ROMAN REPUBLIC, Sextus Pompeius Fostlus, c. 137 BC, denarius


ROMAN REPUBLIC, Sextus Pompeius Fostlus, c. 137 BC, denarius, no date, Obverse: head of Roma L, X before, jug behind, Reverse: wolf & twins, shepherd, tree, FOSTLVS SEX POM ROMA, silver, 18mm, 3.97g, SR112, most of rev. legend is off flan, VF-XF

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Fostlus had a name that raised the memory of the mythical shepherd Faustulus, who found the twins Romulus and Remus, future founders of Rome, being suckled by a wolf.

Later Republican silver coins were struck under the authority of magistrates. Over time the propaganda value of circulating currency began to become apparent, and powerful people arranged to become magistrates so they could strike coins and people would know something about them.

The Roman Republic was founded in response to tyrannical kings. It functioned for several centuries in a kind of balance of rich and poor people (slaves didn’t count). The general idea was that laws would constrain personal power. During the days of Julius Caesar, et al, powerful people became too powerful, and a new system of slightly constrained autocracy, the Empire, developed. The Empire was split for administrative purposes into eastern and western branches, the west devloving into local kingdoms in the 5th century AD, while the eastern branch continued as what we call the Byzantine Empire until 1453.

“Ancient Coins” includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.