Denier - Rome (264-265)
D’un style et d’une qualité exceptionnels.
Inédit - Unique ?
2.69g - C. manque - RIC manque - MIR manque cf. 945-946
Superbe à FDC - MS
This denarius, seemingly unique, can be dated to AD 264-265 because of the legend “Tribunicia Potestate tertium decimum Consul sextum”, as it is in AD 264 that became Consul for the sixth time (with Saturninus). Roma Numismatics (auction XIII lot 890 and auction XIV lot 796) and CNG (auction Triton XXI lot 832) have offered for sale three coins that closely resembles this example, but with a different reverse legend: instead of P M TR XIII C VI PP (on this coin), they bear the legend P M TR P XV C VII PP. The cataloger of CNG had misread TR P XX for TR P XV, and had noted that Gallienus only received the Tribunicial powers sixteen times (and the consulship seven times), which did not seem to make sense; instead “Tribunicia Potestate quintus decimum Consul septimum” indicates that it was struck in AD 266-268.
The reverse type of this coin has already been studied by Jean-Marc Doyen (Recherches sur la chronologie et la politique monétaire des empereurs Valérien et Gallien, vol. 2a: Etude des émissions monétaires de Milan, PhD thesis, Louvain-la-Neuve 1989, pp.
101-103, available online), and it is copied from a rare series of Antoninus Pius, struck in AD 140 (as ref. RIC 694a and aureus ref.
Calicó 1689) which celebrated with some advance the 900th birthday of Rome. It was first used by Gallienus in 260, with the legend TRIB POT VIII COS III and a laurelled bust to left, on a coin struck in Mediolanum / Milan (ref. MIR 945gg = Doyen 49), and again with the legend TRIB POT COS IIII (MIR 946 gg = Doyen 71). It shows Mars descending towards Rhea Silvia, daughter of King Numitor and a Vestal virgin who is depicted whilst sleeping in the forest, just before raping her. This mythological episode (told by Ovid Fast. III.V.11 and Livy Ab Urbe Condita I) is of the utmost importance for the story of Rome, as the intercourse led to the conception of the twins Romulus and Remus. The same iconography can be found on wall paintings from Pompeii and in the baths of Titus (see LIMC II/1 pp. 459-451 and II/2 pls 415-416), but also on mosaics, on reliefs, on silverware, and on gems.