Carpentum on Roman coin

12 Mar 2018  Mon

Carpentum is a cart or chariot serving the rural purpose and other public spectacles. It is a two-wheeled carriage enclosed with an arched or sloping cover overhead. This cart is commonly pulled by a pair of mules, but rarely by oxen’s and horses.

Romans first used carpentums for the purpose of travelling. Later on, women used this cart to illustrate their rank on festivals with the special permission of the Senate. Later on, emperor used it on certain occasions.

The above-shown Sestertius of Tiberius issued around 22-23 CE depicted carpentum. The privilege of riding on this chariot was only given to the Vestal Virgins and a few females. This coin may refer the fact in 22 CE when senate granted Livia the right to sit with the Vestals at the public games and she may also be granted to ride of the carpentum.

The royal family in Rome had the privilege to travel in this chariot. This carriage was also the symbol of a deceased emperor. The carpentum drawn by the mules was conceded to the imperial matrons. Carpentum was also depicted on the coins of Agrippina the wife of Germanicus, Domitilla the wife of Vespasian and to Julia the daughter of Titus.

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