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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; $900.00 (909.00)


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; $45.00 (45.45)


Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.

|Vespasian|, |Vespasian,| |1| |July| |69| |-| |24| |June| |79| |A.D.||sestertius|
Vespasian could speak of Rome rising again in his reign; for he signally adorned her with new edifices and repaired old buildings, which had been damaged through neglect in prior times or from the ravages of fires under Nero and Vitellius. Vespasian estimated it would cost no less than 400 million aurei to restore the city. Even its inviolable Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus had been burned to the ground in the last days of Vitellius' regime. Tacitus remarked in his Annals (xv.41), "quamvis in tanta RESVRGENTIS VRBIS pulchitudine multa seniores meminerant, quoe reparari neguibant" (Although such a great number of works beautifully restored the city, elders remembered as much that could not be repaired).
RB63451. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 195 (same dies), BMCRE II 565 (same dies), Cohen I 424, gF, weight 22.81 g, maximum diameter 33.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 71 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M TR P P P COS III, laureate head right, aegis on far shoulder; reverse ROMA RESVRGES (Rome rising again), Vespasian standing left, togate, extending his hand and raising Roma (the city) who kneels right before him; armed Virtus (or Roma the goddess) stands right in the background behind, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; rare (RIC R2); SOLD


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

|Probus|, |Probus,| |Summer| |276| |-| |September| |282| |A.D.||antoninianus|
A very rare, fine style bust type, unlisted in RIC, and only known from two other coins: a die match listed by Bastien, and a different die with different obverse legend in the Philippe Gysen collection.
SH30384. Billon antoninianus, RIC V-2 435 var. (bust type not listed in RIC); obverse die match illustrated in Bastien's Buste Monetaire... pl. 126 number 11, aEF, weight 3.754 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, obverse IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, radiate bust left, wearing cuirass, aegis on chest, Victory in right hand; reverse VIRTVS AVG (the valor of the Emperor), Virtus standing left, Victory presenting wreath extended in right, leaning on spear and grounded shield with left, QXXT in exergue; extremely rare; SOLD


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


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

|Nero|, |Nero,| |13| |October| |54| |-| |9| |June| |68| |A.D.||denarius|
In 60 A.D., King Prasutagus of the Celtic Iceni tribe died and left his kingdom to his two daughters and to Nero as co-heir and protector. Instead his kingdom in East Anglia was annexed and plundered as if conquered. Prasutagus' widow, Boudica, was flogged and forced to witness the public rape of their daughters. Tribal chiefs lost their land. Boudica, along with the Iceni, Cornovii, Durotriges and Trinovantes tribes revolted and defeated Legio IX Hispana. They sacked and destroyed Camulodunum (modern Colchester), Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St Albans). Thousands of Roman civilians were slaughtered. Boudica and the tribes were defeated in 61 A.D. According to Tacitus, she died by poisoning herself so she would not be enslaved. Cassius Dio, on the other hand, says simply that she "fell sick and died."
SH56868. Silver denarius, RIC I 26; RSC II 220, BMCRE I p. 204 note, VF, weight 3.314 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 60 - 61 A.D.; obverse NERO CAESAR AVG IMP, bare head right; reverse PONTIF MAX TR P VII COS IIII P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for 7 years, consul for the 4th time, father of the country), Virtus standing left, foot on pile of arms, parazonium in right, spear vertical behind in left, EX - S C (by special decree of the Senate) flanking across the field; uncleaned find patina, scattered marks, banker's mark on obverse, ex CNG; rare (RIC R3); SOLD


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

|Hadrian|, |Hadrian,| |11| |August| |117| |-| |10| |July| |138| |A.D.||sestertius|
In 127, Hadrian returned to Rome after a seven year journey visiting the Roman provinces.
SH57712. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 638, Choice VF, weight 24.663 g, maximum diameter 32.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 125 - 128 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate bust right, hint of drapery on far shoulder; reverse COS III S C, Virtus standing left in military garb, parazonium in right, spear vertical behind in left; a beautiful big bronze!; SOLD







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