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Ancient Nomos Art is a museum of galleries exhibiting ancient coins and ancient mint maps. The coin gallery displays the diverse art and history of hand-crafted ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Persian and Medieval coinage. The ancient mints mapping gallery features Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Asia Minor and Medieval mint city regions and territories. Visitor's are welcome to explore, study and enjoy Ancient Nomos Art.

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Roman, Luceria – 220 BC

Bronze Quincunx

From Ancient Galleries

Roman, Luceria – 220 BC

Obverse: Large five point X with four-spokes, each with peened ends; five pellets and L in fields.
Reverse: Large five point X with four-spokes, each with peened ends; all on a raised disc.

Obv: Five point X with four-spokes (like a wheel) with peened ends; five pellets in field of one quarter, L in field of opposite quarter; all on a raised circular disc. Rev: Five point X with four-spokes (like a wheel) with peened ends; all on a raised circular disc.

The above untouched specimen is a near perfect Republican Roman coin cast in bronze (copper and tin) just east of Rome in the city of Luceria. Luceria is located in the territory of the Dauni where the ancient eponymous tribe of Daunians lived. Archaeological excavations show the presence of a bronze-age village inside the city boundaries dating back to at least the fourth century BC. The Luceria city name is presumably named after either Lucius, a mythical Dauno king, or a temple dedicated to the goddess Lux Cereris. A third possibility is that the city was founded and named by the Etruscans, in which case the name probably means Holy Wood (luc = “wood”, eri = “holy”). In 321 BC, the Roman army was deceived into thinking Luceria was under siege by the Samnites. Hurrying to relieve their allies the army walked into an ambush and were defeated at the famous Battle of the Caudine Forks. The Samnites occupied Luceria but were thrown out after a revolt. The city sought Roman protection and in 320 BC was granted the status of Colonia Togata, which meant it was ruled by the Roman Senate. In order to strengthen the ties between the two cities, 2,500 Romans moved to Luceria. From then on, Luceria was known as a steadfast supporter of Rome and issued its coinage along the same libral weight standards. The above ancient bronze quincunx was produced during the Roman Republic and was issue during the Second Punic War, after 220 BC. This coin was cast at the Luceria mints, and perhaps including the Teate, Larinum, as well as northern Apulia. A similar coin with the same value was also minted in Capua, during the Second Punic War, after the defeat of Cannae. The word quincunx comes from Latin word “quinque” which means “five” and “uncia” which means “one twelfth”, because the coin was valued at five-twelfths of an as (called a libra in ancient Rome). Its value was sometimes represented by a pattern of five dots arranged like the points of a die, so this pattern also came to be called quincunx. The obverse and reverse both have large quincunx X symbol. Many believe the large X came to symbolize the ritual of sacrifice upon a cross.

The ANAM Special Features gallery examines how the ancient Apulia bronze Quincunx coinage blended circles, points + line geometry with an artful cross & axis symbolism. This exhibit demonstrates how the large X symbol (with peened ends) correlates into an ideal mathematical geometry and abstract graphic inscription, with coplanar points that define the 5/12 quincunx ratio and value. To view the Special Features Apulia bronze Quincunx geometric study exhibit, please use the following link: Bronze Quincunx Geometry Special Feature Exhibit

Value: Quincunx (five-twelfths libra). Metal: Æ Bronze. Weight: 35.05 grams (Quadrantal standard). Mint: Luceria, Apulia. Date: After 220 BC.
Attribution: Thurlow & Vecchi 281 (73 specimens recorded); E. J. Haeberlin, Aes Grave: Das Schwergeld Roms und Mittelitaliens, plate 71, 14-17; ICC 345; N.K. Rutter, Historia Numorum, Italy, 677a.

Legend, Documentation and Attribution