Libertas




Please add updates or make corrections to the NumisWiki text version as appropriate.
LIBERTAS - Liberty is represented in two ways on coins: the one as a woman with a naked head, which is the image of Roman Liberty; the other having her head covered with a veil, and adorned with a diadem, is the effigy of the goddess of liberty, whose temple was on Mount Aventine. The veil is in this case the token of divinity, as indeed the diadem is the ornament of a goddess. Liberty is represented not only on consular medals, but also with considerable frequency on those of the imperial series.

The head of liberty is the type of many medals of Roman family moneyers; she is crowned with an olive garland in Licinia; with a laurel in Junia, Pedania, Servilia, Vibia; and her headdress in different styles on coins of the Caecilia, Cassia, Considia, Junia, Petillia, Porcia, Postumia, Sempronia, Silia, and Valeria families; she appears veiled on the denarii of the Aemilia, Calpurnia, Crepusia, Lollia, Lutatia, Mamilia, Marci, and Sulpicia families; and she is both veiled and laureated on a medal of the Sestia family.

On the greater |part| of the denarii struck by the conspirators against Julius Caesar, we see the head of liberty, sometimes ornamented, at other times veiled. "By this |symbol| (says Millin) they intended to shew that they had taken up arms only to deliver Rome from the tyranny of |Julius|; whilst on the other hand even |Caesar| himself pretended also that to avenge the liberty of the Roman people was his sole object."

On a celebrated silver coin the head of Brutus appears on one side; and on the other a cap between two daggers, with this historically interesting inscription EID MAR; "to the Ides of March," the day of Caesar's murder. Dion Cassius (in the 25th chap. of his 47th book) also acquaints us that Brutus caused coins to be struck, of which the type was similar to the one above described. The same writer adds that by this type and by a medal bearing the legend LIBERTAS P R REST (Liberty restored to the Roman People), Brutus wished to shew, conjointly with Cassius, he had restored the libery of his country. See EID MAR - BRVTVS and Junia family.

Liberty is often depicted under the figure of a woman standing, with a cap or hat (pileus) in her right hand, and holding in her left a hasta, or perhaps that particular wand which the Romans called rudis or vindicta, with which slaves were slightly struck at the moment of their emancipation. Under this form and with such attributes she is seen on medals of Claudius, Vitellius, Galba, Vespasian, Nerva, Trajan, Marciana, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Commodus, Septimius Severus, Caracalla, Geta, Elagabalus, Severus Alexander, Julia Mamaea, Gordian III, Trajan Decius, Trebonianus Gallus, and Claudius II Gothicus.
- On a medal of Hadrian we see liberty seated, holding in the left hand a branch, and in the right a spear.
- A coin of Galba shews us this goddess standing, with a horn of plenty in the left hand, holding in her right the pileus or cap of liberty.
- On a coin of Antoninus Pius she holds a patera in her right hand.
- On a medal of Clodius Macer, and on a gold coin of Galba, restored by Trajan, she holds a cap in the right and the patera in the left hand.

The pileus held in the right and the cornucopiae in the left are the sttributes of liberty on coins of Antoninus Pius, Elagabalus, Volusian, Gallienus, Quintillus, Aurelian, Julian of Pannonia, and Julian II.

LIBERTAS, head of Liberty / P R REST, the pileus or cap of liberty, between two daggers. On another denarius of BRVTVS.

View whole page from the |Dictionary Of Roman Coins|