Long Table 79. To Whom Does the King Kneel?

February 4, 2022
1:00 pm ET

Join Dr. Anna Accettola, Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics & Ancient Mediterranean Studies at Bucknell University and ANS Summer Seminar Alumna for this week’s Long Table. In 58 BCE, a Roman Magistrate, aedile Marcus Aemilius Scaurus minted a coin which named “Rex Aretas” and depicted him supplicating before his conqueror. The intent of this iconography was to illustrate the victory of Pompey and Scaurus over the Nabataean King, Aretas III, during their campaigns in the Near East in the late 60s BCE. However, the supplicandus is absent, leaving viewers unclear as to whom Aretas is supplicating. Dr. Accettola believes that the first-century absent supplicandus is linked to less decisive or clear cut military victories. The Roman authorities still saw fit to claim the honor and prestige of these events, but had to minimize some traditional aspects of supplication for public consumption. As a result, these coins must be reanalyzed for their historical context, content, and credibility.