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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Personifications| ▸ |Roma||View Options:  |  |  |   

Roma on Ancient Coins

Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. The earliest certain cult to dea Roma was established at Smyrna in 195 B.C., probably to mark the successful alliance against Antiochus III. In 30/29 B.C., the Koinon of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to honor Augustus as a living god. "Republican" Rome despised the worship of a living man, but an outright refusal might offend their loyal allies. A cautious formula was drawn up, non-Romans could only establish a cult for divus Augustus jointly with dea Roma. In the city of Rome itself, the earliest known state cult to dea Roma was combined with Venus at the Hadrianic Temple of Venus and Roma. This was the largest temple in the city, probably dedicated to inaugurate the reformed festival of Parilia, which was known thereafter as the Romaea after the Eastern festival in Roma's honor. The temple contained the seated, Hellenised image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.


Balbinus, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.

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Balbinus was elected along with Pupienus to end the reign of the brutal Maximinus. A military stalemate ensued, until Maximinus was murdered by his own troops. The population and the Praetorian guard held little respect for the two ex-senators, however, and they were murdered after a reign of only 99 days.
SH92723. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 11; BMCRE VI 71; RSC III 6, Hunter III 5, SRCV III 8485, Choice EF, superb portrait, superb strike with full boarders centering on a broad flan, dark old cabinet toning, flow lines, edge slightly ragged as expected for the type, weight 4.423 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 22 Apr - 29 Jul 238 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES D CAEL BALBINVS AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse FIDES MVTVA AVGG, clasped hands; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 59 (11 Jul 2019), lot 907; ex CNG, Classical Numismatic Review XLIII.2 (Aug 2018), no. 482057; Aureo & Calico auction 241 (8 Feb 2012), lot 355; ex Imagines Imperatorum Collection; $1600.00 SALE |PRICE| $1440.00


Roman Republic, L. Caecilius Metellus Diadematus, 128 B.C.

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In 128 B.C., the Greco-Bactrian kingdom was overrun by the Tocharians and renamed Tocharistan.
RR89756. Silver denarius, RSC I Caecilia 38, Crawford 262/1, Sydenham 496, BMCRR I Rome 1044, Russo RBW 1060, SRCV I 138, VF, broad flan, light toning, flow lines, some die wear, weight 3.926 g, maximum diameter 194 mm, die axis 270o, Rome mint, 128 B.C.; obverse head of Roma right in winged helmet, X (XVI ligature = 16 asses) behind, wearing single drop earring and pearl necklace; reverse Pax driving a galloping biga right, olive branch in right hand, reins and scepter in left hand, elephant head with bell at neck below, ROMA in exergue; $200.00 SALE |PRICE| $180.00


Maxentius, February 307 - 28 October 312 A.D.

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With the legend CONSERV VRB SVAE, Maxentius declares he is the Savior of the City (Rome), protecting its customs and privileges.
RT91637. Billon follis, RIC VI Ticinum 108, SRCV IV 14995, Cohen VII 39, Hunter V 8 var. (2nd officina), aEF, attractive toned brown surfaces, tight flan, slightly uneven strike with exergue weak, weight 5.292 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 309 - 310 A.D.; obverse IMP C MAXENTIVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse CONSERVAT VRB SVAE (Guardian of the city traditions), Roma seated facing in ornate hexastyle temple (on left), head left, holding globe in right hand, to her right Victory stands left offering a wreath with right hand, holding palm frond in left hand, pediment empty, knobs as acroteria, P T in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00


Constantine the Great, Early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.

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Constantine is most famous for leading the Empire to Christianity. Before the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, he saw "In Hoc Signo Victor Eris" (By this sign you shall conquer) on the sun around a Chi Rho ligature. With the symbol of Christ on his army's shields, he was victorious. He moved the capital to Constantinople.
RL89036. Billon follis, RIC VI 117, SRCV IV 15507, Cohen VII 80, Hunter IV-, aEF, dark brown patina, lighter green highlights, weight 5.900 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Aquileia mint, as caesar, late summer 307 A.D.; obverse CONSTANTINVS NOB CAES, laureate head right; reverse CONSERV VRB SVAE (Guardian of the city traditions), Roma seated facing on throne, head left, globe in right hand, scepter vertical in left, grounded shield at right side, all within hexastyle temple decorated with knobs as acroteria and wreath in pediment, AQΓ in exergue; ex CNG e-auction 233 (26 May 2010), lot 421 (realized $130 plus fees); $140.00 (123.20) ON RESERVE


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

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Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. The earliest certain cult to dea Roma was established at Smyrna in 195 B.C., probably to mark the successful alliance against Antiochus III. In 30/29 B.C., the Koinon of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to honor Augustus as a living god. "Republican" Rome despised the worship of a living man, but an outright refusal might offend their loyal allies. A cautious formula was drawn up, non-Romans could only establish a cult for divus Augustus jointly with dea Roma. In the city of Rome itself, the earliest known state cult to dea Roma was combined with Venus at the Hadrianic Temple of Venus and Roma. This was the largest temple in the city, probably dedicated to inaugurate the reformed festival of Parilia, which was known thereafter as the Romaea after the Eastern festival in Roma's honor. The temple contained the seated, Hellenised image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.
RS88839. Silver denarius, RIC II 160, RSC II 353, BMCRE III 356, Hunter II 139, Strack II 183, SRCV II -, Choice VF, superb portrait, light toning, edge splits, weight 3.206 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 125 - 128 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS III, Roma standing right, left foot on helmet, inverted spear in right hand, parazonium at side in left hand; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 72, part of lot 1045; $135.00 SALE |PRICE| $122.00


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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The reverse depicts the double temple of Venus and Roma, designed by Hadrian, the largest and most splendid temple in Rome, finished by Antoninus Pius. Damaged by fire in 307, the temple was restored "in magnificent manner" by Maxentius. When Constantius visited Rome fifty years later, the "Temple of the City" was one of the sights he most admired. In 625, Pope Honorius received a special dispensation from Heraclius to strip the gilded bronze roof tiles for the repair of St. Peter's. During a twelve-day visit to Rome in 663, Constans II stripped it of its remaining bronze ornaments. It was damaged by an earthquake in 847. Later a church was built in the ruins.
RA76944. Silvered antoninianus, Hunter IV 32 (also 3rd officina); RIC V-2 185; Cohen VI 530; Pink VI-1, p. 56-57/4; SRCV III -, Choice EF, near full silvering, superb portrait, light marks, weight 4.097 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Rome mint, emission 4, 279 A.D.; obverse IMP PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ROMAE AETER (eternal Rome), statue of Roma seated facing inside a hexastyle temple, head left, Victory in right, long scepter in left hand, R pellet in crescent with horns up Γ in exergue; $125.00 SALE |PRICE| $113.00


Roman Republic, Q. Marcius, C. Fabius & L. Roscius, c. 118 - 117 B.C.

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In 118 B.C., the Second Dalmatian War ended with victory for Rome. Lucius Caecilius Metellus assumed the surname Delmaticus.
RR88373. Silver denarius, Crawford 283/1b, Sydenham 541a, RSC I Marcia 17, RSC I Fabia 13, BMCRR I Italy 479, RBW Collection 1112, SRCV 159 var. (noted), F, toned, a little rough, reverse slightly off center, weight 3.564 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, c. 118 - 117 B.C.; obverse head of Roma left in winged helmet, crest with griffin head, peaked visor in three pieces, wearing single drop earring and necklace, hair in three locks, X (mark of value) behind; reverse Victory in quadriga right, raising wreath in extended right hand, reins in left hand, ROMA below, CFLRQM in exergue; $100.00 SALE |PRICE| $90.00


Probus, Summer 276 - September 282 A.D.

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The reverse depicts the double temple of Venus and Roma, designed by Hadrian, the largest and most splendid temple in Rome, finished by Antoninus Pius. Damaged by fire in 307, the temple was restored "in magnificent manner" by Maxentius. When Constantius visited Rome fifty years later, the "Temple of the City" was one of the sights he most admired. In 625, Pope Honorius received a special dispensation from Heraclius to strip the gilded bronze roof tiles for the repair of St. Peter's. During a twelve-day visit to Rome in 663, Constans II stripped it of its remaining bronze ornaments. It was damaged by an earthquake in 847. Later a church was built in the ruins.
RA91617. Silvered antoninianus, Hunter IV 32 (also 3rd officina); RIC V-2 185; Cohen VI 530; Pink VI-1, p. 56-57/4; SRCV III -, Choice gVF, excellent centering, traces of silvering, center high points a little weak, weight 4.076 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Rome mint, emission 4, 279 A.D.; obverse IMP PROBVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse ROMAE AETER (eternal Rome), statue of Roma seated facing inside a hexastyle temple, head left, Victory in right hand, long scepter in left hand, R pellet in crescent with horns up Γ in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, ex Munzen und Medaillen (Basil, Switzerland); $100.00 SALE |PRICE| $90.00


City of Rome Commemorative, 330 - 331 A.D.

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On 11 May 330, Constantine I refounded Byzantium, renamed it Constantinopolis after himself, and moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to his new city. The new capital was Christian, old gods and traditions were either replaced or assimilated into a framework of Christian symbolism. Constantine built the new Church of the Holy Apostles on the site of a temple to Aphrodite. Generations later there was the story that a divine vision led Constantine to this spot. The capital would often be compared to the 'old' Rome as Nova Roma Constantinopolitana, the "New Rome of Constantinople." Special commemorative coins were issued with types for both Rome and Constantinople to advertise the importance of the new capital.
RL92314. Billon reduced centenionalis, RIC VII Lyons 242 (R2), Bastien Lyon 201, LRBC I 184, SRCV IV 16490, Cohen VII 17, Hunter V -, Choice EF, well centered, edge cracks, mintmark not fully struck, weight 2.042 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 330 - 331 A.D.; obverse VRBS ROMA, helmeted bust of Roma left wearing imperial mantle; reverse she-wolf standing left, head turned back right, suckling the infant twins Romulus and Remus, two stars above, PLG in exergue; $100.00 SALE |PRICE| $90.00


Valentinian II, 17 November 375 - 15 May 392 A.D.

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Valentinian II tried to restrain the despoiling of pagan temples in Rome. Buoyed by this instruction, pagan senators, led by Aurelius Symmachus, the Prefect of Rome, petitioned in 384 for the restoration of the Altar of Victory in the Senate House, which had been removed by Gratian in 382. Valentinian, at the insistence of Ambrose, refused the request and, in so doing, rejected the traditions and rituals of pagan Rome.
RL88046. Bronze centenionalis, RIC IX Antioch 51.1, LRBC II 2670 corr. (no star), SRCV V 20330, Cohen VIII 80, Choice VF, dark patina, earthen highlighting, slightest porosity, weight 2.351 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 9 Aug 378 - 25 Aug 383 A.D.; obverse D N VALENTINIANVS IVN P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse VRBS ROMA (City of Rome), Roma seated left on cuirass, Victory on globe offering wreath in right hand, spear vertical behind in left hand, star right, ANTB in exergue; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00




  



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