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  • H. Mattingly

The denarius of L. Atilius has, for types, obv. Head of Bellona, in winged helmet: XVI—rev. Victory driving biga r.: l. atili: nom on tablet under horses. There are here two features of interest—the mark of value (XVI) and the nom instead of roma on the tablet. It comes near the close of the first period of Roman denarii, with stereotyped obverse, head of Bellona, and reverses Dioscuri or Diana or Victory in a biga. On general grounds of style, a date ca. 140–130 B.C. or later would be assigned.

The mark of value XVI occurs for L. Atilius and five other moneyers only. It is most natural to suppose that the new mark appears when the valuation of the denarius was changed from X to XVI. Pliny and Festus place this change in 217 B.C., in the Second Punic War. But here for once we are compelled to desert our ancient authorities. A change of standard there was in 217, but a much earlier one than this. The coins with XVI can be assigned with certainty to a much later date, and the appearance of the new mark must coincide with the change in tariff. After XVI follows the new mark , which certainly denotes the same value: but x persists in use with it for a time, suggesting that the old tariff of 10 to the denarius continued to subsist beside the new.

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The Cambridge Classical Journal
  • ISSN: 1750-2705
  • EISSN: 2047-993X
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-classical-journal
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