Roman Republic – Moneyer Titus Carisius
Juno Moneta & Mint Tools – 46 B.C.E.
This silver coin was minted in Rome by Titus Carisius in 46 BC. It is a type called a denarius, the most common Roman silver coin. The obverse depicts Juno, the goddess of women and childbirth. Here she is portrayed in her personification as Moneta, as confirmed by the legend ‘MONETA’ behind her head. The Roman mint was located in her Temple of Juno Moneta on the Capitoline Hill in Rome. The temple was also the location of the Roman treasury at that time.
This coin is one of the very few issues to depict the tools used in coining and is unique in celebrating the Roman mint and moneyer. The obverse and the reverse designs allude directly to the office of the moneyer. It was in the temple of Juno Moneta that coins were struck. Vulcan was the blacksmith god, the counterpart of the Greek Hephaestus. Metal planchets would be super-heated in a furnace and then struck between what are known as an anvil and a die punch, the tongs being used to position the metal between the dies for striking with a hammer. The way that coins were made in ancient times, makes each coin unique. So here can be seen a large anvil flanked by tongs on the left and a hammer on the right. Above the anvil is probably displayed the traditional leather cap, with a garland around, that Vulcan and mint workers wear when working with hot metal. Some numismatists interpret the object as a die punch, but most believe it’s the cap of Vulcan. Above are the letters T. CARISIVS for the moneyer Titus Carisus, the man responsible for minting this coin. A wreath surrounds the rim.
The gens Carisia was a Roman family during the latter half of the first century BC. The most famous member of the gens was Titus Carisius, who defeated the Astures in Hispania circa 25 BC but in consequence of his cruelty and insolence, the Astures took up arms again in 22 BC. Titius Carisius was an ally of Julius Caesar. Together with Cordius Rufus and Caius Considius they formed the monetary triumvate of 46 BC. This issue was struck to meet the extreme demand for coinage to pay the veterans of Julius Caesar’s quadruple triumph. This series is often found lightly struck and showing signs of hasty manufacture.
These are considered rare and are found in the following catalog references: Sear 447 | Sydenham 982 | Crawford 464/2 | CRI.70 | Albert 1435.