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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Military ▸ Nike or VictoryView Options:  |  |  |   

Nike or Victory on Ancient Coins

Victoria or Nike, the Winged Goddess of Victory, personifies victory. She was described variously in different myths as the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx, and the sister of Kratos (Strength), Bia (Force), and Zelus (Zeal). Nike and her siblings were close companions of Zeus. According to classical (later) myth, Styx brought them to Zeus when the god was assembling allies for the Titan War. Nike assumed the role of the divine charioteer, a role in which she often is portrayed in Classical Greek art. Nike flew around battlefields rewarding the victors with glory and fame, symbolized by a wreath of laurel leaves. Victory or Nike is one of the most common figures on Greek and Roman coins.


Seleukid Kingdom, Alexander I Balas, 152 - 145 B.C.

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Alexander Balas, of humble origin, claimed to be Antiochus IV's son and heir to the Seleukid throne. Rome and Egypt accepted his claims. He married Cleopatra Thea, daughter of King Ptolemy Philometor of Egypt. With his father-in-law's help, he defeated Demetrius Soter and became the Seleukid king. After he abandoned himself to debauchery, his father-in-law shifted his support to Demetrius II, the son of Demetrius Soter. Balas was defeated and fled to Nabataea where he was murdered.
GS84619. Silver tetradrachm, Houghton-Lorber II 1781.3a, Cohen DCA 118, HGC 9 875a, EF, excellent Hellenistic style, lightly toned, slightly off center, some die wear, light marks, light deposits on obverse, weight 16.950 g, maximum diameter 28.9 mm, die axis 45o, Antioch on the Orontes (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 152 - 146 B.C.; obverse diademed head right, fillet border; reverse BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞAN∆POY ΘEOΠATOPOΣ EYEPΓETOY, Zeus Nikephoros enthroned left, chest bare, himation around hips and legs and over left shoulder, Nike offering him wreath in his right hand, scepter in his left hand, cornucopia (control symbol) outer left, ΓΞP (Seleukid Era year 163) and monogram (control symbol) in exergue; ex CNG e-auction 386 (9 Nov 2016), lot 328; $540.00 (€480.60)
 


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

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Issued to commemorate victory in Britain. Between 208 and 210 A.D., Septimius Severus and his son Caracalla campaigned into Scotland (then Caledonia) and also restored Hadrian's Wall. The victories in the north pacified the island for the remainder of the century, but the aged Septimius died at Eburacum (York) in 211 A.D.
SH83529. Silver denarius, RIC IV 332 (S); RSC III 727; BMCRE V p. 366, 51; Hunter III 108; SRCV II 6382, Choice gVF, some luster, perfect centering, nice portrait, light toning, small edge cracks, weight 3.369 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 210 - 211 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse VICTORIAE BRIT (victories over the British), Victory advancing right, raising wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand over left shoulder; scarce; $450.00 (€400.50)
 


Lot of 20 Roman Empire City of Constantinople Commemoratives Bronzes 330 - 346 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. Coins were issued with types for Rome and Constantinople to advertise the importance of the new capital.
LT85420. Bronze reduced centenionalis, SRCV IV 16444 ff. (various mints), VF, all nice coins, 330 - 346 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINOPOLIS, laureate and helmeted bust of Constantinopolis left, wearing imperial cloak, scepter over left shoulder; reverse Victory standing left, right foot on prow, scepter in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield, mintmark in exergue; unattributed mint or issue, correction: one of the 20 coins is a Roma commemorative, no flips or tags, the actual coins in the photographs, as-is, no returns; $340.00 (€302.60)
 


Lot of 20 Roman Empire City of Constantinople Commemoratives Bronzes 330 - 346 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. Coins were issued with types for Rome and Constantinople to advertise the importance of the new capital.
LT85418. Bronze reduced centenionalis, SRCV IV 16444 ff. (various mints), all VF, nice coins, 330 - 346 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINOPOLIS, laureate and helmeted bust of Constantinopolis left, wearing imperial cloak, scepter over left shoulder; reverse Victory standing left, right foot on prow, scepter in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield, mintmark in exergue; one with soldiers with standard reverse, unattributed mint or issue, no flips or tags, the actual coins in the photographs, as-is, no returns; $300.00 (€267.00)
 


Parthian Empire, Vonones I, c. 8 - 12 A.D.

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The reverse legend commemorates Vonones' temporary victory over Artabanos, the king who would in time defeat him. Unlike most Parthian coins, the reverse type is not the usual seated archer and the king's personal name appears in the Greek legend.
GS85455. Silver drachm, Sellwood 60.5, Sunrise 407, Shore 329, SNG Cop 146 - 147, gVF, light toning, reverse slightly off center on a broad flan, weight 4.052 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Ecbatana (Hamedan, Iran) mint, c. 8 - 12 A.D.; obverse BACIΛEYC ONWNHC, diademed head left, medium tapering square cut beard, ear visible, wearing earring, diadem with four bands, loop behind, three diadem ends, torque without visible end; reverse BACIΛEYC ONWNHC NEIKHCAC APTABANON (King Vonones, conqueror of Artabanos, squared legend around), Nike standing right, extending palm frond in right hand, wreath in left hand, Ekbatana mint TA dot monogram below palm; from the Robert L3 Collection, ex CNG e-auction 155 (3 Jan 2007), lot 118; $255.00 (€226.95)
 


Lucilla, Augusta c. 164 - 182 A.D., Wife of Lucius Verus

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Sulla in a dream first saw Venus with the weapons of Mars as Venus Victrix and made her his personal patroness. In the night before the battle of Pharsalus 48 B.C. Pompey dreamed of Venus Victrix - seemingly a lucky sign. Caesar sacrificed to Venus Genetrix, but issued as watchword 'Venus Victrix', and defeated Pompey!
RS85213. Silver denarius, RIC III 786, RSC II 89, BMCRE IV 353, Hunter II 18, SRCV II 5492, Choice EF, well centered and struck, edge cracks, weight 3.282 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 166 - 169 A.D.; obverse LVCILLA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse VENVS VICTRIX (victorious Venus), Venus standing half left, right breast bare, Victory in right hand, left hand on grounded shield; $220.00 (€195.80)
 


Constantius II, 22 May 337 - 3 November 361 A.D., Issued by Vetranio

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In 312 A.D., Constantine dreamed he saw a Christogram in the sky and heard the words IN HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, meaning in Latin "In this sign, you will be the victor." He ordered the sign of Christ on his legions standards and shields. He won a great victory and later became the first Christian Roman Emperor.
RL90446. Billon heavy maiorina, RIC VIII Siscia 286 (S), LRBC II 1173, Voetter 51, SRCV V 18203, VF, well centered, slightly rough green patina, coppery high-points, weight 4.749 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, issued by Vetranio, 1 Mar - 25 Dec 350 A.D.; obverse D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, A behind, star before; reverse HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS, Constantius standing facing head left, holding labarum (Chi Rho Christogram standard) and spear, Victory right crowning him, A left, •ASIS• in exergue (A's often appear as H in this period); scarce; $190.00 (€169.10)
 


Amisos, Pontos, c. 85 - 65 B.C.

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Amisos was settled c. 760 - 750 B.C. by people from Miletus, who established a flourishing trade relationship with the ancient peoples of Anatolia. Amisos came under the rule of the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great's Macedonian Empire, and then the Kingdom of Pontus. The Romans took control in 47 B.C. and Amisos remained within the Byzantine Empire after the fall of Rome. In 1200, the city was captured by the Seljuks, to be later taken over by the Ilhanlilar. Amisos today is Samsun, a city of about half a million people on the north coast of Turkey.
GB76954. Bronze AE 20, BMC Pontus p. 20, 72; SNG BM 1187 var. (different monogram right); SNG Stancomb 688 ff. var. (different monograms); SNG Cop 167 ff. var. (same), VF, well centered on usual tight flan, nice green patina, minor flan adjustment marks, weight 8.426 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, Amisos (Samsun, Turkey) mint, c. 85 - 65 B.C.; obverse aegis with facing head of Medusa (gorgoneion) in center; reverse AMI−ΣOY, Nike advancing right, holding palm frond across shoulders behind, A∆T monogram lower left, AMTE monogram lower right; $180.00 (€160.20)
 


Aelia Flaccilla, Augusta 19 January 379 - 386 A.D., Wife of Theodosius I

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Aelia Flaccilla was a fervent supporter of the Nicene Creed. Sozomen reports her preventing a conference between Theodosius and Eunomius of Cyzicus who served as figurehead of Anomoeanism, a sect of Arians. Ambrose and Gregory of Nyssa praise her Christian virtue and comment on her role as "a leader of justice" and "pillar of the Church." She is commemorated as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church; her feast day is 14 September.
RL70543. Bronze half centenionalis, RIC IX Siscia 35.2 (R2), LRBC II 1566, SRCV V 20623, Cohen VIII 5, VF, excellent centering, weight 0.926 g, maximum diameter 13.3 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 25 Aug 383 - autumn 384 A.D.; obverse AEL FLACCILLA AVG, diademed and draped bust right; reverse SALVS REIPVBLICAE (health of the Republic), Victory seated right inscribing Christogram on shield set on cippus, BSIS• in exergue; rare; $160.00 (€142.40)
 


Valens, 28 March 364 - 9 August 378 A.D.

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Valens was the younger brother of Valentinian I, and he was declared Augustus in 364 A.D. He was given command of the Eastern provinces, where he spent much of his time campaigning against the Goths and Persians. In 376 A.D., Valens allowed Gothic tribes, who were being driven forward by the Huns to settle in the Danube provinces. The Goths were so badly treated by the Romans that they rebelled. Valens was defeated by the Goths at the catastrophic battle of Hadrianople, where he lost his life and two-thirds of the Roman army was killed.
RS84407. Silver siliqua, RIC IX Trier 27(e)1, RSC V 109a, Hunter V 7, SRCV V 19675, VF, well centered, toned, flan cracks, bumps and marks, light corrosion, weight 1.963 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 28 Mar 364 - 24 Aug 367 A.D.; obverse D N VALEN-S P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse VRBS ROMA (City of Rome), Roma seated left on throne, Victory on globe in Roma's right hand, scepter or spear without point vertical in her left hand, Victory extends wreath in right hand and holds palm frond over left shoulder in left hand, TRPS• in exergue; scarce; $160.00 (€142.40)
 




  



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REFERENCES

Imhoof-Blumer, F. "Die Flügelgestalten der Athena und Nike auf Münzen" in NZ III (1871)., pp. 1 - 50.
Marest-Caffey, L. "Seleukos I's Victory Coinage of Susa Revisited: A Die Study and Commentary" in AJN 28 (2016).

Catalog current as of Sunday, September 24, 2017.
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Nike or Victory