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Sceptrum, scepter an ancient ornament held
by kings in their right hand when they performed
any of the important functions attached
to royalty, especially when they administered
justice. -- The scepter is, on coins, the sign of
divinity, and particularly an attribute of Jupiter.
Tarquin is said to have been the first who carried
a golden scepter surmounted by an eagle ; and the
Romans, who invested their consul with regal
power and authority, added to other marks of
dignity enjoyed by those chief magistrates of
the republic a kind of scepter called scipio (see the
word). -- It served afterwards to designate imperial
power. -- Jobert observes that on medallions,
and even on the smaller coins of the lower empire,
the Augusti, when represented in the consular
habit, hold the scepter ; and it is thus that
almost all the Constantinopolitan emperors appear.
The scepter is surmounted by a globe, on which
an eagle is placed, to show by these tokens of
sovereignty that the prince governs by himself.
From the time of Augustus this consular scepter
of which we speak is seen on medals of the
Imperial series. -- "Phocas (adds the same author)
was the first who caused the cross [which sacred
symbol of Christianity, by the way, he insulted
by his murderous ingratitude to an earthly
benefactor] to be added to his scepter ; his successors relinquished the scepter altogether, in order to hold in their hands nothing but crosses of
different forms and sizes."
The Scepter appears in the hands respectively
of Cybele, Jupiter, Juno, Mars, Pallas, The
Sun, Venus, Vesta, Aeternitas, Pax, Pietas,
Pudicitia, Salus, Securitas, Arabia, Asia, Italia,
and Macedonia, with their deities and personifications,
on numerous coins of emperors and
also on several coins of Roman moneyers.
The Scepter is seen in the hand of the emperor,
on medals throughout nearly the whole
series from Augustus to Johannis Comnenis.
It also appears in the hand of other figures on
various moneyer coins and many imperial medals
from Julius Caesar to Honorius.
A Scepter, on whose point a globe and an
eagle appear, being the sign of empire acquired
by arms, is often observed in the hand of
emperors whose effigies are adorned with a breastplate.
A Scepter, to which a laurel crown, a globe,
and a rudder are added, on a denarius of the
moneyer Cornelia, indicates the sovereign power
of the Romans, since kings for the sake of
majesty used the scepter. The globe is displayed
to signify the earth, as the rudder does the sea,
over both which the Roman empire extended
itself. Moreover, the Corona laurea is united
to the Scepter to denote that the power of Rome
was strengthened by victories.
A Scepter and a peacock on a lectisternium
form the type of the reverse on a coin of
Faustina senior, allusive to her consecration.