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Moneyer issues of Imperatorial Rome

L. Mussidius Longus, 42 BCE

AR denarius, Rome mint.

Obv:  Diademed and veiled head of Concordia right; CONCORDIA upwards behind

Rev:  Shrine of Venus Cloacina: Circular platform surmounted by two statues of the goddess, each resting right hand on cippus, the platform inscribed CLOACIN and ornamented with trellis-pattern balustrade, flight of steps and portico on left; L • MVSSIDIVS • LONGVS around above.

Ref:  Crawford 494/42a; CRI 188; Sydenham 1093; Kestner 3753-4; BMCRR Rome 4242-3; Mussidia 6b.

Acquired from Barry Murphy at the 2014 ANA World's Fair of Money, Chicago.  I asked if he had one and he didn't, but he knew of another dealer who might.  I guess he quickly bought or traded for it and then sold it to me the next day.  2014 WFOM was my first ancient coin show experience.  Most of the activity seemed to be dealers selling to and trading with other dealers, especially the first day or two.

Goldberg sale 69, lot 3434 (edit:  ACsearch does not show this coin in that auction; I guess the handwritten insert is wrong)

Ex Pat Coyle collection (I don't know who this is; also from handwritten insert so it probably isn't correct either)

For more information Venus Cloacina and the history of Rome's sewers, see "A Deity Worthy of Respect" under the Stories heading.

Issued by moneyer Mussidius Longus during the Second Triumvirate (Octavian, Lepidus, and Mark Antony), the iconography of this denarius at first seems an odd choice:  a sewer goddess?  Mussidius Longus issued two types with this reverse:  one with an obverse of Sol and one with Concordia.


From the Numismatic Fine Arts auction catalog, Julius Caesar and His Legacy; an Auction of Roman Coins, 13 May 1991, p. 8:


"The types of this denarius reflect the notions of cleansing and renewal which were implicit in the mandate of the Second Triumvirate.  Sol, the sun god, was one of Mark Antony's patron deities.  Ancient myths told of a nightly battle between the sun and the powers of darkness, from which the sun always emerged triumphant.  This cycle provided an inspiring allegory for the hoped-for victory over Caesar's assassins.


More obscure is the scene depicted on the reverse of this denarius.  It is a shrine that would have been familiar to the coin's contemporaries, dedicated jointly to Venus Cloacina, the patroness of the city sewers, and Concord.  Thus is symbolizes both purification-- through in a manner slightly incongruous to modern taste-- and the cooperation between Antony and Octavian."


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