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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Personifications| ▸ |Piety||View Options:  |  |  |   

Piety (Pietas)

Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to other people, gods and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.


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

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For Roman wives, piety often meant accepting neglect. It was not considered adultery for a Roman husband to have sex with slaves or unmarried women. The historian Spartianus wrote that after Lucilla complained, Lucius Verus reproached her: "Uxor enim dignitatis nomen est, non voluptatis" (Wife is the name of dignity, not bliss).
RB92463. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 1756, BMCRE IV 1161, Cohen III 54, Hunter II 27, SRCV II 5505, VF, nice portrait, flow lines, well centered on a squared flan, light bumps and scratches, weight 26.206 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 330o, Rome mint, 164 - 166 A.D.; obverse LVCILLAE AVG ANTONINI AVG F, draped bust right, hair waived and knotted in chignon low at back; reverse PIETAS, Pietas standing left, veiled, right hand extended over flaming altar at feet on left, incense box in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $500.00 (440.00)


Dion (or Pella?), Macedonia, c. 22 - 30 A.D.

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The Pietas obverse type is copied from a imperial dupondius struck at Rome in 22 - 23 A.D. (RIC I 43). That portrait has been traditionally described as depicting Livia as Pietas, based on Cohen. Even if as early as 1880, A. Colson was proposing that the portrait is actually Livilla, Drusus' wife, but that was not in time for Cohen to consider it for his catalog. On the dupondius, Pietas is paired with a reverse naming Livilla's husband, Drusus. At the time, Livilla was praised for piety over the sickness and death of her husband. Later it would become clear that she had poisoned Drusus for her lover Sejanus.
RP89332. Leaded bronze provincial as, Kremydi-Sicilianou Dion p. 271, pl. 38 - (E7/O8, unlisted die combination); RPC I 1543; AMNG II p. 60, 4; Varbanov -, VF, areas of light corrosion, earthen deposits, weight 10.519 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 180o, Dium (or Pella?) mint, reign of Tiberius, c. 22 - 30 A.D.; obverse veiled and draped bust of Pietas (Livilla or Livia as Pietas?) right, PIETAS below; reverse L RVSTI/CELIVS / CORDVS / II VIR / QVINQ / D D (L. Rusticelius Cordus, duovir quinquennalis, decreto decurionum) in six lines; ex CNG auction 420 (9 May 2018), lot 361; ex Belgica Collection; ex CNG e-auction 181 (6 Feb 2008), lot 671 (realized $330 plus fees); ex the Patrick Villemur Collection; rare; $250.00 (220.00)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.

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This reverse refers to Elagabalus' role as priest of the Syrian god from whom he took his nickname. Elagabalus came to power through the scheming of his grandmother Julia Maesa. Elagabalus repeatedly shocked the population with increasingly bizarre behavior including cross-dressing and marrying a vestal virgin. Eventually, his grandmother replaced him on the throne with Severus Alexander, and Elagabalus and his mother were murdered, dragged through the streets of Rome, and dumped into the Tiber
SL89815. Silver denarius, RSC III 61, BMCRE V 212, Eauze 348 (31 spec.), Hunter III 69, RIC IV 88, SRCV II 7518, NGC Ch AU, strike 5/5, surface 4/5 (4282339-003), weight 2.80 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 220 - 222 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, horned, laureate, draped and bearded bust right; reverse INVICTVS SACERDOS AVG (invincible priest emperor), Elagabalus standing slightly left, branch in left, offering from patera in right hand over flaming altar, slain bull recumbent on far side of the altar, star upper left; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins; $220.00 (193.60)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.

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In 227, Ardashir invaded Parthia and established the Sassanid Dynasty, which claimed direct descent from Xerxes and Darius. The Eastern power grew stronger and the threat to the Romans immense.
SL89802. Silver denarius, RIC IV 70 (S), RSC III 325, BMCRE VI 433, Hunter III 41, SRCV II -, NGC Ch AU, strike 5/5, surface 4/5 (4094546-001), weight 3.34 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 227 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate and draped bust right; reverse P M TR P VI COS II P P, Emperor standing left, sacrificing from patera in right hand over a flaming tripod altar, scroll in left; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins; scarce; $200.00 (176.00)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Amasia, Pontos

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According to Strabo the Greek name Amaseia comes from Amasis, the queen of the Amazons, who were said to have lived here. The name has changed little throughout history: Amaseia, Amassia, and Amasia are all found on ancient Greek and Roman coinage and continue to be used in modern Greek. Modern Turkish Amasya represents the same pronunciation. Amaseia was captured by the Roman Lucullus in 70 B.C. from Armenia. Pompey designated it a free city and the administrative center of the new province of Bithynia and Pontus. Amaseia was a thriving city, the home of thinkers, writers, and poets. Strabo left a full description of Amaseia as it was between 60 B.C. and 19 A.D.
RP88308. Bronze AE 29, Dalaison, type 25, 471; SNGvA 36; Waddington 18; Rec Gn I p. 38, 75; BMC Pontus -; SNG Cop -; SNG Tbingen -; SNG Leypold -, aF, dark patina, highlighting earthen deposits, porosity, a few light scratches, legends weak, weight 14.100 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 180o, Amaseia (Amasya, Turkey) mint, 206 - 207 A.D.; obverse AY KAI M AYP ANTΩNINOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse A∆P CEY ANT AMACIAC MHT NE ΠP Π (NT, MHT, NE, and ΠP ligate), Caracalla standing slightly left, wearing military garb, head bare, spear vertical in left hand, sacrificing from a patera in his right hand above a flaming altar on the left, star above left, ET / CΘ (year 209) in two lines in right field; ex Gerhard Rohde Ancient Coins; very rare; $160.00 (140.80)


Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit

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There are no clear breaks to the copper core but the lamination defects are typical of a plated fouree.
RS89769. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. RIC III 424a, RSC II 451, BMCRE IV (A. Pius) 277, Hunter II 4, SRCV II 4786 (official, silver, Rome mint), VF, well centered, light toning, nice portrait of slightly unusual style, double strike, light marks, lamination defects, edge cracks, weight 2.982 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, as caesar, c. 140 - 144 A.D.; obverse AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG PII F COS, bare head right; reverse PIETAS AVG (to the piety of the Emperor), implements of the augurate and pontificate: secespita (knife), aspergillum (sprinkler), ewer (jug), lituus (augural staff), and simpulum (ladle); $150.00 (132.00)


Salonina, Augusta 254 - c. September 268 A.D.

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Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RB88150. Orichalcum sestertius, Gbl MIR 230d(2), RIC V 47 (S), Cohen V 86, Hunter IV J17, Banti 16, SRCV III 10680, F, squared flan, legend mostly unstruck or off flan, weight 18.499 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 2nd - 4th emission of Gallienus, 255 - 257 A.D.; obverse CORNELIA SALONINA AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in ridges and in plait looped below ear up the back of head; reverse PIETAS AVGG, Pietas seated left, holding scepter; two children (Valerian II and Saloninus?) at her feet left, third child (Egnatius?) below throne, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; $140.00 (123.20)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RS92952. Silver denarius, RIC II 45(a), RSC II 1027, BMCRE III 82, Strack II 39, Hunter II 31, SRCV II -, VF, toned, nice portrait, flow lines, edge cracks, weight 2.992 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 118 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG, laureate bare-chest bust right, drapery on left shoulder; reverse P M TR P COS II, Pietas standing left, veiled, raising right hand, PIE-TAS across fields; ex Colosseum Coin Exchange; scarce; $140.00 (123.20)


Faustina Sr., Augusta 25 February 138 - Early 141, Wife of Antoninus Pius

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Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RB91021. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III AP1146A(a), BMCRE IV 1443; Hunter II 67, SRCV II 4631, F, choice obverse, excellent centering, reverse weakly struck and rough, weight 21.955 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, posthumous, 141 A.D.; obverse DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA, draped bust right, hair elaborately waved and in a bun on top of head, band of pearls; reverse PIETAS AVG (to the piety of the Emperor), Pietas standing left, dropping incense on candelabrum-altar with right, holding box in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking legs; from the Eric J. Engstrom Collection; $130.00 (114.40)


Livia, Wife of Augustus and Mother of Tiberius, 22 - 23 A.D.

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The countermark NCAPR was applied to numerous orichalcum coins of the reigns of Tiberius and Claudius. NCAPR is most often explained as "Nero Caesar Augustus Populo Romano." Others believe NCAPR abbreviates "Nummus Caesare Augusto Probatus" or "Nero Caesar Augustus Probavit" (probavit means approved). Excavations of the Meta Sudans and the northeastern slope of the Palatine Hill in Rome indicate that this countermark was applied for Nero's congiarium (distribution to the people) in 57 A.D., which supports the Populo Romano interpretation. Varieties of this relatively common countermark are identified by some authors as applied in either Italy, Spain or Gaul. The countermark is not found on coins bearing the name or portrait of Caligula. Clearly any coins of Caligula that were still in circulation and collected for application of the countermark were picked out and melted down, in accordance with his damnatio, rather than being countermarked and returned to circulation. A NCAPR countermark has, however, been found on a Vespasian dupondius which, if genuine and official, seems to indicate the N may refer to Nerva, not Nero.
RB88864. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC I T43 (S); BMCRE I T98; BnF II T74; Hunter I T26; Cohen p. 170, 1; SRCV I 1741; countermark: Pangerl 60a, Werz 138, aF, well centered, bumps, scratches, porosity, corrosion, weight 12.614 g, maximum diameter 28.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 22 - 23 A.D.; obverse veiled, draped bust of Livia or Livilla as Pietas right, wearing stephane, PIETAS below; reverse DRVSVS CAESAR TI AVGVSTI F TR POT ITER, legend around large S C (senatus consulto), countermark: NCAPR in a rectangular punch; scarce; $120.00 (105.60)




  



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Piety