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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)


Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D.

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"This refers to Vitellius' membership in the priestly college of the quindecimviri Sacris Faciundis, 'fifteen men for the conduct of sacred matters.' This body had care of the Sibylline prophecies and were famous for the opulence of their banquets, a feature of the priesthood which particularly appealed to the gluttonous emperor." -- David R. Sear, Roman Coins and Their Values
SH77386. Silver denarius, RIC I 86 (S); RSC II 114; BMCRE I p. 370, 17; BnF III 46; Hunter I -; SRCV I -, VF, excellent portrait, toned, marks and scratches, somewhat oval flan, slight edge damage, weight 2.972 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. May - Jul 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, laureate head right; reverse XV VIR SACR FAC, tripod-lebes with dome cover, dolphin right on top, raven standing right below bowl; ex CNG e-auction 221 (28 Oct 2009), lot 483; ex Jrg Mller Collection; scarce; $380.00 (338.20)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C.

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In 38 B.C. Mark Antony, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus and Marcus Lepidus signed the Treaty of Tarentum, extending the Second Triumvirate until 33 BC.
SH79737. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1474, Crawford 533/2, Sear CRI 267, Sydenham 1199, RSC I 13, BMCRR II East 141, gF, toned, marks and scratches, banker's marks, weak legends, weight 3.741 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, summer 38 B.C.; obverse M ANTONINVS M F M N AVGVR IMP TERT, Mark Antony standing right, as priest, holding lituus; reverse III VIR R P C COS DESIG ITER ET TERT, radiate head of Sol right; $320.00 (284.80)


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)


Otacilia Severa, 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.
RB76218. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV P208a, Cohen V 46, Hunter III 23, SRCV III 9168, Choice VF, excellent portrait, well centered, nice green patina, reverse double struck, flan cracks, weight 14.922 g, maximum diameter 29.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 245 - 247 A.D.; obverse MARCIA OTACIL SEVERA AVG, diademed draped bust right; reverse PIETAS AVGSTAE (piety of the Emperor), Pietas standing slightly left, head left, raising right hand, box of perfume in left hand, S - C flanking low across field; $180.00 (160.20)


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)


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.
RS76532. Silver denarius, RSC II 574a, BMCRE IV 325, Hunter II 58, RIC III 236, SRCV II -, VF, centered on a tight flan, light toning, weight 2.360 g, maximum diameter 17.0 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, 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; $125.00 (111.25)




  



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Piety