After War Comes Peace

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Sep 19, 2020.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    Anyone with even a passing awareness of Flavian coinage (whether it be in silver or bronze) will know the importance of Pax as a reverse theme. Along with the 'Judaea Capta' types it dominates the coinage. My latest arrival shows the goddess of peace in one of her more standard poses.

    V590-a.jpg Vespasian
    Æ As, 9.44g
    Rome mint, 73 AD
    Obv: IMP CAES VESP AVG P M T P COS IIII CENS; Head of Vespasian, laureate, l.
    Rev: PAX AVGVST; S C in field; Pax stg. l., leaning on column, with caduceus and branch
    RIC 590 (C). BMC 668. BNC 656.
    Acquired from, September 2020.

    In 73 Vespasian and Titus Caesar held a joint censorship which was duly recorded on the coinage. This As with the slightly less common left facing portrait is from the very first bronze issue recording the censorship. After the recently concluded Judaean and Civil wars, Pax in her various guises was a major theme for Vespasian's coinage. The Pax leaning on a column type is likely based on a cult image while the legend 'PAX AVGVST' advertises the emperor as peacemaker.

    In 75 AD Vespasian completed his Temple of Peace complex. No doubt the structure was under construction when this coin was struck.

    temple of peace1.jpg

    Show off your Pax coins!
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
    Edessa, PeteB, Bing and 13 others like this.
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Pax on an early denarius of Trajan:

    Trajan, AD 98-117.
    Roman AR Denarius, 3.21 g, 17.8 mm, 6 h.
    Rome, AD 98-99.
    Obv: IMP CAES NERVA TRAIAN AVG GERM, laureate head right.
    Rev: PONT MAX TR POT COS II, Pax standing left, holding branch and cornucopiae.
    Refs: RIC 17; BMCRE 14-17; Cohen/RSC 292; Strack 13; Hill UCR 29; RCV 3152.
    Edessa, PeteB, Bing and 9 others like this.
  4. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    A lovely addition David. I have a few featuring PAX on the reverse. This one is special because it is the most Vitellian portrait of Vespasian I have ever seen.
    Vespasian ric 27.jpg
    Edessa, PeteB, Bing and 7 others like this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Cool thread, @David Atherton. Surely someone can help out with the Roman who said something like, 'the Romans create a desert, and call it peace'?
    David Atherton likes this.

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    @Orfew, Crazy. I was scrolling down, saw the top of your denarius, and said, 'Oh, he's going to show us a Vitellius, by way of precedent.' Dang!
    Who was it (you?) who talked about the early Vespasians looking this much like Vitellius? Up until then, the die engravers were bravely keeping up; but in Vespasian's case, with him still on the way back from Judea, they were kind of caught on the wrong foot. ...'No virtue goes unpunished.'
  7. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    A few years ago I was collecting these 'Vitellian-like' portraits of Vespasian and kind of made a game of it here on CT.
    Orfew and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  8. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic Supporter

    Tacitus put those words in the mouth of the Caledonian war-chief Calgacus in the Agricola - 'They plunder, they butcher, they ravish, and call it by the lying name "empire". They make a desert and call it peace.' (Chapter 30)

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

  10. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...Thanks for that, too. Fictional or not, Tacitus' generosity in ascribing it to a Celt (even those Really crazy ones, who invented whiskey) is a remarkable foil to the truism ( true in this case as elsewhere) that history is written by the victors.
    Somewhere, I read that the emperor Tacitus at least may have been some relation to the historian. Does that have any basis in primary sources, ...or even responsible secondary ones?
    Edessa likes this.
  11. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Here my modest contribution to this thread : my oldest, biggest Pax. I like it because it is an uncirculated specimen.

    Trajan Sestertius
    33mm 23.02g
    Pax seating
    Edessa, Bing, Roman Collector and 5 others like this.
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