Elephant and Pietas Denarius Pendant

Item #5767

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  • Obverse: Elephant
  • Reverse: Pietas and Stork
  • Date: 81 BC. Grade: Good Very Fine
  • Mint: Travelling Military Mint in Northern Italy
  • Silver Denarius Coin in 14k Gold Pendant, Weight 9.1g
  • Framed Coin Size: 21mm Diameter, with 6mm Bail Opening for Necklace
  • Size Chart with mm to inches Conversions


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This rare silver denarius coin was minted in 81 BC at a mobile Roman military mint in Northern Italy. The issuer of this coin was Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius, who was a Roman general campaigning to secure parts of Northern Italy on behalf of the Roman leader Sulla, during his second civil war. Metellus Pius came from one of the most important and wealthiest families of Rome. After his successful command of Sulla’s forces in the north, Sulla rewarded Metellus Pius by appointing him to Roman consul in 80 BC.
The obverse side of this coin shows an elephant, walking left with a bell around its neck. The elephant recalls the victory of his ancestor, L.Caecilius Metellus at Panormus, Sicily in 251 BC over the Carthaginians in the First Punic War. After the victory, he displayed the elephants captured from the Carthaginians during his triumph in Rome.
The reverse of this coin portrays the goddess Pietas and alludes to Metellus' "Pius." He received the honorable title of "Pius" from the people of Rome by continuously pleading the case to get his father Numidicus returned from exile. In 98 BC, Metellus was finally successful as a law was passed which allowed his father to return home. A stork is shown to the right of Pietas on this coin. To the Romans, the stork represented family loyalty by returning to the same nest every year and taking care of its parents in old age.