«Money in the Roman Republic»

Roman Republic, Denarius

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Roman Republic, Denarius (obverse) Roman Republic, Denarius (reverse)

The obverse of this denarius depicts the Greek god Apollo with a laurel wreath and long curls; behind him is a lyre, alluding to his association with music. On the reverse we see Diana, the goddess of women, childbirth and the hunt, with a bow and quiver over her shoulder and a lighted torch in each hand. The image on the reverse of this coin refers to the festival of Diana Nemorensis, during which young Roman women trailed from the Aventine Hill to Nemi in a nocturnal torchlight procession. Nemi was one of the oldest settlements of central Italy. In pre-Roman times, a mother goddess had been worshipped there, who later was conflated with Diana. At the end of the 2nd century BC, a monumental sanctuary was built, in which fertility cults were carried out – the women of Rome asked Diana for healthy offspring.

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