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Home>Catalog>CollectingThemes>Gods,Non-Olympian>HygieiaorSalus

Hygieia or Salus

Hygieia is usually said to be a daughter of Asklepios, along with her sisters, Panacea and Iaso. Hygieia, though, was the most important of the attendants of Asklepios and was thought by some in antiquity to be not his daughter but his wife. She was more important than other members of the family and more on par with Asklepios himself. Hygieia is remembered today in the word, "hygiene." She appears on numerous coins, usually depicted feeding the sacred snake from a patera. Salus was the Roman goddess of health, identified by the Romans with the Greek Hygiea.


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.
Click for a larger photo Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one serpent bringing another healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing.
RS65175. Silver denarius, RIC IV 32, RSC III 239, BMCRE VI 117, cf. SRCV II 7894 (TR P COS, 222 A.D.), gVF, weight 2.642 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 223 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P II COS P P, Salus seated left, with right hand feeding snake coiled around altar, left elbow resting on chair; $130.00 SALE PRICE $117.00

Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D.
Click for a larger photo In 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius spawned a deadly cloud of volcanic gas, stones, ash and fumes to a height of 33 km (20.5 miles), spewing molten rock and pulverized pumice at the rate of 1.5 million tons per second, ultimately releasing a hundred thousand times the thermal energy released by the Hiroshima bombing. The towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were obliterated and buried underneath massive pyroclastic surges and lava. An estimated 16,000 people died from the eruption. Historians have learned about the eruption from the eyewitness account of Pliny the Younger, a Roman administrator and poet.
RS70314. Silver denarius, RIC II, part 1, Vespasian 1084; RSC II 384; BMCRE II Vespasian 265; BnF III 237; SRCV I 2642, F, nice portrait, toned, weight 3.472 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 79 A.D.; obverse CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, laureate head right; reverse PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Salus standing left, legs crossed, leaning against column, feeding snake from patera; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.
Click for a larger photo Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. This coin, dedicated to the health of the emperor, probably indicates the emperor was at the time suffering from some disease, and sacred rites had been performed for his recovery.
RS71509. Silver denarius, RIC III 305, RSC II 741, BMCRE IV 988, SRCV II 4106, VF, weight 3.372 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 159 - 160 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XXIII, laureate head right; reverse SALVTI AVG COS IIII, Salus standing left, from patera in right, feeding snake coiled around altar at feet on left, long scepter vertical behind in left; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00

Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.
Click for a larger photo Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius and Minerva.
RB63619. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 345, F, weight 17.020 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 182 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse SALVS AVG TR P VII IMP V COS III S C, Salus (goddess of health) standing left, feedings snake raising from altar; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00

Lucilla, Augusta c. 164 - 182 A.D., Wife of Lucius Verus
Click for a larger photo In 166 A.D., an epidemic known as the Antonine Plague (possibly small pox) spread from the East throughout the Roman Empire. This coin was likely dedicated to Salus to plea for her aid against the outbreak. Salus was slow to act . In 169, Lucilla's husband, Lucius Verus, fell ill with symptoms attributed to food poisoning and died after a few days. He may actually been a victim of the plague. The plague continued for roughly twenty years.
RB65161. Orichalcum as, RIC III 1760, BMCRE IV 1222, Cohen 66, RSCV II 5521, VF, well centered, nice patina, weight 13.387 g, maximum diameter 25.8 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, c. 166 - 169 A.D.; obverse LVCILLA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse SALVS S C, Salus seated on throne left, with patera in right, feeding snake rising from altar, left elbow on back of chair; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00

Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.; EQVITI Series III of Ticinum, V * TXXI
Click for a larger photo Ticinum mint EQVITI series III - click "EQVITI" to read the NumisWiki article, "Coins of Probus with Coded Markings of EQVITI Embedded in the mint mark." The letter "V" in the reverse field is the third letter of the codeword EQVITI. The letter "T" in the exergue indicates this coin was struck by the third officina (mint workshop). The star indicates this is from the third Ticinum series. The letters of the word EQVITI are coded in the mint marks of coins from all the officinae of the mint, with the specific letters of the codeword assigned to each officina in order corresponding with their officina numbers. This codeword probably refers to cavalry. It may be AEQVITI truncated because there were only six officinae in operation.
RB51517. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V 499, gVF, weight 3.862 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, obverse IMP C PROBVS AVG, radiate and mantled bust left holding eagle-tipped scepter; reverse SALVS AVG, Salus standing right feeding snake held in arms, V left, TXXI in ex; excellent centering, strong reverse; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00

Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D.
Click for a larger photo Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one serpent bringing another healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing. This coin may have been issued to thank the goddess for ensuring Gordian's recovery from an illness.
RS71511. Silver denarius, RIC IV 129A, RSC IV 325, aVF, well centered, struck with a worn reverse die, weight 3.377 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 241 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SALVS AVGVSTI, Salus standing right, feeding snake held in both hands; $65.00 SALE PRICE $58.50

Tacitus, 25 September 275 - 12 April 276 A.D.
Click for a larger photo Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one serpent bringing another healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing.
RB48408. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V -, Venra Hoard 1307-1328 (LV 1859), VF, weight 3.991 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, 1st emission, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, c. Oct - Dec 275 A.D.; obverse IMP C M CL TACITVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse SALVS AVG, Salus seated left, feeding snake rising from altar, T in ex; type unlisted in RIC; rare; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00

Roman Republic, D. Junius L.f. Silanus, 91 B.C.
Click for a larger photo In 91 B.C., the tribune Marcus Livius Drusus proposed extending Roman citizenship to allied Italian cities. He was assassinated, leading to the Social War.
RR69284. Silver denarius, RSC I Junia 18, Crawford 337/2c, BMCRR Rome 1842, Sydenham 645, SRCV I 223, F, weight 3.522 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 270o, Rome mint, 91 B.C.; obverse head of Salus right, SALVS (AL ligate) below, reversed C (control mark) below chin, torque as border; reverse Victory in a biga right holding reins and palm frond, ROMA below, D SILANVS L F in exergue; from the Andrew McCabe Collection; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00

Claudius II Gothicus, September 268 - August or September 270 A.D.
Click for a larger photo Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one serpent bringing another healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing.
BB69510. Billon antoninianus, RIC V 242, Hunter -, SRCV III -, Normanby Hoard -, gVF, dark toning, double struck, flan crack, weight 3.196 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 180o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 268 - 270 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR CLAVDIVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse SALVS AVG, Salus standing right feeding snake held in both hands, SPQR in ex; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; scarce; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00

Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.
Click for a larger photo Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one serpent bringing another healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing. She was the goddess of health, cleanliness and sanitation. While her father was more directly associated with healing, she was associated with the prevention of sickness and the continuation of good health. Her name is the source of the word "hygiene."
RA41929. Silver antoninianus, Gbl MIR 824o, RIC V J397 (Milan, 257 - 258), RSC IV 940a (Milan), SRCV III 10352 (Milan, 259 - 260), VF, weight 3.376 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, Viminacium (near Stari Kostolac, Serbia) mint, 253 - 257 A.D.; obverse IMP GALLIENVS P AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse SALVS AVGG, Salus standing left, with right hand feeding snake raising from altar, long scepter in left; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; $50.00 SALE PRICE $45.00

Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D.
Click for a larger photo After Hostilian died from the plague in 251, Trebonianus Gallus' elevated his son Volusian to the throne. This coin is dedicated to Salus and the health of the two emperors. Apparently Salus did keep them safe from the plague but that did not keep them alive. Father and son were both killed by mutinous troops in 253, the same year this coin was struck.
RS65477. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 46a, RSC IV 117, SRCV III 9649, F, flan crack, nice toning, weight 3.386 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jan - Jul/Aug 253 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SALVS AVGG, Salus standing left, from patera in right feeding serpent coiled around altar, long scepter vertical behind in left; rare; $40.00 SALE PRICE $36.00

Severus Alexander and Julia Mamaea, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Marcianopolis, Moesia Inferior
Click for a larger photo Severus Alexander was only 13 when he became emperor. His mother, Julia Mamaea, governed the Empire with the help of Domitius Ulpianus and a council of 16 senators. Although military command rested in the hands of his generals, Severus Alexander and Julia Mamaea both went to Syria for the campaign against Persia. After heavy losses on both sides, a truce was signed accepting the status quo. In 233, Alexander celebrated a triumph in Rome to commemorate his "victory." Mutinous soldiers led by Maximinus I murdered both Severus Alexander and his mother.
RP63351. Bronze pentassarion, AMNG I/I 1084, Varbanov I 1853 corr. (R4), H-J Marcianopolis -, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, F, weight 11.20 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 0o, Markianopolis (Devnya, Bulgaria) mint, consular legate Fir. Philopappus, 229 - 235 A.D.; obverse AYT K M AYΠ CEYH AΛEΞAN∆ΠOC [KAI IYΛIA] MAMAIA, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Severus Alexander right, confronting diademed and draped bust of Julia Mamaea left; reverse YΠ ΦIP ΦIΛOΠAΠΠOY MAΠKIANOΠO,ΛITΩN (ending in exergue), Hygieia standing right, feeding snake in arms from patera, E left; USA import restricted type, from the old stock of a retiring Ohio dealer acquired by Forum in 2012; rare; $38.00 SALE PRICE $34.20

Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.
Click for a larger photo Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one serpent bringing another healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing.
BB69304. Copper as, RIC II 678, F, pitting, corrosion, weight 9.636 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 125 - 128 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse SALVS AVGVSTI COS III, S - C, Salus standing left, feeding snake raising from altar; $36.00 SALE PRICE $32.40


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Catalog current as of Tuesday, September 23, 2014.
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Hygieia or Salus