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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Personifications ▸ PietyView Options:  |  |  |   

Piety (Pietas)

Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to other people, gods and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

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This coin declares Caesar as dictator for the second time, consul for the third time, augur and pontifex maximus. The head of Ceres refers to the grain producing wealth delivered to Rome by his victory in Africa. The D (and on similar coins an M) indicates this type was struck to be distributed as a donativum (largess) or munus (gift) to his legions. Some may have been distributed at Caesar's quadruple triumph celebrated in 46 B.C., when celebrations included public banquets, plays and gladiatorial games, lasting forty days. Vercingetorix was paraded and executed. Also in 46 B.C., Caesar made his nephew Octavian his heir. Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt, Caesar's mistress, and Caesarion, his bastard son by her, moved into one of his residences on the Tiber. They would remain in Rome as Caesar's guests until his assassination on 15 March 44 B.C.
SH84609. Silver denarius, Crawford 467/1a, Russo RBW 1637, Sydenham 1023, RSC I 4a; Sear CRI 57, BMCRR Africa 21, SRCV I 1403, gVF, dark toning, some marks and scratches, reverse slightly off center, weight 3.283 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, African, Utica(?) mint, 46 B.C.; obverse DICT ITER - COS TERT (counterclockwise from lower right, dictator for the 2nd time, consul for the third time), head of Ceres right, wreathed with grain; reverse implements of the augurate and pontificate: simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), capis (jug), and lituus (wand), AVGVR (augur) above, below D (donativum = largess) to right, PONT MAX (pontifex maximus) below; from the James Campbell Collection, purchased in 2004 from Roma Numismatica (9A Via Barberini, Rome); $670.00 (596.30)


Roman Republic, Sextus Pompeius Magnus, 45 - 44 B.C.

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This type was struck while Sextus Pompey was free-booting in Spain following the Battle of Munda. Pietas was the Pompeians' battle cry at Munda and the reverse type refers to his vow to avenge the deaths of his father and elder brother. Babelon and Grueber interpret SAL as salutatus. Crawford and Buttrey identify it as a mintmark for Salpensa, but David Sear points out that such a prominent mintmark would be unprecedented on a denarius of the period and seems to be an integral part of the legend.
RR77515. Silver denarius, Buttrey Pietas Type 4 (6/D); Crawford 477/3a; Sydenham 1042a; Sear CRI 232b, RSC I Pompeia 13, gF, attractive old cabinet tone, banker's marks, light bumps and scratches, weight 3.331 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain Hispania mint, 45 - 44 B.C.; obverse SEX MAGN PIVS IMP SAL, bare head of Cnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) right; reverse Pietas standing left, palm branch in right hand, long scepter transverse in left hand, PIETAS downward on right; From the Andrew McCabe Collection, Roma Numismatics auction 23, lot 372, ex Gemini auction X (13 Jan 2013), lot 261, ex Randy Haviland Collection; very rare; $640.00 (569.60)


Katane, Sicily, c. 186 - 70 B.C.

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For rescuing their aged parents from an eruption of Mt. Etna, the Romans idolized the Katanean brothers as the embodiment of the Roman virtue pietas.
GI76343. Bronze AE 21, Calciati III p. 98, 10; SNG ANS 1285; SNG Cop 196; SNG Mnchen 454; BMC Sicily p. 52, 72; HGC 2 626 (R2), VF/F, green patina, reverse weak, light scratches, porosity, weight 4.673 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 180o, Katane (Catania, Sicily, Italy) mint, Roman rule, c. 186 - 70 B.C.; obverse head of Dionysos right, wearing ivy wreath, ΛAΣIO (magistrate) above, monogram (ΩΣI?) behind; reverse KATANΩN, the Katanean brothers, Amphinomos and Anapias, carrying their aged parents, saving them from an eruption of Mt. Etna; very rare; $300.00 (267.00)


Plautilla, Augusta 202 - 22 January 205 A.D., Wife of Caracalla

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Although this coin suggests Caracalla and Plautilla desired an heir, it would have been difficult because their mutual hatred was so strong they even refused to dine together. Their marriage was likely never consummated. After the fall and execution of her father, Caracalla's Praetorian Prefect, she was exiled to the Lipari islands and executed in 212 A.D.
RS79621. Silver denarius, RIC IV 367, RSC III 16, BMCRE V 422, SRCV II 7072, Choice VF, nice portrait, well centered, edge cracks, weight 3.431 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 203 A.D.; obverse PLAVTILLA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair wavy, plait looped at back of neck; reverse PIETAS AVGG (to the piety of the two emperors), Pietas standing facing, head right, long scepter vertical in right hand, child on left arm; scarce; $180.00 (160.20)


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

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A nice little boy portrait with no sign of the monster he would become.
RS79933. Silver denarius, RIC IV 68; RSC III 686; BMCRE V p. 234, 396; Hunter III p. 52, 23; SRCV II 6908, Choice VF, excellent boy portrait, well centered, weight 3.498 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 202 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped boy's bust right; reverse VOT SVSC DEC PON TR P V COS, Caracalla standing left, togate and veiled, sacrificing over lit tripod altar from a patera in right hand, roll in left hand; scarce; $165.00 (146.85)


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

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Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RS77586. Silver RIC IV 129, RSC IV 186, SRCV III 8677, Hunter III -, Choice EF, very broad flan, some luster, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.904 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 241 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PIETAS AVGVSTI (the piety of the Emperor), Pietas standing slightly left, veiled head left, raising both hands in prayer; $145.00 (129.05)


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RS79616. Silver denarius, RIC IV S572, BMCRE V S165, RSC III 150, Hunter III 16, SRCV II 6600, VF, nice portrait, full circles centering on obverse and reverse, some die wear, flan cracks, weight 3.543 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 204 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse PIETAS AVGG (to the piety of the two emperors), Pietas standing half left, veiled, dropping incense on altar with right hand, box in left hand; $125.00 (111.25)


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

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When the young heir Aelius suddenly died on 1 January 138 A.D., the aged Hadrian selected Antoninus, a distinguished senator, as the new heir. Since Antoninus was already 52-year-old, Hadrian also selected heirs for Antoninus himself: his 17-year-old nephew Marcus Aurelius and the 8-year-old son of the late Aelius, Lucius Verus.
RS84421. Silver denarius, RIC II H450, RSC II 1061, BMCRE IV H1010, Strack II H408, Hunter II -, SRCV II -, Choice VF, well centered and struck, die wear with strong flow lines, edge cracks, weight 3.290 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 25 Feb - 10 Jul 138 A.D.; obverse IMP T AEL CAES ANTONINVS, bare head right; reverse TRIB POT COS, Pietas standing left, veiled and draped, patera in extended right hand, double cornucopia in left hand; ; $125.00 (111.25)


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

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For Roman wives, piety often meant accepting neglect. It was not considered adultery for a Roman husband to have sex with slaves or unmarried women. The historian Spartianus wrote that after Lucilla complained, Lucius Verus reproached her: "Uxor enim dignitatis nomen est, non voluptatis" (Wife is the name of dignity, not bliss).
RB83576. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 1756, BMCRE IV 1161, Cohen III 54, Hunter II 27, SRCV II 5505, F, glossy dark sea-green patina, light corrosion on obverse, rough areas on reverse, squared tight flan, weight 19.43 g, maximum diameter 30.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 164 - 166 A.D.; obverse LVCILLAE AVG ANTONINI AVG F, draped bust right; reverse PIETAS, Pietas standing left, veiled, raising her right hand, perfume-box in left hand, flaming altar at feet on left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $110.00 (97.90)


Otacilia Severa, Augusta February or March 244 - September or October 249 A.D.

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Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RS73597. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 130, RSC IV 43, Hunter III 8, SRCV III 9158, Choice VF, excellent portrait, centered, toned, weight 3.923 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 247 A.D.; obverse OTACIL SEVERA AVG, draped bust right set on crescent; reverse PIETAS AVGVSTAE (piety of the Emperor), Pietas standing left, veiled, extending right hand, box of incense in left; $100.00 (89.00)




  



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Piety