C. Naevius Balbus. Rome, 79 BC

C. Naevius Balbus. Rome, 79 BC


AR Serrate Denarius, 3.88g (18mm, 1h) Diademed head of Venus r.; behind, S C; before, control letter, Rv. Victory in triga r., holding reins; in ex. [C] NAE BALB

References: Crawford 382/1a; RSC Naevia 6b; Sydenham 769

Grade: Iridescent toning. Good EF  (rr1011)

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The moneyer, C. Naevius Balbus, was part of a wealthy family line that supposedly extended back to Phoenician origin and settled in Spain (Gades).  Apparently the name Balbus meant “stutterers”.  This coin was minted around the time of Sulla, the general and later dictator, who was undoubtedly one of the men that helped to crumble the Roman Republic.  C. Naevius Balbus was an ardent supporter of Sulla and this coin was likely minted to commemorate the Sulla’s victory against Mithridates VI of Pontus around 85 BC.  The obverse of the coin shows Venus who was the patron deity of Sulla and the triga represents a battle.