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Augustarum Capitus Cultus

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AUGUSTARUM CAPITIS CULTUS. - The following remarks in reference to the head-dresses of the Roman Empresses, as represented on coins, are from vol. viii of Doctrina Num. Vet.

  "At the commencement of the empire, when as yet it would appear not to have been the usage to strike money with the names of women, it pleased the authorities to exhibit them, respectively under the figures of Vesta, Pietas, Justitia, Salus, Ceres, &c. It is in this way that we see Livia Augusti, Antonia Drusi, Agrippina Claudii, personifying these divinities. This liberty is much more indulged on medals of foreign die, as may be seen on those of each of the above princesses. During a subsequent period, however, when the Flavia family occupied the imperial throne, and when monetary honours began to be fully extended to females of Augustal rank, the mint-masters returned to the representation of the human figure; and princesses are portrayed on coins, not with any indication of power or authority, but in the head-dress usually worn by ladies of their time, and which, as is the case in our own day, was open to the change and caprice of fashion, and susceptible of an infinate variety of form."

  On their consecration coins, the heads of the Augustae are covered with a veil: examples of which appear in both the Faustinae; also in Julia Domna, Julia Maesa, Paulina and Mariniana. On Roman coins, Julia Domna was the first whose head (placed over a crescent moon), was joined to the radiate head of Septimius Severus, her husband, as seen in an issue of that emperor struck in 202 A.D. The same custom was continued to the reign of Diocletian, and thence downwards to a much lower period of the Empire.

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