Moneyer Q. Crepereius M.f. Rocus
69 BCE (revised from Crawford's 72 BCE)
AR serrate denarius; 3.99 gm
Obv: draped bust of Amphitrite seen from behind, with head turned r.; behind, sea anemone; horizontal to right of right shoulder (partly visible on this coin)
Rev: Neptune in biga of hippocamps right, holding reins and brandishing trident; above, I and below, Q·CREPER·M·F / ROCVS
Ref: Crawford 399/1b; Babelon Crepereia 1. Sydenham 796a. Very rare
from HJB BBS 200, October 2016
ex NAC 78 lot 1828, from the JD Collection of Roman Republican Coins
There is barely anything known about the gens Crepereia, which makes it difficult to explain the marine imagery present on this type. Eckhel regards this coin as referring to the colony of Corinth, but Caesar did not annexe the region as a province until 44 BC, which is in disagreement with the dating of the coin. There were, however, cults at Corinth dedicated to both Neptune and Venus well into the Roman age. There are inscriptions which confirm that the gens maintained a trading presence throughout the Mediterranean, being recorded as active in the East and North Africa; it is possible the moneyer’s family also had a presence at or connection to Corinth which was significant to them, but is now lost to history.
The female bust on the obverse is often described as the sea-goddess Amphitrite, but in his analysis of the coin, Andrew McCabe argues that Venus is the more likely candidate to accompany Neptune. While we cannot be certain as to why the moneyer chose this particular imagery, Tacitus does relate how Neptune was less than propitious towards his descendent Crepereius Gallus who was killed in an assassination attempt against Agrippina when he boarded the self-sinking boat Nero had commissioned.
This coin has two Crawford subtypes. 1a has the reverse legend Q. CREPEREI / ROCVS. Additionally, there are Latin letters from A to K, the same letter on obverse and reverse, and each letter is associated with a different sea creature. Crawford reported a total of 24 obverse dies and 27 reverse dies, total for both subtypes.