Roman Republic

gens Hostilia Rome, denarius
mint master L. Hostilius Saserna, 48 BC
Silver, struck
weight 3.874 g
diameter 19.7 mm
Inv. 1951.107.

From the C3 BC a triumvirate was responsible for the minting of gold, silver and bronze coins in Rome; it was an office for young men, appointed yearly. The mint masters signed the coins struck under their supervision. From the end of the C2 BC the officials were largely free in their choice of the coins' imagery, so they tended to allude to the heroic deeds of their own ancestors, or depict divinities particularly venerated in their own families; for no other visual medium was as widely distributed as a coin. Increasingly in the C1 BC there were references to the politics of the day, and images on coins could become statements of political allegiance. Thus the head of a long haired Gaulish woman and the carnyx, a Celtic musical instrument, are a direct reference to Caesar's Gallic campaigns, and Saserna's allegiance to Caesar's party is clearly illustrated by his choice of image for this coin.

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