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Euterpe, Muse of Music and Poetry


Q. Pomponius Musa. 56 BC. AR Denarius (17mm, 4.07 g, 8h). Rome mint. Laureate head of Apollo right; two crossed tibiae to left / Euterpe, the Muse of Music and Lyric Poetry, wearing long flowing tunic and peplum, standing right, supporting her head with her left hand by resting her elbow on column, and holding two tibiae in right hand; Q • POMPONI downward to left, MVSA downward to right. Crawford 410/5; Sydenham 815; Pomponia 13; BMCRR Rome 3613; RBW 1487. Lovely iridescent toning, a few minor deposits. Near EF.

Ex Numismatica Ars Classica 5 (25 February 1992), lot 324.

The Muses were nine divine maidens, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (”Memory”), who embodied the human arts and sciences. They were Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Erato (love poetry), Euterpe (music, lyric poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), Polyhymnia (hyms), Terpsichore (dance), Thalia (comedy), and Urania (astronomy). Knowingly or not, the moneyer Q. Pomponius Musa’s denarius group, surely intended as a canting pun on his cognomen, created a “collector’s set” of coins that challenged the holder of one example to find all of its components, which included Hercules Musarum, the “host” of the assembly.