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Aes Formatum
Aes Rude
The Age of Gallienus
Alexander Tetradrachms
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
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Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Danubian Celts
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Denarii of Otho
Diameter 101
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Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
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Etruscan Alphabet
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Julian II: The Beard and the Bull
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Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
     Tropaeum. -- Trophy, formed of the spoils
taken from the enemy, and set up as a public
monument. Trophies, equally by the Romans
and the Greeks, were esteemed as the rewards
and insignia of victories. In the earlier ages
they consisted simply of a trunk of a tree, to
which a little below the top another piece of
wood was fastened crosswise, and set up on the
field of battle immediately after a victory ; this
was adorned with spoils, or the armour of the
vanquished, customarily a cuirass, a helmet, and
a buckler. -- The first trophy of which the Roman
history makes mention is the one erected by C.
Flaminius, in the year 224 B.C. , it is affirmed
to have been of gold, and was placed in the
Capitol. -- Florus, in recording this fact, also
speaks of two other trophies, raised a hundred
years after, in their war with the Allobroges by
Domitius Aenobarbus and Fabius Maximus, at
the confluence of the Isere with the Rhone. To
this day there are to be seen at Rome two
trophies in marble, believed to have been
erected by Marius, in commemoration of his
double victory over Jugurtha and over the
Cimbri, of which Suetonius speaks. In the
latter period of the republic, the Romans were
in the habit of carrying trophies before the car
of the triumpher. And when it was the object
to render these symbols of victory more durable,
they were constructed of stone, marble, brass,
and any other solid material, dedicated to some
divinity, and inscribed with the details of the
victory gained. -- From the time of Augustus,
who caused a trophy to the glory of the Roman
arms to be raised on the Alps, monuments of this
description multiplied greatly. The Trajan and
Antonine columns are, in fact, trophies on a grand
scale. -- Spanheim, in his notes on the Caesars
of Julian, has given a representation (finely
engraved by Picard) of one of those magnificient
trophies which still exist at Rome, and which
are ascribed to Trajan. It is in this example
that we see the rough trunk of a tree, surmounted with a helmet, enriched with sculpture, and covered with a chlamys ; it is furthermore decorated with quivers, arrows, and bucklers, held by winged figures of sphinxes, tritons, centaurs, etc.
     Trophies are frequently represented on denarii
of the Roman moneyers. Sometimes these objects
are exhibited with other military insignia --
namely, darts, shields, and litui, as may be
seen on coins of the Julia moneyer ; at other
times they are accompanied with figures of
kneeling captives, bound to the same trophies,
as in medals of the Cornelia Fundania, Junia,
and Servilia moneyers. Again we see trophies
crowned by Victory, as in Fundania, and
Memmia, or by the Genius of Rome, as in
Furia. (Spanheim, Pr. ii. 220). -- For an historical
explanation of the trophies engraved on
certain denarii of the Cornelia family, see the
word Sulla.
     Trophies are typified on Roman coins, in vast
numbers, both of the early and lower empire,
from Julius to Gallienus. If the oject were to
commemorate a victory over the barbarians, it
is signified by the figure of Victory herself
adorning the oaken trunk with the arms of the
conquered tribes.
     A trophy formed of a suit of body armour,
to which are suspended a buckler and a military
lituus, one on the right, the other on the
left arm of its cross-piece -- there is an axe
and the word CAESAR on the field of a gold
coin of Julius Caesar. -- A splendid trophy
within a temple of two columns appears on a
gold medal of Augustus. -- That trophies were
used for ornaments to triumphal arches is shown
on a large brass of Nero Claudius Drusus,
brother of the emperor Tiberius. -- On medals
of Trajan, we see Mars Gradivus carrying a
trophy on his shoulder, composed sometimes of
a cuirass and buckler, at others simply of a
cuirass. -- Two trophies finely decorated with
armour of the enemy are seen on coins of
Trajan ; in one of these types the emperor
stands between them.
     For an explenation of the trophy and accompanying figures on the reverse of a denarius of the Aemilia family, struck in honour of the Consul Aemilius Paullus : see TER PAVLLVS.

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