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L. Plautius Plancus AR Roman Imperatorial Denarius 47 BC Silver Coin Medusa on Obverse, Aurora with Four Horses on Reverse Museum Reproduction CSRD0108


Silver Roman Imperatorial Denarius (18.5mm, 3.41g.) L. Plautius Plancus, Rome mint, struck 47 B.C. References: Cr453/1c; BMC 4009.

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Quantity2 - 34 - 56 - 10
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Price34,20 30,40 26,60 

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This moneyer was the brother of L. Munatius but was adopted into the Plautia gens. Ovid relates that during the censorship of C. Plautius and Ap. Claudius Caecus in 312 BC, the latter quarrelled with the Tibicenes, who retired to Tibur. As the people resented their loss, Plautius caused them to be placed in wagons and conveyed back to Rome early in the morning, and in order that they should not be recognized their faces were covered with masks. The depiction of Aurora is an allusion to their early arrival and the mask to the concealment of their faces. In commemoration of this event the Quinquatrus Minusculae were celebrated yearly at Rome on the 13th June, at which those who took part in them wore masks.

The reverse design of this coin, depicting Victory (or Aurora) leading a quadriga of four hoses, was modeled after a famous painting by the great 4th century BC Greek artist Nikomachos of Thebes. The moneyer, L. Plautius Plancus, was most likely the owner of the painting at the time. Some years later, in 43 BC, Plautius, serving as Praetor in Rome, sided with Cicero to oppose Octavian (the future emperor Augustus) when he attempted to occupy the city. For this, he was proscribed, his properties confiscated, and he himself executed soon thereafter. That same year, his brother, L. Munatius Plancus, proconsul of Gallia Comata and a supporter of Octavian, was accorded a Triumph in Rome for his victory against the Gallic tribes. As part of the celebrations, he dedicated and installed the same painting in the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitol. Some ancient sources implicate Munatius in the proscription of Plautius, suggesting he stood to benefit from his brother’s fall.
The significance of the obverse design, a facing head of the gorgon Medusa, is more contentious. There is apparently a tradional story in which Gaius Plautius, a famous ancestor of the moneyer, was celebrated by using Medusa masks to disguise a troop of banished performers so they could enter Rome incognito to provide entertainment to the people of the city. In any event, the arresting design of both sides of this particular issue makes it a popular, if difficult, coin type to collect.
Obverse side
Mask of Medusa, facing, hair disheveled

Reverse side
Aurora flying right with 4 horses of the Sun

A perfect choice for Numismatists, Historians, Military Veterans, Collectors.

Weight 3,41 g
Dimensions 18,5 mm


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