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The Venatio


Moneyer issues of Imperatorial Rome. L. Livineius Regulus. 42 BC. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.89 g, 10h). Rome mint. Bare head right / Venatio scene: in foreground, lion charging right toward a bestiarius who spears it; in background on left, a wounded bear sits right; on right, another bestiarius, holding sword and shield, defends himself against a tiger charging left; L • REGVLVS in exergue. Crawford 494/30; CRI 179; Sydenham 1112; Livineia 12; BMCRR Rome 4271-2; RBW 1735. Lightly toned, area of deposit in obverse field, reverse slightly off-center. Near EF.

This popular type depicts a venatio, a contest between bestiarii and various animals. Such activities served as the morning entertainment during a day at the games, with the “main event” – the gladiatorial contests – taking place in the afternoon.