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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.

Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

|Gallienus|, |Gallienus,| |August| |253| |-| |September| |268| |A.D.||sestertius|
Felicitas was the goddess or personification of happiness, good fortune, and success. She played an important role in Rome's state religion during the empire and was frequently portrayed on coins. On this coin she holds the caduceus, a symbol of peace, and the cornucopia, a symbol of prosperity.
SH110382. Orichalcum sestertius, Gbl MIR 83s, RIC V-1 J249, Cohen V 1298, Hunter IV J33 var. (obv. leg. no P F); SRCV III 10495 var. (same), Choice VF, superb portrait, well centered on a squared unusually full flan, double strike, weight 22.146 g, maximum diameter 32.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 255 - 256 A.D.; obverse IMP C P LIC GALLIENVS P F AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder and back; reverse VIRTVS AVGG (the virtue of the two emperors), Virtus standing front, head left, wearing crested helmet and military garb, right hand resting on grounded oval shield, inverted spear in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across the field below center; ex Leu Numismatik auction 17 (14 Aug 2021), lot 2813; $1000.00 SALE PRICE $800.00


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, Gbl 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; $50.00 SALE PRICE $45.00


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

|Antoninus| |Pius|, |Antoninus| |Pius,| |August| |138| |-| |7| |March| |161| |A.D.||dupondius|
Honos was the god of chivalry, honor and military justice. He was usually depicted in art with a spear and a cornucopia. He was sometimes identified with Virtus.
SH68901. Bronze dupondius, RIC III 802, BMCRE IV 1738, Cohen II 415, SRCV II -, EF, beautiful green patina, well centered, weight 12.822 g, maximum diameter 25.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 145 - 147 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P, radiate head right; reverse HONORI AVG COS IIII, Honos standing facing, head left, togate, branch in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; a very attractive coin!; SOLD


Roman Republic, Mn. Aquillius Mn.f. Mn. n., 71 B.C.

|99-50| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Mn.| |Aquillius| |Mn.f.| |Mn.| |n.,| |71| |B.C.||denarius| |serratus|
Man. Aquillius (the moneyer's grandfather) was consul in 101 B.C. and sent as proconsul to end the second slave war in Sicily. He succeeded the next year and this coin type commemorates his valor (Virtus). Perhaps it is not just the moneyers ancestry that inspired this type; it was struck at the time of the famous slave war led by Spartacus. We can only speculate - was it minted before the defeat of Spartacus, when Rome was trembling, to inspire the valor required for victory; or was it minted after victory, to commemorate valor in both wars. It is also the first time the III VIR triumviral title appears on coinage.
SH42475. Silver denarius serratus, SRCV I 336, Sydenham 798, Crawford 401/1, RSC I Aquillia 2, aEF, luster, weight 3.946 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 71 B.C.; obverse helmeted and draped bust of Virtus right, III VIR (tresvir) behind, VIRTVS before; reverse Mn. Aquillius, consul 101 B.C., standing facing in military dress, head right, with right hand raising kneeling and slumped Sicilia, shield in left hand, MN AQVIL on right, MN F MN N on left, SICIL in exergue; SOLD







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Catalog current as of Monday, November 28, 2022.
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