The Roman Empire
Roman Moneyers





Coin Details

Origin/Country: ANCIENT - ROMAN REPUBLIC (4th CENT BC - 1st CENT BC) ROMAN REPUBLIC T.Ma.Mancinus, 111-110 BC
Design Description: Roman Republic Denarius
Item Description: AR Denarius Roma/Victory in triga w/A.C.Pulcher, Q.Urbinius
Full Grade: NGC MS Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5
Owner: Kohaku

Set Details

Custom Sets: The Ancient World Collection
The Roman Empire
Competitive Sets: This coin is not competing in any sets.
Research: NGC Coin Price Guide

Owner Comments:

This coin was struck in Rome during 111-110 BC. That conclusion is largely based on the initials AP. CL. T.M. QVR, found on the coin's verso in exergue, denoting three men: Appius Claudius Pulcher, T. Manlius Mancinus, and Q. Urbinius. At the time, the trio served as the Republic's moneyers, and, as such, held responsibility not only for this denarius, but all of Rome's contemporaneous coinage.

The ancient Romans defined their moneyers as tresviri auro argento aere flan do feriundo or “the three men for casting and striking of gold, silver and bronze.” The position was usually held for one year early in a Roman noble’s career, although there were exceptions. The moneyers were responsible not only for producing Roman Republican coins, but also for their design.

For this particular denarius, the moneyers chose an obverse design featuring Roma, the female deity who personified the city and state of Rome. On the reverse is winged Victory, the goddess personifying the same (in other words, the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Nike) riding a triga, or three-horse chariot.

The triga was a curious choice for the coin’s design. At the time, the biga and qudriga (i.e., two- and four-horse) were the most common chariot types, particularly at the very popular chariot races. As such, the triga was probably more appropriate for war: a notable example dating from Greek mythology was Achilles’ chariot, drawn by three horses (two of them immortal). Even so, on this coin the triga appears very small and lightweight like a racing chariot, and unlike a war version, which would be much larger and armored. Indeed, Victory appears to be balancing on the axle with very little support or protection, similar to the precarious situation of an actual chariot racer - except without the wings.

Why the moneyers decided on a triga for Victory’s conveyance is unknown. Not only was it uncommon as a racing chariot, it was also rarely depicted on Roman Republican coinage. In fact, this coin is one of only two Roman Republican issues incorporating the triga as a design element.

Coin Details: ROMAN REPUBLIC, Moneyers: Appius Claudius Pulcher, T. Manlius Mancinus, and Q. Urbinius, 111/110 BC, AR Denarius (3.77 g), NGC Grade: MS, Strike: 5/4, Surface: 4/5, Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma right, quadrangular device to left, Reverse: Victory, holding reins, driving triga right, AP. CL. T.M. QVR in exergue, References: Crawford 299/1a; Sydenham 570; RSC Claudia 2; Sear 176.

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