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    Medallion for Restoration of Urbis Veneris Temple; Ex Parthenico Hoard

    Maxentius (AD 307-312). AV quaternio or medallion of 4-aurei (33mm, 21.12 gm, 1h). NGC MS 5/5 - 2/5, Fine Style, smoothing. Rome, ca. AD 308. IMP C M VAL MAXENTIVS P F AVG, bare head of Maxentius left / CONSERVA-TO-R VRBIS SVAE, Roma seated left on shield decorated with she-wolf and twins in the grotto of the Lupercal, Victory right on globe in right hand, grounded scepter in left; PR in exergue. Cohen -. Gnecchi -. RIC VI -, cf. 143-144 (aureus, this reverse type). Carson, A Treasure of Aurei and Multiples from the Mediterranean -, cf. 99 (aureus), 111 (binio, P*R exergual mark), 106-108 (this obverse die, different reverse types) = Carson, The Greatest Discovery of Roman Gold Pieces Since the Great Find of Arras, London Illustrated News, 14 November 1959, p. 650, fig. 1. Cf. Bastien Donativa, p. 71 note 6. Depeyrot p. 153. Extremely rare - only two examples known. Exceptionally strong strike with crisp details throughout on satiny surfaces.

    From the Paramount Collection. Ex Triton I (2 December 1997), lot 1678; Athena Fund I (Sotheby's, 26 October 1993), lot 125; Numismatic Fine Arts, Auction XXVII (4-5 December 1991), lot 185; "Parthenico" Hoard, late 1950s.

    This phenomenal medallion was issued as a commemorative during the restoration of the temple of Urbis Veneris, erected by Hadrian in AD 135. The temple was of innovative style, which received harsh criticism by Apollodorus, the architect of Damascus, for which he was summarily executed by the greatly offended emperor. Located on the Velia hill, the opposite façades face the Forum and the Colosseum, with the two cellae adjoined in opposite directions, containing the statues of Roma and Venus respectively. One of the temple's functions was to host the celebrations of Veneralia on 1 April and Natale di Roma on 21 April, and was one of the most important shrines in antiquity. It stood until a fire damaged the structure in AD 307, however, the statue of Roma amazingly escaped harm during the blaze. Maxentius immediately set out to restore the temple to full use, but kept in mind the original criticism of Apollodorus, rebuilding the cellae in the classical architectural style of the period with apsidal form and vaulted ceilings.

    The reverse legend on this coin promotes Maxentius as the Restorer of the City, and parts of this incredible edifice remain standing today - incorporated by the Antiquarium Museo Del Foro Romano, formerly the convent of Santa Francesca Romana.




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    Auction Dates
    March, 2021
    25th-27th Thursday-Saturday
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