Collection of Roman Republican Coins. Zürich 2013.

  • RRDP
    American Numismatic Society, Roman Republican Die Project.

  • Sear
    D. Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC – AD 86. London 2000.

  • Sydenham
    E. Sydenham, The Coinage of the Roman Republic. London 1952.

  • Yarrow
    L. M. Yarrow, The Roman Republic to 49 BCE. Using Coins as Sources. In: A. Meadows, Guides to the Coinage of the Ancient World. Cambridge 2021.