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

Generosity (Liberalitas)

Liberalitas coin types attest to occasions when the emperor has displayed his generosity towards the people by a distribution to them of money, provisions, or both. The first mention of Liberalitas was on coins of Hadrian. It was a type frequently repeated by the succeeding emperors. Indeed these instances of imperial generosity are more carefully recorded on coins than they are by history. Liberality is personified by the image of a woman, holding in one hand a counting board, or square tablet with a handle on which are cut a certain number of holes. These boards were used to quickly count the proper number of coins or other items for distribution to each person. In the other hand she holds a cornucopia, to indicate the prosperity of the state and the abundance of wheat contained in the public graineries.

Geta, 209 - c. 26 December 211 A.D.

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Between 209 and their father's death in February 211, both brothers were shown as equally mature young men with a short full beard. Both sons were presented as equally suitable heirs to the throne, showing thus more "depth" to the dynasty. Between the death of Septimius Severus and the assassination of Geta, Caracalla's portraits did not change, while Geta was depicted with a long beard with hanging hairs much like his father, a strong indication of Geta's efforts to be seen as the "true" successor of his father.
RS86671. Silver denarius, RIC IV 88, RSC III 68, BMCRE V 65, SRCV II -, Choice EF, nearly as struck except for light toning, fantastic portrait, luster in recesses, perfect centering on a broad flan, some legend just a little weak, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.250 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 210 - 212 A.D.; obverse P SEPT GETA PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse LIBERALITAS AVG V (the 5th liberality [distribution of gifts to the people] by the Emperor), Liberalitas standing half-left, coin counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; $340.00 (Ä289.00)

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

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Liberality (generosity), being one of the princely virtues and at the same time an understandably very popular quality, appears both as a legend and as a type on a great many Roman imperial coins. These coins usually attest to an occasion when the emperor distributed gifts to the people. Most often a specified sum of money, or sometimes grain, was given to each person. Inscriptions on the coins often included the number of times, I, II, III, up to VIII, that the emperor has displayed his liberality with a distribution.
RS87864. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 38b, RSC IV 87, Hunter III 21, SRCV III 8937, Choice EF, full circle centering on a broad flan, sharp portrait, flow lines, reverse die wear, weight 4.756 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 245 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse LIBERALITAS AVGG II (the 2nd liberality [distribution of gifts to the people] by the Emperors), Liberalitas standing half-left, coin counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; ex Beast Coins; $100.00 (Ä85.00)

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

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The generosity and munificent largesses of Hadrian, after having been recorded many times on various coins and in diverse ways, are on the reverse of a first brass medal of great rarity, glorified altogether by the above splendid title, "The Benefactor of the World," a superlative the more remarkable, inasmuch as, neither before nor afterward, is it found conferred on any other emperor. -- Dictionary of Roman Coins
RB87802. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II 552 (R), Hunter II 324, BMCRE III 1137, Cohen II 914, SRCV II 3606 var. (band over shoulder, S - C at sides), Choice VF, excellent portrait, beautiful green patina, light marks, small spots of corrosion, weight 25.807 g, maximum diameter 35.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 123 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR TRAIANVS HADRIANVS AVG, laureate head right, "heroic" bare chest portrait, seen from the front, drapery on left shoulder; reverse PONT MAX TR POT COS II, Hadrian seated left on raised platform, before him sits an attendant distributing coins to a togate citizen climbing steps of platform, Liberalitas standing left on far side of attendant, holding coin counter, LIBERALITAS AVG / S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; very rare; SOLD


Catalog current as of Thursday, January 17, 2019.
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