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539286
539286.

L. Censorinus. 82 BC. AR Denarius (17mm, 3.94 g, 6h). Rome mint. Laureate head of Apollo right / Marsyas standing left, raising hand and holding wineskin over shoulder; to right, column surmounted by statue of Minerva(?) standing right. Crawford 363/1d; Sydenham 737; Marcia 24; RBW 1372. Attractive iridescent toning, slight obverse die shift. EF. Exceptional rendition of Marsyas.


The Roman tradition concerning the mythical figure of Marsyas is quite different from the Greek one, in which he challenges the god Apollo to a musical contest and loses, and is flayed alive for his hubris. The Romans counted him as a companion to Bacchus and a symbol of free living, freedom of speech and political liberty. A statue of Marsyas stood in the Roman Forum near the comitium, and frequently served as a posting place for political pamphlets and attacks on public officials. The statue is depicted on the reverse of this denarius issued by L. Censorinus in 82 BC.