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




Apollo and the ludi Apollinares



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, 3.85 g, 19 mm, 2h.
References: Crawford 340/1;
Sydenham 661;
BMCRR Rome –, cf. 1900-1936.
Condition: Averse-die rusty with a minor die-break, revers sharply struck with bold details. Extremely fine.
Provenance: From a private German Collection,
acquired at Peus E9 (2019), 85.
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.

Additional information


AR (silver)


3.85 g


19 mm

Die axis

2 h