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01/1 ROMAION ΡΟΜΑΙΟΝ Litra. Apollo, Forepart man-headed bull. The FIRST Roman Coin minted in Naples, 326BC | by Ahala
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01/1 ROMAION ΡΟΜΑΙΟΝ Litra. Apollo, Forepart man-headed bull. The FIRST Roman Coin minted in Naples, 326BC

The obverse and reverse types of this coin occur on bronze litrae and half litrae of Naples, which were struck about the end of the 4th century BC. They would therefore be contemporaneous with this piece. Bahrfeldt (Riv.Ital. 1899, pp.418,419) mentions six specimens in various collections, and refers to a seventh described by Sambon (Recherches, p.133, no.7). This is the only coin of this series with the legend in Greek. Mommsen (Hist mon.rom., t.iii.p.225) has attributed this coin to Capua, and to a period soon after the subjugation of the city in 338BC, when it had not yet received its modified form of citizenship, and was not compelled officially to use the Latin language. M. Ch. Lenormant and the Baron de Witte (Rev.num.1844, p.251, Etudes sur les vases peints, p.103) have suggested another solution, and have assigned it to Naples, its issue being placed in 327BC, when the city was betrayed into the hands of the Roman consul, Q.Publilius Philo, by the chief citizens, Charilaus and Nymphius. Shortly afterwards Rome concluded an alliance with the inhabitants, the Foedus Neopolitanum, and it is at this epoch that this coin may have been struck. The name of Charilaus, ΧΑΡΙΛΕΩΣ, occurs on autonomous coins of Naples, and it may be due to him that the coin with ΡΩΜΑΙΩΝ was issued. The Greek legend is the equivalent of ROMANORVM. BMCRR 1910 edition. Roberto Russo of Numismatic Ars Classica kindly allowed me to photograph this coin.

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Taken on January 18, 2010