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PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS

Latin: Princeps Juventutis - The first of youths, was an honorary title given to young princes of the imperial family that were destined to reign.


Dictionary of Roman Coins







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Princeps Juventutis was a name of dignity even in the most flourishing days of the republic. It was an honorary appellation given to him who took the lead of the greater and lesser boys appointed to perform a part in the game of Troy (ad ludum Troja). The prince of the youth was, in the earlier times, the chief of the Equestrian Order. Under the empire, and from the very commencement of that monarchical form of government, this title, although simply honorary, appears to have been given, as an apanage, to such young princes of the imperial family as were destined to reign, and was sometimes conferred on them at a very early age. The dignity in certain instances accompanied that of Caesar. It is a mark of distinction of which the memorial is found perpetuated, either directly or indirectly, on the medals dedicated to these youthful heirs of the throne. Sometimes, as in the case of Caius and Lucius, sons of M. Agrippa, adopted by Augustus, two princes were honoured together with this title. The types which bear reference to it present to us usually, under the first reigns, horsemen, with spears, as in Nero and Drusus, Titus, Domitian, and Geta. But after Geta, the Princeps Juventutis was no longer represented by an equestrian figure, bu appeared on foot, in a military habit, either by the side of two ensigns, and holding the hasta pura and short wand, as is Alex. Severus and Maximus; or holding a globe in left hand and javelin in the right, as in Gordianus Pius and Philippus Jun.; or the prince standing in a military habit, holding a sceptre, with three standards, as on first brass of Diadumenianus, of which an example is here given.There are several slight varieties of this coin, in which Diadumenianus holds also a globe in the left, as in the younger Philip and Numerianus, and with captive at his feet, as on a rare medallion of Saloninus; or holding a military standard in the right and a spear reversed in the left hand, near to which a sacred standard is sometimes planted., as in Hostilianus; lastly, the frequently recurring legend PRINC. IVVENT. accompanies the unusual and scarcely appropriate type of a woman seated, holding an olive branch in her right hand, and resting her left arm on the back of the chair, as is seen on the coins of Herennius and Hostilianus alone. 

On a silver coin of Saloninus, son of Gallienus, we find the legend PRINC. IVVENTVTIS, accompanying the type of a military figure (evidently intended for that of the younger prince), standing, not, however (as is commonly in the case on coins of the Lower Empire), holding a military standard, but with spear and buckler in his left hand, and crowning a trophy with his right.

A coin of Tetricus Junior shows shows the prince of the youth, holding an olive branch, and the hasta pura.



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