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567836. SOLD $475

M. Volteius M.f. 75 BC. AR Denarius (19mm, 4.11 g, 12h). Rome mint. Laureate and bearded head of Jupiter right / Tetrastyle temple of Jupiter Capitolinus; winged thunderbolt in pediment. Crawford 385/1; Sydenham 774; Volteia 1; RBW 1414. Deeply toned. Good VF. Detailed depiction of Rome’s premier temple.

The reverse of this coin shows the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus (Best and Greatest) on the Capitoline Hill. When originally built in 509 BC, it was by far the largest building in Rome and reputedly the largest Etruscan-style temple in Italy. Construction was started under the last of Rome’s kings, Lucius Tarquinius Priscus, but it was not consecrated until after he had been expelled and the Republic formed, in circa 507 BC. It likely measured roughly 200 feet square and was dedicated not just to Jupiter, but also to Juno and Minerva; statues of all three deities stood within separate chambers, or cellas, and they were henceforth known as the Capitoline Triad. The temple roof line was also decorated with many sculptures of terra cotta, including one depicting Jupiter driving a quadriga at the peak. This first temple burned down in 83 BC during the civil wars leading to the dictatorship of Sulla. Construction of a new, grander temple on the Greek model began soon, but was not completed until 69 BC. This denarius was issued by M. Volteius in 75 BC, while construction of the new temple was still underway. It probably reflects the appearance of the old temple, with only four columns across the facade; the reconstructed one had six. Alternatively, Volteius may have simplified the design somewhat to emphasize the doors to the three cellas within.