980942. M. Nonius Sufenas. 57 BC. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.87 g, 6h). Rome mint. Head of Saturn right; to left, harpa above baetylus (conical stone); S • C upward to left, SVFENAS downward to right / Roma seated left on pile of arms, holding vertical spear in right hand, and sword in left, being crowned by Victory standing left behind, holding wreath in right hand and palm frond over left shoulder; SEX • NONI in exergue; • PR • L • V • P • F around. Crawford 421/1; Sydenham 885; Kestner 3436-7; BMCRR Rome 3820-3; Nonia 1. EF, toned. Well centered and struck. ($975)
Terpsichore – Muse of Dance
980964. Q. Pomponius Musa. 56 BC. AR Denarius (19mm, 3.81 g, 7h). Rome mint. Laureate head of Apollo right; flower on stalk behind / Terpsichore, the Muse of Dance, wearing long flowing tunic and peplum, standing right, holding plectrum and lyre; [Q •] POMPONI to left, MVSA to right. Crawford 410/7d; Sydenham 820a; Kestner 3384; BMCRR Rome 3622; Pomponia 17a. VF, lightly toned, porosity, small test cut on edge. ($595) Although the moneyer Q. Pomponius Musa is unknown to history, his choice of Hercules Musarum and the nine Muses as coin types is remarkable and clearly connected to his cognomen. This series of coin types, Hercules playing the lyre and the Muses, can be no other than the celebrated statue group by an unknown Greek artist, taken from Ambracia and placed in the Aedes Herculis Musarum, erected by M. Fulvius Nobilior in 187 BC after the capture of Ambracia in 189 BC (Plin. NH xxxv.66; Ov. Fast. vi.812). By the second century BC, Rome had overrun most of Greece and was captivated by Hellenic art and culture, not the least statuary. Fulvius is said to have taken the statues to Rome because he learned in Greece that Hercules was a musagetes (leader of the Muses). Remains of this temple have been found in the area of the Circus Flaminius close to the south-west part of the circus itself, and north-west of the porticus Octaviae. An inscription found nearby, ‘M. Fulvius M. f. Ser. n. Nobilior cos. Ambracia cepit;’ may have been on the pedestal of one of the statues. The official name of the temple was Herculis Musarum aedes, which Servius and Plutarch called Herculis et Musarum ades.
980944. C. Memmius C.f. 56 BC. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.98 g, 8h). Rome mint. Head of Ceres right, wearing wreath of grain ears, cruciform earring, and hair in knot, falling down neck in two locks; C • MEMMI • C • F downwards to right / Naked captive, his hands tied behind, kneeling right, on right knee, at foot of trophy of arms with a Greek shield; C • MEMMIVS downwards to right, IMPERATOR downwards to left. Crawford 427/1; Sydenham 920; Kestner 3461-2; BMCRR Rome 3937-9; Memmia 10. EF, toned. Well centered and struck. ($1250) Gaius Memmius was propraetor of Bithynia in 57 BC, a son-in-law of the dictator Sulla, and a friend of the poets Lucretius and Catullus. Initially a supporter of Pompey, he soon allied himself with Caesar, whom he had previously attacked. In 54 BC, as candidate for the consulship, the revelation of a scandal lost him the triumvir’s support (Cic. Ad Att. 4. 15-18). Condemned for electoral improprieties, he retired first to Athens, and afterwards, to Mytilene. He died about the year 49 BC. He is best remembered as the dedicatee of Lucretius’ De rerum natura.