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Busts - Ornaments Of


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    Busts----Ornaments of.----The busts which appear on coins are accompanied by certain symbols peculiar to them, especially when the two arms are visible, as is generally the case on medallions; and even on the smallest coins of the Lower Empire. The princes represented on these monuments often hold a globe in their hand, to show that they are the masters of the world. This globe is sometimes surmounted by a winged Victory, which holds a crown or wreath, designating that it is to Victory the reigning prince owes his imperial throne. The scepter which they hold in their hand, when in the consular habit, is surmounted by a globe charged with an eagle, to show by these marks of sovereign power that the prince governs by himself. From the time of Augustus the consular scepter, to which reference here is made, appears constantly on the imperial series of Roman coins. When the persons represented are in arms, besides the helmet and buckler, they have generally a javelin in the hand or on the shoulder, as on brass medallions of Diocletian, S. Severus, Probus.    (See the respective biographical notices of those emperors).
    The thunderbolt, which is sometimes placed behind the head of a prince, as on a medal of Augustus, marks the sovereign authority, and indicates the assumption of a power equal to that of the gods.----The crescent is often employed as a support to the bust of empresses, who aspired to hold in the State, of which the emperor was assumed to be the sun, that place which was assigned to the moon in the heavens. (See Jobert edited by Bimard, vol. i. 370, et seq.)----On coins of the lower empire, the globe is seen surmounted by a cross, especially after the reign of Constantine, when the Christian Religion having been fully established as that of the State, emperors professed their wish to indicate thereby that they regarded themselves as holding the empire from Jesus Christ, whose bust the Byzantine emperors had the presumption to place on the reverse of their coins, and named for that ostensible reason, REX REGNANTIVM- the King of Kings.

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