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XXI

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CONSECRATIO
















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CONSECRATIO.----On a reverse of a first brass struck in honour of Marcus Aurelius, after his death, A.D. 180, the type is a funeral pile of four stories, the basement ornamented with festoons; the upper tiers adorned with statues, and at the summit an imperial quadriga. On the obverse the head of that emperor is represented under the features of an old man, with this legend:    DIVVS Marcus ANTONINVS PIVS.

The Rogus, or Funeral Pile, is described by Dion, as “a structure in the form of a turret, with three stories, of ivory and gold, and ornamented with statues.” Herodian describes it as a mass of quadrangular shape, filled at the bottom

with combustibles, on which again a second tier was placed of similar form and appearance, but narrower and furnished with openings; to this a third and a fourth were added, each gradually diminishing in size, till the whole resembled a watch-tower.”

The ceremony of consecration was very solemn and imposing. After the body had been clothed in the habiliments of death, it was placed on a bed of ivory; young men, chosen from the equestrian order, bore it on their shoulders to the pile. The corpse being then introduced into the second layer or story, it was surrounded with aromatics and precious balms. The usual ceremonies being completed, a torch was applied, and the mass was consumed. After this apotheosis, the deceased emperor or empress had temples, altars, and priests dedicated to his or her honour, and the same worship was paid to the defunct, as paganism rendered to its gods and goddesses; whilst the Augusti, or Augustae, were thenceforth called DIVI and DIVAE. The form of the rogus, described as above by ancient writers, is brought to our view, with remarkable clearness, on numerous coins.     “Amongst these,” adds Eckhel, “there is one which I am told, stands conspicuous. This is a Julia Maesa, discovered at Rome; respecting which its then possessor, Viscount Ennius, a renowned antiquary, wrote to Garampi, papal nuncio at Vienna, that it is so well executed, and in such high preservation, that in the second layer of the funeral pile, the corpse of the empress is seen recumbent on a bed; a minute particular, never before distinguished in the monetal representation of these funeral structures.”

CONSECRATIO.----The emperor seated on an eagle, holds a scepter. Below, in a recumbent posture, is a female figure, personifying the Earth. This elegant, remarkable, and very rare type, appears on a brass medallion of Antoninus Pius, edited by Venuti, from the Mus. Albani, I. 26, i.----See an engraving of it p. 248.

CONSECRATIO.----An eagle, with expanded wings, standing on a globe, which is ornamented with stars.

This very finely executed large brass coin, of which the above described forms the legend and type of reverse, was struck to celebrate the consecration of Lucius Verus, associate in the empire with Marcus Aurelius, whose own benignity of disposition was so great (says the historian Capitolinus), that he always concealed and excused, so far as he was able, the vices of Verus, although they extremely displeased him; and that he caused him, after death, to be called Divus, and to be honoured with all the marks of worship usually decreed to consecrated emperors. See an engraving of this inserted in p. 249.

CONSECRATIO. S.C.----Eagle on a globe.----Obv.----DIVO. ANTONINO. MAGNO.----Bare head of Caracalla. On silver and large brass.

“These coins (observes the author of Lecons de Numismatique Romaine) may well excite astonishment. What! (he exclaims) were the honours of consecration and the title of “Great” conferred upon a monster, abhorred by all honest and good men? But it must be borne in mind, that his death was regretted by the soldiers; and to make friends of them, the Senate and Macrinus both stooped to this base flattery. Caracalla had foolishly presumed to compare himself with Alexander the Great.”

CONSECRATIO.----Empress in a quadriga, a female guides the horses at full speed.----Obv.----DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA.----For an engraving of this beautiful and rare gold coin, see Faustina senior.

CONSECRATIO.----Eagle standing with expanded wings, on a scepter. Gold and first brass of Marciana. The former engraved in Akerman. i. 226. pl. vi. No. 1.

CONSECRATIO.----Eagle with expanded wings.    Silver.----See Matidia.

CONSECRATIO.----Hadrian holding a scepter, borne by an eagle in full flight.    Gold.----Engraved in Akerman, i. p. 231, pl. vi. No. 3.

CONSECRATIO.----Sabina on an eagle.----First brass. Engraved in p. 250.

CONSECRATIO.----Empress on a peacock.----Silver.-----See Mariniana.

CONSECRATIO.----Do. Silver. See Paulina.

CONSECRATIO.----Eagle with expanded wings. Small brass.-----See Nigrinianus.


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