Roman Republic, Denarius


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

This denarius is one of ten million denarii that the Senate of Rome commissioned for the purchase of wheat in the year 56 BC. This is indicated by the ear of grain on the reverse. Behind the head of the hero Hercules on the obverse, the coin bears the letters S.C for 'Senatus Consulto,' 'by decree of the Senate.' The ligated letters FAVS refer to the moneyer Faustus Cornelius Sulla.

The grain business was commissioned by Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, the father in law of moneyer Sulla, who effectually used his position to drum up the business of his powerful inlaw. Three of the wreaths on the reverse commemorate the three triumphs of Pompey. He was the first Roman to celebrate a triumph on each of the three then-known continents. With this Pompey had made Rome a world power, which is symbolized by the globe in the middle. The fourth wreath, larger than the others, stands for the extraordinary honor that Pompey was bestowed with in 63 BC when he was allowed to wear a golden headdress when going to the circus or the theater.


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