C MAMILIUS LIMETANUS SILVER DENARIUS – FAMOUS TYPE SHOWING ODYSSEUS BEING RECOGNIZED BY HIS DOG ARGOS – EF IGC GRADED ROMAN REPUBLICAN COIN (Inv. 11448)
ROMAN REPUBLIC. C. Mamilius Limetanus. 82 BC.
Silver AR Serrate Denarius, 19 mm.
Obv. Bust of Mercury right, wearing petasus and holding caduceus.
Rev. Ulysses (Odysseus) greeting his dog Argos who wags his tail in recognition, the scene recounted in Odyssey 17.290 ff.
Crawford 362/1; Sydenham 741.
Good VF, in old ICG holder where it is graded EF-40.
The reverse type recounts the episode in Homer’s Odyssey 17.290 ff., when a disguised Odysseus, home after the Trojan War, is recognized by his faithful dog:
“ Thus they spoke to one another. And a hound that lay there raised his head and pricked up his ears, Argos, the hound of Odysseus, of the steadfast heart, whom of old he had himself bred, but had no joy of him, for ere that he went to sacred Ilios. In days past the young men were wont to take the hound to hunt the wild goats, and deer, and hares; but now he lay neglected, his master gone, in the deep dung of mules and cattle … There lay the hound Argos, full of vermin; yet even now, when he marked Odysseus standing near, he wagged his tail and dropped both his ears, but nearer to his master he had no longer strength to move. Then Odysseus looked aside and wiped away a tear, easily hiding from Eumaeus what he did; and straightway he questioned him, and said: “Eumaeus, verily it is strange that this hound lies here in the dung. He is fine of form, but I do not clearly know whether he has speed of foot to match this beauty or whether he is merely as table-dogs are, which their masters keep for show.”
 To him then, swineherd Eumaeus, didst thou make answer and say: “Aye, verily this is the hound of a man that has died in a far land. If he were but in form and in action such as he was when Odysseus left him and went to Troy, thou wouldest soon be amazed at seeing his speed and his strength. No creature that he started in the depths of the thick wood could escape him, and in tracking too he was keen of scent. But now he is in evil plight, and his master has perished far from his native land, and the heedless women give him no care…”
 So saying, he entered the stately house and went straight to the hall to join the company of the lordly wooers. But as for Argos, the fate of black death seized him straightway when he had seen Odysseus in the twentieth year…” (in the translation of A.T. Murray)