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FEELIX



Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
FEELIX appears on a coin of the Cornelia family, struck in honour of Sulla the dictator, by order of the senate, who also caused an equestrian statue to be raised to him with the same attributes inscribed thereon. This epithet, which flattery bestowed on that "bold bad" man, was afterwards adopted as his surname, and the fortuitous and inforseen prosperity to which it referred became his boast. Cicero (pro lege Manilia) has bestowed extraordinary compliments on the good fortune (felicitatem) which so invariably attended Pompey the Great.

Commodus was the first emperor who used the word, in consequence of his safely escaping the resentment of the soldiers, who were demanding the death of Perennis, prefect of the pretorians, as is shewn on his coins minted AD 185. His example met with the approval and imitation of his successors, but with this modification, that they always joined the title Felix with that of Pius, placing Pius first and Felix last. The first after Commodus who used both titles, though rarely, was Caracalla; afterwards Elagabalus, frequently; and then most of the emperors down to the period of the late empire. And, indeed, so great was the importance attached to the two epithets used conjointly, that they were considered as much the distinctive badge of an emperor as the title Augustus itself, and were constantly assumed by them on their accession to empire, or were decreed to them by the senate; as in the case of Macrinus and Elagabalus, a fact proved by their respective coins.

From noe of the writers of Augustal history does it appear that any individual holding the rank only of Caesar was ever permitted to use them, with the exception of Carinus, some of whose coins appear with the inscription M AVR CARIVS P F NOB CAES. But Carinus exhibited, in conjunction with the simple title of Caesar, the prenomen of Imperator, as is shewn on his coins.

The epithets Pia Felix were also shared by the empresses. Julia Domna is the first who was so honoured on coins, thus, IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG. It is stated by Bimard (ad Jobert, i p 282) that Severina, the wife of Aurelian, also enjoyed the same distinction, but he omits to mention where the coin is to be seen. It becomes common, however, on the coins of empresses, from the time of Honorius. Jobert (i p 254) is therefore incorrect, in stating the Julia Domna alone used these words, and is properly corrected by Bimard. Banduri (ii p 563 and 566) fell into the opposite error, and states that Eudoxia, the wife of Theodosius II, was the first who adopted the titles Pia Felix, thus passing over Julia Domna. See Eckhel, viii 454.

Many cities likewise received the epithet Felix, and particularly colonies. See Berytus, p 126; Cremna, p 295; Heliopolis; Leaodicea (Coloniae Romanae), p 232, etc.

In allusion to the coin of Sulla (Cornelia gens), inscribed FEELIX, Eckhel says: "Havercamp considers FEELIX to have been put for FELIX by an error of the moneyer, whereas it is most certain an archaism. For if it be a mistake of the moneyer's, so also must be the substitution of VAALA for VALA on coins of the Numonia gens." v 194.

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