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

Roma on Ancient Coins

Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. The earliest certain cult to dea Roma was established at Smyrna in 195 B.C., probably to mark the successful alliance against Antiochus III. In 30/29 B.C., the Koinon of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to honor Augustus as a living god. "Republican" Rome despised the worship of a living man, but an outright refusal might offend their loyal allies. A cautious formula was drawn up, non-Romans could only establish a cult for divus Augustus jointly with dea Roma. In the city of Rome itself, the earliest known state cult to dea Roma was combined with Venus at the Hadrianic Temple of Venus and Roma. This was the largest temple in the city, probably dedicated to inaugurate the reformed festival of Parilia, which was known thereafter as the Romaea after the Eastern festival in Roma's honor. The temple contained the seated, Hellenised image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. The earliest certain cult to dea Roma was established at Smyrna in 195 B.C., probably to mark the successful alliance against Antiochus III. In 30/29 B.C., the Koinon of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to honor Augustus as a living god. "Republican" Rome despised the worship of a living man, but an outright refusal might offend their loyal allies. A cautious formula was drawn up, non-Romans could only establish a cult for divus Augustus jointly with dea Roma. In the city of Rome itself, the earliest known state cult to dea Roma was combined with Venus at the Hadrianic Temple of Venus and Roma. This was the largest temple in the city, probably dedicated to inaugurate the reformed festival of Parilia, which was known thereafter as the Romaea after the Eastern festival in Roma's honor. The temple contained the seated, Hellenised image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.
SH82657. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 330, Cohen I 271, BnF I 417, Mac Dowall WCN 163, Hunter I 100, SRCV I -, BMCRE I , gVF, excellent portrait, fine style, dark green and brown patina, some corrosion, gently smoothed, weight 24.425 g, maximum diameter 34.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 66 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P P P, laureate head left with light beard; reverse Roma seated left on cuirass, one round and one oblong shield behind, wearing crested helmet, right foot drawn back and resting on helmet, Victory offering wreath in Roma's extended right hand, her left hand rests on parazonium, ROMA in exergue, S - C (senatus consulto) at sides; Numismatica Ars Classica, auction 94 (6 October 2016), lot 127; ex Classical Numismatic Group 783132 ($1750); $1410.00 (1198.50)


Roman Republic, Anonymous, c. 211 B.C.

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The silver sestertius is a scarce type discontinued by 208 B.C.
RR87784. Silver sestertius, Crawford 44/7; Sydenham 142; RSC I anonymous 4; BMCRR I p. 16, 13; Russo RBW 176; SRCV I 46, Choice VF, toned, porosity, weight 0.847 g, maximum diameter 12.5 mm, die axis 165o, Southern Italian mint, c. 211 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Roma right, winged helmet with visor and griffin crest, IIS (= two asses and a semis) behind; reverse The Dioscuri galloping right, paludamentum flying behind, stars above, ROMA in linear frame below; scarce; $300.00 (255.00)


Magnus Maximus, July 383 - 28 July 388 A.D.

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After the Roman troops in Britain, proclaimed general Magnus Maximus emperor, he invaded Gaul and drove Gratian before him until the latter was overrun and assassinated. After negotiations, Theodosius I recognized Magnus Maximus and his son, Flavius Victor, as emperors in Britannia and Gaul. Gratian's brother Valentinian II retained Italy, Pannonia, Hispania, and Africa. In 386 A.D., driven by reckless greed, Magnus Maximus invaded Italy, driving out Valentinian II, who fled to Theodosius I. Commanding an army of Goths, Huns and Alans, Theodosius marched west and defeated Magnus Maximus at the Battle of the Save. On 28 August 388, Magnus Maximus surrendered at Aquileia and was executed.
RS87661. Silver siliqua, RIC IX Trier 84b(1), RSC V 20a, Hunter V 6, SRCV V 20644, Cohen VIII 20 (10 fr.), VF, attractive toning, strong flow lines, struck with worn dies, weight 20.23 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 384 - 28 Jul 388 A.D.; obverse D N MAG MA-XIMVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS ROMANORVM (courage of the Romans), Roma seated facing on throne, head left, left leg bare, globe in right hand, spear in left hand, TRPS in exergue; $250.00 (212.50)


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

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This is an extremely rare coin, missing from most references and collections. RSC II and BMCRE IV both reference only the one single specimen in the Reka-Devnia Hoard. There are no sales of the type in the last two decades recorded on Coin Archives, but we do know of several additional examples.
RS85053. Silver denarius, Reka-Devnia p. 91, pl. III, 40 (1 spec.!); RSC II 854b; Szaivert MIR 559-4/30; BMCRE IV p. 705, †; RIC III -; Cohen III -; Hunter -; SRCV II -, F, nice portrait, well centered obverse, reverse a little off center, light bumps and marks, edge cracks, weight 2.525 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, early 183 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANTONINVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse TR P VIII IMP V COS IIII P P, Roma seated left, helmeted and draped, Victory in right hand, spear vertical behind in left hand, shield on near side of seat; extremely rare; $200.00 (170.00)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

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To the ancient Romans, Rome was "Roma Aeterna" (The Eternal City) and "Caput Mundi" (Capital of the World). The empire is history but Rome is still today, the eternal city. Rome's influence on Western Civilization can hardly be overestimated; perhaps a greater influence than any other city on earth, making important contributions to politics, literature, culture, the arts, architecture, music, religion, education, fashion, cinema and cuisine.
RS87248. Silver denarius, RIC IV 350G (R); RSC III 615; BMCRE V p. 84, W323; Hunter III -; SRCV II 6358x, F, well centered, toned, exotic Alexandria style portrait, reverse legend weak, mild porosity, tiny coppery spots, small edge cracks, weight 3.079 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 194 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP - SEV PERT AVG, laureate head right; reverse ROMAE AE-TERNAE, Roma seated left, helmeted and draped, shield in front of seat, Victory offering wreath in extended right hand, spear vertical behind in left hand; rare; $150.00 (127.50)


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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The reverse depicts the double temple of Venus and Roma, designed by Hadrian, the largest and most splendid temple in Rome, finished by Antoninus Pius. Damaged by fire in 307, the temple was restored "in magnificent manner" by Maxentius. When Constantius visited Rome fifty years later, the "Temple of the City" was one of the sights he most admired. In 625, Pope Honorius received a special dispensation from Heraclius to strip the gilded bronze roof tiles for the repair of St. Peter's. During a twelve-day visit to Rome in 663, Constans II stripped it of its remaining bronze ornaments. It was damaged by an earthquake in 847. Later a church was built in the ruins.
RA76944. Silvered antoninianus, Hunter IV 32 (also 3rd officina); RIC V-2 185; Cohen VI 530; Pink VI-1, p. 56-57/4; SRCV III -, Choice EF, near full silvering, superb portrait, light marks, weight 4.097 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Rome mint, emission 4, 279 A.D.; obverse IMP PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ROMAE AETER (eternal Rome), statue of Roma seated facing inside a hexastyle temple, head left, Victory in right, long scepter in left hand, R pellet in crescent with horns up Γ in exergue; $140.00 (119.00)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

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193 A.D. was the Year of Five Emperors, with Pertinax, Didius Julianus, Septimius Severus and Clodius Albinus, and Pescennius Niger all claiming the throne.

This bust is a very rare early type with straight hair, struck before the mint had an accurate portrait of the new emperor.
RS87223. Silver denarius, RIC IV 22; RSC III 682; BMCRE V p. 24, 30; Hunter III 7; SRCV II 6369, VF, toned, tight flan, small edge cracks, weight 2.916 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 30o, Rome mint, c. Jun - Dec 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG, laureate head right; reverse VICT AVG TR P COS, Victory walking left, wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand; $140.00 (119.00)


Roman Republic, Anonymous, 217 - 215 B.C.

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The quartuncia was a small experimental bronze denomination struck only 217 - 215 B.C., when Rome was fighting the Second Punic War against Hannibal of Carthage. When the weight of Rome's coinage was reduced again in 215 B.C. the quartuncia was discontinued and was never struck again.
RR87724. Bronze quartuncia, Crawford 38/8, Sydenham 88, Russo RBW 103, BMCRR Rome 169, SRCV I 624, VF, green patina, bumps and marks, earthen encrustation, weight 3.144 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 10o, Rome mint, 217 - 215 B.C.; obverse head of Roma right in crested helmet, pellet behind; reverse prow of galley right, ROMA above; $135.00 (114.75)


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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The reverse depicts the double temple of Venus and Roma, designed by Hadrian, the largest and most splendid temple in Rome, finished by Antoninus Pius sometime between 140 and 145. Damaged by fire in 307, the temple was restored "in magnificent manner" by Maxentius (Aurelius Victor, De Caesaribus, XL). When Constantius visited Rome fifty years later, the so-called Temple of the City was one of the sights that he most admired (Ammianus, History, XVI.10.14). In 625, Pope Honorius received a special dispensation from Heraclius to strip the gilded bronze roof tiles for the repair of St. Peter's. During a twelve-day visit to Rome in 663, Constans II stripped it of its remaining bronze ornaments. It was damaged by an earthquake in 847. Later a church was built in the ruins.
RA87678. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 737; Cohen VI 556; Pink VI-1, p. 50; SRCV III -, Choice VF, dark brown patina, light corrosion, weight 3.167 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 277 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS P F AVG, radiate bust left in consular robe, eagle-tipped scepter in right hand; reverse ROMAE AETERNAE (to eternal Rome), hexastyle temple, statue of Roma seated facing inside, Victory in her right hand, long scepter vertical in her left hand, shield leaning against seat on left, three steps, wreath on pediment, XXIQ in exergue; $100.00 (85.00)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

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The flattering appellation "the restorer of the city" was doubtless given not for either rebuilding or embellishing Rome, but rather for restoring the honor of the "Eternal City" by avenging the death of Pertinax, securing domestic tranquility to the empire, and reestablishing respect for the Roman name by victories over the Parthians.
RS87233. Silver denarius, RIC IV 288; RSC III 606; BMCRE V p. 221, 359; Hunter III 98; SRCV II 6358, VF, excellent portrait, toned, choice obverse, reverse off center, worn reverse die, edge cracks, weight 3.465 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 202 - 210 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse RESTITVTOR VRBIS, Roma seated left on shield, palladium in right hand, spear vertical behind in left; $95.00 (80.75)




  



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