Tuesday, October 20, 2015

L.CENSOR, Roman Republican AR denarius, Rome, 82 BC

L.CENSOR, Roman Republican AR denarius, Rome, 82 BC 

Roman Republican AR denarius, Rome, 82 BC
L.CENSOR - Lusius Marcius Censorinus 
Obv - Laureate head of Apollo right 
Rev - Marsyas walking left, shouldering wine-skin, right arm raised (in a token of freedom), naked except for buckskins, tall column bearing statue (of Minerva, draped figure, Victory or ?) behind. Before L.CENSOR
The seller's attribution -RCV 281; NGC AU 5/5 - 3/5.
My attribution - Cr 363/1d (no control marks);
BMCRR - Rome 2657 - 2659; Syd - 737; Marcia 24; RBW 1372
VF/gVF with environmental damage to obverse, well centered and well struck
I picked this coin because the reverse is well struck and centered. I can almost see the statue on the column that is given several different names. 

I like the story of Marsyas and how it relates to the moneyer Censorinus. In Greek mythology Marsyas was a satyr who challenged Apollo to a music contest. The winner could do as he pleased to the loser. Marsyas lost and Apollo tied him to a tree and killed him. (Those of you who want a more graphic account can google Marsyas.) The Romans considered Marsyas the inventer of augery (interpreting omens), a proponent of free speech and was considered one of the gods who looked after the Plebs (common people). The first Plebe elected as Censor erected a statue of Marsyas in the Forum. This coin shows the statue. L Censorinus issued the coin at the time Sula "recaptured" Rome for the Patricians (aristocrats or old families) from Marius (hero of the new families). Censorinus was killed in the proscriptions that followed.

The Marcia gens (clan) claimed descent from Ancus Marcius, 4th king of Rome and the first to bring water to Rome by aqueduct.

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