Roman Republic, M. Plaetorius M. f. Cestianus - The Sortes Praenestiae

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The Romans undertook the imaginative task of deifying the virtues, qualities and affections of the mind. These they have represented by various attributes on monuments, and principally on their coinage which is frequently the most survivable of ancient artefacts. Among such allegorical divinities was this personification of Sors (chance or hazard), which has sometimes been confused with Destiny or Fate. The Sortes Praenestiae, were tesserae, or tablets of oak inscribed with sentences of antique writing, and shut up in a casket of olive wood. It was believed that, under the secret guidance of the goddess Fortuna, Sors drew these lots by the hand of a child, and it was supposed to learn its fate by the reading of what was written on the tablets by one of the ministers called sortilege, or fortune-tellers.

M. Plaetorius M. f. Cestianus AR Denarius. Rome, 69 BC. Draped bust of Fortuna right; symbol behind / Half-length bust of Sors facing, head slightly right; M•PLAETORI•CEST•S•C; tablet inscribed SORS below. Crawford 405/2; Sydenham 801. 3.91g, 18mm, 5h.


Extremely Rare. Extremely Fine. Well centred and preserved and in very good condition for the issue.
Ex NAC 10, 1997, lot 512.