L. Sempronius Pitio
Moneyer, circa 148 BC
AR Denarius. 3.75g, 20.6mm
MINTED: Rome mint, 148 BC
REF: Crawford 216/1; Sydenham 402
OBVERSE: Head of Roma right, X below chin, PITIO behind.
REVERSE: The Dioscuri on horseback right, holding couched lances, L.SEMP below, ROMA in exergue.
Ex Harlan J. Berk
Almost Very Fine.
The twins Castor and Pollux were known together as the Dioscuri, literally meaning 'Zeus's boys'. In spite of this sobriquet, only Pollux was the son of the god Zeus, who had seduced Leda in the guise of a swan. Castor was the son of Leda's husband, Tyndareus, the king of Sparta.
The Dioscuri were worshipped as gods in both Greece and Rome. They had a special place in the mythology of the Roman Republic as patrons of the battlefield. One popular legend tells of the twins fighting with the Roman army at the Battle of Lake Regillus in 496 BC, shortly after the founding of the Republic. There, the Romans defeated the Latin League, led by Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, the last King of Rome, who had been banished in 509 BC. After the victory, the Roman Dictator Aulus Postumius Albus had a temple built to honour the Dioscuri in the Roman Forum, at the spot where where the twins were said to have watered their horses.
ROMAN REPUBLIC . L Sempronius Pito, 148 BC . Denarius . The Dioscuri
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