Denarius, issued by Ancient Roman Republic, 78 BC
Moneyer: M. VOLTEI M.F (M. Volteius)
Minted in Rome

Obverse Description

Head of the god Liber wearing a wreath of ivy leaves facing right, border of dots

Reverse Description

The goddess Ceres, holding two lit tourches in front of her, riding to right in a biga drawn by snakes; in exergue, VOLTEI . M . F; behind Ceres, the control mark, an oblong shield with rounded corners; border of dots

Edge Description



This denarius was issued under the authority of a moneyer called M. Volteius in 78 BC - he is otherwise not known. The obverse depicts a head of Liber wearing an ivy wreath and the reverse Ceres holding tourches and riding in a biga drawn by snakes. Voletius was responsible for five different denarii issues that year, the others being Jupiter/Capitoline temple; Hercules/ Erymanthian boar; Unidentified helmeted bust/Cybele in biga of lions and Apollo/Teripod with coiled snakes. Crawford says "Taken together, the five coins refer, via the deities portrayed, to the Ludi Romani, Plebii, Cereales, Magaleses and Apollinares. This coin relates to the Cereales Games, held in honour of the goddess of corn Ceres. These games were held as part of the seven days in late April dedicated to Ceres (the Cerealia) at the Circus Maximus. The tourch Ceres is holding on the coin relates to her searching for her lost daughter Proserpina, a search enacted by Roman women as part of the festival when they dressed in white and ran about with lit tourches. Ceres is often depicted in a snake drawn chariot, not only on coins but on sarcophagi, on one she is depicted chasing Proserpina and Hades into the underworld holding a tourch in a biga drawn by snakes much like the depiction on this coin. Liber, often identified with Dionysus is closely linked to Ceres through his partner the goddess Libera.

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