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    Extremely Rare Diva Julia Maesa

    Diva Julia Maesa (AD 218-224/5). AE sestertius (33mm, 27.12 gm, 10h). NGC Choice Fine 4/5 - 2/5, smoothing. Rome. DIVA MAESA-AVGVSTA, veiled, draped bust of Diva Julia Maesa right, seen from front / CONSE-CRATIO, four tiered ustrinum - the lowest most of which represents a plain podium with three festoons; the next tier forms the sepulchral chamber for the reception of the dead body in the center, flanked by two niches on each side with statues and surmounted by a cornice; the tier above has five arch-headed niches with statues and a cornice; and the upper forms a lofty plain attic with hanging drapery in front which forms a pedestal surmounted by the quadriga of the deceased, with a statue in the chariot. All the tiers diminish in width from the base upwards so as to assume a pyramidal form; S C in exergue. RIC IV.II (Severus Alexander) 712. Extremely rare - only one example found in sales archives (Numismatica Ars Classica, Auction 54, 24 March 2010, lot 517, realized 46,000 CHF).

    From the Morris Collection.

    A fantastically detailed reverse type, which is often simply called a 'funeral pyre'. Marvin Tameanko, specialist in ancient architectural coinage, elaborates: "To cremate a body, bones and all (but not the teeth) you need lots of sustained heat. The Romans used a pyre, called a 'rogus', which was built with log cribworks, like a hollow log cabin, erected in stages, getting smaller at the top where the body was placed. The rogus was filled with straw and kindling and set alight. It acted as a chimney and funneled the heat to the top, incinerating the corpse. Herodian, the Roman historian describes the rogus in detail. After the cremation, the ashes were placed in a stone building, called an ustrinum, made to look like the wedding-cake shaped rogus or the Maussoleum of Hailcarnassus and built near the cremation site. The remains of these have been found in Rome as early as 1907."

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2019
    18th Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 15
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 179

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