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A cippus is a low, round or rectangular pedestal set up by the Ancient Romans for purposes such as a milestone or a boundary post. They were also used for somewhat differing purposes by the Etruscans and Carthaginians.


Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
CIPPUS, a raised stone on which was placed an inscription to preserve the memory of some event. The cippus differed from the column, inasmuch as it was smaller, and of a square form, whilst the column was round, large, and lofty. These cippi served for many purposes, both religious and secular, sometimes marking a place of family sepulture, at others standing as termini or boundary stones. The form and ornaments of some of these, particularly as represented on coins, have caused them often to be mistaken for altars. They are placed sometimes alone in the field of a medal, charged with an inscription; in others they are placed near a deity, who generally rests him or herself against it. On the occasion of the civic crown having been voted by the Senate of Rome to be placed before the portal of Augustus 's palace, in commemoration of his services as the great preserver and pacificator of the state, L. Mescinius Rufus, one of the monetary triumvirs of that emperor, dedicated a coin to him with the vote from S. P. Q. R. inscribed on a cippus. In like manner we read on another coin of the same emperor, on a cippus, IMP. CAES. AVG. COMM. CONS. Imperatori Caesari Augusto Communi Consensu.----See p. 108 of this dictionary.

On another cippus, above which stands a helmeted Mars, with spear and parazonium, is inscribed
S P Q R V P RED CAES Senatus Populusque Romanus Votum Pro Reditu Caesaris. On another, PRO SALute ET REDitu AUGusti.----A third reads, IMP CAES AVG LVD SAEC. Imperator Caesar Augustus Ludos Saeculares. The manner in which all these cippi were erected by Mescinius Rufus, to preserve the memory of events, under Augustus, is to be seen on the coins of that emperor, and of the Mescinia family.----So also those cippi which commemorate the Secular Games are observed, not only on Augustus 's coins, but also on those of Domitian and of Severus. Thus an aureus of Domitian exhibits a cippus, with LVD SAEC FEC COS XIIII within a laurel wreath. Silver and brass coins of the two Philips, and Otacilia Severa, have cippi with inscriptions allusive to the Games celebrated by the elder Philip, in the year of Rome 1000 (A.D. 248).----See SAECVLARES AVGG.

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