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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Severan Period| ▸ |Julia Domna||View Options:  |  |  | 

Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

Julia Domna was the second wife of Septimius Severus and mother of Caracalla and Geta. An intelligent, talented and beautiful woman, Julia Domna exercised great influence during her husband's reign and practically administered the empire for her sons. In 217 A.D. after the assassination of Caracalla, she possibly committed suicide by starvation or she died of breast cancer.


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Julia Domna was born in Emesa (now Homs), Syria in 170 A.D. She was the youngest daughter of high-priest Julius Bassianus, a descendant of the Royal House of Emesa. Emesa was famous for its Temple of the Sun, the center of worship for the ancient pagan cult El-Gebal (or Elagabal). El-Gebal, worshiped in the form of a conical black stone, was the Aramaic name for the Syrian Sun God and means God of the Mountain. Emesa was also the birthplace of three other Roman empresses, Julia Maesa, Julia Mamaea and Julia Soaemias, and one emperor, Julia Domna's nephew, Elagabalus.
RS92345. Silver denarius, RIC IV S627 (S); RSC III 103; BMCRE V p. 104, 418; SRCV II 6591, F, off center, minor encrustations, edge cracks, weight 3.225 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Emesa (Homs, Syria) mint, 194 - 195 A.D.; obverse IVLIA DOMNA AVG, draped bust right; reverse LIBERAL AVG, Liberalitas standing slightly left, polos or kalathos on head, counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; only one sale in the last two decades recorded on Coin Archives (an ex Forum coin!); rare; $300.00 (270.00)


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Although many coin references classify Fecunditas as a personification of fertility rather than as an actual deity, Fecunditas was recognized as a Roman divinity by Nero, who erected a statue to her. Tacitus notes that upon the birth of Claudia Neronis, the senate decreed the construction of a temple of Fertility to be built at Antium. Fecunditas is always portrayed as a female figure holding a child, or children and often a scepter, cornucopia, palm branch or caduceus. Sometimes the children are depicted standing at her feet. Coins portraying her usually advertise the fertility of the imperial family.
RS89455. Silver denarius, RIC IV S534 (S); RSC III 42; BMCRE V p. 27, W46; SRCV II 6580; Hunter III -, VF/F, excellent portrait, toned, flaw on reverse, small edge cracks, weight 2.934 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 195 - 196 A.D.; obverse IVLIA DOMNA AVG, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, large chignon at back of head; reverse FECVNDITAS (fertility), Fecunditas seated right on throne, holding child in her arms, another child at her feet on right, standing left; very rare; $270.00 (243.00)


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Vesta was originally a household spirit. Later she was personified as the goddess of the hearth and given the stature of her Greek equivalent, Hestia. In the temple of Vesta, her sacred flame was kept alive by Vestal Virgins. In 394, by order of the Christian emperor Theodosius I in his campaign to eliminate pagan practices in Rome, the fire of Vesta was extinguished.
RB91372. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE IV p. 123, 492; RIC IV p. 207, 843 (R); Hunter III 42; Cohen IV 222; SRCV II 6632, VF, well centered, porous, corrosion, rough areas, weight 23.018 g, maximum diameter 30.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 193 - 196 A.D.; obverse IVLIA DOMNA AVG, draped bare-headed bust right, hair in waved horizontal ridges; reverse VESTA, Vest seated left on throne, palladium in right hand, long scepter transverse in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) divided low across field; from a New England dealer; rare; $200.00 (180.00)


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Julia Domna and her children as Terra and the Four Seasons! "The flatterers of Julia Domna pretended that all things were owing to her. The star-besprinkled globe represents the Roman world, which with her husband Septimius Severus she governed; and to the empire of which she destines her two sons, Caracalla and Geta, who, together with as many daughters, are the proof of her fecundity." -- Rasche, T. ii pl l p 932.
RS85789. Silver denarius, RIC IV S549 (R), RSC III 35, BMCRE V S21, Hunter III S22, SRCV II 6579, F, well centered, slightly rough with light even corrosion, edge cracks, weight 2.369 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, bun at back of head; reverse FECVNDITAS (fertility), Terra reclining left under a vine, nude to the waist, right hand set on globe spangled with stars, leaning on left arm on basket of fruits, in background four children representing the four seasons; rare; $160.00 (144.00)


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Venus in her aspect as the divine ancestress of the Roman people was known as Venus Genetrix. According to legend, and as recorded in Virgil's Aeneid, Aeneis was the son of Venus who fled Troy after its destruction and founded the city of Rome. Julius Caesar, being of the Gens Julia, claimed direct descent from Venus Genetrix and Aeneas. Julius Caesar built a Temple of Venus Genetrix in his new forum. Most depictions of Venus Genetrix on Roman coinage are of the statue in the Forum, and do not directly refer to pregnancy or fertility.
RS92480. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV C388a; RSC III 211; BMCRE V p. 434, 23; Hunter III p. 99, 15; SRCV II 7098, F, well centered, toned, flow lines, slight porosity, weight 4.926 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, reign of Caracalla, 216 A.D.; obverse IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, diademed draped bust right on crescent; reverse VENVS GENETRIX (Mother Venus), Venus seated left, extending right hand, scepter vertical in left; $120.00 (108.00)


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Vesta was originally a household spirit. Later she was personified as the goddess of the hearth and given the stature of her Greek equivalent, Hestia. In the temple of Vesta, her sacred flame was kept alive by Vestal Virgins. In 394, by order of the Christian emperor Theodosius I in his campaign to eliminate pagan practices in Rome, the fire of Vesta was extinguished.
RS86667. Silver denarius, RIC IV C390, RSC III 230, BMCRE V C29, Hunter III C10, SRCV II 7108, Choice aEF, superb portrait, well centered, light toning, reverse die wear, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.246 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, reign of Caracalla, 211 - 217 A.D.; obverse IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, looped plait from ear around back of neck; reverse VESTA, Vesta standing facing, head left, veiled, palladium in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; $110.00 (99.00) ON RESERVE


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Felicitas was the goddess or personification of happiness, good fortune, and success. She played an important role in Rome's state religion during the empire and was frequently portrayed on coins. She became a prominent symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the Roman Empire.
RS92479. Silver denarius, RIC IV S551; RSC III 47; BMCRE V p. 160, S22; SRCV II 6581; Hunter III S24, Choice VF/F, nice portrait, well centered, toned, flow lines, light marks and scratches, small edge splits, weight 3.250 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 206 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bare-headed bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, flat coil at back of head; reverse FELICITAS, Felicitas standing left, caduceus in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $90.00 (81.00)


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Juno was the chief female divinity in the Roman pantheon. She was the wife of Jupiter and a member of the Capitoline Triad. She had many different aspects, such as Juno Moneta, Juno Sospita, and Juno Lucina, but here she is depicted as Juno Regina, "Juno the Queen." Juno is usually shown holding a patera, scepter or a statuette of Athena, and is often accompanied by a peacock.
RS88029. Silver denarius, RIC IV S560; RSC III 97; BMCRE p. 162, 42; cf. SRCV II 6589 (Laodicea); Hunter III -, VF, toned, tight flan cutting off much of legends, weight 3.082 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 196 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse IVNO REGINA, Juno standing left, veiled, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, peacock at feet on left; $60.00 (54.00)


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Lucifer means lightbringer, from the Latin lux light and ferre to bear or bring. The word Lucifer is found in only one place in the Bible -- Isaiah 14:12 -- but only in the King James and related versions: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! The King James Version is based on the Vulgate, the Latin translation of Jerome. Jerome translated the Hebrew helel (bright or brilliant one) as lucifer, which was a reasonable Latin equivalent. And yet it is this lucifer, the bright one or lightbearer, that came to be understood by so many as the name for Satan, Lord of Darkness.
RS94134. Silver denarius, RIC IV C373a; RSC III 32; BMCRE V p. 430, C1; Hunter III p. 98, C1; SRCV II 7100, aF, dark tone, rough, weight 2.407 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, reign of Caracalla, c. 214 A.D.; obverse IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, draped bust right; reverse DIANA LVCIFERA (light bringing Diana), Diana Lucifera standing facing, head left, holding flaming long torch transverse left with both hands; $36.00 (32.40)


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Felicitas was the goddess or personification of happiness, good fortune, and success. She played an important role in Rome's state religion during the empire and was frequently portrayed on coins. She became a prominent symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the Roman Empire.
RB92964. Copper as, RIC IV S870 (S), BMCRE V S781, SRCV II 6636, Cohen IV 19, Hunter III -, aF, rough with corrosion, edge flaws, weight 9.350 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 196 - 211 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right with hair waved and coiled at back; reverse CERES, Ceres standing front, head to left, holding grain-ears over modius with her right hand and scepter with her left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; $20.00 (18.00)







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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

DIVAIVLIAAVGVSTA
IVLADOMNAAVG
IVLIAAVGVSTA
IVLIADOMINAAVG
IVLIADOMNAAVG
IVLIADOMNAAVGVSTA
IVLIAPIAFELIXAVG
IVLIAPIAMATERCASTR


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calic, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. II: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayn, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. III: De Marco Aurelio a Caracalla (Del 161 d.C. al 217 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 4: Septimius Severus to Maximinus Thrax. (Paris, 1884).
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & C. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. IV: From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 5: Pertinax to Elagabalus. (London, 1950).
Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE) http://numismatics.org/ocre/
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III. Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H. & Sear, D. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. III, Pertinax to Balbinus and Pupienus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Monday, February 17, 2020.
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Roman Coins of Julia Domna