Roman Republic, L Roscius Fabatus - Juno Sospita

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L. Roscius Fabatus was born at Lanuvium and was a “new man” (the first to ennoble his family by entering the Senate). In 55, he held the tribuneship. Roscius was co-author of a measure to further Caesar’s plans for agrarian and municipal reform. He was a Caesarian legate in Gaul after 54, where he commanded the 13th legion. In 49, he held the praetorship and was involved as a messenger in the events of that year, which led to the fatal rupture between Caesar and Pompey. In one of his letters, Cicero reported Roscius was killed at Forum Gallorum in 43 BC during the war of Mutina.
Juno Lanuvina, or with title in full, Juno Sospita Maxima Regina, as it is expressed on denarii of Thorius Balbus, was worshipped with particular devotion at Lanuvium, and accordingly we find her honoured here on the coinage of the gens Roscia, which was of Lanuvinian origin. On this coin we see opposite to the serpent a woman offering food to it, the meaning of which may be learnt in Elianus and Propertius. Each year at the festival in honour of Juno Sospita at Lanuvium, a virgin descended into the grotto under the temple with food for the serpent that dwelt there. If the girl selected for the ceremony was chaste, then she returned safely to her home, where there was much rejoicing. If she was not chaste she was destroyed by the serpent.

L Roscius Fabatus AR Serrate Denarius. Rome, 64 BC. Bust of Juno Sospita in goat skin; symbol behind; L•ROSCI below / Female figure standing right feeding serpent before; symbol behind; FABATI in exergue. Crawford 412/1; Sydenham 915. 3.92g, 18mm, 2h.


Good Very Fine.