He was given the agnomen (nickname) “Pius” because of his constant and unbending attempts to have his father officially recalled from exile.
During the entire 80s BC, he was shown to be one of Sulla’s best subordinates. A traditionalist supporter of the Senate’s prerogatives, he had no other objective apart from fighting the populism of Marius and Cinna, and did not participate in the atrocious violence that marked the arrival of the dictatorship of Sulla.
Reverse: elephant left, bell hanging from its neck Q·C·M·P·I
Die Orientation: 0 H
Weight: 3.9 g
mint in north Italy. Elephant commemorates victory of moneyer's ancestor L. Caecilius Metellus over Hastrubal in the first Punic war 251 BC near Palermo. Seized elephants appeared in his triumph and became the emblem of the family. Moneyer received agnomen Pius in 99 BC for his effort to return his father from exile. Stork is the symbol of Pietas. Moneyer struck these coins as Imperator in the northern Italy where he fought along with Sulla. They held consularship together in 80 BC.
Reverse: Elephant walking left; Q•C•M•P•I in exergue.
Die Orientation: 6 H
Weight: 3.66 g
Metellus Pius came from one of the most important and wealthiest families of Rome. Beginning in the 3rd century BC, his family held numerous consulships, tribunates, censorships and military commands. His father, Q. Caecilius Metellus Numidicus, was the chief commander in the Jugurthine War in Numidia until Marius displaced him, and was later censor until driven into exile by Marius.
Though Metellus Pius fame is largely derived from his later campaigns in Hispania against Sertorius, the coinage in his name was struck at a North italian mint in 81 B.C, while he fought for Sulla against leaders of the Marian Party, such as Carrinas, Norbanus and Carbo. The obverse of this coin portrays the goddess Pietas and alludes to the moneyer's cognomen, Pius. The moneyer acquired the honorable title from the people of Rome, whom he had beseeched in order to secure the restoration from exile of his father. The reverse with the elephant recalls the accomplishment of his ancestor Lucius Caecilius Metellus, who in 251 B.C captured an army of Carthaginian elephants at Panormus."
Provenance: e-Bay sale, December 2017.