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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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In Feb 44 B.C. the senate named Julius Caesar dictator for life. Fearing that he wished to become king, on the 15th of Mar, 63 senators assassinated him with their knives. His assassination plunged the Roman Republic into 17 years of civil war, after which it would re-emerge as the Roman Empire.
SH82705. Silver denarius, Alfldi Caesar, type III, 115 (this coin); BMCRR Rome 4147 (also I); Crawford 480/3; RSC I 34; Sydenham 1056; Sear Imperators 100; RBW 1678 (H) , gVF, toned, bankers mark on obverse, areas of flat strike, attractive deep old cabinet toning, with hints of iridescence around the devices, weight 3.607 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 30o, Rome mint, moneyer M. Mettius, Jan - Feb 44 B.C.; obverse CAESARIMP, wreathed head of Caesar right, cymbium (boat shaped cup used as a wine ladle) and lituus (augural wand) behind; reverse M METTIVS, Venus standing left, Victory in her extended right hand, long transverse scepter in left hand, resting left elbow on shield which rests on globe, I (control letter) in lower left field; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 23 (9 Jan 2016), lot 376; ex Andrew McCabe Collection; ex CNG e-auction 237 (21 July 2010), lot 344; ex Professor L Fontana Collection; rare; $2000.00 (1700.00)


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

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Minted after his invasion of Italy and crossing of the Rubicon on 10 January 49 B.C. until his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus, this was the first coin type issued in Caesar's name. The obverse was long described as an elephant trampling a snake, symbolizing good triumphing over evil. For the Romans, however, the snake was a symbol of healing, not evil. The image to the right (click it to see a larger photo) is ornamentation on the side of the Gundestrup cauldron depicting three Celtic warriors sounding their carnyx war trumpets. Clearly, Caesar's elephant is trampling a carnyx and the obverse symbolizes Caesar's victory over the Celtic tribes of Gaul. The reverse refers to Caesar's office of Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, a title now held by the Pope.Persian Empire

SH87326. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, VF, toned, light bumps and marks, slightly off center, weight 3.607 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 285o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a carnyx (Celtic war trumpet) ornamented to look like a dragon, CAESAR below; reverse implements of the pontificate: culullus (cup) or simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), securis (sacrificial ax), and apex (priest's hat); ex Ibercoin (Madrid), online sale 22 (27 Jun 2018), lot 228; $1080.00 (918.00)


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

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Representations of elephants occur frequently on Roman coins. Romans used elephants in war, in triumphs, in funerals, and in the amphitheater. For Romans, the elephant was a symbol for Africa, for eternity, and for honor. Minted after his invasion of Italy and crossing of the Rubicon on 10 January 49 B.C. until his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus, this was the first coin type issued in Caesar's name. Caesar's elephant is trampling a carnyx (a Celtic war trumpet) and the obverse symbolizes Caesar's victory over the Celtic tribes of Gaul. Elephants were sometimes used to pull the chariots of the Caesars, in their triumphs or consular processions. When he returned to Rome, Julius Caesar ascended the Capitol illuminated by forty elephants bearing torches.
SH87287. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, gVF, nice elephant, light toning, off center, uneven strike, bumps and marks, areas of slight porosity, small filled die spots on ladle and sprinkler, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.803 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 75o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a carnyx (a Celtic war trumpet) ornamented to look like a dragon, CAESAR below; reverse implements of the pontificate: culullus (cup) or simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), securis (sacrificial ax), and apex (priest's hat); $800.00 (680.00)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.

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Elagabalus was actually named Varius Avitus Bassianus at birth and assumed the name Marcus Aurelius Antoninus upon becoming emperor. Today we know him as Elagabalus because he is best known for his bizarre behavior as high priest to the Syrian sun god Heliogabal (Elagabal). This coin is one a few types that includes his modern nickname in the reverse legend.
SH86682. Silver denarius, RSC III 246, BMCRE V 225, RIC IV 131, SRCV II 7542, Thirion 302, Superb EF, fine style, toned, centered on a large flan, weight 3.228 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 221 - 222 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped and horned bust right; reverse SACERD DEI SOLIS ELAGAB, Elagabalus standing right, sacrificing from patera over lit altar with right hand, club or cypress branch in left hand, star right; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; ex CNG Triton XX (10 Jan 2017), lot 808; ex Dr. Patrick H. C. Tan Collection; $350.00 (297.50)


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

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In addition to rule, the Emperor was the Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, the president of the college of pontiffs, and responsible for overseeing the religion and sacred ceremonies of the Romans. On 17 December 384, after the Christian emperor Gratian refused the title, Pope Siricius took the title Pontifex Maximus.
RS85639. Silver denarius, RIC IV 204 (S), RSC III 682, BMCRE V 578, SRCV II 6906, Hunter III -, Choice gVF, unusual older youth portrait, well centered and struck, toned, light porosity, edge cracks, weight 3.493 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 208 - 210 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, older youth's unbearded laureate head right; reverse VOTA SOLVT DEC COS III (Additional sacrifices for the tenth anniversary of rule, consul for the 3rd time), Caracalla standing left, veiled and togate, sacrificing out of patera in right hand over flaming tripod altar, roll in left hand, slain sacrificial bull recumbent on the far side of the altar; $200.00 (170.00)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 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.
RA86673. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 1684m (Samosata), RSC IV 792b (Antioch), Hunter IV J68 (uncertain Eastern), RIC V-1 J447 (Asia), SRCV III 10312 (uncertain Syrian), EF, white metal, mint luster, areas of light porosity, weight 3.925 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Syrian mint, 256 - 258 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PIETAS AVGG (to the piety of the two emperors), Valerian and Gallienus standing confronting each other, facing center, sacrificing at flaming altar in center, togate, on left holding eagle-tipped scepter, on right hand on parazonium on left side; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; $140.00 (119.00)


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).
RB79813. 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 19.430 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; $125.00 (106.25)


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, hair in horizontal ridges, flat coil at back of head; 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; $95.00 (80.75)


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

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During 191, the city of Rome was extensively damaged by a fire that raged for several days, during which many public buildings including the Temple of Pax, the Temple of Vesta and parts of the imperial palace were destroyed. Perhaps seeing this as an opportunity, early in 192 Commodus, declaring himself the new Romulus, ritually re-founded Rome, renaming the city Colonia Lucia Annia Commodiana. All the months of the year were renamed to correspond exactly with his (now twelve) names: Lucius, Aelius, Aurelius, Commodus, Augustus, Herculeus, Romanus, Exsuperatorius, Amazonius, Invictus, Felix, Pius. The legions were renamed Commodianae, the fleet which imported grain from Africa was termed Alexandria Commodiana Togata, the Senate was entitled the Commodian Fortunate Senate, his palace and the Roman people themselves were all given the name Commodianus, and the day on which these reforms were decreed was to be called Dies Commodianus.
RS85779. Silver denarius, RSC II 574a, BMCRE IV 325, Hunter II 58, RIC III 236, SRCV II 5686, VF, well centered on a tight flan, die wear, a little frosty, weight 2.706 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 191 - Dec 192 A.D.; obverse L AEL AVREL COMM AVG P FEL, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVII IMP VIII COS VII P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for 17 years, imperator 8 times, consul 7 times, father of the country), Pietas seated left on high backed throne, extending her right hand to child standing with legs crossed at her feet, transverse scepter in her left hand, star in left field; $90.00 (76.50)


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

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Antoninus Pius is depicted on the reverse in his role as Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, the president of the college of pontiffs, and responsible for overseeing the religion and sacred ceremonies of the Romans. On 17 December 384, after the Christian emperor Gratian refused the title, Pope Siricius took the title Pontifex Maximus.
RB73733. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 794 (S), Hunter II 387, BMCRE IV 1726, cf. SRCV II 4246 (TR P XXII), Cohen -, F, well centered, green patina, weight 28.792 g, maximum diameter 32.1 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, c. 158 - 159 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P, laureate head right; reverse VOTA SVSCE-PTA DEC III, emperor standing left, togate, sacrificing over flaming tripod altar (no bull), S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field, COS IIII in exergue; big 32 mm bronze!; scarce; $80.00 (68.00)




  



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Piety