about ancient nomos

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 – 79 BC

Naevius Balbus

From Ancient Galleries

Roman Republic – 79 BC

Obverse: Diademed god Juno facing right wearing pendant-earring and necklace.
Reverse: Winged Victory driving fast triga to right, holding reins with both hands.

Obv. Diademed head right of Venus, wearing pendant-earring and necklace; S ∙C to left; below chin, B. Rev. Victory with open wings driving fast triga right, holding reins with both hands; C ∙ NAE ∙ BALB below ground line.

This unique Republican Roman denarius from the Sulla era is noteworthy for its triga scene and portrait of diademed goddess Venus, rather than the usual helmeted head of Roma issued during the 2nd century. During this time, individual Roman portraits began to appear on Republican coins, often supplanting the Roman gods, which was perhaps fostered by the rise of Sulla’s dictatorial grandiosity and Senate acquiescence. Caius Naevius Balbus, a distinguished military leader, was the responsible moneyer authorized by the Senate in 79 BC to issue this coin. This exquisite republican coin is thought to have been issued in honor of Sulla, because he was known to have worshiped the goddess Venus, for whom he had given credit to his many campaigns and victories. The obverse portrait of Venus is seen facing right and wearing a diadem head band, drop earrings and a beaded type necklace. The abbreviated S∙C legend indicating “Senatus Consulto” occurs in the field to the left and an abbreviated control mark B is found to the right. The reverse shows a winged Victory holding the reins to a rarely depicted triga, or three-horse chariot, galloping fast to the right. The very unusual triga scene appears on only one other Republican era coin. Some believe the triga may allude to Sulla’s three major victories in Greece, Numidia and most notably in Asia Minor against Mithradates VI. The abbreviated moneyer’s name C(aius) NAE(vius) BALB(us) also occurs on the reverse, just below the scenes ground line. The images on both sides are all contained within a beaded border and serrated edge. The serrated edge on this coin, which is fairly common during this era, is thought to be an early technique used to prevent forgeries. The so called edge “cuts” are made before dies strike the flan metal to give the finished coins a pre-cut “tested” appearance, which in theory would expose a genuine solid silver core. (See also 71 BC Serratus Denarius)

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: 3.88 grams. Mint: Rome. Date: 79 BC.
Attribution: M. Crawford 382/1, moneyor: C. Naevius Balbus. E. A. Sydenham 769.

Legend, Documentation and Attribution