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Latin abbreviation - Clipeus Votivus - votive shield.


Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.

CL. V. Clipeus Votivus. The votive shield. Many of these appear on the gold and silver mintages of Augustus, including the two following:

1. Rev. -- CL. V. within a circular buckler, at each corner the initials S. P. Q. R. On one side of this round buckler is a legionary eagle, on the other a military ensign. Above and below the shield SIGNIS RECPTIS.

2. Rev. -- OB. CIVIS SERVATOS. A buckler, on which is inscribed S. P. Q. R. C. L. V. encircled by an oak wreath crown.

These CLipei Votivi (for so the abbreviation is to be expanded), are represented in various ways.

The custom of dedicating shields is a very ancient cone. Thus, Virgil (Aen. v. 286) tells, that Aeneas dedicated a shield to Apollo Actius (or at Actium) with the inscription, "Aeneas haec de Danais victoribus arma" (This is bronze armor from victorious Greeks).

Pliny records the instances of the practice in Rome itself, and adds that the ancient Trojans, and the Carthaginians were in the habit of engraving their portraits on shields (xxxv. ch. 3.) As regards the Carthaginians, the statement is confirmed by Livy (xxv. 39), who says that among the spoil was a silver shield 138 pounds in weight, with a likeness of Barcinus Hasdrubal.

In a like manner the Senate dedicated, in the curia, to Claudius Gothicus, a golden shield; on which was presented a likeness of his countenance as far as the throat," according to Trebellius Pollio; and so there is on a coin of Mescinius, struck in 16 B.C., the head of Augustus on a shield, the heads of Clementia and Moderatio are similarly exhibited on the coins of Tiberius. The joke of Cicero given by Macrobius is well-known: sing in pro-consular Asia a likeness of his brother Quintus on a shield, painted in immense proportions as far as the chest (whereas Quintus was of small stature), he exclaimed, my brother 's half length is grater than his whole.

The use, then, of these shields, was, that by being suspended in public or private locations, they might either present a likeness of an individual, and that either in painting or alto-relievo, of which were kind were the shields of Homer and Virgil, the work of Vulcan, and spoken of by Pliny (xxxv. ch. 2.); or that, by means of an inscription, the remembrance of some illustrious exploit might be transmitted to posterity.

The latter mode is frequently observed on the coins of the Emperors. Philo Judaeus has in one passage mentioned both kinds, where he says that Pilate, the prefect of Judaea, "dedicated, in the palace of Herod, which stands in the sacred city, gilded shields, exhibiting, indeed, no portrait or other device forbidden by the laws, but only the barely necessary inscription, by which to things might be understood, viz. the name of the person who dedicated them, and of the person to gratify to whom the dedication was made.

The shields of Domitian, which the Senate, on hearing of his death, caused to be pulled down from the walls of the curia, and thrown upon the ground, as Suetonius relates (in Domit. ch. 23), were doubtless distinguished with either the portrait or the names of that tyrant. To the foregoing may be added the information, which the learned interpreters of the Herculancum Antiquities have lately gathered respecting these clipei.


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