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Research Coins: Printed Auction

Triton XXII, Lot: 817. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $1800. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

L. Titurius L.f. Sabinus. 89 BC. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.88 g, 5h). Rome mint. Head of the Sabine king Tatius right; palm frond below chin, SABIN downward to left, A • PV downward to right / Tarpeia facing, buried to her waist in shields, with raised hands she tries to thrust off two soldiers who are about to cast their shields at her; star in crescent above, L • TITVRI in exergue. Crawford 344/2c; Sydenham 699a; Tituria 5; BMCRR Rome 2326-7; RBW 1302. Choice EF, lightly toned with underlying luster. Well centered and struck, especially Tarpeia’s face.

From the Alan J. Harlan Collection. Ex Tkalec (8 September 2008), lot 84.

A subplot of the myth of the abduction of the Sabine women involved Tarpeia, a Vestal Virgin who betrayed Rome to the Sabines when they were attempting to rescue their captured wives and daughters. According to the historian Livy (1.11), the price for Tarpeia’s betrayal was what the Sabine soldiers wore on their left arms. To Tarpeia, this meant the gold bracelets the men were wearing. The Sabines, however, offended by Tarpeia's reprehensible greed and treason, took her price literally and crushed her to death under the weight of their shields, which were also worn on their left arms. Tarpeia’s corpse was then cast down from, or buried at the foot of, the cliff subsequently named for her – the Tarpeian Rock – from which notorious criminals were thrown to their deaths.