Roman Republic

Anonymous, 211-208 BC

Crawford 44/2; Sydenham 226; Bahrfeldt 4a, Mint State.

Rome. Bearded head of Mars right, wearing crested Corinthian helmet; behind, LX. Reverse: ROMA in exergue, eagle standing right on thunderbolt..

This 60-as gold piece was an emergency issue struck by the Roman Republic in an attempt to shore up its failing finances in the face of the disasters suffered early in the Second Punic War (218-201 BC). In 216 BC the decision was made to issue gold in order to support the more usual Roman bronze coinage (based on the as denomination), which was rapidly losing its value. It has been shown that much of the gold was probably obtained from Ptolemaic Egypt and the eagle reverse type may perhaps reflect this source. The obverse features Mars who was simultaneously a god of war and the ultimate divine ancestor of the Roman people through his son Romulus.