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Research Coins: Printed Auction


The Shrine of Venus Cloacina

Triton XXII, Lot: 922. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $700. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Moneyer issues of Imperatorial Rome. L. Mussidius Longus. 42 BC. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.93 g, 6h). Rome mint. Diademed and veiled head of Concordia right; star below chin; CONCORDIA upward behind / Shrine of Venus Cloacina: Circular platform surmounted by two statues of the goddess, each resting right hand on cippus, the platform inscribed CLOACIN and ornamented with trellis-pattern balustrade, flight of steps and portico on left; L • MVSSIDIVS • LONGVS around above. Crawford 494/42b; CRI 188a; Sydenham 1093a; Mussidia 6; BMCRR Rome 4244; RBW 1746 var. (crescent below chin). Superb EF, deep iridescent toning.

From the Alan J. Harlan Collection. Ex Gemini II (10 January 2006), lot 274. Reportedly ex Frederick S. Knobloch Collection (Stack’s, 3 May 1978), lot 630 (not illustrated in catalog).

The shrine of Venus Cloacina (”Venus of the Sewer”) was a circular platform above the entrance to the Cloaca Maxima, Rome’s oldest and largest sewer, on the north side of the Roman Forum. This denarius by the moneyer L. Mussidius Longus provides the best record of its original form. The platform was encircled by a trellis and supported statues of two goddesses; possibly one portrayed Venus and the other Cloacina, the original Etruscan goddess of the small stream that later became the Cloaca Maxima. Cloacina was later amalgamated with Venus for unknown reasons and became an “aspect” of the goddess.