Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, May 19, 2022.

  1. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Well-Known Member

    Heroic busts are not that common on Roman Imperial coins. I believe Trajan was the first Emperor to be depicted with the heroically nude bust with the famous wave at the base. I did research and found that Hadrian, Antinoüs, Commodus, Geta, Caracalla, Maximianus, Gallienus, Postumus, Victorinus, Claudius Gothicus, Tacitus, Probus, Nigrinian, Constantius I and Crispus also had the bare bust on their coinage. Am I missing a few ?


    I just added another Victorinus’ heroic bust to my collection, it’s an upgrade since I exchange my only one; this one is in better shape and well centered. I didn’t find an explanation on the reason why the Trier mint struck that type of bust with the PAX AVG reverse. It is from the third issue and correspond to late 269 AD to mid 270. The siege of Autumn happened during the fall of 269 and concluded in the summer of the next year (270 AD). A special issue with the reverse PAX and INVICTVS was minted just after the victory, but I don’t understand why the heroic bust « edition » would have been done right in the middle of the attack of the city. Maybe a way to honor Victorinus the conqueror, a propaganda to encourage the troops before the final assault ? Only 13 of those coins were found in the Cunetio Hoard and only the BM owns two of them in its collection. Here it is :


    Radiated heroic bust with drapery on shoulder
    Trier 3.24g 21mm
    Cunetio 2529 AGK 14c Mairat 587

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  3. Ryro

    Ryro Trying to remove supporter status Supporter

    Nice new Victorinus!
    I still don't get what makes em heroic. But these three seem to fit the bill:
    2554915_1644203802.l-removebg-preview.png 2136730_1630246928.l-removebg-preview.png share6913253811410140070.png 2025571_1625039758.l-removebg-preview.png
  4. Terence Cheesman

    Terence Cheesman Well-Known Member

    My heroic bust of Trajan.
    Trajan Ar Denarius Rome 116-117 AD Obv Bust of Trajan right laureate wearing aegis on far shoulder. Bare chest visible set on small globe. Rv. Felicitas standing left holding caduceus. RIC 333 var Woytek 570tt+ 3.20 grms 19mm Ex Michael Kelly Collection Photo by W. Hansen. trajand50.jpg
    I guess we can be thankful that this heroic style of imagery has not been adopted by most modern politicians. Still the style does kind of suit Trajan even though he would be over 60 years old at this point.
  5. jb_depew

    jb_depew Well-Known Member

    Nice coin!

    I don't have many coins with heroic busts, so I'll share this big lead tessera from Asia Minor featuring Antinoüs that I picked up from a Leu auction recently.


    Asia Minor, uncertain, Antinoüs lead Tessera
    Obverse: Bare-headed, heroic nude three-quarter bust of Antinoüs to left.
    Reverse: Engraved chequer pattern.
    References: Blum -. Pudill -. Apparently unpublished and unique.
    Size: 37mm
    Weight: 55.3g
  6. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    ......Yep I agree.....Before I post what makes the bust heroic?
    @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix ...That's a lovely Victorinus...Wonderful patina....
  7. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer

    two heroic busts from Maximianus


    A.D. 289- 290
    22mm 3.9g
    IMP C M A VAL MAXIMIANVS P F AVG; heroic nude bust right, with drapery over shoulders.
    CONSERVATOR AVGG; Maximianus holding sceptre, and Hercules, leaning on club; standing face to face, sacrificing at altar; B in right field
    In ex. XXIKOY
    RIC V Siscia 580 Bust type not listed in RIC


    A.D. 289- 290
    22x23mm 3.7g
    IMP C M A VAL MAXIMIANVS P AVG; heroic nude bust right, with drapery over shoulders.
    CONSERVATOR AVGG; Maximianus holding sceptre, and Hercules, leaning on club; standing face to face, sacrificing at altar; B in right field
    In ex. XXIKOY
    RIC V Siscia 581 Bust type not listed in RIC
  8. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Well-Known Member

    The heroic style in art, sculpture, litterature, celebrates the achievements, genius, talents, brilliant virtues of great men of all genres, victorious heroes in battles, sovereigns, statesmen, illustrious magistrates… In coinage, this style represented the pinnacle of portraiture beauty.
    Limes, Alegandron and Ryro like this.
  9. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Hadrian was into the heroic bust. He was proud of his pecs!


    Hadrian P M TR P COS III Aeternitas Denarius.jpg
  10. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Hadrian 4.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate head right, drapery on left shoulder
    REVERSE: COS III, Abundantia standing left with hook and cornucopia; right foot on modius
    Struck at Rome, 125-8 AD
    2.8g, 17mm
    RIC 169
  11. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    That can’t have been cheap. Hadrian loved Antinoos, as do modern collectors. Evidently the highest level of pure beauty.
  12. svessien

    svessien Senior Member

    Nice one, @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix !

    I have a few heroic busts from the Adoptive emperors too. Looks like that was a favoured style early in the golden age.

    Hadrian.jpg Hadrian adopt.jpg Trajan Pax denarius.jpg
  13. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    Néron as.jpg
    Would you call this Nero (it's an as) an heroic bust?

    Gallien 4.jpg
    and this Gallienus too?
    Last edited: May 20, 2022
  14. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Well-Known Member

    Dominic, Like Ryro, I'm confused as to what constitutes a "Heroic Bust" :confused:. If any of the coins I'm posting don't fit the definition let me know & I'll remove them ;).
    sad emoji gif.gif
    Last edited: May 20, 2022
  15. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    It is my understanding that the heroic bust shows the emperor's bare chest. No pecs, no heroic bust.
    Limes and ambr0zie like this.
  16. jb_depew

    jb_depew Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you like it! I believe I dropped $885 total on the tessera, which seemed like a steal. It comes from a European collection, pre-2005. Otherwise I don't have any history on it. Because it's unpublished, there's some mystery behind it. Obverse aside, the 'engraved chequer' reverse (as Leu describes it) is intriguing and makes me question the utility of the tessera. Was it simply an artistic choice? How common is this pattern? Was this used as a token or as applique? Since tessera are outside my normal collecting area, I can't form an intelligent opinion yet. There was another tessera in Leu Numismatik Web Auction 19 (lot 2329), which I didn't buy, featuring Zeus Ammon. It had a similar 'chequer' pattern on the reverse and is the only other example I've seen with that design. At any rate, I was very happy to win this piece, as it seems to be one of the finest examples of an Antinoüs tessera of those I found online. It's huge as well - even bigger than my Ptolemy III drachm (affectionately called "hockey pucks" by some of our CT members).
  17. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    Not quite true in all cases. You do get heroic busts from the rear too.


    Look up Heroic bust of Eukratides too.... where he is from the rear

    I think that you require either a bare chest OR a bare back.....
  18. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Let's go with "bare torso"!!
  19. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Do these count? These are the most amount of chest I can find on my Gallie coins.
    Gallienus AE Ant RIC Milan 501.JPG
    Gallienus RIC Milan 474.JPG

    Gallienus RIC Rome 207.JPG
  20. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    My latest heroic bust is a Trajan sestertius - at least I think there's enough pecs showing to qualify. I am a bit puzzled as to why this one has varying descriptions for the reverse goddess, Abundantia/Annona. Looks like what is usually described as Annona, given the modius and the prow, cornucopiae, etc. But OCRE (RIC, presumably) says its Abundantia:

    Trajan - Sestertius Abundantia modius May 2022 (0).jpg Trajan Æ Sestertius
    (103-111 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    IMP CAES NERVAE TRAINO AVG GER DAC PM TRP CO[S V PP], laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder / S P Q R OPTIM[O PRINCIPI], S C, Abundantia (or Annona?) standing left, holding grain-ears and cornucopiae; modius on ground at left, prow at right.
    Attribution: OCRE describes reverse figure as Abundantia; many auctions, Wildwinds, etc. describe her as Annona.
    RIC II 492; BMCRE 781; Cohen 469.
    (23.53 grams / 31 x 30 mm)
    eBay May 2022
  21. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    In my definition, a heroic bust shows the emperor bare chested or with mythological military gear like the aegis (on my coin below):

    Screenshot 2022-06-05 at 15.32.18.png
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