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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 Republic – 55 BC

Fonteius Capito

From Ancient Galleries

Roman Republic – 55 BC

Obverse: Helmeted and draped bust of Mars right, trophy over shoulder to left.
Reverse: Warrior horse to right thrusting spear downward at kneeling enemy.

Obv. P•FONTEIVS•P•F – CAPITO•III•VIR, Helmeted and draped bust of Mars facing right, displaying a trim and youthful beard; with trophy over shoulder to left. Rev. MN – FONT•TR•MIL, Warrior riding horse to right while thrusting spear downwards at kneeling enemy in Gallic helmet who holds sword and shield; to lower left, another enemy warrior, kneeling right; Gallic helmet and upright shield to lower right.

This Republican denarius is noteworthy for its fine workmanship and detailed imagery of a Roman soldier on horse back and in combat. (See 103 BC Combat) It is thought the coin is a historical tribute to an old Roman clan, the prominent Fonteii family, whose wealth and military victories were well known in Rome. As the Senate authorized moneyor for this coin, P. Fonteius P.f. Capito, adoptive father of Publius Clodius Pulcher and plebeian convert, was perhaps recalling images of victory by his ancestry, notably perhaps Manius Fonteius, tribune of the soldiers in Gaul. During this time, Republican era coins reflect the fact that a moneyer’s role included editorial control over symbolism, depiction of history and voice of propaganda, even though the State issued all currency. The obverse depicts a bearded, draped head of Mars, god of war, wearing a Gallic Roman helmet. The inscription reads P. FONTEIVS. P. F. CAPITO. III. VIR, triumvir of Rome. A soldier’s military trophy or perhaps Fonteii family trophy rests upright over the back shoulder. The coins reverse forms an obvious relation to the obverse, depicting a Roman soldier now shown on horseback, preparing to thrust a long spear downward into kneeling enemies in Gaul. A cadre of fallen weapons is seen below the horse along with the bodies of two Gallic enemies, both seen kneeling downwards. One enemy is seen holding a sword and shield, and to the lower left, another warrior simply kneeling in defeat to the right. The coin is thought to be a tribute to the Manius Fonteius military victories while governor of Gaul. Some have speculated that the head of Mars with military trophy, taken together with the detailed reverse battle, alludes to the Fonteius tribune’s Spanish expeditions and victories.

The ANAM Special Features gallery takes a closer look at the uniquely small, exquisitely engraved and highly artful Republican Roman Horsemen and Chariot types, circa 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries BC. To view the Special Features coin exhibit depicting this very important form of ancient equine transportation, please use the following link: Republican Roman Horsemen and Chariot Exhibit

Value: Denarius. Metal: AR Silver. Weight: 3.91 grams. Mint: Rome. Date: 55 BC.
Attribution: M. Crawford 429/1, moneyor: P.Fonteius P.f.Capito. E. A. Sydenham 900; RSC 17.

Legend, Documentation and Attribution