A "pius" denarius

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Orielensis, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. Orielensis

    Orielensis Supporter! Supporter

    Here is a recent Roman Republican acquisition that departs from the usual denarius model of Roma on the obverse and some sort of chariot on the reverse:

    Römische Republik – RRC 308:1b, Denar, Herennius, Catanean u. Pietas .png
    Roman Republic, moneyer: M. Herennius, AR denarius, 108–107 BC, Rome mint. Obv: PIETAS; head of Pietas r. Rev: M HERENNI; one of the Catanean brothers Amphinomos and Anapias carrying his father r; in field, control mark .V. 19mm, 3.94g. Ex Artemide 52E, lot 162.

    The single topic of this coin's iconography is the moral concept of pietas, which can be translated as "devotion," "loyalty," or "dutifulness." In most classical contexts, the Latin adjective pius refers to loyalty and devotion to one's parents and ancestors. The cognomen Pius, adopted by many Roman emperors including the well-known Antoninus Pius, highlights the filial piety of the namebearer.

    On my coin, a personification of pietas is shown on the obverse, while the reverse "illustrates pietas in action" (Crawford, RRC, p. 318). It depicts the story of the two brothers Amphinomos and Anapias from Katane in Sicily, who during a volcanic eruption carried their parents to safety. Seneca portrays the two brothers as role models of filial devotion:

    “Those young Sicilians won the victory; for, when Aetna, aroused to unusual fury, poured forth its fire upon cities, upon fields, upon a great part of the island, they conveyed their parents to safety. The fires parted, so it was believed, and, as the flames retired on either side, a path was opened up for the passage of the youths, who greatly deserved to perform their heroic tasks in safety." (Seneca, De beneficiis 3, 37, 2).

    Alternatively, it has been proposed that the reverse shows Aeneas carrying his father Anchises out of the burning city of Troy. Mostly due to the lack of comparable contemporary images of Aeneas, this interpretation appears rather unlikely.

    Please post your coins showing pietas!
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
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  3. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    That's an interesting coin with a lovely portrait of Pietas :D. The Pietas concept has carried over to modern Sicilian & Italian families ;).
    +VGO.DVCKS and Orielensis like this.
  4. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

  5. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    My Pietas offering is stranger than most. While not a high grade coin, I find it fascinating. The AE dupondius is part of a series by Titus (79-81 AD) restoring types of the Julio-Claudian period. This one shows a bust of Pietas veiled. Titus was copying a coin issued under Tiberius in the name of his son and heir apparent Drusus Caesar.
    There has been much discussion and little consensus as to who is shown on this coin. Traditionally, it has been said to be Livia, wife of Augustus; others say it is Livilla, wife of Drusus; others stick with a personification of Pietas. The matter gets a bit more confusing when you consider there were two men named Drusus on the scene during the reign of Tiberius. The link below favors Livilla and credits her with poisoning her husband as a tool of Sejanus (a man all need to investigate and mourn the lack of coins in his name). (I stand corrected, there is a Provincial of Bilbilis with his face and name. Want list item!)

    I am happy with saying my coin is just a personification of Pietas and suspect that, by the time of Titus, most had forgotten the name of Livilla whether or not she had been the model for Pietas on the coin of her husband whom she had poisoned. Most books older than about ten years will say this is Livia. You may believe the experts of your choosing. I would also like to have the other coins issued about 22-23 AD of this format showing Salus and Justitia (or the Julio-Claudian woman of your choice).

    In researching my coin, I noted that many of the dupondii of the original issue on the market are listed as smoothed or tooled. Some are horridly tooled. Beware.
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  6. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I regret that I do not have a Republic example.

    Here is one:

    RI Otacilia Severa 244-249 CE w-Philip I AR Ant Pietas Augustae incense RIC IV 43
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  7. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @Orielensis.....That's a lovely coin!...Super portrait and really entertaining reverse!
    Here's a silver and a bronze...
    Julia Domna. Augusta, AD 193-217. AR Denarius (3,84g). Rome mint.
    Struck under Septimius Severus, circa AD 200-207.
    Obverse.JVLIA AVGVSTA Draped bust right
    Reverse.PIETAS AVGG Pietas standing left, holding acerrum (incence box) and dropping incense onto lighted and garlanded altar to left.
    RIC IV 572 (Septimius); RSC 150.
    ANTONINUS PIUS. 138-161 AD. Æ Sestertius (33mm, 26.75 g.)
    Struck 159/160 AD.
    Obverse..ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XXIII, laureate head right
    Rev. PIETATI AVG COS IIII SC, Pietas standing left holding globe, Faustina Junior as Pietas standing left, between Faustina Minima, Lucilla & holding baby Fadilla.
    RIC III 1031
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  8. Edessa

    Edessa Well-Known Member

    Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius. 81 BC. AR Denarius (17mm, 3.31g). Spanish mint. Diademed head of Pietas right; stork before / Elephant advancing left. Crawford 374/1; Sydenham 750; Caecilia 43. Ex CNG.

  9. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I have several coins with Pietas legends, but only one depicting her personification. (The others -- one of Maximus and the other of Saloninus -- depict sacrificial implements.)

    Plautilla (wife of Caracalla) AR Denarius, 203-204 AD. Obv. PLAVTILLA AVGVSTA, draped bust r./ Rev. PIETAS AVGG, Pietas standing r. holding scepter & child. RIC IV 367, RSC III 16. 20 mm., 3.4 g.

    I'm not sure who the child is supposed to represent, although I know that Caracalla and Plautilla are supposed to have had a daughter around this time, whose name is unknown.
  10. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Sejanus gets his name on the reverse, but it's Tiberius's face on the obverse. All the same, definitely a want list item... just wish the prices were more palatable. :sour:

    Here's a less common depiction of Pietas, holding up a plate of fruits in one hand and a female deer in the other (with the deer looking more like a hare).

    Antoninus Pius - Pietas Hind 2505.jpg
    AR Denarius. 3.55g, 18.6mm. Rome mint, AD 150-151. RIC 201 (scarce); Cohen 616. O: IMP CAES T AEL HADR ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P, laureate head right. R: TR POT XIIII COS IIII, Pietas standing right, in front of altar, holding with right hand fore-legs of hind and holding dish of fruit on left hand; PIETAS in exergue.
    Ex Prof. Dr. Hildebrecht Hommel Collection
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