CNAEUS CORNELIUS BLASIO
Cornelia 19
circa 112-111 BC, Roman Republic silver denarius. Mint - Rome.

The figure on this coin is greatly debated. Some claim that it portrays a Corinthian helmeted head of the Roman God Mars facing right; others claim the image is that of a Mars-like portrait of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major, or the Elder who died in 184BC, while others simply believe it is of Blasio himself. The letters CN BLASIO CN F are barely visible along the right side of this drawing, which should end at a six pointed star above his head.

Coin Ref: Babalon 19, Cornelia 19, Crawford 296/1,
Sydenham 561-561e; Sear 173.
Earlier coins often have the letter X, which is a value mark. The term denarius translates as meaning "containing ten." X is the Roman numeral for ten. It meant that the denarius was worth ten Asses; the As being a small bronze, later copper, coin introduced around 289 BC. These coins were round in shape, had a two-faced Janus head on one side, and a ship's prow on the other. However, over a period of time, the denarius inflated to being worth 16 Asses. To portray this new value a coin often had an X with a central line drawn through the middle which makes the image look like a six-pointed star, as in the case of the Blasio coins. It is often referred to as a XVI monogram.
On the reverse side of this coin is the Capitoline Triad; a naked Jupiter standing holding a scepter and a thunderbolt, facing Juno on the left and being crowned by Minerva on the right. There is a Control Mark in the field between Jupiter and Minerva which can be either a Greek letter or symbol. In the exergue; which is a small space on the reverse side of a coin below the principle image, there are the letters ROMA 
A few examples of the Control Marks on the back of the Cornlia 19.
Phi
Wheat
Moon
Dot
Y

Cornelia 19a
circa 112-111 BC, Roman Republic silver denarius. Mint - Rome.


This coin is identical to the Cornelia 19 on the front but on the reverse side there is a BLA [Blasio] monogram in the field between Jupiter and Minerva.
Cornelia 20
circa 112-111 BC, Roman Republic silver denarius. Mint - Rome.

The figure on this coin is greatly debated. Some claim it portrays a helmeted head of the Roman God Mars facing right; others claim the image is that of a Mars-like portrait of Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major, or the Elder who died in 184BC, while others simply believe it is of Blasio himself. The image behind his head is a grain ear, others believe it merely a mint mark. The letters CN BLASIO CN F are barely visible along the right side, ending at a six pointed star above his head.






This coin shows a naked Jupiter standing, being crowned between Juno and Minerva. The control mark in the field, is a palm branch between Jupiter and Minerva. In the exergue; which is a small space on the reverse side of a coin below the principle image, is an Eagle between the letters RO &  MA.    


Coin Ref: Babalon 20, Cornelia 20, Crawford 296/li, Sydenham 561d, Sear 173

Roman Silver Coins by H.A.Seaby
London: B.A.Seaby Ltd. 1952, p.31.
~ NOTES ~

Although both the Cornelia 19 and 20 have seemingly similar fronts there is a subtle distinction between the two. This occurs with the letters CN BLASIO CN F.  On the Cornelia 19 the letters CN are directly below the neck while on the Cornelia 20 these letters are found on either side of the neck, the C to the left, the N to the right.

Reference:
1. Coins of the Roman Republic in the British Museum by H. A. Grueber
London, 1910, Vol. II, Cornelia 19-pgs. 294, 620, Cornelia 20-pgs. 295, 622
2. Roman Silver Coins Vol.I Republic to Augustus by H.A.Seaby 1952, pg. 31
3. The Coinage of the Roman Republic by Edward A. Sydenham, 1976, pg. 75, 241
4. Roman Coins and Their Values by David Sear, Vol.1, 2000, pgs.105-6
5. Roman Republican Coinage Volume I by Michael H. Crawford 2001, pg. 309

The classification of Blasio coins by control marks is often complicated because many noted scholars avoid, or simply use different systems. As an example; Seaby numbers the Blasio coins as follows; a coin with any symbol or Greek letter is a Cornelia 19; if it has a BLA monogram it is a Cornelia 19a and with the eagle dividing ROMA it is a Cornelia 20. ... Regarding these control marks, David Sear simply notes, “Sometimes with palm-branch between Jupiter Minerva, Greek letter, monogram or symbol in field.” (Roman Coins and Their Values Vol.1, 2000, pg.106) ... The way Edward A. Sydenham identifies Blasio coins is more elaborate and it includes both Cornelia 20s as 19s. (The Coinage of the Roman Republic by Edward A. Sydenham, 1976, pg. 75) His breakdown is as follows:

Cornelia 19 - CN CORNELIUS BLASIO. Circa 112-111 BC. Roman Republic
silver denarius. On reverse, this coin has a “dot” in the field as control marks.

Cornelia 19a - CN CORNELIUS BLASIO. Circa 112-111 BC. Roman Republic
silver denarius. On reverse, this coin has 'varying symbols' in the field as control
marks.

Cornelia 19b - CN CORNELIUS BLASIO. Circa 112-111 BC. Roman Republic
silver denarius. On reverse, this coin has 'Greek letters' in the field as control
marks.

Cornelia 19c - CN CORNELIUS BLASIO. Circa 112-111 BC. Roman Republic
silver denarius. Front and back are almost identical except there is a BLA
monogram in the field between Jupiter and Minerva.

Cornelia 19d - CN CORNELIUS BLASIO. Circa 112-111 BC. Roman Republic
silver denarius. On reverse, this coin has a palm branch in the field between
Jupiter and Minerva and an 'Eagle' dividing the words ROMA in the exergue.

Cornelia 19e - CN CORNELIUS BLASIO. Circa 112-111 BC. Roman Republic
silver denarius. Identical to a 19d except that there is a "letter at r., in field."

Michael Crawford, Roman Republican Coinage Volume I pg. 309, has the most complete classification of the Blasio. He identifies the image behind the head on the obverse of each coin, rather than simply saying ‘similar’, along with the appropriate control mark on the reverse. He begins with his standard number ‘296 1a’ and continues with 1b, 1c, 1d, etc up to 1l; or twelve variations, which are:

  ObverseReverse
1acaduceusdot
1bStar crescent, or Moon
1cbucranium   Greek – θ or Sun
1dprow-stern   Greek – Π
1ewreath   Y
1fspearhead     Greek – Φ
1gdagger    wheat
1hpalm-branch Blasio monogram
1i corn ear eagle between RO  MA, palm branch in field
1j tripod    cornucopiae
1ktrident    dolphin, r.
1l thyrsus   torch

Notes:
a. bucranium - Latin term for the skull of a sacrificial ox.
b. Thyrsus - A sacred implement made of a giant fennel staff covered with ivy
vines and leaves and topped with a pine cone.



Click HERE to see an obverse brockage of the Cornelia 20.


~ HISTORICAL NOTES ~

“The obverse portrays the great general who was claimed as a kinsman by all branches of the Cornelia gens. The reverse refers to the statue in the Temple of Jupiter on the Capitol, and to which was added that of Scipio himself, as a record of the intimate relations which the general is said to have held with the gods during his lifetime.”                                                                  Roman Silver Coins, Volume 1 - Republic to Augustus
                                              by H.A.Seaby, London 1952, p.31

Around 270BC a group of tribal mercenaries attacked and captured the newly established Roman town of Rhegium in southern Italy on the strait of Messina. The armies of Cornelius Blasio and G. Genucius Clepsina were dispatched to recapture the city, which they did.

265 BC - Censors: Cn. Cornelius Blasio and G. Marcius Rutilus Censorinus.
257 BC - Consuls: Cn. Cornelius Blaiso and G. Atilius Regulus

Around 257BC The Roman army moved further south under the command of the Consuls Marcus Atilius Regulus and Gn Cornelius Blasio. Regulus won a great battle off Tyndaris and then raided Malta while Blasio took command of the island of Sicily. Two years later, in 255BC, Marcus Atilius Regulus invaded Tunisis and besiged Carthage. Unfortunately, his army was defeated and he was captured at the battle of Bagrades. He was later executed in a barrel of spikes.




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