top of page
  • Writer's picturesulla80

Vulcan and the Dancing Chicken

This is the first coin that I have with full obverse bust of Vulcan. I admit, that "dancing chicken" was not the intent of the moneyer, but it is what I see on the reverse of my coin. For a more sober interpretation - I refer to Crawford who explains that the obverse of Vulcan and tongs is a reference to the coins of Lipara from the 3rd century. Perhaps this coin from ACSearch (not my coin) is the type referenced?

Islands off Sicily, Lipara. End of 3rd century BC. Head of Hephaestus / Tongs.

Prof. Liv Yarrow in this blog entry, highlights another coin (shown below, not my coin) that is a surprisingly good match to the obverse on the denarius - and questions whether there is any significance to this visual link and/or the Crawford link is a red-herring.

The moneyer's ancestor C. Aurelius Cotta was consul in 252 and during the first Punic War with Carthage, captured Lipara. The reverse is a reference to the triumph that he celebrated as a consequence. C. Aurelius Cotta shared as an example of a discipline strategy by Frontinus when he punishes his relative for failure in leading an initial blockade against Lipara.

"The same Cotta, when about to cross over to Messana to take the auspices afresh, placed in charge of the blockade of the Liparian Islands a ceremony Publius Aurelius, who was connected with him by ties of blood. But when Aurelius's line of works was burned and his camp captured, Cotta had him scourged with rods and ordered him to be reduced to the ranks and to perform the tasks of a common soldier." - Sextus Julius Frontinus, Stratagems IV 1.31

Lucius Aurelius Cotta, 105 BC, AR serrate denarius, Rome mint Obv: Draped bust of Vulcan right, wearing laureate pileus; tongs and * behind; control mark "X" beforeall within wreath Rev: Eagle standing on thunderbolt, head left; R to right; all within laurel wreath Ref: Crawford 314/1b (control on obverse); Sydenham 577a; Aurelia 21b

A couple of other notes on this ancestor of the moneyer from the time when he was censor, from this article: PALMER, R. (1976). The Vici Luccei in the "Forum Boarium" and some Lucceii in Rome. Bullettino Della Commissione Archeologica Comunale Di Roma, 85, 135-161.

  • "The need for a paved roadbed through the Rivergate (Porta Flumentana) should be linked to the construction of the first (wooden) Pons Aemilius leading across the Tiber and to the Via Aurelia, which led the route from the bridge all the way to Pisa. Censors usually built such highways. Thus the Via Aurelia was very probably laid out under C. Aurelius Cotta and M. Fabius Buteo the censors in 241/0.

  • "The year 241, when Aurelius began his censorship of eighteen months' duration, witnessed a double catastrophe to the city of Rome. Swollen with rainwater, the Tiber flooded the lowland in the city and destroyed many buildings. Thereafter fire broke out and several sectors of Rome with their inhabitants were consumed in flames."

27 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page