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Cornucopia

A funnel-shaped container used to store fruits and vegetables, usually for decorative more so than practical purposes. Symbolically representative of plentiful resources.


Encyclopedia of Roman Coins






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


CORNUCOPIA.----- This well-known, and, on coins, often recurring symbol of abundance, fecundity, fertility, and happiness, is by some mythological writers identified with the horn of Amalthea, the nurse of Jupiter, and from which horn fruits and flowers, and all the riches of nature and art, and represented as issuing.

Others pretend that it was the horn which Hercules tore from the head of Archelous, in his encounter with that protean monster, and which the nymphs picked up and converted into the horn of plenty.

This ornament appears on a variety of antique monuments, both sculptural and numismatic. It is (says Millin, Dictionaire des Beaux Arts), the characteristic attribute of Euthemia, a goddess of the Greeks; Abundantia of the Romans; to mark the fertility which they produce.

Cornucopia, filled with fruits, or enclosed within a wreath, formed of corn-ears and flowers, appear either as the symbol of the monetal triumvirs, denoting the abundance of all things, to be supplied by means of money, or as the symbol of the curule ediles, and are found on coins of the AEmilia, Annia, Carisia, Claudia, Fabia, Livineia, Mussidia, Julia, and Statilia families. It is also displayed on coins of Lepidus, Domitian, Hadrian, and others. It is likewise seen on a denarius of Augustus, placed on the back of a Capricorn, which holds between its fore feet a globe and rudder.

Also on a little pillar, as in M. Aurelius. The horn is filled with money, which a woman is pouring out, as in Abundantia, Liberalitas, etc.
 Cornucopia and balance appear on a coin of Hadrian. It is seen on the curule chair, as in Julius Caesar, Augustus, and Titus: also with the caduceus, rudder, globe, and apex, as on silver of Julius Caesar.

For a cornucopia, with thunderbolt at the back of it, see Fabia gens.

The horn of plenty in the hands of Abundantia appears on coins of Julia Mamaea, Trajanus Decius, Gallienus, Salonina, Tetricus senior and junior.

Cornucopia is seen in the hands of Aequitas, or of Moneta, on coins of the imperial series, from Vitellius to Honorius. In those of Aeternitas on a coin of Titus

Cornucopia is seen in the hands of Africa, as in Hadrian and Constantine the Great

Cornucopia is seen in the hands of Annona, as in Nero, Titus, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antonine, M. Aurelius, Commodus, Severus, Caracalla, Alexander Severus, etc. It is an attribute of Asia, as in Claudius

Cornucopia is seen in the hands of of Ceres, as in Faustina jun. and Domna

Cornucopia is seen in the hands of Concordia, as in denarii of the Aemilia family, and of Mark Antony, Caligula, Nero, Galba, Vitellius, Titus, Domitian, Trajan, Sabina, and many others of the Augusti and Augustae, as far down as the age of Constantine and his family.

 
 

Two Cornucopias, with a caduceus between them, form a symbolical type on a coin of Drusus junior, elegantly allusive to the fecundity, and consequent happiness, of the imperial family. The heads of the two infants- represented on the large brass from which the above cut is engraved, and which, instead of the usual issue of corn-ears, fruits, and flowers, surmount each horn typified on this coin are those of the twin children, to whom young Livia, wife of Drusus, son of Tiberius, gave birth in the year of Rome 776 (A.D. 23), to the exceeding great joy of that emperor, who notified the auspicious event, in rapturous terms, to the Senate; and by their ordinance the piece was struck, Drusus Caesar then exercising the tribunician power for the second time, as the legend of reverse sets forth.

Double Cornucopias fastened together, most commonly brimful of fruits, exhibit themselves on Latin coins of Julius Caesar, Livia, Tiberius, Domitian, Antonine.

Two Cornucopias, with a winged caduceus between them, appear on medals of Augustus, M. Antony, Tiberius, Claudius, Titus, Domitian, &c.---- A duplex horn of plenty, on which a woman is seated, presents itself on a coin of Trajan, and on another of Antoninus Pius.
The Cornucopia is held by Constantia on coins of Caligula, Antonia minor, and Claudius

The Cornucopia is held in the hands of Fecunditas, on medals of the Empresses Julia Maesa, Orbiana, Mamaea, Etruscilla, Salonina, and Severina
 
The Cornucopia is held in the hands of of Felicitas, as in Galba, Vespasian, and many of the succeeding Emperors to Constantine the Great.
 
The Cornucopia is held in the hands of Fides Publica, on coins of Vespasian, Volusianus, Carausius
 
The Cornucopia is held in the hands of a recumbent River God, as in Domitian, Trajan, Hadrian, Aelius Caesar, Commodus, etc.

The Cornucopia is held in the hands of the goddess Fortune, on imperial medals from Augustus to Constantius Chlorus.

The cornucopia appears in the left hand of the personified Genii of the Roman People, Emperors, and Colonies, on numerous coins, as well consular as imperial----such as those of Cornelia gens; and of Nero, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Commodus, Albinus, Severus, Licinius senior, Domitius Domitianus, Constantius Magnus, etc. See GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, GENIO AVGVSTI, etc. in this volume.

The Cornucopia appears in the hands of Gallia, personified on coins of Gallienus and Postumus----of Honos (the God of Honour), as in Galba, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, Antonine, and M. Aurelius---of Italia, as in the Fusia and Mucia families, and on the imperials of Vespasian, Titus, Hadrian, Antonine, &c.----of Laetitia, as in Hadrian, M. Aurelius, Faustina jun., Lucilla, Commodus, &c.----of Liberalitas, as in Hadrian, Antonine, M. Aurelius, L. Verus, &c.----of Felicitas Temporum and of Libertas, as in Vespasian, Antoninus, Severus, &c.----of Pax, as in Augustus, Galba, Vespasian, &c.---- of Pietas, as in Mark Antony, Trajan, the Faustinae, &c.----of Providentia, as in M. Aurelius, and other emperors as far as Constantine M.----of Roma, as in Hadrian, Commodus, Probus, &c.----of Salus, as in M. Aurelius, Valerian, &c.----of Securitas, as in Trajan, Hadrian, Decius, Gallienus----of Utilitas Publica, on a coin of Constantine the Great.

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