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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Personifications| ▸ |Valor and Courage||View Options:  |  |  | 

Valor and Courage (Virtus)

Virtus was a specific virtue in ancient Rome. It carried connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Virtus applied exclusively to a man's behavior in the public sphere, that is to the application of duty to the res publica in the cursus honorum. Private business was no place to earn virtus, even when it involved courage or feats of arms or other good qualities. There could be no virtue in exploiting one's manliness in the pursuit of personal wealth, for example. It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors and was personified as the deity Virtus. Virtus is depicted as a helmeted soldier, often a female, in armor holding a spear, parazonium, victory or a shield. Virtus and Mars can be distinguished since Mars is usually shown nude and Virtus is always shown clothed.

Galerius, 1 March 305 - 5 May 311 A.D.

|Galerius|, |Galerius,| |1| |March| |305| |-| |5| |May| |311| |A.D.||follis|
Virtus was a specific virtue in ancient Rome. It carried connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Virtus applied exclusively to a man's behavior in the public sphere, that is to the application of duty to the res publica in the cursus honorum. Private business was no place to earn virtus, even when it involved courage or feats of arms or other good qualities. There could be no virtue in exploiting one's manliness in the pursuit of personal wealth, for example. It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors and was personified as the deity Virtus.
RT96899. Billon follis, RIC VI Cyzicus 59, SRCV IV 14578, Cohen VII 231, Hunter V -, gVF, well centered, sharp portrait detail, flow lines, porosity, pin-prick pitting on reverse, reverse die wear, edge slightly ragged, weight 5.856 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint mint, Group IV, Class II, 309-10 A.D.; obverse GAL MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse VIRTVTI EXERCITVS (courage of the army), Virtus advancing right in military dress, spear in right hand, trophy over shoulder and shield in left, A - * across fields, MKV in exergue; scarce; $80.00 (€65.60)
 


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

|Gallienus|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Mars is usually depicted nude and Virtus in military garb, but this figure is identified as Mars because it appears to be male.
RA94172. Billon antoninianus, Göbl MIR 636a, RSC IV 1322, Cunetio 1278, Normanby 264, SRCV III 10416, RIC V-1 S330 (S) corr. (obv. leg.), Hunter IV - (p. lxiv), aVF, tight flan cutting off much of legend, ragged edge, weight 1.953 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, 10th offficina, Rome mint, 261 - 262 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse VIRTVS AVGVSTI (to the valor of the Emperor), Mars (or Virtus) standing left, helmeted, right foot on helmet, wearing military garb, olive branch in right hand, inverted spear in left, foot on helmet, X left; scarce; $60.00 (€49.20)
 


Romano-British Empire, Carausius, Mid 286 - Spring or Early Summer 293 A.D.

|Carausius|, |Romano-British| |Empire,| |Carausius,| |Mid| |286| |-| |Spring| |or| |Early| |Summer| |293| |A.D.||antoninianus|
Virtus was a specific virtue in ancient Rome. It carried connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Virtus applied exclusively to a man's behavior in the public sphere, that is to the application of duty to the res publica in the cursus honorum. Private business was no place to earn virtus, even when it involved courage or feats of arms or other good qualities. There could be no virtue in exploiting one's manliness in the pursuit of personal wealth, for example. It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors and was personified as the deity Virtus.
RA73256. Billon antoninianus, Webb Carausius 1172, RIC V-2 1040 (R), Hunter IV -, SRCV IV -, Burton Latimer -, Bicester -, F, green patina, obverse slightly off center, earthen deposits, scratches, weight 2.586 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 225o, unmarked mint, c. mid 286 - 287; obverse IMP CARAVSIVS P AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVG (courage of the Emperor), Virtus (or Mars) standing right, helmeted and draped, spear vertical in left hand, right hand resting on large grounded shield, no mint marks; from the Charles Peters Carausius Collection; rare; $50.00 (€41.00)
 







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