Saturday, 28 September 2013

The capture of Perseus

The officials named on Roman republican coins sometimes took the opportunity to publicise their relative’s acts from times past. An example of this is on the following coin.

Struck in 62 BC by Paullus Lepidus the obverse features a veiled head of Concordia, surrounded by the moneyer’s name. The moneyer was a supporter of Cicero who had the concordia ordinum as a central feature of his policies.

The reverse, however, is rather interesting (to me at least). It depicts a tophy of arms with a large figure and two small ones to the left and another large figure on the right.

The legend TER(tius) above and PAVLLVS below and commemorates the third imperatorial titles (or victories) of L Aemilius Paullus, the large figure on the right, an ancestor of Paullus Lepidus.  His last and greatest claimed victory was in 168 BC over Perseus, the last King of Macedon and his half brother, Philippus, and also his son Alexander at the battle of Pydna. It is these figures that we see on the left of the trophy. Alexander was kept in custody at Alba Fucens, together with his father. He became a skillful toreutes, learned the Latin language, and became a public notary.

The coin at the top of this note is for sale and can be purchased by following the link to Mauseus on vCoins HERE.

The triumph of Aemilius Paullus - Carle Vernet (1789)