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Research Coins: Electronic Auction

352, Lot: 385. Estimate $100.
Sold for $70. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

L. Titurius L.f. Sabinus. 89 BC. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.93 g, 1h). Rome mint. Bareheaded, bearded head of King Tatius right; palm frond below chin / Tarpeia facing, buried in shields, raising both hands in protest; to left and right, two soldiers about to cast shields at her; [star-in-crescent] above. Crawford 344/2b; Sydenham 699; Tituria 4. Near VF, toned.

From the Dr. George Spradling Collection.

As a subplot of the myth of the abduction of the Sabine women, Tarpeia was a Vestal Virgin who betrayed the city of Rome to the Sabines when they were attempting to rescue their wives and daughters. The price for her betrayal was what the Sabine soldiers wore on their left arms, meaning their gold bracelets. The Sabines were offended by Tarpeia's reprehensible greed and treason, and took her price literally. She met her death under the crushing weight of the soldiers’ shields.