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Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
Bos - Bull, Ox, or Heifer. - This animal is figured on numerous coins, in various postures, and with various indications: for exampe, sometimes standing, walking, butting with his horns, or rushing forward - sometimes adorned in preparation for sacrifice; sometimes on his kness, about to be ommolated at the altar of a deity. The bull or ox, the usual monetary type of colonies and municipal towns, bore reference to the culture of the soil, as well as to the security afforded by the protection of the emperor. The well known type of a man ploughing with two oxen symbolizes the Roman ceremony of founding a city or a colony. Bulls' heads sometimes have allusion to sacrificies, at other times to games.

The bull, like the horse Pegasus, was consecrated to the Sun. The figure of a bull forms the reverse type of silver, and third brass, of Gallienus; bearing the legend of SOLI CONS AVG (Soli Conservatori Avgusti).

Bos Vittetus - a bull whose head is ornamented with an infuia, or flock of white and red wool, forming a king of mitre or turban of triangular shape, and dressed with the vitta (a sort of garland), between its horns, in honour of some religious ceremony, as the animalis led to the sacrificial altar.

In family denarii this figure is frequently exhibited; because the consuls, in according to the Capitol, were accustomed there to immolate young unyoked steers to Jupiter. On a coin of Julius Caesar, having for its legend of reverse IOV OPT MAX SACT (Iovi Optimo Maximo Sacrum), the accompanying type exhibits the Bos vittatus et infulatus, wearing the dorsuale, or ornamented cloth for the back, standing before an altar which has flame on it. The bull, or rather the juvencus, in this example represents a victim about to be sacrificed to Jupiter. Thus Virgil, instructively to us on this point, puts to mouth of Ascanius:

Jupiter omnipotens, audacibus annue coeptis,
Ipse tibi ad tua templa feram solennia dona,
Et statuam ante aras aurata fronte juvencum
Candentem, pariterque caput cum matre ferentem. (Aeneid, I ix)

My first attempt, great Jupiter, succeed;
An annual offering in thy grove shall bleed;
A snow white steer before thy altar led,
Who like his mother bears aloft his head. (Dryden's translation)

On a denarius of the Postumia gens, a bull stands as a victim, on a rock (supposed to be meant for Mount Aventine), close to a lighted altar; over the horns of the beast a priest extends his right hand.

The Romans were accustomed at triuphal sacrifices to adorn the horns of the victim with gold, whilst its back was clothed with the richest and most brilliant silks. Amidst such luxury and magnificence, the poor bedizened animals (on some grand occasions paying the tribute of their bloodat the shrines of superstition, by the hundred at a time), marched along in procession with gay 'blindness to the future kindly given" - some so tame and quiet as perhaps to "lick the hand" of the victimarius who led them - all unconscious of being near the securis, so soon afterwards raised to fell them, and equally inaware of the culter just whetted to cut their decorated throats!

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