Picenum, Hatria. c. 275-225 BC

Picenum, Hatria. c. 275-225 BC

1,750.00

Cast Æ Biunx, 80.68g (37mm, 12h). Cockerel standing left; two pellets before / Shoe to right; HAT below /

Pedigree: From the inventory of a UK dealer; Ex Münzen & Medaillen Deutschland GmbH, uncertain auction (envelope only), lot 90.

References: Sydenham 189, pl. 18, 4. Vecchi, ICC 240. Haeberlin p.208-9, 1-82 pls. 76, 6-12, 95, 6. HN Ialy 15. Campana 5. TV 185

Grade: Old encrustation on obverse and reverse. Reasonably good strike and interesting imagery. VF (rr1153)

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Although this piece appears to be an Aes Grave which was cast during the Roman Republic, it is in fact not. This is a AE Biunx for the denomination was was produced by the Picentes. The Picentes were a tribal group located on the northeast area of modern day Italy, specifically around Marche and northern Abruzzo. Evidence suggests that the people inhabiting Picenum were likely both native Italian and non-native Italian groups. During the Republican time period, the Romans referred to the area as Gallia Togata as the Gauls of Europe had people supplanted in the region mixed along with the native Italian population. This coin was cast just after the Romans successfully removed much of the Gallic population and annexed the area to nearby Ancona in c. 283 BC.

The coinage of the early Romans is interesting in that it followed the advanced struck coins of the Greeks by some 400 years. The Greeks had sublime artistry and the coins are considered by many as small masterpieces. The early Romans on the other hand evidently created their coinage for intertribal commerce. Instead of using high value metals such as gold or silver, the earliest coinage was a clump of bronze and later transformed to coinage such as this Biunx. The reason was mainly a symptom of what was easily accessible. The Greeks has silver mines and the Ionian people used electrum, an alloy of gold and silver. The early Roman peoples had bronze at their disposal. If one can imagine that Italy was still an aspiring state then the coinage makes more sense. Once the Republic started to successfully win wars and take booty the coinage transformed away from bronze to other metals.

The coinage of the early Roman people is clunky and archaic in appearance however it is gives a wonderful glimpse into the world of the transformation of Rome to a simple society into one of far reaching excellence.