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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Gods, Non-Olympian| ▸ |Genius||View Options:  |  |  | 

Genius - The Guardian Spirt

In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Emperor, etc. The legend GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, for example, dedicates the coin to the Genius of the Roman People. Genius' image is of a man with a cloak half covering the shoulders leaving the rest of his body naked, holding a cornucopia in one hand, and a simpulum or a patera in the other. In Roman Bronze Coins From Paganism to Christianity 294-364 A.D., Victor Failmezger writes, "This reverse is modeled after the famous statue of the Spirit of the Roman People in the Roman Forum. It is unclear when this statue was last seen as it is now lost. Although the coins celebrate a wide range of spirits (e.g., Rome, Augustus, the Army, etc.), the basic design comes from the same statue...The act of pouring the libation to the emperor illustrates what the Christians were required to do in order not to be persecuted."

Maximian, 286 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 A.D.

|Maximian|, |Maximian,| |286| |-| |305,| |306| |-| |308,| |and| |310| |A.D.||follis| |(large)|
The ruins of Antioch on the Orontes lie near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey. Founded near the end of the 4th century B.C. by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch's geographic, military and economic location, particularly the spice trade, the Silk Road, the Persian Royal Road, benefited its occupants, and eventually it rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the Near East and as the main center of Hellenistic Judaism at the end of the Second Temple period. Antioch is called "the cradle of Christianity," for the pivotal early role it played in the emergence of the faith. It was one of the four cities of the Syrian tetrapolis. Its residents are known as Antiochenes. Once a great metropolis of half a million people, it declined to insignificance during the Middle Ages because of warfare, repeated earthquakes and a change in trade routes following the Mongol conquests, which then no longer passed through Antioch from the far east.6th Century Antioch
RT110027. Billon follis (large), RIC VI Antiochia 54b, SRCV IV 13275, Cohen VII 184, Hunter V 95 var. (3rd officina), Choice EF, well centered and struck on a broad flan, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, weight 10.441 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 300 - 301 A.D.; obverse IMP C M A MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO POPVLI ROMANI (to the guardian spirit of the Roman People), Genius standing left, kalathos on head, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, pouring libation from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, K - V divided across lower fields, A upper right, ANT in exergue; $90.00 SALE PRICE $81.00


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

|Galerius|, |Galerius,| |1| |March| |305| |-| |5| |May| |311| |A.D.||follis| |(large)|
These legends and types were struck in two issues RIC VI 198a, c. 309 - 310, and RIC 207a, c. 310 - 5 May 311. The earlier issue was struck with only officiae A, B and Γ, therefore, without even considering other variations we can be certain this coin is from the second issue.
RT99299. Billon follis (large), RIC VI Siscia p. 480, 207a; SRCV IV 14505; Hunter V p. 62, 7 var. (2nd officina); Cohen VI 133 (Maximian), gVF, amusing style and sharp detail on the reverse, slight porosity, reverse slightly off center, weight 7.444 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, c. 310 - 5 May 311 A.D.; obverse IMP MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI (to the guardian spirit of the Emperor), Genius standing slightly left, head left, kalathos on head, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, crescent with horns upward lower left, Δ right, SIS in exergue; from a private collector in New Jersey; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00


Maximinus II Daia, May 310 - 30 April 313 A.D.

|Maximinus| |II|, |Maximinus| |II| |Daia,| |May| |310| |-| |30| |April| |313| |A.D.||follis|
In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Roman People, etc. The legend GENIO AVGVSTI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Augusti, the Emperors.
RL94872. Billon follis, RIC VI Alexandria 162b, SRCV IV 14843, Cohen VII 17, Hunter V 126 var. ( no wreath), aVF, heavy earthen deposits, weight 5.300 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Alexandria mint, 313 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI (to the guardian spirit of the Emperor), Genius standing slightly left, kalathos on head left, head of Serapis in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, star upper left, N over palm-branch left, Γ over wreath right, ALE in exergue; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $45.00 SALE PRICE $40.50


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

|Galerius|, |Galerius,| |1| |March| |305| |-| |5| |May| |311| |A.D.||follis| |(large)|
In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Roman People, etc. The legend GENIO IMPERATORIS dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Imperators, the Commanders-in-Chief of the Army. Genius' image is of a man with a cloak half covering the shoulders leaving the rest of his body naked, holding a cornucopia in one hand, and a simpulum or a patera in the other.
RT99302. Billon follis (large), RIC VI Heraclea 37a; SRCV IV 14513; Cohen VII 48; Hunter V p. 63, 16 var. (1st officina), aVF/VF, nearly centered, flow lines, obv. die wear, marks, porosity, weight 6.136 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Heraclea (Marmara Ereglisi, Turkey) mint, c. 308 - 309 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO IMPERATORIS (to the guardian spirit of the Emperor as Commander in Chief), Genius standing slightly left, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, kalathos on head, pouring libations from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, HTΓ in exergue; from a private collector in New Jersey; $45.00 SALE PRICE $40.50


Maximinus II Daia, May 310 - 30 April 313 A.D.

|Maximinus| |II|, |Maximinus| |II| |Daia,| |May| |310| |-| |30| |April| |313| |A.D.||follis|
In Roman religion, every man has a genius, a presiding spirit. In De Die Natali, Censorinus says, from the moment we are born, we live under the guard and tutelage of Genius. Cities, organizations, and peoples also had a genius. On coins, we find inscriptions to the Genius of the Army, of the Senate, of the Roman People, etc. The legend GENIO AVGVSTI dedicates this coin to the Genius of the Augusti, the Emperors. The figure depicted is the statue of the Spirit of the Roman People which was then in the Roman Forum (it is now lost). The act of pouring the libation to the emperor illustrates what the Christians were required to do in order not to be persecuted.
RL94877. Billon follis, RIC VI Alexandria 149b, SRCV IV 14841, Cohen VII 17, Hunter V 124 var. (2nd officina), aVF, well centered, dark green patina, earthen deposits, scratches, weight 5.691 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Alexandria mint, 312 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI (to the guardian spirit of the Emperor), Genius standing facing, head left, kalathos on head, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, head of Serapis wearing kalathos in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, X lower left, Γ right, ALE in exergue; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $40.00 SALE PRICE $36.00


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

|Galerius|, |Galerius,| |1| |March| |305| |-| |5| |May| |311| |A.D.||follis| |(large)|
The meaning of the CMH ligature, used at Nicomedia and Cyzicus, is uncertain but it may be a mark of value indicating 48 coins per pound of bronze. This type and mintmark spanned two issues at Nicomedia. The first issue, RIC VI Nicomedia 54a, was struck c. December 308 - May 310, only by the 1st and 4th officinae, and weighed 6.0-7.5 grams. The second issue, RIC VI Nicomedia 66a, was struck c. May 310 - May 311, by the 1st through 6th officinae, and weighed 5.0-7.5 grams, initially with wider thinner flans but getting progressively smaller and thicker.
RT90839. Billon follis (large), Hunter V 25 (also the 4th officina, RIC 54a), RIC VI Nicomedia 54a or 66a (this type spanned both issues), SRCV IV 14508, Cohen VII 42, VF, dark near black tone, turquoise encrustations, reverse center weak, weight 6.004 g, maximum diameter 26.5 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Nicomedia (Izmit, Turkey) mint, Dec 308 - May 311 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI CMH (CMH ligate), Genius standing slightly left, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, kalathos on head, pouring libations from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, SMNΔ in exergue; $32.00 SALE PRICE $28.80


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

|Galerius|, |Galerius,| |1| |March| |305| |-| |5| |May| |311| |A.D.||follis| |(large)|
Galerius was caesar and a tetrarch under Maximianus. His capital was Sirmium (modern Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia). Although a talented general and administrator, Galerius is better known for his key role in the "Great Persecution" of Christians. He stopped the persecution under the condition that Christians pray for his return to health from a serious illness. Galerius died horribly shortly after at Serdica on 5 May 311. Maximinus and Licinius split his realm between them.
RT90636. Billon follis (large), RIC VI Cyzicus 65, SRCV IV 14510, Cohen VII 40, Hunter V -, VF, green patina, well centered, light encrustations, part of edge ragged, weight 6.613 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, Jan - 5 May 311 A.D.; obverse GAL MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO AVGVSTI (to the guardian spirit of the Emperor), Genius standing left, naked except for chlamys over shoulder, kalathos on head, cornucopia in left hand, patera in right, A left, three pellets right, MKV in exergue; $30.00 SALE PRICE $27.00


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

|Galerius|, |Galerius,| |1| |March| |305| |-| |5| |May| |311| |A.D.||follis| |(large)|
The officina number is expressed as ∆E (4 + 5 = 9) because Θ, theta, the Greek numeral nine, was considered unlucky. Theta (Θ), was used as an abbreviation for Thanatos (death) and used as a warning symbol of death, in the same way that skull and crossbones are used in modern times. It survives on potsherds used by Athenians voting for the death penalty. Also, after a funeral "Nine Days of Sorrow" were solemnly observed by the Roman family. Romans avoided the use of theta, as we avoid the use of the number 13 today.
RT90838. Billon follis (large), RIC VI Antiochia 82 (S), SRCV IV 14519, Cohen VII 48, Hunter V 42 var. (4th officina), VF/F, well centered, reverse encrusted, weight 6.554 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 180o, 9th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, early - mid 308 A.D.; obverse IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse GENIO IMPERATORIS (to the guardian spirit of the Emperor as Commander in Chief), Genius standing slightly left, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, kalathos on head, pouring libations from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, Δ - E across fields, ANT in exergue; scarce; $28.00 SALE PRICE $25.20


Maximinus II Daia, May 310 - 30 April 313 A.D.

|Maximinus| |II|, |Maximinus| |II| |Daia,| |May| |310| |-| |30| |April| |313| |A.D.||follis|
"This reverse is modeled after the famous statue of the Spirit of the Roman People in the Roman Forum. It is unclear when this statue was last seen as it is now lost. Although the coins celebrate a wide range of spirits (e.g., Rome, Augustus, the Army, etc.), the basic design comes from the same statue...The act of pouring the libation to the emperor illustrates what the Christians were required to do in order not to be persecuted." -- Roman Bronze Coins From Paganism to Christianity 294-364 A.D. by Victor Failmezger
RT90841. Billon follis, Hunter V 66 (also parallel ties and 3rd officina) RIC VI Alexandria 100a, SRCV IV 14730, Cohen VII 40, VF, dark patina, small encrustations, weight 6.563 g, maximum diameter 24.3 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Alexandria mint, as caesar, late 308 - May 310 A.D.; obverse GAL VAL MAXIMINVS NOB CAES, laureate head right, with parallel ties; reverse GENIO CAESARIS (to the guardian spirit of the prince), Genius standing slightly left, head left, kalathos on head, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, pouring liquor from patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, K - P across field below center, Γ upper right, ALE in exergue; $27.00 SALE PRICE $24.30







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