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XXI

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DECENNALIA

Latin: Tenth anniversary of rule.


Excerpts from Spink and Son 's Monthly Numismatic Circular, January 1899, Modified to Optimize NumisWiki Links.

Gibbon called the festival of the Decennalia a comedy because it owed its origin to the custom of Octavius in repeatedly refusing to receive the supreme power for more than ten years. All the Emperors who reigned long enough celebrated these festivals, and many of their coins bear legends which refer to this custom. The following is a list of the principal legends:

VOT DECEN TR P etc., Pertinax.
VOTA SOL DEC II COS IIII, Antoninus Pius.
VOTA DEC ANN SVSC TR P etc., Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius and Commodus
VOTA SOL DECENN COS III, Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius and Commodus
VOTA SOLVTA DECENNALIVM, Marcus Aurelius, Marcus Aurelius and Commodus
VOTA SOLVT DEC COS III, Septimius Severus and Caracalla.
VOTA SVSCEPTA X , Septimius Severus and Caracalla.
VOTA SVSCEP DECEN, Commodus and Septimius Severus.
VOTA SVSCEPT A DECENNALIA, Septimius Severus.
VOTIS DECENNALIBVS, Septimius Severus, Maximinus I, Balbinus, Pupienus, Gordian III, Philip I, Philip II, Trajan Decius, Herennius Etruscus, Hostilian, Trebonianus Gallus, Volusian, Aemilian, Valerian I, Gallienus, Tetricus
VOTIS DECENNALIA, Gallienus
VOTIS DECENNALIB, Gallienus
VOT X is found on the coins of Constantius I Chlorus, Galeria Valeria, Maximinus II Daza, Constantine II, Valentinian II.
VOT X AVG N, Constantine I.
VOT X CAES, Constantius II.
VOT X CAESS, Galerius, Maximianus and Severus II.
VOT X CAESS NN, Maximinus II Daza.
VOT X FEL, Maxentius.
We also find VOT X combined with other numbers as VOT X ET XV, Licinius II.
VOT X ET XV F R T, Constantine II.
VOT X ET XV FEL, Licinius I.
VOT X ET XX, Gallienus.
VOT X M XX, Diocletian.
VOT X MVL XX, Constantine I.
VOT X MVLT XV, Valens, Gratian, Theodosius.
VOT X MVLT XX, Diocletian, Licinius, Julian II, Jovian, Valentinian I, Valens, Gratian, Valentinian II, Theodosius, Honorius, Valentinian III.

...The crown on these late coins must not be confounded with those seen on the coins of the early Emperors associated with the legend OB CIVIS SERVATOS, which represented the civic crowns once given for having saved the life of a citizen. The crowns on these late coins represent the golden triumphal crowns such as were sent from the provinces to a general as soon as they heard a triumph had been decreed to him or whenever any great festival was held.

In the earlier days these were gratuitous presents, but in the time of Constantine the wreaths were exacted as a tribute under the name "aurum coronarium" (Cod. Theod., 10, tit. 74). These coins bearing a crown and VOT. XXX illustrate several passages in the writings of Eusebius. In the prologue of his Oration he speaks
of the act of writing the oration itself as "a weaving of tricennial crowns."

In his life of Constantine ( c. I, lib. 1.) "We have woven as it were garlands of words wherewith to encircle his sacred head."

In chapter VI of the Oration he writes:

"And God Himself as an earnest of future reward assigns to him now, as it were tricennial crowns composed of prosperous periods of time; and now after the revolution of three circles of ten years, He grants permission to all mankind to celebrate this general, nay rather this universal festival."

This was written in the year 335 A.D. The Vicennalia of Constantine were therefore celebrated in the year of the Council of Nicaea, 325 A.D. Hence we know the dates of his coins bearing the numbers of these festivals VOT XX or XXX.


DICTIONARY OF ROMAN COINS




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

DECENNALIA. A gold medallion of Constants presents on its reverse the legend FELICIA DECENNALIA and the elegant type of two young genii, or winged boys, supporting between them, in their hands, a crown, in which are inscribed VOTIS X MVLTIS XX, that is to say, Votis Decennalibus, Multis Vicennalibus. In the exergue TES, signifying that it was minted at Thessalonica.

The fact that decennial vows were reckoned as accomplished, not a the beginning but at the termination of the tenth year of an emperor 's reign, is shown by numismatic inscriptions, concurrently with the voice of antiquity.

In a like manner the Vicennalia or VOT XX were accomplished at the expiration of the the twentieth year of a reign, and after each had, in a happy manner, came to pass, it was usual to record them as VOTIS VICENNALIBVS in a laurel crown.



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