Featured The Roman PILEUS

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    This time It's a confrontation between to asses in my collection; in the right corner weighting 9.7g, Antoninus the Pius. In the left corner, weighting exactly 9.79g, Claudius the First. LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLE ! Ok,ok, no fighting today. At least one of those two emperors didn't like the war.



    But let's focus instead on the common point between these two pieces. You surely noticed they both featured the goddess Libertas; and also that she is holding in her right hand a pileus. Let's talk a bit about this famous hat and its origin. First, the title of this thread is rather inaccurate, the pileus having a Phrygian's origin. It was a soft woven wool cap often associated with the notion of freedom( that's why Libertas is holding it). The pilei was found in several form: often round, sometimes looking like a helmet, even shaped almost like a pyramid. The pileus originated in Greek iconography as the hat of the Dioscuri, the twin sons of Zeus, Castor and Pollux. Their peculiar hats were supposed to be the vestige of the eggs from witch they were hatched.

    Roma, piazza del Campidoglio

    Odysseus, the legendary Greek king of Ithaca and the hero of Homer's epic poem the Odyssey, is usually depicted wearing the famous pileus.

    Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli

    For the Romans, it was also a symbol of freedom. In the republic, during the ceremony of enfranchisement, a slave was given a pileus to wear as a public sign of his freedom. The most popular example is obviously the cap of liberty on Brutus' Eid Mar coins. The message was intended to convey that on the Ides of March, Brutus set the people of Rome free.

    Heritage auction

    On Roman coins, the goddess Libertas is usually portrayed with two accoutrements: the rod and the soft pileus, which she holds out, rather than wears, as you can see on my two examples shown above. At least 20 emperors has this specific iconographic element on their coinage.
    Now it's time to show of your coins. Please present us your Pileus' examples!
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    The pilei of the Dioscuri in the heavens as the stars Castor and Pollux:

    Fonteius Denarius Dioscuri Goat.jpg
    Mn. Fonteius C.f., 85 BC.
    Roman AR Denarius, 3.97 g, 21.0 mm, 5h.
    Rome mint.
    Obv: MN. FONTEI C. F, Laureate head of Apollo-Vejovis right; thunderbolt below; Roma monogram below chin.
    Rev: Infant Genius seated right on goat; pilei of the Dioscuri above; below, filleted thyrsus right; all within wreath.
    Refs: Crawford 353/1a; Sydenham 724; Fonteia 9; BMCRR 2476; RCV 271; Varesi 290.

    And a couple of asses with Libertas reverses with the standard iconography:


    Claudius LIBERTAS AVGVSTA as.jpg


    Nerva LIBERTAS PVBLICA as.jpg

    Add a few sestertii:


    Commodus Libertas Sestertius.jpg
    Severus Alexander:

    Severus Alexander Libertas Sestertius.jpg


    Gordian III Libertas standing sestertius.jpg
    And let's toss in a few antoniniani:

    Trebonianus Gallus:

    Trebonianus Gallus LIBERTAS PVBLICA Milan antoninianus.jpg

    Aurelian LIBERT AVG Antoninianus.jpg
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  4. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    @Ocatarine, The Dioscuri brothers shared the same mother Leda , only Pollux was inmortal because his father was Zeus, Castor' father was the King of Sparta.

    P1160694gemini sky medium.jpg
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  5. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Nerva 3.jpg
    AE Dupondius
    OBVERSE: IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P COS III P P, radiate head right
    REVERSE: LIBERTAS PVBLICA S-C, Liberty standing left, holding pileus and sceptre
    Struck at Rome, 97 AD
    13.2g, 27mm
    RIC 87
    Elagabalus 4.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate & draped bust right
    REVERSE: LIBERTAS AVG, Libertas standing left, holding pileus & scepter, star in left or right field
    Struck at Rome, 220-21 AD
    2.35g, 19mm
    RIC IV 107
    Trebonianus Gallus 1.jpg
    AR Antoninianus
    OBVERSE:IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust, right
    REVERSE: LIBERTAS PVBLICA, Libertas standing left, holding pileus and transverse scepter
    Struck at Uncertain mint (Milan?), AD 252
    3.5g, 21mm
    RIC 70; Cohen 68; RCV 9636; Hunter 50
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  6. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Great write-up as usual, O.

    Castor and Pollux with their caps:

    MAXENTIUS, Silvered bronze Follis, (25 mm, 7.36 g), Ostia, 308- 312. Laureate head of Maxentius to right./ Rev. AETERNITAS AVG N /MOSTA, The Dioscuri Castor and Pollux standing facing, each with a star above their caps, holding bridle of horse in right hand and scepter in left; between them, she-wolf standing left, suckling the twins Romulus and Remus. RIC 16

    A worn Libertas with pileus:

    Nerva, AR Denarius (17 mm, 3.45 g), Rome, 97. IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P COS III P P Laureate head of Nerva to right./ Rev.LIBERTAS PVBLICA Libertas standing left, holding pileus in right hand and scepter in left. RIC 19
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  7. Alegandron

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

    @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix ... nice write-up! Yeah, one of those guys was immortal, but they both were buddies / half-bros, and they DID get to be STARS!

    RR Porcius Laeca 125 BCE AR Den Roma - Libertas in Quadriga holding pileus and rod crowned by Victory flying S 146 Cr 270-1

    This coin and its interesting iconography on the reverse has me intrigued. WHY would someone depict ROMA stepping on a severed WOLF's HEAD? PILEUS has a real meaning... I stated this earlier:
    "Cool story, very truncated: The moneyer's family were originally a plebeian family of equestrian rank and were Samnites. After the Social War, a part of the family moved to Rome, with a couple becoming Senators. However, one of the Senators was expelled, and also disowned his Senator Son. "No one has a saisfactory reason for this scene..." Hmmm... I wonder, this guy came from a Rebel Family (Samnites), who were virtually exterminated after the Social War by Sulla. I think Roma stepping on a Wolf's severed head might say something... LOL, GO SAMNIUM!"
    RR Egnatius Maxsumus 76 BCE Bust Libertas pileus behind- Roma Venus stndg cupid on shoulder Wolf Head S 326 Cr 391-3
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  8. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Eye of Horus

    Don't have any coins with a pileus yet. Nice examples folks!
  9. Gary R. Wilson


    Don't forget Caligula with his Pileus quadran.


    Caligula (Augustus)
    Coin: Bronze Quadrans
    C CAESAR DIVI AVG PRON AVG, Pileus between S C - Pileus between S C
    PON M TR P III P P COS TERT, around R C C - Inscription around R C C

    Mint: Rome (39-40 AD)
    Wt./Size/Axis: 3.65g / 17mm / 180
    Rarity: Scarce
    RIC I 45
    BMCRE 63
    Cohen 6
    Bertolami Fine Arts
    Acquisition/Sale: Bertolami Fine Arts Internet E-Live Auction 50 #32 $0.00 12/17
    Notes: Jul 7, 19 - The Gary R. Wilson Collection

    There were four different issues of quadrans from Caligula:
    PON M TR P III P P COS TERT-Scarce-39-40AD-This Coin
    PON M TR P IIII P P COS TERT-Common-40-41AD
    PON M TR P IIII P P COS QVART-Rare-January 1-24, 41AD
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
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  10. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks for the precision. It is in fact the truth in "modern"mythology, but it was not the case at the beginning of the legend. The story had changed a bit over the centuries: Castor and Pollux, the Dioscuri, already appear in the Iliad (8th century BC) which names "Castor, the horse trainer, and Pollux, the pugilist". The poem does not mention the names of their parents, but Helena names them like her brothers; the Odyssey (8th century BC), on the other hand, makes them both the sons of Tyndareus and Leda . They are both sons of Zeus in the Catalogue of women ( 6th century BC) of the pseudo-Hesiod and in the Homeric Hymns (7th century BC) whose hymn addressed to them qualifies them for the first time as "Dioscuri" . The Cypria Songs (7th century BC) introduce the motive according to which Castor is mortal and Pollux immortal.
  11. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Antoninus Pius dupondius - Libertas is holding the pileus as if it might smell bad! She is looking away from the hat.

    Antoninus Pius - Dupondius Libertas July 2019 (0).jpg

    Commodus - a denarius with gouges:

    Commodus Den Libertas Dec 2018 (0).jpg

    Trebonianus Gallus - this one doesn't look very silver to me, but I believe it is ancient:

    Treb. Gallus Ant Libertas Jun 2017 (0).jpg
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  12. Ricardo123

    Ricardo123 Member

    Treb.gallus with plleus. Me only oval coin.
  13. ma-shops

    ma-shops Active Member

  14. Limes

    Limes Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the great write up again @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix. One cannot do anything else but love those mythology stories of the ancients and the fact that people back then really had a great imaginations. I mean, the guys wore leftovers from the eggs from witch they were hatched! Do you perhaps know how the leftover of eggs developed into the image assiociated with liberty?

    Here's my Claudius with Libertas reverse (dark patina with beautiful bronze coloured highlights):
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  15. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    Here are two hats on their own:
    Pontus, Amisos Æ18. Time of Mithradates VI, circa 120-111 or 110-100 BC. 4.06g, 18mm, 12h.
    Obv: Winged bust of Perseus (or Mithradates VI?) right
    Rev: Cornucopiae between piloi of the Dioskouroi, ΑΜI-ΣOY across lower fields.

    (If this coin looks familiar you may have seen it in Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum, Great Britain, Volume XI, The William Stancomb Collection of Coins of the Black Sea Region.

    This tiny Greek coin shows "Kabeiros" wearing the hat
    Birytis, circa 300 BC, AE10, 1.4g
    Purchased from Colosseum Coin Exchange (Ira Teitelbaum) in April 2003.
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  16. Alegandron

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

    Wow, thanks @Ed Snible ! You made me go look... I think I have the same Kabeiros... Thanks for reminding me!


    Troas, Birytis,
    c. 350-300 BCE.
    Æ (9mm, 1.21g, 12h).
    Head of Kabeiros l., wearing pileos; two stars above.
    Club within wreath.
    SNG Copenhagen 249.
    Green patina
    Ex: St Pauls Auction
  17. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    Piliae with pom-poms:
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  18. Alegandron

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

  19. Alegandron

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

    Wow, you made me go look, @Fugio1 . You are right... Pom-Poms!

    RR AR Denarius 214-208 BCE Roma R X behind - Dioscuri R ROMA linear frame stars Sicily R Craw 68-1b
    Ex: FSR

    RR Anon AR denarius Roma 211-206 BCE ROMA incus Dioscuri single horn-helmet Sear-- Craw 68-1b SICILY ISSUE R
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  20. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    I think you are both right, pom-poms:

    P1160622.JPG P1160694.JPG
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