THE RASNA NUMISMATICS (3)


(being continued from 08/12/17)

Metrology
The scruple standard
By the treaty of Apamaea between the Seleucid Empire and the Romans in 188 B.C., the Roman libra was for practical purposes tariffed at 80 to the Attic talent of 25,8 kg, giving a libra or pound of about 325 g, subdivided into 12 unciae of about 27 g and 288 scripula of about 1,13 g.
Since the earliest Etruscan silver and gold coinage is based on a scruple standard, the probable date for the unmarked silver of Vulci and Populonia will be that of Rome’s earliest silver staters of between ca. 300 and 255. The Roman staters were ultimately stabilised at a weight standard of about six scruples while Etruria kept to units of 20, 10, 5 and 2 scruples, with or without marks of value.

The marked silver was probably introduced after the inception of aes grave, first issued in Rome and Etruria from ca. 280. The issue with the mark of value 5 (nos. 28-35) of about 11,3 g is based on a double scruple silver-related as standard corresponding to the so-called librai bronze as. The semilibral revaluation of 217 B.C., or soon after, is reflected in the Octopus/Amphora series (nos. 36-38) by 20-as pieces of about 22,5 g, 10-as pieces of about 11,3 g and unmarked fractions (nos. 39-45) probably intended to correspond to one as of the single scruple standard.
Populonia and possibly Vetulonia issued gold multiple-^ pieces parallel to Rome’s Mars/Eagle series struck during the Second Punic War shortly after 211 B.C.; they are on a 72o-scruple gold-a^ standard with multiples of 50, 25 and 12 M> asses. These issues were also contemporary with Rome’s new 10-sextantal as denarius (of 4 scruples) and its fractions, all reflected in the Populonian 20-as (or didenarius) and a series of fractional silver coins which I shall discuss later.
While the various allegedly librai aes grave issues vary in weight, both above and below the theoretical standard Roman pound57, the silver scruple standard is more consistent, confirming the weight of the pound at ca. 325 g except in the case of the small fractional silver pieces which seem to have been struck carelessly.
That the Romans and central Italians overestimated the worth of bronze compared with silver and gold is confirmed by Etruscan issues of silver and gold coinage with ever increasing marks of value relative to the bronze as.

A remarkable anonymous series, possibly privately issued, with marks of value 1 and 10 reflects a gold as standard (theoretically about 0.075 g) related to the bronze socalled triental standard. These libellae may well reflect the need for gold coins during the triental 10-as Gorgoneion period of between 215 and 211. Crawford attributes the oath-scene gold issues of so-called staters and half-staters on a six-scruple stater standard
of about 6.75 g to this period. There also exist other anonymous issues which do not belong to any recognised weight standard but nonetheless bear a mark of value; they come chiefly from central Etruria and are either votive or reflect an era of economic anarchy in the 2nd century B.C. An example of one these libellae, which I shall discuss later, can be seen in Garrucci pl. 71,3.

The scruple standard of the librai as period, 3 rd century-217

The scruple standard of the semilibrai as period, ca. 217-215

The scruple standard gold and related «denarius» silver of the sextantal as period, after 211

The Hoard Evidence
Of the several Etruscan and related hoards in the IGCH only the first three have any relevance to the present study:
The Volterra hoard (IGCH 1875) contained silver coins of the Auriol type; they were published as Etruscan issues by Gamurrini58. Cristofani attributed the Pegasus types to a local mint in the 5th century59. Furtwängler identified them as Phocaean/ Massalian, dating them to the early 5th century as coins of the general Auriol type as found in Spain and Gaul60.
The Pyrgi hoard (IGCH 1905) of 1957, published by Colonna, is another example of a foreign group found in Etruria61. It consisted of 4 tetradrachms of Athens, 3 of Syracuse, and one each of Messana and Leontini and was apparently buried ca. 400 B.C. It is significant that there are no known hoards of Etruscan coins of this period, a sign of absence of monetary activity in Etruria during the 5th and 4th centuries.

The Campiglia Marittima hoard (IGCH 1943) found in 1932 consisted of lion’s head gold of 50, 25 and 12 Vi asses, two male head types of 10 asses and the unique owl type of the same value. Kraay in IGCH doubted that there was any silver in the find (as reported by Ravel in 1936) and queried a 4th century date. The hoard represents part of the Populonian gold issue parallel to Rome’s Mars/Eagle gold struck on a gold as standard of about 0.056 g (V2o-scruple) and corresponds to the bronze sextantal as of
about 54 g (48 scruples). This hoard may well have been much larger in number than the recorded pieces; since the 1930s many examples of what was previously a very rare coin have turned up in commerce.
The Populonia hoard (IGCH 1953) of 1867″; the Cecina hoard (IGCH 1954)63 of 1858 (which includes the wheel type, Sambon 26); the Sovana hoard (IGCH 2041)64 of 1885; the Val d’Orcia (IGCH 2042)65 of 1930; and the large Populonia hoard (IGCH 2043) of 1939 first published by Scamuzzi66 and again by Petrillo Serafin67 are all of the Roman sextantal period (ca. 211-200 B.C.).
The Gattaiola hoard found by Zecchino in 1985 contained three 10-a.î hippocamp silver types (SNG ANS 17) and five fractional pieces of a previously unknown type, a goose68. Based on the weight standard of the 10-<u pieces, this hoard seems also to be of the sextantal period though it was found with hellenistic pottery of reputably earlier date.

A group of aes grave found at Tarquinia and published by Haeberlin is on a heavy bronze as standard of up to 367 g and is related to Rome’s heavy librai aes grave of ca. 280-24069. It was probably during this period that Etruscan silver coins with marks of value were first issued on a consistent scruple standard, but apparently in small quantities only, as witnessed by the lack of hoards of Etruscan silver coins of this early period.
Other Etruscan bronze appears in the Monteriggioni hoard (IGCH 2049), dated by Crawford to ca. 18070, and the Città Sant’ Angelo hoard (IGCH 2051)71, dated by the same author to ca. 150.
The 3500 silver coins of the Carrara hoard (IGCH 2055), dated ca. 80 by
Crawford72, were mainly Roman silver victoriati, denarii and quinarii together with 3 triobols of the Achaean League; it contained no Etruscan coins at all.
A few stray finds of Greek coins mainly from Néapolis, but also from Macedonia and southern Italy listed by Crawford73 indicate the sparseness of coin and hoard evidence in Etruria though the area has been intensively searched for centuries by archaeologists and tombaroli. The find of a 10-as gorgon type stater in the Prestino, via Isonzo excavation, presents problems of chronology74. The stratum in which the coin was found has been attributed to 5th century B.C. and this led to a very early date for
this type in the archaeological report.
The Castelfranco Emilia «ramo secco» bar hoard was published along with a list of other associated bars and aes rude from the Po valley to Sicily, gives us a picture of their extensive circulation, especially in Etruria75.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

NOTES

57 There is an excellent deliberation on the weight of the Roman pound in Crawford (supra n. 45), 590-592. See also Thomsen (supra n. 47), 12 ff.

58 Per. Num. Sfrag. 1872, 208; ibid, (supra n. 18), 54-57.
59 Atti Naples, 87-104, esp. 99-101; (supra n. 50), 239-240.
60 A.E. Furtwängler, Monnaies grecques en Gaule, TYPOS III (Fribourg 1978), 41-44.
61 A. Colonna, Ripostiglio del santuario di Pyrgi, CIN 1961 Vol. II Atti (Rome 1965), 167-177.

62 Gamurrini, Per. Num. Sfrag. 1872, 209.
63 id., Per. Num. Sfrag. 1874, 68 n. 1.
64 C. F. Gamurrini, Le monete dell’Italia antica II (Rome 1885), 184; R. Bianchi Bandinelli, Studi Etruschi 1932, 552 note 1.
65 Bianchi Bandinelli, 543-553.
66 E. Scamuzzi, Studi Etruschi 1941, 141-162.
67 P. Petrillo Serafin, AIIN 23-24, 1977, 69-106.
68 Le monete etrusche di Lucca, RIN 87, 1985, 273-274, da: Archeologia Viva 4, 1985, 3.
69 Haeberlin (supra n. 27), pl. 92.
70 M.H.Crawford, Roman Republican Coin Hoards (London 1969), 555.
71 Crawford (supra n. 70), 129.
72 Crawford (supra n. 70), 260.
73 Crawford (supra n. 52), 3-5 and App. 1.

74 R. de Marinis, Prestino, via Isonzo, in: Como fra Etruschi e Celti, Società Archeologica Comense(Como 1986), 113-120.
75 F. Panvini Rosati, Il ripostiglio di Castelfranco Emilia, nuovi elementi, in: Emilia Preromana (Modena 1971), 15-26.

SOURCE  Schweizerische numismatische Rundschau = Revue suisse de
numismatique = Rivista svizzera di numismatica  /1988  http://www.e-periodica.ch

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