Roman Republic, Denarius


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

The obverse of this Roman denarius from the year 75 BC depicts Libertas, the goddess of liberty. This is pointed out by the little pileus behind her, a liberty cap worn by freed slaves in Rome. The design probably refers to current events in Rome. During the 70s BC, there was great pressure for the restoration of the powers of the tribunes, which had been abrogated by Lucius Cornelius Sulla in the 80s. This re-establishment is demanded here in the name of Libertas.

The reverse depicts a warrior in a two-horse vehicle, helping a figure in a toga to enter his chariot. Below the front hooves of the horses is a scorpion.

The symbolism behind this design has been debated. The warrior may be Mars, the god of war, identified by the scorpion, his astrological sign. The image may symbolize peace between warriors and civilians after the civil wars of the 80s BC. On the other hand, the image could also denote quite the opposite: Mars is inviting a Roman citizen into his war chariot, in this way mobilizing him for military service in the diverse wars that Rome was waging at that time.


Signet Sunflower Foundation