THIEFIRST AGEOFROMAN COINAGE.'
The Romansoflatertimes knewvery little about the origins of
their coinage.Thus, Pliny theElder could assignthe first issue ofbronze to ServiusTullius,2 andthe mint-masterof Trajan couldmistake denariiof somewhere near
for issuesof HoratiusCoclesand Decius Mus.3Apart fromisolated notices inmetrological andother writers,we have a limitedamount of coherenttradition,notably in Plinythe Elder, Varroand Festus, whichincreases in valueasit approachesthe Empire. But,even here, wedo not find thesure ground onwhich we shouldchoose to constructour system.Thetradition,we all agree, has somerelation tofacts, andthereforesome value:but it is impossibleto trust it blindly-itmust bechecked and criticizedand, if needbe, adapted to fitthe evidence ofthecoins themselves.Howfarhasmodern scholarship
succeededinfillingthegapleftby our ancientauthorities ? Muchgroundhas unquestionablybeenwon. Haeberlin, carryingon theworkof Mommsen, has establishedastately'Systematik
ofearlyRoman coinage, conceivedonbroadlines andinterpretedinmasterlyfashion in the light
ofhistory.Ifwemay believetheclaims advancedby him and hisschool,no seriouschangeinthe generalplanremains to be made:allthatwe havestilltodois toworkout thedetail alongthelines whichhe has indicated.ThesystemofHaeberlinrests on thatconceptionof theearlyRoman silver-coinagewhich weowe to Mommsen,5modifiedandimprovedin thelightoftheresearches of SamwerandBahrfeldt,6and onHaeberlin's own magnificentstudies ofthe RomanandItalian aes
It is asolidandimposingstructure:ifits
I oweavery greatdebtofgratitudetomycolleague, Mr. E. S. G. Robinson, for constant helpaind advice during the writing of this paper. As theapproach to the subject is definitely from the Romanside, he has not wished his name to appear as joint-author: but hiscontribution, particularlyonthe im-portant questionofover-strikes, hasbeenmost valu-able. We hope shortly to publishin theNuiss.Chron.somecloseranalysesof thenumismatic evidence.
Hist. Nat. xxxiii,
Cp. Nuns. Chron.
pp. 233-5, 275.
Die Systematik des dltesten rdnsischen Miinz-zwesens,
Aes Grave.Twovols. (textandplates),Frankfurt,
Grueber(followingDe Salis),inB.M.C.Republic,doesnotdiffer very seriouslyfromHaeberlinin hisgeneralplan:the maindifferenceis thathe dates the'Mars gold'and thesextantalas c.
The peculiarmerit of Grueberis his studyofstyles.Babelon,Descr. historiquedesmonnaiesde larip.romn.,p.
assignsthe coinage to'Romangeneralschargedwithwars againstthe Samnites,Pyrrhus andCarthage,'-limitsof date
This is trueenough,but too vaguetohelp very much.Giesecke'sItaliaNumismaticais full of newthoughtandsug-gestionbut,inthejudgmentof thepresentwriter,reliesfar toomuch onunprovedmetrologicaltheories.