Roman Republic, Denarius


Roman Republic, Denarius (obverse) Roman Republic, Denarius (reverse)

Around the middle of the 2nd century BC the images on the Roman denarii began to vary. Until then their obverses had mosty shown the goddess Roma, while the reverses depicted the Dioscuri Castor and Pollux or the goddesses Luna or Victoria driving a biga. The moneyers, the officials responsible for the issue of Roman coins, had identified themselves through symbols or monograms.

Around the year 140 BC, however, the moneyers began to illustrate the reverses of their denarii with images directly linked to their family histories. This denarius is one of the first examples to show this trend. Its reverse bears a biga, a two-hand racing chariot driven by the goddess Juno. The chariot is not pulled by horses, though, but by goats.

In her appearance as Juno Caprotina – the name meant 'dressed with a goat skin' – Juno was in charge of small domestic animals like goats. This cult was especially popular in Lanuvium, a town in Latium. This supposedly was the hometown of the gens Renia, the family of the moneyer who was responsible for the issue of this denarius. The abbreviation of his name, C. RENI, can be found on the reverse of the coin.


Signet Sunflower Foundation