Roman Republic, Denarius


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

This Roman denarius from the year 42 BC depicts on the obverse the head of the young god Liber wearing a wreath from ivy and grapes. Liber was the Roman god of fertility and growth, but was also worshipped as wine-god. As god of wine, Liber (= the liberator) helped drinkers to relax and freed them from worries. His festival was the Liberalia that the Romans celebrated annually.

The image on the reverse shows a laureate altar with a mask on top and a thyrsus next to it. Both were associated with the cult of Liber: The thyrsus was a staff to lean on for those who had done too much justice to the wine, and performances were part of the Liberalia. Also the panther, here just about to jump up on the altar, belonged to the festivities, because the priests were clad in panther skins.


Signet Sunflower Foundation