- The Collaborative Numismatics Project
  Explore Our Website And Find Joy In The History, Numismatics, Art, Mythology, And Geography Of Coins!!! NumisWiki Is An Enormous Unique Resource Including Hundreds Of Books And Thousands Of Articles Online!!! The Column On The Left Includes Our "Best of NumisWiki" Menu If You Are New To Collecting - Start With Ancient Coin Collecting 101 NumisWiki Includes The Encyclopedia of Roman Coins and Historia Nummorum If You Have Written A Numismatic Article - Please Add It To NumisWiki All Blue Text On The Website Is Linked - Keep Clicking To ENDLESSLY EXPLORE!!! Please Visit Our Shop And Find A Coin You Love Today!!!

× Resources Home
New Articles
Most Popular
Recent Changes
Current Projects
Admin Discussions
How to
Index Of All Titles


Aes Formatum
Aes Grave
Aes Rude
The Age of Gallienus
Alexander Tetradrachms
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Coin Prices 101
Ancient Coin Dates
Ancient Coin Lesson Plans
Ancient Coins & Modern Fakes
Ancient Counterfeits
Ancient Glass
Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Ancient Oil Lamps
Ancient Pottery
Ancient Weapons
Ancient Wages and Prices
Ancient Weights and Scales
Anonymous Folles
Anonymous Follis
Anonymous Class A Folles
Antioch Officinae
Armenian Numismatics Page
Augustus - Facing Portrait
Byzantine Denominations
A Cabinet of Greek Coins
Caesarean and Actian Eras
Campgates of Constantine
A Case of Counterfeits
Byzantine Christian Themes
Clashed Dies
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Danubian Celts
Damnatio Coinage
Damnatio Memoriae
Denarii of Otho
Diameter 101
Die Alignment 101
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Edict on Prices
ERIC - Rarity Tables
Etruscan Alphabet
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
Fel Temp Reparatio
Fertility Pregnancy and Childbirth
Friend or Foe
The Gallic Empire
Gallienus Zoo
Greek Alphabet
Greek Coins
Greek Dates
Greek Coin Denominations
Greek Mythology Link
Greek Numismatic Dictionary
Hellenistic Names & their Meanings
Hasmonean Dynasty
Helvetica's ID Help Page
The Hexastyle Temple of Caligula
Historia Numorum
Holy Land Antiquities
Horse Harnesses
Identifying Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
Important Collection Auctions
Islamic Rulers and Dynasties
Julian II: The Beard and the Bull
Julius Caesar - The Funeral Speech
Kushan Coins
People in the Bible Who Issued Coins
Imperial Mints of Philip the Arab
Later Roman Coinage
Latin Plurals
Latin Pronunciation
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
List of Kings of Judea
Malloy Weapons
Maps of the Ancient World
Military Belts
Mint Marks
Museum Collections Available Online
Nabataean Alphabet
Nabataean Numerals
The [Not] Cuirassed Elephant
Not in RIC
Numismatic Bulgarian
Numismatic Excellence Award
Numismatic French
Numismatic German
Numismatic Italian
Numismatic Spanish
Parthian Coins
Patina 101
Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet
Paleo-Hebrew Script Styles
Phoenician Alphabet
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Pricing and Grading Roman Coins
Reading Judean Coins
Representations of Alexander the Great
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Roman Locks
Roman Militaria
Roman Military Belts
Roman Mints
Roman Names
Rome and China
Satyrs and Nymphs
Serdi Celts
The Sign that Changed the World
Silver Content of Parthian Drachms
Star of Bethlehem Coins
Statuary Coins
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Syracusian Folles
Taras Drachms with Owl Left
The Temple Tax
The Temple Tax Hoard
Test Cut
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny
Tribute Penny Debate Continued (2015)
Tribute Penny Debate Revisited (2006)
Tyrian Shekels
Uncleaned Ancient Coins 101
Venus Cloacina
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Who was Trajan Decius
Widow's Mite

   View Menu


 Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
     Serpent -- Serpents appear to have been the
symbol of Asia. Pomponius Mela says "the
figure of Asia Minor holds in its hands a serpent,
because perhaps serpents abound in that
region." -- Serpents may have become the symbol
of Asia after that country had adopted them on
its coinage, for the purpose of calling to mind the
worship of Bacchus, which they carried to a
great extent. -- The Bacchantes in the mysteries
were crowned with serpents. The serpent was one of the symbols of initiation into the
Bacchanalian orgies.
    Serpent. -- This reptile, as an image of divinity
and of nature, is figured both in its natural
shape, and under a variety of monstrous and
imaginary forms, on a great multitude of coins
of Greek cities, and also on Greek Imperial
medals. It is less frequently found on coins
with Latin inscriptions ; but still there are not
a few instances in which it is represented both
on the Consular and on the Imperial medals of
Rome. -- The inventor of medicine, Aesculapius,
son of Apollo, was worshipped by the Romans
under the form of a serpent. That animal was
the sign of health-restoring faculty, because,
as the serpent, in casting off its skin, was supposed to become young again, so the sick,
through the tutelary aid of the healing deity,
were believed by the ancients to renew life and
to put off old age. It was in consequence of
this animal being thus regarded as the symbol of
renovation, that the name Serpentarius took its
rise in reference to the constant attribute of
     The Serpent, with the head of Serapis, on
medals struck under Antonine, is thought, by
Millin, to signify a beneficent genius and the
master of nature. This serpent is also seen on
a medal of Nero, with a legend which indicates
that this emperor was a new benefactor for
Egypt. -- On a medal of Memphis, and in the
hand of Isis, it symbolises fecundity and fertility.
And as the serpent was said to renew its
youth by the annual casting of its skin, the
above-mentioned writer thinks it may be taken
for the symbol of the Sun, on a medal of the
Emperor Verus, on which a serpent, with the
head of Serapis, is mounted on the back of a
horse, whose march symbolises the year passing
away : the head of Serapis representing the
Sun as the sovereign of the universe.
     The Serpent was a symbol of Apollo, and as
salutifer accompanies the image of that deity
whom the ancients regarded as the guardian of
health, on coins both of the Greeks and of the
     The Serpent was assigned to Bacchus under
various titles, and for various reasons founded
like the object symbolised on fable and superstition. Clement of Alexandria affirms "Signum Bacchicorum Orgiorum esse initiatum serpentem." The same author describes Bacchantes as crowned with serpents. Hence a
serpent creeping out of a half opened chest
(cista) betokens the orgies of Bacchus. A
serpent appears on coins of M. Antony, who
called himself a second Bacchus.
     Twin Serpents, rising in tortuous folds,
attached by the tails to each other, but with a
cista between them, appear on silver medallions,
bearing the heads of Antony and Cleopatra, as
given in Morell.
     Two Serpents are seen on a medal of Hadrian,
a male and a female ; one has by its side a
sistrum and a poppy, the attributes of Isis ; the
other is represented with a caduceus and cornears, attributes of Anubis. -- "This type, (says
Millin) incontestably refers to the mysteries of
Isis, and the fecundity of nature."
     It is sacred to and attendant on Juno Lanuvina,
or Sospita, in whose temple or grove, according
to ancient custom, it was required that a virgin,
in proof of her chastity, should offer food to
the sacred serpent (" corruptis virginibus periculosus," says Woltereck). Coins of Popilia
and Procilia moneyers, and of Antoninus Pius
and Commodus, have types allusive to this
legendary subject. The same animal was also
held sacred to Jupiter, Neptune, Minerva, Pluto,
Ceres, Proserpine, Mercury, Isis, and Serapis. --
And that its image was used by the ancients
to denote Felicity, Vigilance, Concord, Prudence,
Power, Victory, and above all, Health (Salus),
is shown on Roman as well as Greek coins.
     A dead Serpent twined round a tree appears
on a fine brass medallion of Antoninus Pius.
Hercules, who has slain this Hydra, stands on
one side of the tree gathering its fruit : on the
other side are the three Hesperides.
     A Serpent is the sign of Asia (see Asia
) ; also of Africa ; we see a serpent
trampled upon by the fore feet of an elephant on
a well-known denarius of Julius Caesar. -- Likewise
a serpent before the figure of Africa, on
one of Diocletian's medals. -- It is seen entwined
in folds, erecting itself above an altar, on coins
of the Claudia, Nonia, Rubria, and Tullia
moneyers ; and on imperial medals of Augustus,
Tiberius, Nero, Hadrian, Antonine, Aurelius,
Alexander Severus, and Maximian.
     A Serpent coiled round a tripod is, according
to Jobert (p. 415), referable to Apollo, or
indicates the Delphic oracles. This type is seen
on Greek coins of Nero and Domitian. -- [But it
is seldom seen on imperial medals of Roman
die, except as an attribute of Aesculapius and
     A Serpent issuing forth from a ship, occurs
on a fine medallion of Antoninus Pius. -- See
AESCVLAPIVS. -- There is one that crawls before
Victory on a gold coin of Julius Caesar, restored
by Trajan. -- Another is seen erecting
itself before the face of  a woman, in Faustina
     A Serpent invariably appears either in the
hand or near the figure of Salus, goddess of
health, on numerous coins of emperors and
empresses. On a contorniate medal of Nero
a serpent appears as if lapping food from a patera offered to it by a woman [Olympias?] lying
on a couch ; on another a huge snake, raising
itself in a spiral form, directs its head towards
some apples deposited on an altar ; behind the
serpent is a tree.
     A Serpent is placed on the back of a
horse on coins of Vespasian struck in Egypt,
and the same reptile creeps with head uplifted
on the prow of a ship on a Greek medal of
     A Serpent occupies the reverse of a coin of
the Fabricia moneyer, which Eckhel calls "the
serpent of Esculapius." L. Fabricius is recorded
to have caused the stone bridge to be built at
Rome which communicated with the island in
the Tiber, in the year 62 B.C.. -- To this fact
the epigraph of L. FABRICIus on a tablet with
Populus Romanus above it, which appears on
this second brass medal, most probably alludes.
And this opinion is the more strongly corroborated
by the type of the serpent, inasmuch as
Aesculapius being brought under the form of that
creature [as the story goes] from Epidaurus to
Rome had a temple in that very insula Tiberina,
which the bridge of Fabricius served to unite
with the city.
     A Serpent folded round an egg placed on an
altar appears on a first brass of the Eppia moneyer. The signification of which type Havercamp has attempted to explain with various conjectures, no ways satisfactory to the judgment
of Eckhel, who, in his turn displays as usual
his learning and research, but perhaps not with
his accustomed success in solving the enigma of
the snake and the egg.
     A Serpent wound (tortuosus) into many
circles or rising in spiral folds, occurs on
denarii of the Aemilia, Papia, Pompeia, and
Pomponia moneyers, and on Greek coins of
Trajan, Hadrian, and Faustina sen. -- A sinuous
snake glides before the biga of Juno Sospita, in
     A Serpent with a lion's head is given by
Banduri, from a coin of Diocletian.
     A Serpent creeps before Minerva on a brass
coin of the Clovia moneyer.
     Two Serpents twined round a winged wand
constitute the caduceus of Mercury.
     A Serpent is placed at the bottom of the
labarum on medals of Constantine the Great
(see SPES. PVB.) ; and on coins of some of the
later Christian emperors (such as Petronius
Maximus) a serpent prostrate is seen with the
foot of the emperor placed upon it.

View whole page from the Dictionary Of Roman Coins
All coins are guaranteed for eternity