Silver denarius of L. Thorius Balbus ca 105 BC

Silver denarius

The month of June brings thought of summer, marriage, and the Goddess Juno, after whom the month is named. In Roman mythology, Juno was the wife of Jupiter and one of the Capatoline Triad (Jupiter, Juno and Minerva): the major deities of Rome. Roman religion and the worship of their deities was an extremely complex matter and Juno is no exception. She was worshiped under many different epithets: Juno Lucinda was invoked by women wishing to become pregnant, Juno Moneta (the root of the word "money") was the great advisor and so on for her many aspects.

The theology surrounding Juno Sospita (shown on the obverse of this month's coin) is far from clear and is the subject of much debate. The name literally means "Juno the Savior", but some scholars maintain that the word "sospita" is derived from a very early form of Latin and may mean something considerably different. Some see Juno Sospita as the protector of women in childbirth (and, by extension, the goddess of deliverance), some see her as a warrior, while others have a completely different view of her purpose in the Roman mythology. There is, generally, no common agreement.

The silver denarius pictured above was struck by L Thorius Balbus, a minor elected official from the town of Lanuvian.

Image courtesy of our friends at Calgary Coin and Antiques