The Roman Column challenge

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, Jul 3, 2021.

  1. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Just saw this very nice Roman Column for sale by Christie's auction: circa 2nd-3rd century AD, estimation between 6,000-8,000 GBP. Description: The column is surmounted by a capital composed of Ionic scrolls, which emerge from an acanthus calyx, topped by an abacus decorated with rosettes. It is likely that this object functioned as a furniture attachment or a support.


    Let's talk a bit about the Roman's columns. The style of the Roman column took a lot of the Greek style, but the real legacy of the Romans is the monumental column. It was richly decorated by Roman architects. It is the column of the public squares of Rome, in the form of a single large tower at great height. Still called commemorative columns, these Roman columns were used most of the time to commemorate victories. Compared to the Greek columns, the Roman column has less purity in its construction and is much simpler. But to compensate , the Romans bet on a remarkable solidity and practical use. They were carved in stone, marble or alabaster. Here are the 4 different styles used by the Roman architects and builders:

    The Doric column is based on the proportions of the male body and its robust archetype. The Doric's exemplifies proportion, strength, grace and balance of the masculine body.

    With light, fluid organic lines, this order alludes to the lines of female body, characterized by feminine slenderness. In composition, the Ionic's presents a broader base, allowing to receive greater load; a slender shaft which widens slightly as it reaches the base; and capitals with scrolls (volutes).

    As the most refined style of all, these columns present a series of details and designs highly thought out and elaborated to imitate the "thin figure of a girl". Sprouts and leaves of acanthus characterize the three-dimensional drawing of sculptural stones.

    Developed from the union of the classical Ionic and Corinthians columns, this style is the most elaborate of all orders, with ionic scrolls and Corinthian sprouts.

    Marcus Aurelius' Column (Doric Style) is in total 130 ft high; it is built of 27 or 28 blocks of Luni marble from Tuscany, Italy. The spiral relief tells the story of the Danubian or Marcoman wars of Marcus Aurelius, waged by him from 166 AD until his death. Trajan's Column commemorates the victory of the Roman emperor Trajan in the Dacian wars. The structure is about 115 feet high including its large pedestral; the shaft is made from a series of 20 colossal Luni marble drums.

    Trajan's column Dupondius

    The CHALLENGE now is to find in your collection coins featuring columns. I present you a few of mine.

    A classical: Nero's Janus temple, door flanked by two columns.

    Geta from Lydia, Apollo leaning on column (in a very relax pose).

    Claudius II, Providentia leaning on column (Where all these handy columns came from I can't tell...)

    Please show me your "columnial" coins !

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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Too many to show, so I'll just show the biggest.

    Gordian III, AD 238-244.
    Roman Provincial Æ 35 mm, 26.72 g, 6 h.
    Pisidia, Antioch, AD 238-244.
    Obv: IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Gordian III, r., seen from rear.
    Rev: COL CAES ANTIOCH, S-R, Mên standing r., wearing Phrygian cap, foot on bucranium, holding sceptre and Victory (standing r., on globe, holding trophy), resting elbow on column; behind his shoulders, crescent; to l., rooster standing, l.
    Refs: RPC VII.2, — (unassigned; ID 3431); Krzyżanowska XXII/94; BMC xix.187, 70.
  4. Orielensis

    Orielensis Supporter! Supporter

    Some Roman columns in different shapes and roles:

    Rom – Antoninus Pius, Denar, Tempelrevers.png
    Antoninus Pius, Roman Empire, denarius, 145–161 AD, Rome mint. Obv: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS PP, laureate head of Antoninus Pius r. Rev: TEMPLVM DIV AVG REST COS IIII; front view of octastyle temple, containing statues of Divus Augustus and Livia. 17mm, 2.62g. Ref: RIC III Antoninus Pius 143 (denarius).

    Rom – Julia Domna, denar, Venus v. hinten (neuestes Foto).png
    Julia Domna, Roman Empire, denarius, 193–196 AD, Rome mint. Obv: IVLIA DOMNA AVG; bust of Julia Domna, draped, r. Rev: VENERI VICTR, Venus standing with back turned, head r., holding apple in r. hand and palm in l., resting l. elbow on column. 18mm, 4.13g. Ref: RIC IV Septimius Severus 536.

    Rom – Quintillus, Antoninian, Securitas.png
    Quintillus, Roman Empire, AE antoninian, 270 AD, Rome mint. Obv: [IMP C M] AVR CL QVINTILLVS A[VG]; bust of Quintillus, radiate, draped, r. Rev: SECVRIT AVG; Securitas, draped, standing l., legs crossed, leaning on column, holding sceptre; in field r., XI. 21mm, 3.00g. Ref: RIC V Quintillus 31.

    Rom – Maxentius, AE1, Roma im Tempel.png
    Maxentius, Roman Empire, AE1 (“follis”), 309–310 AD, Rome mint. Obv: IMP C MAXENTIVS P F AVG; head of Maxentius, laureate, r. Rev: CONSERV VRB SVAE; Roma seated l. in hexastyle temple, holding globe and sceptre and leaning on shield; in pediment wreath, in exergue, RBT. 25.5mm, 6.27g. Ref: RIC VI Rome 210.

    And here is a particularly ornate early modern one:
    Frühe Neuzeit – Altdeutschland – Augsburg, 2 Kreuzer, 1637.png

    Augsburg, Imperial City, AR ½ Batzen, 1637 AD. Obv: AVGVSTA • VINDELICORVM; arms of Augsburg: “Pyr” on column; in fields, 16-37; horseshoe mark of the moneyer family Holeisen. Rev: FERDINAND • III • D • G• ROM • IMP • S • AVG; crowned imperial double eagle with central imperial orb inscribed 2. 17.5mm, 1.14g. Ref: Forster: Erzeugnisse der Stempelschneiderkunst (1910), no. 268.
  5. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    6 colomns Corinthian style:

    Maximianus Herculius templebest.jpg
  6. Ignoramus Maximus

    Ignoramus Maximus Nomen non est omen.

    Thanks for the write-up, @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix!

    No Roman columns here. But let's go to Sicily instead.:) Lovely climate, not far from Rome, and they built some great temples... Akragas 400-380 BC. Hemilitron. 20,01 gr..jpg
    Sicily, Akragas, c. 400-380 BC. Æ Hemilitron (28mm, 20.01g, 3h). Diademed head of river-god l. R/ Eagle standing l. on Ionic column, head r.; crab to l., six pellets to r. CNS I, 89; SNG ANS 1097-1101; HGC 2, 139.

    I've always wondered why the eagle on coins from Akragas should stand on an Ionic column. The people were originally Dorians and the city's temples were all built in Doric style. Food for thought...

    And please feel free to overlook the embarrassing tooling on the obverse...:(
  7. Ryro

    Ryro The last of the Diadochi Supporter

    Very nice write up and coins!
    Here's my favorite load barring column and some RRs:
    Collage_2021-01-21_11_39_41_2-removebg-preview.png IMG_4901.jpg 1610884_1609749122.l-removebg-preview.png
  8. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I paid a lot of money for this, specifically for the very interesting, Syrian style spiral columns:

    I went down a really neat rabbit hole when researching these columns. This style is only found in Syria, far as I can tell; fortunately there are plenty of extant examples.

  9. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Interesting write up....
    Maxentius and Elagabalus.. max black.jpg
  10. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    I love your "challenge" posts. We all go scurrying to look through our collection photos. This time I didn't find much of interest! Plenty of columns, but not many with much in the way of detail...

    Nero sestertius w/ triumphal arch:
    nero columns.jpg

    Hostilian as Augustus:
    hostilian as avg.jpg
  11. Steelers72

    Steelers72 Well-Known Member

    My rostral column type; “rostral column is a type of victory column originating in ancient Greece and Rome, where they were erected to commemorate a naval military victory. Its defining characteristic is the integrated prows or rams of ships, representing captured or destroyed enemy ships

    Titus. AR. Denarius. 79-81 AD. Rome. Imp. Titvs caesar vespasian avg. P.M laureate head left. Reverse radiate figure on rostral column as last. RSC 291.
  12. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    Roman Republic denarius of Maxsumus Egnatius c. 75 BC. with corinthian columns /temple reverse...

  13. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Another coin I paid too much for was for the plain Corinthian temple columns.

  14. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    OBVERSE: Head of Roma right, star behind
    REVERSE: TI MINVCI C F on left, RO-MA above, AVGVRINI on right; 2 togate figures, one holding a simpulum, the other a lituus, standing by statue on column, grain ears on either side of the column
    Rome, 134 BC
    3.86g, 17mm
    Cr243/1, Syd 494, Minucia 9
    L Censorinus a.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: Laureate head of Apollo right
    REVERSE: L CENSOR, the satyr, Marsyas, standing left with wineskin over shoulder; behind him, column surmounted by draped figure (Minerva?)
    Rome 82 BC
    3.66g, 17mm
    Cr363/1d, Marcia 24
    Vespasian 12.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right
    REVERSE: TR POT X COS VIIII, radiate figure standing on rostral column, holding scepter
    Struck at Rome, 79AD
    2.9g, 18mm
    Sear 2311. BMC 254. RIC 1065 (RIC [1962] 119)
    ex Warren Esty
  15. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Speaking of columns, in a college art history class I got a markdown for stating that Tuscan columns were a feature of Etruscan architecture.
    Prof insisted that Tuscan columns didn't exist. Despite me finding sources from the Getty (and others) that indicated otherwise, the markdown stood. Ended up with an A- in Ancient Art.

    Still bitter about that one.
    Marsyas Mike, Orielensis and ambr0zie like this.
  16. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    Ignoring the big column post from the spam bot, here are some of mine

    One of the most popular column coins from this topic - and I think this is not because of the column.


    Trajan - Seleucia Pieria


    My favorite RR.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2021
  17. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    four columns:
    added two:
    Some more:
    Large ones, with corinthian capitals (probably...):
    Still standing to this day:

    Also still standing, on Sicily:
  18. jdmKY

    jdmKY Well-Known Member

    2D10093C-FFED-4784-8493-B8A8FA571607.jpeg B82ABCD3-F8F5-4D33-9323-78ACF4C1569F.jpeg Octavian
    36 BC
    Temple of Divus Iulius
  19. Alegandron

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

    Tuscan order
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    The Tuscan order illustrated in Regola delli cinqve ordini d'architettvra (1563), by Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola
    The five orders, engraving from Vignola's Regola delli cinque ordini d'architettura, 1562; Tuscan on the left.
    St Paul's, Covent Garden by Inigo Jones (1633), "the handsomest barn in England"
    The Tuscan order (Latin Ordo Tuscanicus or Ordo Tuscanus, with the meaning of Etruscan order) is one of the two classical orders developed by the Romans, the other being the composite order. It is influenced by the Doric order, but with un-fluted columns and a simpler entablature with no triglyphs or guttae. While relatively simple columns with round capitals had been part of the vernacular architecture of Italy and much of Europe since at least Etruscan architecture, the Romans did not consider this style to be a distinct architectural order (for example, the Roman architect Vitruvius did not include it alongside his descriptions of the Greek Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders). Its classification as a separate formal order is first mentioned in Isidore of Seville's Etymologies and refined during the Italian Renaissance.[1]

    Sebastiano Serlio described five orders including a "Tuscan order", "the solidest and least ornate", in his fourth book[2] of Regole generali di architettura sopra le cinque maniere de gli edifici (1537). Though Fra Giocondo had attempted a first illustration of a Tuscan capital in his printed edition of Vitruvius (1511), he showed the capital with an egg and dart enrichment that belonged to the Ionic. The "most rustic" Tuscan order of Serlio was later carefully delineated by Andrea Palladio.

    In its simplicity, the Tuscan order is seen as similar to the Doric order, and yet in its overall proportions, intercolumniation and simpler entablature, it follows the ratios of the Ionic. This strong order was considered most appropriate in military architecture and in docks and warehouses when they were dignified by architectural treatment. Serlio found it "suitable to fortified places, such as city gates, fortresses, castles, treasuries, or where artillery and ammunition are kept, prisons, seaports and other similar structures used in war."

    RR Volteius 78 BCE AR Den Jupiter Temple S 312 Cr 385-1

  20. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    It surprised me, all these columns on coins. Interesting.

    Since this one hasn't been mentioned yet, I'll chime in. The Column of Antoninus Pius fell over, so it is not as well known as the ones for Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. Furthermore, it was smooth, with no reliefs depicting barbarians getting whacked, etc.

    Here is Wikipedia:

    The column itself was 14.75 metres (48.4 ft) high and 1.9 metres (6 ft 3 in) in diameter and was constructed of red granite, with no decorating reliefs as on the otherwise similar columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. It was quarried out in 106 (as shown by the masons' inscription on its lower end, IG xiv.2421.1). Architecturally it belonged to the Ustrinum, 25 metres (82 ft) north of it on the same orientation, with the main apotheosis scene facing in that direction, and was surmounted by a statue of Antoninus, as is represented on coins issued after his death (Cohen, Ant. Pius 353‑6)

    The column was rediscovered in the 18th century, but efforts to put it back together were bungled (see Wikipedia). The base survives:
    Antoninus Pius column base Wikipedia.jpe
    By Lalupa - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

    Here's my sestertius featuring this column (barely):
    Antoninus Pius Posthum Column Oct 18 (0).jpg
    Antoninus Pius Æ Sestertius
    Posthumous Issue
    (died 161 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    DIVVS ANTO[NINVS], bare head right / [DIVO] P[IO], Column of Antoninus, S-C.
    RIC 1269 (Marcus Aurelius); BMCRE 880 (Marcus Aurelius); Cohen 354.
    (20.83 grams / 30 mm)

    You can see a column on my avatar as well; several other, nicer examples have already been shared.
  21. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    L Papius Denarius Serratus

    Obv:– Head of Juno Sospita right, wearing goat skin tied under chin. Behind head, base of column.
    Rev:– Gryphon running right; in ex., L. PAPI.; in field, corinthian capital
    Minted in Rome from . B.C. 79.
    Reference(s) – RSC Papia 1. RRC 384/1. RCTV 311.
    Symbol variety – RRC 21. Babelon 81. BMCRR 21. CNR 1/034

    3.41 gms

    Stannard weight correction scoop on reverse


    Italy, Pompeii - Column in the Basilica from my visit there in 2015

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