Flavian Flower Power

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by David Atherton, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    Amidst the barrage of martial coin types struck by the Flavians an oddly serene and peaceful one reoccurs quite frequently.

    Titus as Caesar
    Æ As, 10.61g
    Lyon mint, 77-78 AD (Vespasian)
    Obv: T CAES IMP AVG F TR P COS VI CENSOR; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.; globe at point of bust
    Rev: S C in field; Spes stg. l., with flower
    RIC 1273 (C3). BMC 868. BNC 877.
    Acquired from eBay, November 2019.

    The Lyon mint struck a fairly substantial issue of bronze coinage for the Western provinces late in Vespasian's reign, presumably to rectify a shortage in the region. One of the most popular types struck during the issue was Spes, the goddess of hope. Here she represents Vespasian's hope for a happy dynastic future. The depiction of Spes raising her skirt and holding a flower likely copies a familiar cult statue of the goddess.

    When I see this Spes reverse I can't help but think of this iconic image of a 'flower child' peacefully protesting the Vietnam War.

    flower power.jpg

    Although it goes without saying the Flavians did not intend the same exact peaceful meaning with their Spes reverse, the symbolism of hope and peace behind the flower really hasn't changed all that much in 2000 years.

    Feel free to post your 'Flower Power' coins.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
    Nemo, octavius, Marsyas Mike and 19 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Alegandron

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

    Nice Titus, @David Atherton !


    Not too much "LOVE" in my collection... only have 3 flowers!

    RI Tetricus II 273-274 CE BI Ant SPES w Flower.jpg
    RI Tetricus II 273-274 CE BI Ant SPES w Flower

    RI Lucilla AR denarius Juno seated  flower child in swaddling clothes Seaby 36.JPG
    RI Lucilla AR denarius Juno seated flower child in swaddling clothes Seaby 36

    China Qing dyn Flower CHARM QianLong CE 1735-1796 2.9g 24mm.jpg
    China Qing dyn Flower CHARM QianLong CE 1735-1796 2.9g 24mm
  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Lovely acquisition, @David Atherton !

    Spes, of course, is depicted with a flower ...

    Julia Domna, AD 193-217.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.40 g, 17 mm, 12 h.
    Eastern mint (traditionally attributed to Emesa), AD 194-195.
    Obv: IVLIA DO MNA AVG, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: BONA SPES, Spes standing left, holding flower and lifting fold of skirt.
    Refs: RIC 614; BMCRE 412-13; Cohen/RSC 8; RCV 6575; CRE 387.

    ... but other goddesses carry flowers as well.

    Juno Lucina is depicted holding a flower (which Juno obtained from the goddess Flora and by which she conceived Mars), as on these sestertii ...

    Julia Domna, AD 193-217.
    Roman Orichalcum sestertius, 26.43 g, 32.5 mm, 12 h.
    Rome, AD 211.
    Obv: IVLIA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: IVNONI LVCINAE SC, Juno enthroned left, holding flower and child in swaddling clothes.
    Refs: RIC 887; BMCRE 770; Cohen 94; Sear 6627; Hill 1173.

    Julia Mamaea, AD 222-235.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 15.70 g, 27.4 mm, 12 h.
    Rome mint, 6th officina, 13th emission, 1st phase, AD 231.
    Obv: IVLIA MAMA-EA AVGVSTA, Bust of Julia Mamaea, draped and diademed, right.
    Rev: IVNO AVGVSTAE, Juno seated left, holding flower in extended right hand and swaddled infant on left arm.
    Refs: RIC 683; BMCRE 759-760; Cohen 33; RCV 8230; Banti 9; ERIC II 54.

    Similarly, Fecunditas occasionally holds a flower, perhaps assimilating her to Juno Lucina ...

    Julia Maesa, AD 218-225.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.2 g, 18.0 mm.
    Antioch, under Severus Alexander, AD 218-220.
    Obv: IVLIA MAESA AVG, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: FECVNDITAS, Fecunditas seated left, with flower and scepter; two children at side.
    Refs: RIC 380; Sear 7749; BMCRE p. 540; Cohen 7.
  5. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Elpis, keeping hope alive in Alexandria in AD 270.

    Claudius II Gothicus - Alexandria Tetradrachm Elpis ex Clain 3730.jpg
    Potin Tetradrachm. 9.24g, 22.7mm. EGYPT, Alexandria, RY 2 (AD 269/270). Emmett 3881; Dattari 5388. O: Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right. R: Elpis standing left, holding flower and raising skirt; L-B in field.
    Ex E.E. Clain-Stefanelli Collection
    octavius, Marsyas Mike, TIF and 13 others like this.
  6. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Nice coins....Some of them actually look like a flower...Mines more weed'ish..
    Faustina II Junior Silver Denarius 3.36g.,17mm, Rome mint, A.D. 154-156,
    Obverse. FAVSTINA AVG-PIIAVGFIL Draped bust of Faustina right,
    Reverse. CONC-O-RDIA, Concordia seated left, holding flower & resting left arm on cornucopiae set on globe below seat.
    (RCV 4704; RIC 502a)
  7. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

  8. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Marcus Aurelius as Caesar

    Type: AE Drachm, 33mm, 22.95 grams of Alexandria

    Obverse: Bare headed and draped bust of Aurelius right

    Reverse: Elpis Standing left holding flower and hitching skirt

    Reference: BMC 1238 listed as "rare" by R.A. Numismatics

    zumbly, octavius, Curtisimo and 11 others like this.
  9. Aleph

    Aleph Active Member

    Why does Spes ALWAYS hold the flower with her right hand?
  10. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    She's right-handed.
    zumbly, octavius, TIF and 2 others like this.
  11. Aleph

    Aleph Active Member

    Thanks, buddy!
    Roman Collector likes this.
  12. David Atherton

    David Atherton Flavian Fanatic

    I mentioned in the write-up above that the image of Spes on the coin is likely based on a cult image, one presumes that that familiar image depicts her holding it in her right hand, the left perhaps being taboo.

    Curtisimo and Spaniard like this.
  13. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I know we always call them flowers but every one shown here has the same three prong shape rather than a flower shaped middle part with flanking leaves. Does anyone have a flower in hand that looks like a rose or other non-cattail foliage?
    Close ups allow more detail as these from Rhodes but it would seem that Spes might carry a flower that did not seem like a sprig of grass.
    g71740b00451lg.JPG pz2723fd2105.jpg
  14. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    Here are several of the same Spes with flower issues of all 3 Flavians..
    As of Vespasian, sestertius of Domitian , and a sestertius and an As of Titus...
    774050.jpg 819720.jpg e3337titusnyaLG.jpg m46208.jpg
  15. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Educated guess:

    octavius, Johndakerftw, Bing and 2 others like this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page