Silver coin with echos of Spartacus sold at London auction

The silver denarius that sold for £140,000 at Roma Numismatics.

This silver denarius from 43BC is struck to one side with a youthful male of Quintus Arrius, who was praetor in 72BC and propraetor in 71BC.

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | ATG Reporter

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

His decisive victory over the Gallic gladiator Crixus (leader of the first slave uprising to pose a threat to the city of Rome) was one of the few successes for the Roman armies during the Third Servile War.

The episode was the inspiration for the Stanley Kubrick film Spartacus. It is possible that the scene to the reverse depicts an actual episode in the battle, in which (according to the Roman historian Livy) Quintus attempted to rally his men by throwing a standard into the enemy ranks in order to incite his troops to recover it.

Memories of the battle in 73BC were fading when the coin was struck 30 years later by the Republican moneyer whose name M[arcus] Arrius Secundus appears to the coin. Although known only from his coins, it seems likely that Marcus was a close relation of Quintus – probably his son.

Deemed by Roma Numismatics (20% buyer’s premium) as the finest of only four known examples (of which just two are in private hands) it came for sale on March 28 when it sold at £140,000.