Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A token of our Roman Heritage

And now, a little something different, for a change. When those nasty Romans weren't out conquering the world, they stayed home, engaging in all manner of domestic pursuits, or they travelled to faraway vacation spots for fun. This little gem was struck during the reign of Tiberius Caesar, the 2nd emperor of Rome, and the Caesar mentioned in the Christian Bible's New Testament. Tiberius was himself a notorious debauchee, living in self-imposed and libidinous exile on the picturesque island of Capri, in his cliff-top villa, miles away from Rome. This bronze coin, or token, is 24 mm across, or about the size of a U.S. quarter. It is thought by some that this particular token, and others like it, were used in multi-ethnic brothels, to purchase various services. Just go to the room with the XIII on the door. Thus did the Romans transcend the language barrier. Artfully. It sold at auction in April of 2006 for 15,000 Swiss francs ($11,632.00). Enjoy.

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