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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Personifications ▸ PietyView 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.


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

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Minted after his invasion of Italy and crossing of the Rubicon on 10 January 49 B.C. until his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus, this was the first coin type issued in Caesar's name. The obverse was long described as an elephant trampling a snake, symbolizing good triumphing over evil. For the Romans, however, the snake was a symbol of healing, not evil. The image to the right (click it to see a larger photo) is ornamentation on the side of the Gundestrup cauldron depicting three Celtic warriors sounding their carnyx war trumpets. Clearly, Caesar's elephant is trampling a carnyx and the obverse symbolizes Caesar's victory over the Celtic tribes of Gaul. The reverse refers to Caesar's office of Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, a title now held by the Pope.Persian Empire

SL77511. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, NGC VF, strike 4/5, surface 1/5 (2490379-003), weight 3.549 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a carnyx (Celtic war trumpet) ornamented to look like a dragon, CAESAR below; reverse implements of the pontificate: culullus (cup) or simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), securis (sacrificial ax), and apex (priest's hat); NGC certified (slabbed); $480.00 (408.00)


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

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In addition to rule, the Emperor was the Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, the president of the college of pontiffs, and responsible for overseeing the religion and sacred ceremonies of the Romans. On 17 December 384, after the Christian emperor Gratian refused the title, Pope Siricius took the title Pontifex Maximus.
RS85639. Silver denarius, RIC IV 204 (S), RSC III 682, BMCRE V 578, SRCV II 6906, Hunter III -, Choice gVF, unusual older youth portrait, well centered and struck, toned, light porosity, edge cracks, weight 3.493 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 208 - 210 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, older youth's unbearded laureate head right; reverse VOTA SOLVT DEC COS III (Additional sacrifices for the tenth anniversary of rule, consul for the 3rd time), Caracalla standing left, veiled and togate, sacrificing out of patera in right hand over flaming tripod altar, roll in left hand, slain sacrificial bull recumbent on the far side of the altar; $220.00 (187.00)


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. The star in the field, a symbol of the sun-god, stands for the mint of Rome.
RS85641. Silver denarius, RSC III 276, RIC IV 146, BMCRE V 231, Hunter III 74, SRCV II 7549, gVF, nice unusual portrait, toned, good detail, edge cracks, weight 3.026 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 221 - 222 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and horned bust right; reverse SVMMVS SACERDOS AVG (High Priest Emperor), Elagabalus, offering over altar from patera in right hand, branch in left hand, star in left field; $160.00 (136.00)


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

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Curtis Clay notes, one of Elagabalus' four emperor sacrificing types is dated, and the horn disappears from its obverse soon after the beginning of TR P V on 10 December 221. This coin, without the horn thus dates c. mid-January to his death on 11 March 222. Elagabalus had shocked the public with bizarre behavior including cross-dressing and marrying a Vestal Virgin. Removing the unusual horn from his portrait was probably part of a last-ditch effort to show that he had changed, dropping his peculiar Syrian ways. The effort failed. On 11 March 222, Elagabalus and his mother were murdered, dragged through the streets of Rome and dumped into the Tiber.
RS85642. Silver denarius, RSC III 61b, Eauze 356 (10 spec.), BMCRE V 209, RIC IV 88 (notes usually horned), Hunter III 69 var. (horned), SRCV II 7518 var. (horned), Choice gVF, excellent portrait, nice reverse detail, light toning, light marks, slight die wear, edge cracks, weight 3.561 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. mid-Jan - 11 Mar 222; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped and bearded bust right, no horn; reverse INVICTVS SACERDOS AVG (invincible priest emperor), Elagabalus standing half left, branch in left, offering from patera over altar in right, slain bull recumbent on far side of altar, star left; $140.00 (119.00)


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

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A nice little boy portrait with no sign of the monster he would become.
RS79933. Silver denarius, RIC IV 68; RSC III 686; BMCRE V p. 234, 396; Hunter III p. 52, 23; SRCV II 6908, Choice VF, excellent boy portrait, well centered, weight 3.498 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 202 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped boy's bust right; reverse VOT SVSC DEC PON TR P V COS, Caracalla standing left, togate and veiled, sacrificing over lit tripod altar from a patera in right hand, roll in left hand; scarce; $135.00 (114.75)


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 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.
RS77586. Silver RIC IV 129, RSC IV 186, SRCV III 8677, Hunter III -, Choice EF, very broad flan, some luster, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.904 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 241 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PIETAS AVGVSTI (the piety of the Emperor), Pietas standing slightly left, veiled head left, raising both hands in prayer; $130.00 (110.50)


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

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The star in the field, a symbol of the sun-god, stands for the mint of Rome.
RS85648. Silver denarius, RIC IV 46, RSC III 196; BMCRE p. 569, 256; Hunter II 67; SRCV II 7536, aEF, attractive portrait, light toning, luster in recesses, reverse slightly off center on a tight flan, weight 3.589 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped and horned bust right, from the front; reverse P M TR P IIII COS III P P (High priest, holder of tribunitian power four years, consul three times, father of the country), Elagabalus standing slightly left, head left, wearing Syrian priest garb, sacrificing from patera in right hand over lit altar at feet on left, holding club or cypress branch in left hand, star in upper left field; $120.00 (102.00)


Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217 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.
RS79616. Silver denarius, RIC IV S572, BMCRE V S165, RSC III 150, Hunter III 16, SRCV II 6600, VF, nice portrait, full circles centering on obverse and reverse, some die wear, flan cracks, weight 3.543 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 204 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, flat coil at back of head; reverse PIETAS AVGG (to the piety of the two emperors), Pietas standing half left, veiled, dropping incense on altar with right hand, box in left hand; $110.00 (93.50)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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Antoninus Pius is depicted on the reverse in his role as Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, the president of the college of pontiffs, and responsible for overseeing the religion and sacred ceremonies of the Romans. On 17 December 384, after the Christian emperor Gratian refused the title, Pope Siricius took the title Pontifex Maximus.
RB73733. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 794 (S), Hunter II 387, BMCRE IV 1726, cf. SRCV II 4246 (TR P XXII), Cohen -, F, well centered, green patina, weight 28.792 g, maximum diameter 32.1 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, c. 158 - 159 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P, laureate head right; reverse VOTA SVSCE-PTA DEC III, emperor standing left, togate, sacrificing over flaming tripod altar (no bull), S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field, COS IIII in exergue; big 32 mm bronze!; scarce; $80.00 (68.00)


Theodora, Augusta, 2nd Wife of Constantius I, Grandmother of Caesars and Emperors

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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.
RL79458. Billon reduced centenionalis, SRCV V 17501, Cohen VII 4, VF, attractive portrait, dark green patina, reverse struck with a worn die, areas of light corrosion, weight 1.693 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Treveri (Trier, Germany) mint, 337 - 340 A.D.; obverse FL MAX THEODORAE AVG, draped bust right, elaborate hairstyle, pearl necklace; reverse PIETAS ROMANA, Pietas standing facing, head right, holding infant at her breast, TRP[...] in exergue; $80.00 (68.00)




  



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Piety