C. Terentius Lucanus, c. 147 BC, AR denarius
Obverse: Head of Roma right, Victory right holding wreath and X behind
3.76g, 20mm, aV Fine £75
Reverse: The Dioscuri* right, C TER LVG below horses, ROMA in exergue.
* Historical note: The Dioscuri, in Greek and Roman mythology were the twin brother deities, Castor and Pollux. Their mother was Leda, but they had different fathers, Castor was the son of her husband, the king of Sparta,Tyndareus (and therefore mortal), but Pollux was the son of Zeus (therefore a demigod and immortal).
M Marcius Mn f Silver Denarius, 134BC (depicting the Modius)
Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma right, modius* behind, X below chin
Ref: S 122
3.6g, 17mm, Fine £70
Reverse: Victory with whip in galloping biga right, M MAR C, ROMA below, divided by two grain ears.
*Historical note: The modius was an imperial measure for dry weight, such as flour and grain, it was equal to the third of an amphora and four of these measures were the normal allowance for a slave per month. On our coin this indicates the bountifulness and fertility of Rome, also supported by the ears of corn. It is also estimated that 1 modius of wheat flour cost 10 sestertii, a tenth of a soldiers monthly wage or a third of an unskilled labourer.
The chariot is believed to have been first used by the Mesopotamians; basically two wheeled carts, but the Egyptians were the first to see their benefit as an efficient battle tool around 1600BC. The Romans then adopted them and they quickly became a vehicle for 'pleasure,' as well as travel and war, with the development of the chariot race. The usual types of chariot used were the two horse variety: the biga, or the four horse type: the quadriga. The less common types were the triga (or tririga), with three horses used for ceremonies and the seiuga, the six-horse chariot. The latter was difficult to drive and needed a lot of skill.
Two-horse chariots are a common icon on Roman coins; the bigatus, a type of denarius was so called because it depicted a biga. In the iconography of religion and cosmology, the biga represents the moon and the quadriga the sun, and often shows other animals pulling the chariots. The carriage itself was made to be as light as possible, being constructed of wicker and leather or fabric and has been estimated to have weighed about 30kg.
The triga is occasionally depicted on Greek coins, but rarely on Roman republican coins; in fact there are only two types that I know of, and they are both for sale here:
Reverse: Jupiter in quadriga right, prow
below; Q. FABI in exergue.
3.94g, 18mm, good very fine.
Was £125 NOW £120
Dei Penates denarius, Silver Denarius, 47 BC, C. Antius C. f. Restio, The Dei Penates.
Obverse: Diademed jugate heads of the Dei Penates right; DEI PENATES behind
Reverse: Naked Hercules advancing right, brandishing club and holding trophy; C ANTIVS (CF)
Rarely offered coin in affordable state!
Slightly off centre. 17-19mm, 3.5g
Reference: S435; CRR 971