Roman Republic, Denarius


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

This is a denarius from 108 or 107 BC, minted by the moneyer Manus Fonteius in Rome. The obverse portrays the Dioscuri Caster and Pollux; above them are two stars, their typical attributes. In Greek mythology, the Dioscuri Castor and Pollux were the twin sons of godfather Zeus and of Leda, whom Zeus had impregnated in the guise of a swan. The Romans adopted the cult of the Dioscuri, and soon the twins were considered as helpers of the Roman legionnaires in combat.

The reverse depicts a ship underneath MN. FONT (MN and NT ligated), an abbreviation of the moneyer's name. Both obverse and reverse probably allude to the associations of the Fonteius family in Tusculum. This town was the main centre of the Dioscuri cult. Additionally, the founder of Tusculum was reputed to be Telegonus, the son of the hero Ulysses and of Circe, the goddess Ulysses met on an island during his long voyage home from Troy.


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