came originally from Tusculum (Cic. Font. 14
), of which municipium it was one of the most distinguished families. The Fonteii were plebeian (Cic. pro Dom.
44), and bore the cognomens AGRIPPA, BALBUS (omitted under BALBUS, but given under FONTEIUS), and CAPITO. The cognomen Crassus (Frontin. Stratag.
1.5.12, 4.5.8) is an error of the MSS., since there were no Fonteii Crassi.
The first member of this gens, whose name appears on the consular Fasti, is C. Fonteius Capito, one of the consuls suffecti in B. C. 33. [W.B.D
There are several coins of this gens; but Capito is the only cognomen which occurs upon them : those which have no cognomen upon them are given below.
The obverse of the first represents a double-faced head, which is supposed by Vaillant and others to be the head of Janus, and to indicate that the race was descended from Fontus, who, we learn from Arnobius (ad v. Gentes,
3.29), was regarded as the son of Janus : but, as Janus is always represented in later times with a beard. Eckhel (vol. v. p. 214, &c.) maintains that the two heads refer to the Dioscuri, who were worshipped at Tusculum with especial honours and who may be regarded as the Dii Penates of the gens.
The head s of the Dioscuri also occur on other coins of the Fonteia gens, as we see in the second specimen figured below.
The head on the obverse of the third coin, with a thunderbolt beneath it, is probably that of Apollo Veiovis; the reverse represents a winged boy riding on a goat, with the two caps of the Dioscuri suspended above him, and a thyrsus below.