Roma Numismatics Ltd > Auction XXVAuction date: 22 September 2022
Lot number: 795

Price realized: 4,200 GBP   (Approx. 4,731 USD / 4,820 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:


Sextus Pompey AR Denarius. Uncertain mint in Sicily (Catania?), 42-40 BC. MAG PIVS IMP ITER, diademed and bearded head of Neptune to right; trident over shoulder / Naval trophy set on anchor, top of trident visible above helmet; the arms composed of the stem of a prow in right and aplustre in left; two heads of Scylla at base; [PRAEF] CLAS ET ORAE MARIT EX S C (partially ligate) around. Crawford 511/2a; CRI 333; BMCRR Sicily 15; RSC 1c. 3.92g, 20mm, 12h.

Extremely Fine; banker's mark on obv.

From the Vogelberg Collection (Switzerland), formed c. 1960-1985.

It has been remarked that the coinage of Sextus Pompey was a step towards the propagandistic issues of the Roman emperors. Having decided upon an affinity with Neptune, he minted a series of coins depicting the god and continuing his theme of pietas. This virtue was highly valued in Roman society; the city's founder Aeneas' epithet is pius and tradition details that his piety was three-fold; to his father, his homeland and the gods.

Pompey was not the only imperator to draw upon the Aeneas myth on his coinage (see Crawford 458/1), however he was unique in commandeering a theme and using it repeatedly. His earliest denarii feature a personification of the goddess Pietas (Crawford 477/1a), but references become subtler and more complex on later issues as per the present example. Here, Pompey Magnus is remembered within the obverse legend, with Pietas also explicitly referenced. Sextus Pompey does not allow us to forget that it was the Senate who declared him praefectus classis et orae maritima, tying his patriotism in neatly. This military title lends itself obviously to Neptune, whose portrait is displayed on the obverse. The naval trophy not only alludes to Pompey's naval victories but also to his piety towards Neptune to whom he is reported to have sacrificed 100 bulls and in whose honour a live horse was flung into the sea, along with an offering of gold (Florus 2.18.3).

Estimate: 3000 GBP