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ANNONA AVG.- In Morel's Thesaurus (T.ii TAB. V. figure 32), there is a gold, and in Mediobarbus a silver coin, given as struck under Vespasian, with this legend, and the type of a sedent female.- In the Numism. Musei Theupoli, a silver coin of the same prince is described ANNONA AVG. Female figure seated, with corn ears in right hand and laurel branch in left.
It might indeed have been expected that the name and attributes of the goddess would appear on some generally recognized medal of that renown emperor, were it only in grateful reference to the prompt and liberal supply of corn which by his provident care (as mentioned by Tacitus) was sent in ships to the port of Rome, during a period of great scarcity. But to judge from the silence of Eckhel, Mionnet, and Akerman on this point, there is no ANNONA on any of the three metals, in the coinage of Vespasian.
It seems strange and unaccountable, that whilst a coin with the above reverse should have been minted at Rome in honor of this indolent prince, who did not live long enough to become emperor, there appears to have been no similar legend struck on coins of such men as Antoninus Pius and M. Aurelius, of whom history attests their vigilant care of the public sustenance.
ANNONA AVG.- A robed female standing, holding a cornucopia; at her feet the modius; in her right hand a smaller figure; behind is the prow of a galley. On a first brass of Titus, in Capt. Smyth's cabinet.
Neither Eckhel nor Mionnet, nor in the later work of Akerman, is any coin of the above-mentioned emperor to be found with the legend of Annona. In the possession and with the authority for its genuineness of so intelligent a writer and so practiced a numismatist, this acquisition therefore becomes doubly valuable: not only as an interesting specimen of the mint to which it belongs but also as serving to supply a reverse, which it was natural to look for amongst the medals of a prince, who was distinguished beyond any of his predecessors for liberality, humanity, and beneficence towards all classes of his subjects.
This first brass bears no mark of senatorial authority; but the same omission is to be noticed on the well-authenticated coin, which bears the type of the amphitheatre, struck under the same emperor.- See p.42.
ANNONA AVG.- A female seated, holding ears of corn and a cornucopia, a modius at her feet. On silver of Macrinus.- There are also first and second brass of this brief reign, with the same legend and type.
It seems that Macrinus was sufficiently liberal; and although congiaria were not usually given unless the donor was in the city, we have medallic proof that this restriction was waved, that he might ingratiate himself with the people. But the indulgence of Severus, and the prodigality of Caracalla, to the army, shacked the means of their successors, and indeed debilitated the whole empire till the days of Diocletian. With a treasury at low water, and the guards at least quadrupled since Caesar's time, Macrinus was obliged, on proclaiming his son (Diadumenianus) Augustus, to promise the old donative of 5000 denarii per man, of which he gave them each 1000 in hand. While the soldiers - who had already pocketed the Emperor's first gift of 750 denarii - enjoyed these substantial pickings, the people of Rome were promised a congiary of 150 denarii each. Such was the state of the empire, A.D. 218. - Smyth.
ANNONA AVG. - A woman standing before a modius, with corn ears in her right hand and cornucopia in her left. On an elegant quinarius of Alexander Severus. - Other quinarii of the same reign give to Annona the appropriate attributes of the anchor, the rudder, and the prow.
These reverses are commemorative of the careful and vigorous attention, which characterized the proceedings of that excellent emperor, with respect to the delivery of wheat to the people, brought to Rome, at his own expense, from abroad: the frumentarian funds having been left exhausted by his infamous predecessor. - Vaillant, Praest, Num. Impp. Rom. p. 280.
Banduri, who gives the above, remarks that it bears a reverse, which does not occur on the mintage of any other empress. But Khell, who published his Supplement to Vaillant nearly 50 years afterwards, has cited a silver coin of Julia Mamaea, from the Cabinet d'Ariosti, with the same legend and type. But perhaps it may be retorted that Mamaea was not an empress : she was however the mother of an emperor, and bore the title of Augusta, under which, on some of her numerous coins, she exhibits her portrait face to face with that of her son Alexander.