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Home>Catalog>Themes&Provenance>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.


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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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.
RA71411. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1354i, RIC V S512, Cohen V 932, SRCV III -, near Mint State, no wear but small areas of light corrosion, well centered on tight flan, weight 3.373 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) mint, 267 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SALVS AVG, Salus standing right, feeding snake in right from patera in left, MS in ex; $150.00 (€130.50)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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The motto ‘Salus Generis Humani,’ meaning safety of the human race and the health of humanity, is engraved on a pin presented to graduates at Columbia University who have successfully completed the master’s degree in nursing.
RS73529. Silver denarius, RIC IV 350, SRCV II 6883, BMCRE V 701, RSC III 558a, VF, tight flan cuts off part of the reverse legend, weight 2.914 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 200 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SAL GEN HVM (Salus Generis Humani), Salus standing left, extending right hand to kneeling woman, long vertical snake-wreathed scepter in left; $150.00 (€130.50)


Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D.

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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 (€108.75)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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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 (€108.75)


Roman Republic, D. Junius L.f. Silanus, 91 B.C.

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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.
RR71926. Silver denarius, RSC I Junia 18, Crawford 337/2c, BMCRR Rome 1842, Sydenham 645, SRCV I 223, VF, toned, weight 3.870 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, 91 B.C.; obverse head of Salus right, SALVS (AL ligate) below, reversed B (control letter) 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; ex Roma Numismatics e-auction 11, lot 141; and May 2013 Auction, lot 1211; $115.00 (€100.05)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D.

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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 (€78.30)


Lucilla, Augusta c. 164 - 182 A.D., Wife of Lucius Verus

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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 have actually been a victim of the plague. The plague continued for roughly twenty years.
RB65161. Orichalcum as, RIC III 1760, BMCRE IV 1222, Cohen III 66, SRCV 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 (€78.30)


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.

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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.
SH72494. Copper as, Woytek 337aD, Cohen II 488, RIC II 515 var (slight drapery), BMCRE III 934 var (same), BnF IV 623 var (same), SRCV II 3232 var (same), aVF, a little rough, weight 9.475 g, maximum diameter 26.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 107 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS V P P, laureate head right; reverse S P Q R OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Salus seated left on throne, from patera in right, feeding snake arising from altar before her, S C in exergue; ex Morton & Eden auction 59 (13 - 14 Nov 2012), part of lot 883; ex Seaver Collection; scarce; $80.00 (€69.60)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nicopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101 - 106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town reached its peak during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty.
RP73901. Bronze assarion, Varbanov 2517 (R3), H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.21.10 (R2) var (...ICT), AMNG I/I 1348 var (same), Moushmov 1020, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, VF, weight 2.530 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 45o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV KAI CE - CEVHPOC, laureate head right; reverse NIKOΠOΛ−IT ΠPOC IC, Hygieia standing right feeding snake in her arms, from a patera in her left hand; $75.00 (€65.25)


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D.

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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 (€56.55)


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.

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Salus is the Roman goddess of health. 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. In 169, Marcus' co-emperor, Lucius Verus, fell ill with symptoms attributed to food poisoning and died after a few days. He may have actually been a victim of the plague. Salus was slow to act. The plague continued for roughly twenty years.
RB72339. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 979, BMCRE III 1376, MIR 18 182-6/30, Cohen III 547, Hunter III 137, cf. SRCV II 4998 (TR P XXIII), aF, weight 22.186 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 169 - Dec 170 A.D.; obverse M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXIIII, laureate head right; reverse SALVTI AVG COS III, Salus standing facing, head left, from patera in right hand feeding snake rising from altar at feet on left, long scepter vertical in left hand, S - C flanking low across field; $65.00 (€56.55)


Claudius II Gothicus, September 268 - August or September 270 A.D.

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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 -, 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 (€52.20)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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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, Göbl 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 (€43.50)


Tacitus, 25 September 275 - June 276 A.D.

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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 -, Venčra 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; $50.00 (€43.50)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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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.
RA72405. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 1462b; RIC V S581K, SRCV III -, gVF, some silvering remaining, weight 2.857 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 4th emission, 260 - 268 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse SALVS AVG, Salus standing left, from patera in right, feeding snake rising from altar at feet on left, scepter in right, P right; $32.00 (€27.84)


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.

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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. In 169, Marcus' co-emperor, 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. Salus was slow to act. The plague continued for roughly twenty years.
RB73679. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC III 965, BMCRE IV 1353, Hunter II 133, MIR 18 182-8/50, Cohen III 545 var (draped and cuirassed), cf. SRCV II 5042 (TR P XXV), aVF, heavy smoothing, open flan crack, weight 10.317 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 168 - 169 A.D.; obverse M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXIII, radiate head right; reverse SALVTI AVGVSTOR COS III, Salus standing facing, head left, from patera in right hand feeding snake coiled around column altar at feet on left, long scepter near vertical in left hand, S - C across field; ex Rutten & Wieland; $.99 (€.86)



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Hygieia or Salus