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Hygieia (also Hygiea or Hygeia, in Latin Hygea or Hygia), was the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. 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." She was imported by the Romans as the Goddess Valetudo, the goddess of personal health, but over time she was increasingly identified with the ancient Italian goddess of social welfare, Salus.
Nemausus, Gaul, c. 40 B.C.
ColoniaNemausus was founded as a colony by TiberiusClaudiusNero in 45 or 44 B.C. for veterans that had served Julius Caesar under his command in Gaul and the invasion of Egypt. He was the first husband of Livia and was persuaded or forced by Octavian to divorce her. At the wedding he gave her in marriage to Octavian "just as a father would."RP74283. Brass semis, RPC I 520, SNG Cop 692, SNG MŁnchen 431, CCC BM III 231, De la Tour 2735, VF, weight 2.108 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 270o, Nemausus (Nimes) mint, c. 40 B.C.; obverse helmeted and draped bust right, S (mark of value) behind; reverse NEM COL (downward on right), Salus standing, patera in right over two snakes, left elbow on column behind; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00
Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Marcianopolis, Moesia Inferior
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. She was often identified with Salus, an old Roman goddess.RP77446. Bronze tetrassaria, H-J Marcianopolis 220.127.116.11 (R3, unlisted dies), Varbanov I 1722 (R3, noted as unpublished var.), AMNG I/I 1028.4, Moushmov 724, SNG Cop -, BMC -, VF, excellent portrait, well centered, right side of reverselegend unstruck, weight 11.131 g, maximum diameter 26.05 mm, die axis 45o, Markianopolis (Devnya, Bulgaria) mint, consular legate Umbrius Tereventinus, 225 - 229; obverse AVT K M AVR CEVH AΛEΞAN∆POC, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverse HΓ OVM TEPEBENTEINOV MAPKIANOΠOΛIT,ΩN (OV's ligate, ΩN letters in exergue), Hygieia standing right, feeding serpent held in right hand, from patera in left hand; ραρε ϖαριετψ; $75.00 SALE PRICE $67.50
Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior
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 18.104.22.168 (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; $65.00 SALE PRICE $58.50
Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.
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. RB77308. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC III 979, BMCRE III 1376, MIR 18 182-6/30, Cohen III 547, Hunter III 137, cf. SRCV II 4998 (TR P XXIII), aVF, rough, weight 26.549 g, maximum diameter 30.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec 169 - Dec 170 A.D.; obverse M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXIIII, laureate head right; reverseSALVTI AVGCOS 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; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00
Tacitus, 25 September 275 - June 276 A.D.
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. Silveredantoninianus, MER-RIC 3368, BnF XII 1653, VenŤra 1307 - 1328 (LV 1859), RIC V 158 corr., VF, perfect centering, some silvering, some earthen encrustation, weight 3.991 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 1st emission, Nov - Dec 275 A.D.; obverse IMP C M CL TACITVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassedbust right; reverseSALVS AVG, Salus seated left, feeding snake rising from altar, T in exergue; $45.00 SALE PRICE $40.50
Gallic Empire, Victorinus, Summer to November 268 - mid 271 A.D.
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.RA73905. Billonantoninianus, RIC V 67, Schulzki AGK 21c, Mairat 321, Elmer 732, Zschucke 258, SRCV III 11179, VF, ragged flan, porosity, die wear, weight 1.996 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 135o, Colonia Agrippinensis (Cologne, Germany) mint, 2nd emission, late 269 - mid 270 A.D.; obverse IMP C VICTORINVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassedbust right; reverseSALVS AVG, Salus standing right, feeding snake held in her arms; $28.00 SALE PRICE $25.20