Roman Republic

Anonymous, Ca. 264-255 BC

Crawford 20/1; Sydenham 6; RSC 8,

Rome. Diademed head of Hercules right, lion’s skin tied at neck; club on shoulder. Reverse: ROMANO in exergue, she-wolf standing right, looking back, suckling the twins Romulus and Remus below.

Rome, which was destined to become the great home of tyrants on the Tiber had a storied myth-history extending back even before the traditional foundation of the city in 753 BC. The hero Hercules was said to have visited the site of Rome after carrying off the cattle of Geryon, where he killed a fire-breathing giant who terrorized the people living on the Aventine Hill. Later, Romulus and Remus—twin sons of Mars who were saved from exposure as infants by a she-wolf who nursed them—founded the city. Unfortunately a dispute between the brothers ended with the murder of Remus, thereby establishing a bloody beginning for the city that would ultimately dominate the Mediterranean world for centuries.