Roman Empire, Maxentius, Follis


Roman Empire, Maxentius, Follis (obverse) Roman Empire, Maxentius, Follis (reverse)

The Romans took it for granted that gods interfered with every-day-life. The divine twins Castor and Pollux, they regarded as saviors in battle and, as a constellation in the sky, as navigational help for sailors.

This copper coin of Emperor Maxentius (386-312) shows the brothers with their horses. Between them, the Roman she-wolf is feeding another Roman twin pair, the babies Remus and Romulus, the legendary founders of the city of Rome.

Castor and Pollux even made it into Christian mythology, by the way. Around 500, the basilica Santi Cosma e Damiano was dedicated to the saintly Christian twins Cosmas and Damian. The new church lay close to the temple of Castor and Pollux on the Forum Romanum. In this way the Church transported a popular pagan cult into Christianity.


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