Numismatica Ars Classica > Auction 143Auction date: 7 May 2024
Lot number: 420

Price realized: 22,000 CHF   (Approx. 24,317 USD / 22,588 EUR)   Note: Prices do not include buyer's fees.
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Lot description:


The Dioscuri Collection. The Roman Republic.
M. Arrius Secundus. Denarius 43, AR 18 mm, 3.95 g. M·ARRIVS – SECVNDVS Male head r., with slight beard. Rev. Hasta pura between wreath and phalerae. Babelon Arria 2. Sydenham 1084. Sear imperators 319. Woytek, Arma et Nummi p. 558. RBW 1791. Crawford 513/2.
Very rare and in exceptional condition for the issue. Struck on a very large flan and
with a lovely light old cabinet tone. Good extremely fine

Ex Triton sale XIX, 2016, 402.
The rare denarius coinage naming the moneyer M. Arrius Secundus and struck in 41 BC is generally believed to depict Q. Arrius, the hypothetical father of the obscure M. Arrius Secundus. Q. Arrius had served as a praetor during the Servile War (73-71 BC) fought against Spartacus and his army of escaped gladiators and slaves. Although the war involved a number of serious Roman setbacks, in 72 BC, Q. Arrius achieved victory over Spartacus' lieutenant Crixus by throwing one of the legionary standards into the midst of the enemy, thereby forcing his men to fight with their great ferocity to gain it back. The loss of a standard to the enemy was one of the greatest shames that a legion could suffer. This identification of the portrait seems assured in light of an extremely rare denarius pairing the same portrait with a reverse depiction of a soldier grasping a standard carried by another behind him. The reverse type depicts the dona militaria, or "military gifts" that were customarily awarded for exemplary service on the battlefield. In the centre appears the hasta pura (literally, "unstained spear") presented for killing an enemy in single combat, flanked by the laurel crown of victory and a rectangular phalera, a metal ornament usually worn on the breastplate in a manner similar to modern military medals of distinction. It has been noted that the portrait of Q. Arrius with its thin beard bears more than a passing resemblance to Octavian. It may perhaps have been intended to be read this way by those loyal to Octavian while still providing deniability for M. Arrius Secundus at a time when it remained unclear who would be the real master of Rome. This coin was struck while the Perusine War (41-40 BC) raged between Octavian and Mark Antony's wife and brother, Fulvia and Lucius Antony and its resolution still remained to be seen.

Estimate: 20000 CHF