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Lituus

The lituus is a staff used by augurs in divination and is a symbol of their priestly office. Through observation of bids and other rituals, the augurs interpreted if actions would be considered favorable to the gods (auspices). There was a college of Augurs who in the Imperatorial period were incorporated into the college of Pontifices. The head of this college was the Pontifex Maximus which was a title assumed by Caesar.

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Phrygia, Laodikeia ad Lykos

AE 15, 4.55g. magistrate: Zeuxis Philalethes.  c.15 B.C. Bare head of Augustus to right; lituus behind.   Rev. Serpent staff of Asklepios.    RPC 1, 2895. SNG von Aulock 3837; small scrape in hair.   Dark brown patina.

The magistrate Zeuxis Philalethes is most likely the physician who founded a school of medicine at the temple of Men Karou outside of Laodikeia as mentioned by his contemporary Strabo(Geog.12,88, 50.)  During Starbo's lifetime, there were two directors of the medical school, Zeuxis and Alexander Philalethes.  The reverse type with the serpent staff of Asklepios further supports the association.  (See: Ramsay, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia,  p. 52.)

Provenance/Pedigree:

Ex: Peter Weiss, Kiel Germany, collected 1967-2015. 
Ex: Gorny and Mosch, Munich, Auction 276, April 19,2021, lot 388.

 

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about Extremely Fine/Extremely Fine $1,000.00
 

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