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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Gods, Non-Olympian ▸ Muses & GracesView Options:  |  |  | 

Roman Republic, Q. Pomponius Musa, 66 B.C.

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Many of the Roman moneyers had a solid sense of humor and word play with homonyms was very popular. Pomponius Musa, playing on his name, issued ten types each depicting Hercules Musagetes (Conductor of the Muses) or one of nine different Muses, creating one of the most interesting and sought after series of the Republican coinage. This coin depicts Thalia, the Muse of Comedy.
SH90309. Silver denarius, RSC I Pomponia 19, Crawford 410/9b, Sydenham 821, SRCV I 360, F, bankerís mark on obverse, weight 3.486 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 90o, Rome mint, 66 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, sandal behind; reverse MVSA on left, Q POMPONI on right, Thalia, the Muse of comedy, standing left, holding comic mask in right, leaning left arm on column behind; ex CNG auction 233 (26 May 2010), lot 316; SOLD

Roman Republic, Q. Pomponius Musa, c. 66 B.C., Eroto, the Muse of Erotic Poetry on Reverse

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The reverse is a punning reference to the name of the moneyer. He struck coins for each of the nine muses, and Hercules, as their leader, presumably modeled after a group of statues. Each of the muses is indicated by a different obverse symbol. Eroto was not the "Muse of Pornography." She was rather the inspiration of poets such as Ovid. His poetry has literary value, but he was banished by Augustus, partly because of his smutty poetry, but also because of his adultery with the Emperor's daughter Julia. In Victorian England, this type was attributed to Terpsichore, the Muse of Dance. They assigned the tortoise symbol to Terpsichore. They assigned the flower stalk found on this coin to both Eroto and to Terpsichore, depending on the reverse. Under this scheme only the Muse of Dance had two obverse symbols and only Eroto shared her symbol with another muse. Seven of the muses were about equally distributed, but Eroto was considerably rarer, and Terpsichore about twice as common as any other Muse. Victorian sensibilities about sex may have allowed numismatists to decide that Erotic Poetry should be very, very rare. By comparison, the Romans saw Eroto as "just another Muse." Her coins should be about as common as the others. Today we are convinced each of the nine obverse symbols represents only one muse.
RS77485. Silver denarius, Sydenham 820a, RSC I Pomponia 17a, Crawford 410/7b, SRCV I 358, F, toned, weight 3.597 g, maximum diameter 16.95 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 66 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Apollo right, flower stalk behind; reverse Q POMPONI MVSA, Eroto, the Muse of Erotic Poetry (previously described as Terpsichore), standing right, plectrum in right hand, lyre in left hand; SOLD

Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius

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This denarius type is listed in the references holding a Victory in the right and scepter in the left. Venus holding Three Graces is listed for the Aureus. Only BMC lists Venus holding Three Graces on a denarius. This coin is worn and it could be a Victory in the right, but it appears to be three figures. The scepter in the right is quite odd, perhaps due to a damaged die.
RS20789. Silver denarius, BMCRE IV MA170, RIC III -, RSC II -, SRCV II -, aF, weight 2.599 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, struck under Marcus Aurelius, 161 - 175 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in a bun; reverse VENVS FELIX (Venus who brings good fortune), Venus seated left, three graces? in right, transverse scepter? in left; very rare; SOLD


Catalog current as of Wednesday, May 22, 2019.
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