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

Courage (Virtus)

'Courage' is depicted as a helmeted soldier, often a female, in armor holding a spear, parazonium, victory or a shield. Virtus and Mars can be distinguished since Mars is usually shown nude and Virtus is always shown clothed.


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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Virtus is the personification of valor and courage. Valor was, of course, essential for the success of a Roman emperor and Virtus was one of the embodiments of virtues that were part of the Imperial cult. During his joint reign with his father, Gallienus proved his courage in battle; but his failure to liberate his father from Persian captivity was perceived as cowardice and a disgrace to the Emperor and Empire. It was not, however, actually fear that prevented a rescue. While others mourned Valerian's fate, Gallienus rejoiced in his new sovereignty.
RB76153. Orichalcum sestertius, Gbl MIR 38dd, RIC V-1 248, Cohen V 1293, Hunter IV 33, SRCV III 10495, Nice gVF, excellent portrait, green patina, tight flan cutting off much legend, weight 10.962 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 253 - 255 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (valor of the two emperors), Virtus standing left, wearing crested helmet and military garb, right resting hand on grounded shield, inverted spear vertical behind in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $450.00 (382.50)


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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Apparently unpublished and the only example known to FORVM. In the references and websites examined, we did not find match to this type with this obverse legend and S-P across the reverse field, even considering all the possible exergue marks.
RA73494. Billon antoninianus, apparently unpublished, cf. RIC V-2 436 (S) (...P F AVG, C in ex., Mars), Webb Carausius 489 var. (same), aVF/aF, tight flan, rough, corrosion, half of reverse legend unstruck or obliterated, earthen deposits, weight 3.725 g, maximum diameter 23.9 mm, die axis 180o, Camulodunum(?) mint, c. 291 - early 293 A.D.; obverse IMP C CARAVSIVS P AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, middle reign portrait type; reverse VIRTVS AVG (the valor of the Emperor), Virtvs standing right, spear vertical behind in right hand, left hand resting on grounded shield, S - C flanking across fields, exergue off flan; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; unique(?); $180.00 (153.00)


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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Mars, the god of war, and Virtus, the personification of courage and valor, are sometimes confused in coin descriptions. Mars is male and usually nude. Virtus is female and is never nude.
RA73247. Billon antoninianus, apparently unpublished; RIC V-2 1034 var. (legends), Webb Carausius 1180 var. (obv. legend), Burton Latimer -, Carausian Hoard -, Bicester -, F, nice green patina, slight bend in coin, corrosion, weight 4.222 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain British mint, c. 290 - summer 293 A.D.; obverse IMP CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVG (the valor of the Emperor), Mars walking right, helmeted, nude but for cloak on his shoulders and flying behind, transverse spear in right hand, trophy across shoulder in left hand; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; extremely rare; $175.00 (148.75)


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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In 288 or 289, Maximian prepared an invasion of Britain to oust Carausius, but it failed. A panegyric delivered to Constantius Chlorus attributes this failure to bad weather, but notes that Carausius claimed a military victory. Eutropius says that hostilities were in vain thanks to Carausius' military skill, and peace was agreed. Carausius began to entertain visions of official recognition. He minted his coins acknowledging and honoring Maximian and Diocletian.
RA73267. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 1038 (S), Webb Carausius 1174, Carausian Hoard 77, Hunter IV -, SRCV IV -, Burton Latimer -, Bicester Hoard -, F, green patina, obverse off center, slightly irregular ragged flan, weak centers, earthen deposits, weight 3.160 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 270o, unmarked mint, c. mid 286 - 287; obverse IMP CARAVSIVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, early reign moustache portrait; reverse VIRTVS AVG (the valor of the Emperor), Mars standing right, nude but for cloak over shoulders, spear vertical in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield, no mint marks; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; scarce; $175.00 (148.75)


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

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Virtus was a specific virtue in ancient Rome. It carried connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Virtus applied exclusively to a man's behavior in the public sphere, that is to the application of duty to the res publica in the cursus honorum. Private business was no place to earn virtus, even when it involved courage or feats of arms or other good qualities. There could be no virtue in exploiting one's manliness in the pursuit of personal wealth, for example. It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors and was personified as the deity Virtus.
RA73256. Billon antoninianus, Webb Carausius 1172, RIC V-2 1040 (R), Hunter IV -, SRCV IV -, Burton Latimer -, Bicester -,, F, green patina, obverse slightly off center, earthen deposits, scratches, weight 2.586 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 225o, unmarked mint, c. mid 286 - 287; obverse IMP CARAVSIVS P AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVG (courage of the Emperor), Virtus (or Mars) standing right, helmeted and draped, spear vertical in left hand, right hand resting on large grounded shield, no mint marks; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; rare; $160.00 (136.00)


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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Virtus was a specific virtue in ancient Rome. It carried connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Virtus applied exclusively to a man's behavior in the public sphere, that is to the application of duty to the res publica in the cursus honorum. Private business was no place to earn virtus, even when it involved courage or feats of arms or other good qualities. There could be no virtue in exploiting one's manliness in the pursuit of personal wealth, for example. It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors and was personified as the deity Virtus.
RA85002. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 435 corr. (also cuirassed), Hunter IV 112 corr. (same), Cohen VI 819, Pink VI-1 p. 61, Choice VF, nice portrait, much silvering on reverse, some light corrosion, weight 3.724 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 278 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse VIRTVS AVG (the valor of the Emperor), Virtus standing facing, helmeted head left, Victory in right hand, resting left hand on grounded spear and shield, QXXT in exergue; $140.00 (119.00)


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

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For the Roman nobility virtus came not only in one's personal "acta" but also that of one's ancestors. However, Cicero, a novus homo, asserted that virtus was a virtue particularly suited to the new man just as nobilitas was suited to the noble. Cicero argued that just as young men from noble families won the favor of the people so too should the novus homo earn the favor of the people with his virtus. He even extended the argument that virtus and not one's family history should decide a man's worthiness. Virtus is something that a man earns himself, not something that is given to him by his family, thus it is a better measure of a man's ability. Cicero's goal was not to impugn the noble class but widen it to include men who had earned their positions by merit.
RS85800. Silver denarius, RIC IV 117(b); RSC III 478; Hunter III 69; BMCRE V p. 364, 37; cf. SRCV II 6873 (TR P XIIII), Choice VF, superb portrait, full circle centering, light toning, die wear, edge cracks, weight 3.073 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 210 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse PONTIF TR P XIII COS III (priest, holder of Tribunitian power 13 years, consul for the 3rd time), Virtus standing half right, helmeted and wearing military garb, left foot forward and resting on helmet, inverted spear vertical in right hand, parazonium in left hand; $140.00 (119.00)


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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Virtus was a specific virtue in ancient Rome. It carried connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Virtus applied exclusively to a man's behavior in the public sphere, that is to the application of duty to the res publica in the cursus honorum. Private business was no place to earn virtus, even when it involved courage or feats of arms or other good qualities. There could be no virtue in exploiting one's manliness in the pursuit of personal wealth, for example. It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors and was personified as the deity Virtus.
RA84026. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V-2 816; SRCV III 12071 var. (...P F AVG); Cohen VI 894; Hunter IV -, Choice EF, full silvering, full circles centering, some flatly struck areas, weight 3.888 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, emission 5, 278 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS P AVG, radiate bust left in consular robe, eagle-tipped scepter in right hand; reverse VIRTVS PROBI AVG (the valor of Emperor Probus), Mars walking right, helmeted, nude but for cloak tied in belt at waist and flying behind, transverse spear upward right in right hand, trophy of captured arms over left shoulder in left hand, XXIV in exergue; $120.00 (102.00)


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

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In 240, the year this coin was struck, a rebellion lead by Sabinianus, the governor of Africa, was defeated in a battle near Carthage.
RB68909. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 293a, Cohen V 390, SRCV III 8745 var. (obv leg), VF, nice portrait, well centered, weight 14.938 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, c. 240 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse VIRTVS AVG (the valor of the Emperor), Virtus standing left, helmeted, in military garb, branch in right hand, inverted spear in left, grounded shield on left against right leg, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $115.00 (97.75)


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

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Virtus to the ancient Romans included valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Curiously, despite the masculine characteristics of virtus, the personification or deity Virtus was usually depicted as a female warrior, in armor holding a spear, parazonium, victory or a shield. Virtus and Mars can usually be distinguished since Mars is usually shown nude and Virtus is always shown clothed.
RB73633. Copper as, RIC II-1 650; BMCRE II 417; BnF III 545; Cohen 655; Hunter I 174; cf. SBCV I 2817 (COS XV), VF, well centered on a heavy flan, green patina with some flaking and bare toned copper high points, minor corrosion and encrustation, weight 12.962 g, maximum diameter 29.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 88 - 89 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM COS XIIII CENS PER P P, laureate bust right with aegis; reverse VIRTVTI AVGVSTI (to the valor of the Emperor), Virtus standing right, helmeted and draped, left foot on a helmet, inverted spear vertical behind in right hand, parazonium in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; ex Harlan J. Berk; $90.00 (76.50)




  



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Courage