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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Personifications| ▸ |Roma||View Options:  |  |  |   

Roma on Ancient Coins

Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. The earliest certain cult to dea Roma was established at Smyrna in 195 B.C., probably to mark the successful alliance against Antiochus III. In 30/29 B.C., the Koinon of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to honor Augustus as a living god. "Republican" Rome despised the worship of a living man, but an outright refusal might offend their loyal allies. A cautious formula was drawn up, non-Romans could only establish a cult for divus Augustus jointly with dea Roma. In the city of Rome itself, the earliest known state cult to dea Roma was combined with Venus at the Hadrianic Temple of Venus and Roma. This was the largest temple in the city, probably dedicated to inaugurate the reformed festival of Parilia, which was known thereafter as the Romaea after the Eastern festival in Roma's honor. The temple contained the seated, Hellenised image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.


Balbinus, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.

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Balbinus was elected along with Pupienus to end the reign of the brutal Maximinus. A military stalemate ensued, until Maximinus was murdered by his own troops. The population and the Praetorian guard held little respect for the two ex-senators, however, and they were murdered after a reign of only 99 days.
SH92723. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 11; BMCRE VI 71; RSC III 6, Hunter III 5, SRCV III 8485, Choice EF, superb portrait, superb strike with full boarders centering on a broad flan, dark old cabinet toning, flow lines, edge slightly ragged as expected for the type, weight 4.423 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES D CAEL BALBINVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FIDES MVTVA AVGG, clasped hands; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 59 (11 Jul 2019), lot 907; ex CNG, Classical Numismatic Review XLIII.2 (Aug 2018), no. 482057; Aureo & Calico auction 241 (8 Feb 2012), lot 355; ex Imagines Imperatorum Collection; $1600.00 (1408.00)


Roman Republic, M. Tullius, 120 B.C.

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The wreath might represent an eclipse that occurred on 11 November 120 B.C., which the Romans declared indicated divine support for their recent victories in southern France. The reverse more likely commemorates the victories of Servius Tullius, the moneyer's ancestor, over the Sabines. He was the first Roman to be awarded the laurel wreath. The mark of value (X) on the reverse is very unusual.
RR92757. Silver denarius, SRCV I 155, Sydenham 531, Crawford 280/1, RSC I Tullia 1, Choice aEF, beautiful style, attractive iridescent toning, light marks, weight 3.924 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 120 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Roma right, ROMA behind; reverse Victory in a quadriga right, reins in both hands, palm frond in left, wreath above, X below, MTVLLI in exergue; $350.00 (308.00)


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.

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Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. The earliest certain cult to dea Roma was established at Smyrna in 195 B.C., probably to mark the successful alliance against Antiochus III. In 30/29 B.C., the Koinon of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to honor Augustus as a living god. "Republican" Rome despised the worship of a living man, but an outright refusal might offend their loyal allies. A cautious formula was drawn up, non-Romans could only establish a cult for divus Augustus jointly with dea Roma. In the city of Rome itself, the earliest known state cult to dea Roma was combined with Venus at the Hadrianic Temple of Venus and Roma. This was the largest temple in the city, probably dedicated to inaugurate the reformed festival of Parilia, which was known thereafter as the Romaea after the Eastern festival in Roma's honor. The temple contained the seated, Hellenized image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.
RB91587. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE IV 1417, SRCV II 4976, RIC III 1033 var. (no drapery), Cohen III 281 var. (same), Hunter II 163 var. (same), MIR 18 232-6/30 var. (same), VF, nice portrait, green patina, tight flan, light marks, slight porosity, weight 23.418 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 171 - Dec 172 A.D.; obverse M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXVI, laureate head right, slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse IMP VI COS III (imperator 6 times, consul 3 times), Roma seated left on low seat, helmeted and draped, Victory in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, oval shield at side ornamented with head of Medusa, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field at center; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $190.00 (167.20)


Roman Republic, Ti. Minucius C.f. Augurinus, 134 B.C.

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In 135 B.C., the First Servile War began. After the Second Punic war, an over-abundance of slaves caused them to be ill-fed by their masters, and they soon began to provide for themselves by robbery. Several decades of increasing tension finally broke out into war. The rebel leader was Eunus, a slave whose master had hired him out as a magician for parties. Eunus would humorously tell his audiences that he was a prophet, that someday he would be king, the classes would be reversed, and aristocrats would killed or enslaved - except for those that tipped him for the show. During the revolt he did spare the lives of at least some aristocrats who had tipped him. The war lasted until 132 B.C. Eunus was captured, but he died before he could be punished. This was the first of three slave revolts against the Roman Republic; the last and the most famous was led by Spartacus.
RR92161. Silver denarius, Crawford 243/1, Sydenham 494, BMCRR Rome 1005, RSC I Minucia 9, Russo RBW 212, SRCV I 120, aEF, light marks, slightly off center, reverse die wear, small edge splits/cracks, weight 3.356 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 270o, Rome mint, 134 B.C.; obverse helmeted head of Rome right, X (XVI monogram, mark of value) behind; reverse Ionic column surmounted by statue between two togate figures facing center, RO-MA divided above, TI MINVCI downward on left, AVGRINI downward on right; ex CGB Numismatique Paris; $165.00 (145.20)


Maxentius, February 307 - 28 October 312 A.D.

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With the legend CONSERV VRB SVAE, Maxentius declares he is the Savior of the City (Rome), protecting its customs and privileges.
RT91637. Billon follis, RIC VI Ticinum 108, SRCV IV 14995, Cohen VII 39, Hunter V 8 var. (2nd officina), aEF, attractive toned brown surfaces, tight flan, slightly uneven strike with exergue weak, weight 5.292 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 309 - 310 A.D.; obverse IMP C MAXENTIVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse CONSERVAT VRB SVAE (Guardian of the city traditions), Roma seated facing in ornate hexastyle temple (on left), head left, holding globe in right hand, to her right Victory stands left offering a wreath with right hand, holding palm frond in left hand, pediment empty, knobs as acroteria, P T in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $160.00 (140.80)


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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Constantine is most famous for leading the Empire to Christianity. Before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, he saw "In Hoc Signo Victor Eris" (By this sign you shall conquer) on the sun around a Chi Rho ligature. With the symbol of Christ on his army's shields, he was victorious. He moved the capital to Constantinople.
RL89036. Billon follis, RIC VI 117, SRCV IV 15507, Cohen VII 80, Hunter IV-, aEF, dark brown patina, lighter green highlights, weight 5.900 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Aquileia mint, as caesar, late summer 307 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS NOB CAES, laureate head right; reverse CONSERV VRB SVAE (Guardian of the city traditions), Roma seated facing on throne, head left, globe in right hand, scepter vertical in left, grounded shield at right side, all within hexastyle temple decorated with knobs as acroteria and wreath in pediment, AQΓ in exergue; ex CNG e-auction 233 (26 May 2010), lot 421 (realized $130 plus fees); $140.00 (123.20)


Gallic Celts, Sequani, c. 58 - 50 B.C., Time of Caesar's Gallic Wars

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In 71 B.C., the Sequani hired the Germanic Suebi under Ariovistus to cross the Rhine and help them defeat the Aedui. The Sequani were worse off after their victory - Ariovistus deprived them of a third of their territory, threatened to take another third, and subjugated them into semi-slavery. The Sequani appealed to Caesar, who drove back the Germanic tribesmen in 58 B.C., but at the same time obliged the Sequani to surrender all that they had gained from the Aedui. This so exasperated the Sequani that they joined in the revolt of Vercingetorix in 52 B.C. and shared in the defeat at Alesia. The Sequani refused to join the Gallic revolt against Rome in 69 A.D. and drove out rebels who invaded their territory. In recognition for their loyal service, Vesontio (Besancon) was made a Roman colony.Gaul
CE89066. Silver quinarius, CCBM II 346, Delestre-Tache 3245, De la Tour 5405, Forrer 204, VF, toned, strike a bit flat, typical tight flan, weight 1.895 g, maximum diameter 14.1 mm, die axis 105o, Vesontio (Besancon, France) mint, c. 58 - 50 B.C.; obverse helmeted head left (Roma?), Q DOCI (Quintus Docirix) before counterclockwise; reverse bridled horse galloping left, Q DO[CI] (Quintus Docirix) above, [SAM F] (Samulali Filius, AM ligate) below; ex Frascatius Ancient Coins; $140.00 (123.20)


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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The reverse depicts the double temple of Venus and Roma, designed by Hadrian, the largest and most splendid temple in Rome, finished by Antoninus Pius. Damaged by fire in 307, the temple was restored "in magnificent manner" by Maxentius. When Constantius visited Rome fifty years later, the "Temple of the City" was one of the sights he most admired. In 625, Pope Honorius received a special dispensation from Heraclius to strip the gilded bronze roof tiles for the repair of St. Peter's. During a twelve-day visit to Rome in 663, Constans II stripped it of its remaining bronze ornaments. It was damaged by an earthquake in 847. Later a church was built in the ruins.
RA76944. Silvered antoninianus, Hunter IV 32 (also 3rd officina); RIC V-2 185; Cohen VI 530; Pink VI-1, p. 56-57/4; SRCV III -, Choice EF, near full silvering, superb portrait, light marks, weight 4.097 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Rome mint, emission 4, 279 A.D.; obverse IMP PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ROMAE AETER (eternal Rome), statue of Roma seated facing inside a hexastyle temple, head left, Victory in right, long scepter in left hand, R pellet in crescent with horns up Γ in exergue; $125.00 (110.00)


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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The reverse depicts the double temple of Venus and Roma, designed by Hadrian, the largest and most splendid temple in Rome, finished by Antoninus Pius. Damaged by fire in 307, the temple was restored "in magnificent manner" by Maxentius. When Constantius visited Rome fifty years later, the "Temple of the City" was one of the sights he most admired. In 625, Pope Honorius received a special dispensation from Heraclius to strip the gilded bronze roof tiles for the repair of St. Peter's. During a twelve-day visit to Rome in 663, Constans II stripped it of its remaining bronze ornaments. It was damaged by an earthquake in 847. Later a church was built in the ruins.
RA91617. Silvered antoninianus, Hunter IV 32 (also 3rd officina); RIC V-2 185; Cohen VI 530; Pink VI-1, p. 56-57/4; SRCV III -, Choice gVF, excellent centering, traces of silvering, center high points a little weak, weight 4.076 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Rome mint, emission 4, 279 A.D.; obverse IMP PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse ROMAE AETER (eternal Rome), statue of Roma seated facing inside a hexastyle temple, head left, Victory in right hand, long scepter in left hand, R pellet in crescent with horns up Γ in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, ex Munzen und Medaillen (Basil, Switzerland); $100.00 (88.00)


City of Rome Commemorative, 330 - 331 A.D.

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On 11 May 330, Constantine I refounded Byzantium, renamed it Constantinopolis after himself, and moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to his new city. The new capital was Christian, old gods and traditions were either replaced or assimilated into a framework of Christian symbolism. Constantine built the new Church of the Holy Apostles on the site of a temple to Aphrodite. Generations later there was the story that a divine vision led Constantine to this spot. The capital would often be compared to the 'old' Rome as Nova Roma Constantinopolitana, the "New Rome of Constantinople." Special commemorative coins were issued with types for both Rome and Constantinople to advertise the importance of the new capital.
RL92314. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VII Lyons 242 (R2), Bastien Lyon 201, LRBC I 184, SRCV IV 16490, Cohen VII 17, Hunter V -, Choice EF, well centered, edge cracks, mintmark not fully struck, weight 2.042 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 330 - 331 A.D.; obverse VRBS ROMA, helmeted bust of Roma left wearing imperial mantle; reverse she-wolf standing left, head turned back right, suckling the infant twins Romulus and Remus, two stars above, PLG in exergue; $100.00 (88.00)




  



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Catalog current as of Wednesday, October 16, 2019.
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