T-Bone Tuesday -- PIETAS edition

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Jan 19, 2021.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Throughout his entire reign, Gallus' coinage tried to portrayed him as a different kind of emperor from Decius -- Gallus as a benevolent ruler who exhibited the Roman virtues of Concordia, Libertas, Pietas and Virtus. I have previously explored his Libertas issues. This edition of T-Bone Tuesday examines the Pietas issues of Trebonianus Gallus.

    Let's see your coins of Pietas, T-bone, or anything you feel is relevant!

    Pietas was a complex, highly valued Roman virtue. The concept of pietas encompasses respect and dutiful conduct to the gods, to family, to other people and to the state. As such, pietas emphasizes understanding one's place in society and consequently, one's duties to society. It's all about showing respect.

    Coins depicting Pietas were issued at Rome and at the so-called branch mint (formerly attributed to Milan, discussed previously here and here), but not at the mint in Antioch. Mattingly, writing in RIC, confidently assigns the coins to Rome's third issue and the branch mint's second issue.[1]

    The issues at Rome occur both with and without a star in the right field. In an analysis of the Dorchester hoard,[2] Mattingly notes that the issues with the star (71 examples for Gallus, 83 for Volusian) are uniformly underrepresented compared to those without the star (200 for Gallus, 195 for Volusian) by about 2-1/2 to 1. On the basis of the portraiture and other factors, he tentatively assigns the following dates to the issues.

    With star: Mid-August to mid-November, AD 251 (3 months).
    Without star: mid-November, AD 251 to mid-July, AD 252 (8 months).

    The meaning of the star is unclear. Mattingly muses on this issue, stating, "The star is a symbol of happy omen, but its exact significance here is uncertain," and then reports a thought-provoking postulate by Dr. Sutherland: "can it perhaps suggest the divinity of the dead Emperors, Decius, Etruscus, and Hostilian?" We shall never know.

    Rome mint:

    Trebonianus Gallus, AD 251-253.
    Roman AR antoninianus, 3.95 g, 22.2 mm, 12 h.
    Rome, 3rd officina, 3rd emission, Mid-August to mid-November, AD 251.
    Obv: IMP CAE C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: PIETAS AVGG, Pietas, veiled, standing left, raising both arms; star in right field.
    Refs: RIC 42; RSC 84a; RCV 9642; Hunter 12.

    Trebonianus Gallus PIETAS AVGG no star antoninianus Rome.jpg
    Trebonianus Gallus, AD 251-253.
    Roman AR antoninianus, 3.59 g, 21.7 mm, 5 h.
    Rome, 3rd officina, 3rd emission, mid-November, AD 251 to mid-July, AD 252.
    Obv: IMP CAE C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: PIETAS AVGG, Pietas, veiled, standing left, raising both arms; no star in field.
    Refs: RIC 41; RSC 84; RCV 9642; Hunter 10.

    Branch mint:

    Trebonianus Gallus, AD 251-253.
    Roman AR Antoninianus, 3.69 g, 20.2 mm, 7 h.
    Branch mint (traditionally attributed to Mediolanum), 2nd emission, AD 252-253.
    Obv: IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: PIETAS AVGG, Pietas standing left and raising both hands; altar at feet.
    Refs: RIC 72; Cohen 88; RCV 9643.
    Note: Die cud, not an intentional design feature, in upper right field.


    1. Mattingly, Harold, et al. The Roman Imperial Coinage Vol. IV. Part III. Gordian III – Uranius Antoninus. Spink, 1949, pp. 154, 157.

    2. Harold Mattingly, "The Reigns of Trebonianus Gallus and Volusian and of Aemilian." The Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Royal Numismatic Society Sixth Series, Vol. 6, No. 1/2 (1946), pp. 36-46 (particularly pp. 39-41).
    galba68, Spaniard, DonnaML and 12 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    After RC Gallus' Pietas, here's a Gallic's one :

  4. JayAg47

    JayAg47 Well-Known Member

    My only Pietas from Hadrian!
    Spaniard, DonnaML, jamesicus and 9 others like this.
  5. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    My Pietas has similar obverse as Roman Collector's Gallus from Mediolanum.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2021
    Spaniard, DonnaML, jamesicus and 7 others like this.
  6. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Roman Collector likes this.
  7. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Very interesting write-up as usual, RC. I was not aware of the star version.

    I do have a Pietas of TB, as well as one of Volusian -

    Trebonianus Gallus - Ant. Pietas Feb 2018 (0).jpg

    Trebonianus Gallus - Anton.
    (251-253 A.D.)
    Branch Mint (Milan?)

    IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, radiate, draped, cuirassed bust right / PIETAS AVGG, Pietas veiled, standing left by altar, raising both hands.
    RIC 72; RSC 88; Sear 9643.
    (4.14 grams / 24 x 22 mm)

    The Volusian example comes with an interesting 17th century English reference by Sir Thomas Browne (see below - it came from the wonderful Four Bad Years website):

    Volusian - Ant. PIETAS Jan 2017 (0).jpg

    Volusian Antoninianus
    (251-253 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    IMP CAE C VIB VOLVSIANO AVG, radiate draped bust right / PIETAS AVGG, Pietas standing left, raising both hands, altar to left.
    RIC 182; RSC 88; Sear 9761.
    (3.31 grams / 20 mm)

    An excerpt from "Brampton Urnes" written by Sir Thomas Browne in 1667:

    "my noble & honor'd freind, Sr. Robert Paston, had the curiosity to open a part of ground in his park at Oxned wch adjoyned unto the former feild where fragments of pots were found and upon one the figure of a well made face; and there was also found an unusuall coyne of the emperour Volusianus, having on the obverse the head of the Emperor with a radiated crown and this inscription Imp. Cæs. C. Vib Volusiano Aug., that is Imperatori Cæsari Caio Vibio Volusiano Augusto. On the reverse an human figure with the arms somewhat extended, and at the right foot an Altar with the Inscription Pietas. This emperour was sonne unto Caius Vibius Tribonianus Gallus with whom he joyntly raygned after the Decii about the yeare 254; both he himself and his father were slaine by the Emperour Æmilianus; by the radiated crowne this peece should be coyned after his death & consecration, but in whose time it is not cleere in historie."

    http://sonic.net/~marius1/mysite/Volusian Rome.htm
    galba68, Spaniard, DonnaML and 9 others like this.
  8. Alegandron

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

    Here is one of my Pietas from Saloninus

    Hmmm... a bit BRUTALIZED!

    RI Saloninus 258-260 BI Ant 2.30g. Cologne PIETAS AVG Priestly Implements
    Spaniard, DonnaML, gogili1977 and 7 others like this.
  9. jamesicus

    jamesicus Supporter! Supporter

    RIC Vol. I, CAIUS (CALIGULA), SESTERTIUS, Rome, No. 51, 40-41AD,(35mm, 26.2gm)

    Obverse depiction: Personification of Pietas, seated left.
    Obverse Inscription: C CAESAR DIVI AVG PRON AVG PM TRP IIII PP In exergue: PIETAS

    Reverse depiction: Caligula standing left holding patera over altar - attendants (victimarius) on either side holding bull for sacrifice - hexastyle temple of Divus Augustus festooned with garlands in background.
    Reverse Horizontal Inscription: {small lettering} DIVO AVG and below: S C (left and right)
    Bing, Marsyas Mike, Spaniard and 7 others like this.
  10. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    One of my favorite budget wins from AMCC.
    Bing, Marsyas Mike, jamesicus and 7 others like this.
  11. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Trajan AR Denarius. Rome, circa AD 112-115. IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS VI P P, laureate bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder / SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI, Pietas standing left, sprinkling incense over lighted altar to left and holding sceptre. RIC 262; BMCRE 481; RSC 201.
    Bing, Marsyas Mike, jamesicus and 6 others like this.
  12. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @Roman Collector......Great write up Thanks!
    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
  13. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Nice write-up! I have two coins depicting Pietas.

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

    Roman Republic, Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius, AR Denarius, 81 BCE. Obv. Head of Pietas right, wearing diadem; below chin, stork standing right / Rev. Elephant standing left, wearing bell around neck; in exergue, Q•C•M•P•I [Q. Caecilius Metellus Imperator]. Crawford 374/1, RSC I Caecilia 43, Sear RCV I 301 (ill.), Sydenham 750, BMCRR Spain 43. 18 mm., 3.9 g.*

    Q. Cec. Metullus denarius (Pietas-elephant) jpg version.jpg

    *See Sear RCV I at p. 128: “The issuer strikes as imperator in Northern Italy where he was campaigning on behalf of Sulla. The following year he was to be the dictator’s colleague in the consulship.” See also Crawford Vol. I p. 390: "This issue was produced by Q. Caecilius Metellus Pius, serving as a Sullan commander in the fight against Carrinas, Norbanus and Carbo. The obverse type [of Pietas] . . . alludes to his cognomen, acquired for his part in securing the restoration from exile of his father Q. Caecilius Metullus Numidicus.” The stork depicted in front of Pietas “is an emblem of family piety and an occasional adjunct of the goddess.” Jones, John Melville, A Dictionary of Ancient Roman Coins (London, Seaby, 1990) p. 243, under entry for Pietas. (Apparently, the Romans believed that the stork demonstrated family loyalty by returning to the same nest every year, and that it took care of its parents in old age.)

    Crawford also states at Vol. I p. 390 that “[t]he reverse type of an elephant recalls the capture of Hasdrubal’s elephants by L. Caecilius Metullus in 251 [BCE]” (also commemorated by an elephant denarius of C. Caecilius Metullus Caprarius in 125 BCE; Crawford 269/1, RSC I Caecilia 14). The elephant continued to be associated thereafter with the family (see the elephant denarius of Q. Caecilius Metullus Pius Scipio issued in 47-46 BCE; Crawford 459/1, RSC I Caecilia 47). The family was known for its opposition to Caesar.
    galba68, Bing, Marsyas Mike and 6 others like this.
  14. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Does anyone know if the child held by Pietas on the Plautilla coin is supposed to represent a particular child? Did Caracalla and Plautilla have any children?
    Spaniard likes this.
  15. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    There is a possibility that she bore Caracalla a daughter in 204 according to wiki?
    Roman Collector and DonnaML like this.
  16. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Roman Collector and DonnaML like this.
  17. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

  18. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    In summary of this article, inscriptions relating to the secular games of 204 AD, found in Rome in 1890 and 1930, would prove the birth of a son of Caracalla, but most certainly died in infancy.
    Roman Collector likes this.
  19. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Enrich the soldiers...ignore all others

Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page