Roman Republic, Denarius


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

The moneyer Gaius Considius Nonianus is known only through this one series of denarii, issued in 57 BC. The obverse depicts the Venus of Eryx, a small town on a hilltop in Sicily. In Antiquity, the temple of Venus in Eryx was famous for its wealth and for the temple prostitution performed there. Venus Erycina was worshipped in Rome as well; in the year 118 BC, a temple was erected in her honor that is said to have been an exact copy of the original temple in Eryx. This temple of Venus is depicted on the reverse of this coin.

Roman officials visiting Sicily often accorded Venus Erycina with marvelous sacrifices and honors. One of them may have been Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great). In 57 BC, Pompey was assigned with the cura annonae, the guardianship over the wheat supplies of the city of Rome. He traveled to Sicily personally that year to ensure regular imports of crop. For this he needed money, and to this end, the Senate might have commissioned the moneyer Considius Nonianus with this special issue. This is indicated by the letters S.C for Senatus Consulto (by decree of the senate) on the obverse of the coin.


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