ANONYMOUS SILVER DENARIUS – ROMA AND SHE WOLF ISSUE EX 19 CENTURY COLLECTION OF THE BERLIN SURGEON – VF ROMAN REPUBLIC COIN (Inv. 18832)
FPL V, 50 (18832). ROMAN REPUBLIC. ANONYMOUS, 115-114 BC.
Silver denarius, 3.75 g, 20 mm. Issue of Rome.
Obv. Head of Roma right, X in left field. Rev. Roma seated right on shield, leaning on lance, she-wolf with Romulus and Remus at right, birds flying above.
Crawford 287/1; Sydenham 530.
VF, nicely toned.
Ex Southern Collector; ex Berlin Surgeon, Hirsch 279, lot 2025, “acquired before 1895.
The reverse type of this denarius is a symbolic shorthand for the story of the foundation of Rome. The personification of Roma – represented as an armed Amazon wearing a Phrygian helmet and seated on the arms of her enemies – appears in the center, while to her right are the exposed twins Romulus and Remus being suckled by the she-wolf. It was only through their survival and eventual adoption by the shepherd Faustulus that Rome was ultimately founded on the banks of the Tiber. The two birds that fly to the left and right of Roma refer to the use of augury to decide on the site of the city. According to Roman tradition, Romulus and Remus disagreed on the location of their city, with Romulus preferring a settlement on the Palatine Hill and Remus on the Aventine Hill. To solve the argument, the brothers agreed to an augury contest. Unfortunately, when Romulus claimed victory by noting the flight of 12 auspicious birds, Remus insulted his foundation on the Palatine and in a fit of rage, Romulus killed him. The original settlement of Rome was duly centered on the Palatine Hill.