The Palladium

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Dec 22, 2018.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    In Roman mythology, the Palladium -- a small figure of Pallas Athena holding a spear and shield -- was brought to Rome from Troy. As the story goes, Troy was protected by Athena from foreign enemies as long as the Palladium remained within the city walls. But Odysseus and Diomedes stole the image and soon thereafter, the Greeks took the city. The Palladium was later taken by Aeneas to Rome, where for centuries it was kept in the temple of Vesta in the Forum.

    I have several coins depicting the Palladium -- not as a major design element, but as an attribute of Vesta, who holds the Palladium in her arms. Vesta was the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Hestia, and was the goddess of the hearth. As such, she epitomized feminine virtues and appears almost exclusively as a reverse design element on coins of Roman empresses. Interestingly, on one of my coins, the Palladium appears as an attribute of Juno, not Vesta.

    The Palladium is depicted in a variety of ways. Often, but certainly not always, the Palladium appears to have a long, spiked base. It has been suggested that this base was driven into the floor of the temple of Vesta, thus holding the Palladium upright and securely in place:

    Faustina Sr AVGVSTA Vesta standing denarius.jpg
    Faustina I, AD 138-141.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.50 g, 17.5 mm, 5 h.
    Rome, AD 141-161.
    Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust right.
    Rev: AVGVSTA, Vesta standing left, holding simpulum and palladium.
    Refs: RIC 368; BMC 435-8; Cohen 108; RCV 4587; CRE 153.
    Notes: ex-Stoecklin collection.

    Lucilla Vesta As.jpg
    Lucilla, AD 164-169.
    Roman Æ As, 11.24 g, 25.2 mm, 6 h.
    Rome, AD 164-166.
    Obv: LVCILLAE AVG ANTONINI AVG F, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: VESTA S C, Vesta standing left, holding simpulum and Palladium; altar at feet, left.
    Refs: RIC 1780; BMCRE 1192; Cohen 95; RCV 5528.

    On other issues, the Palladium is depicted without the spiked base:

    Faustina Sr AVGVSTA Vesta standing sestertius.jpg
    Faustina Senior, AD 138-141.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 24.70 g, 31.6 mm, 5 h.
    Rome, AD 147-161.
    Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: AVGVSTA S C, Vesta veiled, standing left, holding palladium and scepter Refs: RIC 1124; BMCRE 1519; RCV 4617.

    Mamaea VESTA Palladium denarius.jpg
    Julia Mamaea, AD 222-235.
    Roman AR denarius, 2.95 g, 20.0 mm, 6 h.
    Rome mint, 6th emission, AD 226.
    Obv: IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, diademed and draped bust right.
    Rev: VESTA, Vesta standing left, holding Palladium and scepter.
    Refs: RIC 360; BMCRE 381; Cohen 81; RCV 8217; CRE 512.

    Interestingly, the Palladium appears (lacking the spiked base) as an attribute of Juno, not Vesta, on this denarius:

    Soaemias IVNO REGINA denarius.jpg
    Julia Soaemias, AD 218-222.
    Roman AR Denarius, 2.65 g, 18.6 mm, 5 h.
    Rome, AD 218.
    Obv: IVLIA SOAEMIAS AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust right.
    Rev: IVNO REGINA, Juno, veiled, standing right, holding scepter and Palladium.
    Refs: RIC 237; BMCRE 41-43; Cohen 3; RCV 7718; CRE 464.

    Post your coins depicting the Palladium!
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  3. Pavlos

    Pavlos You pick out the big men. I'll make them brave!

    Great coins and very interesting information. Sometimes these posts make me interested in Roman coins, but I need to resist myself, as I just started collecting and I got tons of interests in other area's of coins as well (Greek and Byzantine).
    Roman Collector likes this.
  4. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Khnum-Hotep

    Nice coins and interesting prose - I learned something new @Roman Collector
    Roman Collector likes this.
  5. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    Nice collection of Palladia, @Roman Collector! Here is one of my favorite coins - fraught with the adventures, romance and tragedies of the Aeneid, and the founding of Rome to further tempt @Pavlos.

    Julius Caesar minted these coins in North Africa during his campaign against Pompey to pay his troops and assert his claim as descendant of Aeneas & Venus. Aeneas was ancestor of Romulus, and son of the goddess Venus who seduced his father, Anchises, in the guise of a Phrygian princess. Anchises had bragged about his one night stand with Venus, and as a result received a crippling thunderbolt from Jupiter.

    The coin shows Aeneas carrying his aged father, Anchises, and the Palladium away from a burning Troy, with Venus on the Obverse.

    Julius Caesar 47-46 BC
    AR Denarius (19mm, 3.6g), North Africa mint

    Obv: Diademed head of Venus facing right.
    Rev: CAESAR, Aeneas advancing left, carrying his father Anchises on left shoulder and palladium.
  6. David@PCC


    Apparently pallas was used for a long time.
    Alexander I
    Mint: Antioch
    150 to 146 BC
    Obvs: Diademed head of Alexander right within dotted border.
    Revs: BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞANΔPOY, Pallas holding Nike who crowns her with wreath. In left hand spear and shield. k*Δ to left.
    Ae 20mm, 9.7g
    Ref: BMC 38, SC 1793.4
  7. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..kool coins & info RC..i remember the Paladium being a bar near the campus at of my favorite coins such as one of yours.:) Faustina l dupondius 002.JPG Faustina l dupondius 003.JPG
  8. Jochen1

    Jochen1 Well-Known Member

    Nobilitas with Palladium:

    Geta as Caesar, AD 198 - 207
    AR - Denar, 3.46g, 18mm
    Rome, AD 199
    bust draped, cuirassed (?), bare head r., youthful portrait
    rev. NOBI - LITAS
    Nobilitas standing frontal, head r., holding sceptre r. and palladium l.
    ref. RIC IV, 13(a); C.90; BMCR. 199
    Scarce, about EF

    TypeCoin971793, Bing, ominus1 and 4 others like this.
  9. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

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