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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Personifications ▸ HealthView Options:  |  |  |   

Health (Hygieia or Salus)

Hygieia (also Hygiea or Hygeia, in Latin Hygea or Hygia), was the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. She was the goddess of health, cleanliness and sanitation. While her father was more directly associated with healing, she was associated with the prevention of sickness and the continuation of good health. Her name is the source of the word "hygiene." She was imported by the Romans as the Goddess Valetudo, the goddess of personal health, but over time she was increasingly identified with the ancient Italian goddess of social welfare, Salus.


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one snake bringing another snake healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing.
RA71411. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 1354i, RIC V S512, Cohen V 932, SRCV III -, EF, no wear but small areas of light corrosion, well centered on tight flan, weight 3.373 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Mediolanum (Milan, Italy) mint, 267 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SALVS AVG (the health of the Emperor), Salus standing right, feeding snake in right from patera in left, MS in exergue; $135.00 (120.15)


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

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Salus was the Roman goddess of health. According to Strack III, p. 129, the idea behind the type is that the safety of the state is dependent on the health of the emperor. "For that reason Salus holds the rudder of Fortuna in some of these types, as an indication that the fate of the empire rests in her hands."
RS77095. Silver denarius, RIC III 181, RSC II 281, BMCRE IV 670, Hunter II 69, Strack III 195, SRCV II 4075, VF, elegant style, nice portrait, toned, weight 3.383 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 148 - 149 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XII, laureate head right; reverse COS IIII, Salus standing left, from patera in right hand, feeding snake coiled around altar, rudder on globe in left hand; $130.00 (115.70)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.

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Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. This coin, dedicated to the health of the emperor, probably indicates the emperor was at the time suffering from some disease, and sacred rites had been performed for his recovery.
RB78072. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 512; BMCRE IV p. 816, 617; Szaivert MIR 18 746; Hunter II -; Cohen III -, F, well centered, light corrosion, closed flan crack, weight 22.745 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, Rome mint, 186 - 187 A.D.; obverse M COMMODVS ANT P FELIX AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XIII IMP VIII COS V P P, Salus seated left on a throne, from patera in right hand, feeding a snake rising up from an altar at feet on left, left forearm on back of throne, S - C across field at center; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $115.00 (102.35)


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

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Tribal peoples outside the Empire struck coinage imitative of Roman types beginning in the second century B.C. and continued to strike imitative types even after the Western Empire ceased to exist. Several official issues used this reverse type, but the style is exotic and crude. These legends were never used on any official issues.
RS90412. Silver denarius, for possible prototype: cf. RIC IV 497a, RSC III 642 (Roman official, Laodicea ad Mare mint, 198 A.D.), VF, double struck, reverse off-center, weight 2.603 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial mint, obverse [...] CAE L SEP SEV PERP IWC (or similar, blundered), laureate head right; reverse [...]TAS AVG P P (blundered, S reversed), Salus seated left, with patera in her right hand feeding snake rising from altar at her feet, cornucopia in left; $100.00 (89.00)


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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Salus was the Roman goddess of health. According to Strack III, p. 129, the idea behind the type is that the safety of the state is dependent on the health of the emperor. "For that reason Salus holds the rudder of Fortuna in some of these types, as an indication that the fate of the empire rests in her hands."
RB73723. Orichalcum sestertius, SRCV III 9016, Hunter III 76, Cohen V 206, RIC IV 187(a) var. (scepter vice rudder), VF/F, excellent portrait, grainy surfaces, light corrosion, weight 18.695 g, maximum diameter 30.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 244 - 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse SALVS AVG (the health of the Emperor), Salus standing facing, head left, feeding snake coiled around altar, rudder vertical vertical behind in left, S - C flanking low across field; $100.00 (89.00)


Nemausus, Gaul, c. 40 B.C.

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Colonia Nemausus was founded as a colony by Tiberius Claudius Nero in 45 or 44 B.C. for veterans that had served Julius Caesar under his command in Gaul and the invasion of Egypt. He was the first husband of Livia and was persuaded or forced by Octavian to divorce her. At the wedding he gave her in marriage to Octavian "just as a father would."
RP74283. Brass semis, RPC I 520, SNG Cop 692, SNG Mnchen 431, CCC BM III 231, De la Tour 2735, VF, weight 2.108 g, maximum diameter 16.4 mm, die axis 270o, Nemausus (Nimes) mint, c. 40 B.C.; obverse helmeted and draped bust right, S (mark of value) behind; reverse NEM COL (downward on right), Salus standing, patera in right over two snakes, left elbow on column behind; $80.00 (71.20)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Marcianopolis, Moesia Inferior

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Hygieia is usually said to be a daughter of Asklepios, along with her sisters, Panacea and Iaso. Hygieia, though, was the most important of the attendants of Asklepios and was thought by some in antiquity to be not his daughter but his wife. She was more important than other members of the family and more on par with Asklepios himself. Hygieia is remembered today in the word, "hygiene." She appears on numerous coins, usually depicted feeding the sacred snake from a patera. She was often identified with Salus, an old Roman goddess.
RP77446. Bronze tetrassaria, H-J Marcianopolis 6.32.21.9 (R3, unlisted dies), Varbanov I 1722 (R3, noted as unpublished var.), AMNG I/I 1028.4, Moushmov 724, SNG Cop -, BMC -, VF, excellent portrait, well centered, right side of reverse legend unstruck, weight 11.131 g, maximum diameter 26.05 mm, die axis 45o, Markianopolis (Devnya, Bulgaria) mint, consular legate Umbrius Tereventinus, 225 - 229; obverse AVT K M AVR CEVH AΛEΞAN∆POC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse HΓ OVM TEPEBENTEINOV MAPKIANOΠOΛIT,ΩN (OV's ligate, ΩN letters in exergue), Hygieia standing right, feeding serpent held in right hand, from patera in left hand; rare variety; $65.00 (57.85)


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

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In 166 A.D., an epidemic known as the Antonine Plague (possibly small pox) spread from the East throughout the Roman Empire. This coin was likely dedicated to Salus to plea for her aid against the outbreak. In 169, Marcus' co-emperor, Lucius Verus, fell ill with symptoms attributed to food poisoning and died after a few days. He may have actually been a victim of the plague. Salus was slow to act. The plague continued for roughly twenty years.
RB77308. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 979, BMCRE III 1376, MIR 18 182-6/30, Cohen III 547, Hunter III 137, cf. SRCV II 4998 (TR P XXIII), aVF, rough, weight 26.549 g, maximum diameter 30.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Dec 169 - Dec 170 A.D.; obverse M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXIIII, laureate head right; reverse SALVTI AVG COS III, Salus standing facing, head left, from patera in right hand feeding snake rising from altar at feet on left, long scepter vertical in left hand, S - C flanking low across field; $60.00 (53.40)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101 - 106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town reached its peak during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty.
RP73901. Bronze assarion, Varbanov 2517 (R3), H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.21.10 (R2) var. (...ICT), AMNG I/I 1348 var. (same), Moushmov 1020, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, VF, weight 2.530 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 45o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV KAI CE - CEVHPOC, laureate head right; reverse NIKOΠOΛ−IT ΠPOC IC, Hygieia standing right feeding snake in her arms, from a patera in her left hand; $55.00 (48.95)


Tacitus, 25 September 275 - June 276 A.D.

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Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one snake bringing another snake healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing.
RB48408. Silvered antoninianus, MER-RIC 3368, BnF XII 1653, Venra 1307 - 1328 (LV 1859), RIC V 158 corr., VF, perfect centering, some silvering, some earthen encrustation, weight 3.991 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 1st emission, Nov - Dec 275 A.D.; obverse IMP C M CL TACITVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SALVS AVG (the health of the Emperor), Salus seated left, feeding snake rising from altar, T in exergue; $40.00 (35.60)




  



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