Vespasian Pax Denarius Question

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by gsimonel, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    I recently received this Vespasian denarius in a small group lot. A have a question about the reverse, which shows Pax seated holding an olive branch. In the reverse legend, PON MAX TR P COS VI, there is clearly a line over the VI. I did a quick ACSearch and a CNG search, and all of these Pax reverses legends that end in COS VI or VII have a line over the number. Does anyone know why there is a line there? It doesn't appear to be a design element.

    My coin:

    Other examples:
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    The line is an orthographic convention to let the Roman reader know it was to be taken as a number, not a letter of a word -- i.e. that it was COS 6, not cosui
    David Atherton, Orfew and Andres2 like this.
  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Here's a related coin with what might have been taken for a number but is intended as a letter:

    Vespasian COS ITER TR POT denarius.jpg

    Note the reverse inscription reads COSITERTRPOT. Note there is no bar over the I after COS. That's because it's not a number, but a letter, the first letter of the abbreviation ITER. COS ITER is short for consul iterum, meaning "consul again" (a second time). Alternatively, the inscription might have been written COSIITRPOT with a bar over the II to indicate the number 2.
  5. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    Here is my Pax type. Notice the different portrait. It is tentatively assigned by RIC II to Taracco.

    vesp 1312.jpg
  6. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    Interesting. I'd never seen this before. Thank you for the information.

    Does it appear on coins of other emperors?
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