"'Show me the tribute coin.' So they handed him a denarius."
"quocirca et absentes adsunt."
"And so the absent are present."
Cicero, Amicit. 7
RECENTLY FACED CHOICES in two different areas of my life. After many years of faithful service my beloved 2005 PT Cruiser, the prettiest car on the road despite an overabundance of salt-induced rust, finally gave up the ghost, coughed twice and died. It was a very cinematic moment. The mourning period was brief. Life moved on. The choice wasn't whether to replace the car or not--I need to drive to the bank to visit my coin collection as well as to cross the border regularly into Minnesota to attend the monthly meetings of the Twin Cities Ancient Coin Club--but whether to buy a barely-driveable junker with cash or something nice which I would have to finance. I made my choice thus--
I only hope that my new car, also (by the greatest of coincidences) the prettiest car on the road, will serve me as well as the old one, because the enormousness of the investment still has me a little stunned. As a coin collector I realize that my money is for coins and not for cars, and yet I bought a car with low mileage (factory warranty still remaining) and added features I don't really need. It has the sun roof and heated leather seats, same as my PT Cruiser, but also a heated leather steering wheel. Who really needs one of those! What it also has, and what my PT Cruiser didn't have, is a monthly car payment, the equivalent of a very nice denarius, paid out by me, every month.
That was choice #1. Choice #2 involved (not a replacement for, but) an addition to the collection, another RIC 511, a coin already in the collection in very fine condition (VF).
Like my 2015 Buick Regal the new coin is low-mileage, in that its life as currency was brief. NAC graded it good extremely fine (good XF), an upgrade of a jump and a third from the existing example.
Furthermore, like my 2015 Buick Regal, this coin is fully-loaded. With bloggable features. Note on the obverse the imperial mutton-chop sideburns. These do not conform to the clean-shaven official portrait seen on 99% of Domitian's coinage. I will be blogging about this at some future date. On the reverse, take notice of the aegis on Minerva's breast, and particularly note the corded strap behind her neck. This is the very aegis Domitian wore in the beginning years of his reign, and when he stopped wearing it it was evidently reposited into the safekeeping of the Capitoline Temple and onto Minerva's cult statue. I will be blogging about this too.
So, in addition to this present brief article, there are at least two other blog articles which will emanate from this single purchase, making it, in my opinion, worth every extravagant penny.
* * *
I think I probably owe an explanation, if not an apology, for the lapse of months between this article and the last one. However, what follows includes a prodigious amount of self-indulgent whining, so please skip the rest of this blog article if that sort of thing annoys you, as it certainly does me.
First of all, it has taken me this long to digest the information from Prof. Buttrey that seemed to blow my case apart in the last article. Having thought about it, I still believe that it's possible that my underlying theory about the reason for GEM is correct, that GER would have been sexually suggestive, and that the GEM obverse was meant as a prototype of sorts. Perhaps the GEM obverse was paired with (at least) four different reverses, and then each prototype coin was sent to its proper officina for reproduction there. I don't know. But then I don't know how the officinae interacted or how those things worked in the first century. So that's what I'm going with until I know differently.
Second, third, and fourth, etc., my personal life has become unmanageable, in that I am blown like autumn leaves here and there at the whims of others. I played a cop and a bartender in a community theater production of Sister Act. Rehearsals for that ate up a couple of months of my life which I will never get back. My girlfriend has retired from teaching, and keeping up with her (when by rights she ought to be in school) is strenuous. The rest of my life stretches before me now like an endless summer vacation. Of course that's a good thing.
I myself am coming out of retirement, my lungs, apparently, up to the task. I will be opening a new art studio in January. That does seem to be within my control, sort of, but now my future landlord is making noises to the effect that there are other artists clamoring for my space and he doesn't want to hold it until January, as we agreed. Monthly rent on this studio is also the equivalent of a very nice denarius, which is why I am unwilling to rent it now and keep it fallow for two months. Oh, woe is me.
Actually all of this is probably good news, the theater experience, the happy girlfriend, the chance to make some art again. So, though I doubt I will be blogging weekly, as was my original intention, I do hope that I will be blogging more regularly than recently previous from now on. Also, I have purchased a camera, lens (currently on order), and copystand--costing me the the equivalent of several very nice denarii--so soon I will be able to turn out some decent photos of the collection for this website, replacing all of the the current photos and posting the rest of the coins here as well.