Genuine Ancient Silver Roman Coin Emperor Antoninus Pius Goddess Pax Pendant
Silver Roman Denarius of Emperor Antoninus Pius with a Reverse Theme Depicting the Roman Goddess of Peace Pax 155-156 A. OBVERSE INSCRIPTION : ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P IMP II. OBVERSE DEPICTION : The head of Antoninus Pius, right, laureate crown (laurel wreath). REVERSE INSCRIPTION : TR POT XIX COS IIII. REVERSE DEPICTION : The Goddess Pax standing left, enrobed, holding an olive branch in her extended right hand, and a cornucopaie in the crook of her left arm. ATTRIBUTION : City of Rome Mint sometime between 155 and 156 A. Weight: 2.44 grams. We can reverse coin in mounting if you prefer opposite side showing front. DETAIL : This is a very handsome and fairly uncommon silver denarius produced in the city of Rome itself between December of 155 A. And December of 156 A. It is in very good condition, evidencing only relatively only mild wear from circulation in ancient Rome. It was well struck, in high profile, both front and back, though the obverse strike was a little low, left, and as a result the topmost portion of several of the first letters making up the beginning of the obverse legend ended up off the flan (over the edge) and lost. Uncharacteristically the planchet (blank) was generous in the sense that it is a nice thick coin, though as is so often the case, it is not perfectly round, but is rather a little irregular. You can also see that the back die slipped a little bit as the coin was struck. Keep in mind of course that these coins were hand struck, and so more often than not the coins are irregularly shaped with ragged edges, undersized, with significant portions of legends and/or themes missing. In this case the obverse strike, is as you can see, was struck a little low, left, off dead center. Although the obverse theme (the depiction of the emperor) is entirely intact, the first several letters of the legend (part of his name) were foreshortened, the top portion of the Latin characters chopped off the edge of the planchet, or blank coin. The reverse side possesses the entirety of both thematic elements as well as the legend, and likewise evidences only moderately mild wear. Overall the coin is a very nice specimen, very thick and heavy in high relief. And despite the loss of a the topmost portion of the first few Latin characters making up the obverse legend, by and large the legends are intact and certainly entirely discernible. And of course the thematic elements are entirely present both obverse and reverse. On the whole it is without a doubt a very nice specimen. The obverse side of the coin depicts the bust of the emperor Titus Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus (known to history simply as Antoninus Pius) wearing a laureate crown. The portrait is accompanied by the legend ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P IMP II, which is by and large a recitation of the various titles which the Emperor possessed which is continued on the reverse of the coin. ANTONINVS obviously refers to the emperors name, his family name, or surname if you prefer. Note that the Latin V in ANTONINVS corresponds with the English letter U, thus Antoninus. As described earlier, due to the fact that the obverse strike was a little low, left, the topmost portion of the first several letters were chopped off the flan. The legend continues with the suffix AVG, which was an abbreviation for Augustus. The term Augustus is Latin for majestic (thus the honorific salutation your majesty). However the term Augustus in the common vernacular of the Roman Empire became synonymous with the Emperor. The first “Augustus” (and first man counted as a Roman Emperor) was Octavius, Julis Caesars nephew and heir. Octavian was given the title of Augustus by the Senate in 27 B. Over the next forty years, Caesar Augustus literally set the standard by which subsequent Emperors would be recognized, accumulating various offices and powers and making his own name (“Augustus”) identifiable with the consolidation of these powers under a single person. Although the name signified nothing in constitutional theory, it was recognized as representing all the powers that Caesar Augustus eventually accumulated. Caesar Augustus also set the standard by which Roman Emperors were named. The three titles used by the majority of Roman Emperors; Imperator, Caesar, and Augustus were all used personally by Caesar Augustus (he officially styled himself “Imperator Caesar Augustus”). However of the name “Augustus” was unique to the Emperor himself (though the Emperor’s mother or wife could bear the name “Augusta”). But others could and did bear the titles “Imperator” and “Caesar”. Later usage saw the Emperor adding the additional titles Pius Felix (pious and blessed) and Invictus (unconquered) in addition to the title Augustus. In this usage, by signifying the complete assumption of all Imperial powers, “Augustus” became roughly synonymous with Emperor in modern language. As the Roman Empire began splintering, Augustus came to be the title applied to the senior Emperor, while the title Caesar came to refer to his junior sub-Emperors. As was the case with the V in ANTONINVS, the V is equivalent to an Anglicized U in the term/title PIVS, or Pius. The title Pius was often times used in conjunction with Pius Felix. Pius was a title used for Roman Emperors to mean that they were dutiful toward the pantheon of Roman deities, to the country (patriotic), and (perhaps) to their family. Felix meant quite simply fortunate, lucky, or blessed. In fact the Romans had several goddesses of good fortune including Felicitas and Fortuna, who were worshipped in various sanctuaries in Rome. Never hurts to have a leader who is both pious and lucky (blessed). The following abbreviation, “PP”, stands for Pater Patriae, literally “father of the country”, also sometimes seen as Parens Patriae, meaning “Father of the Fatherland”. It does not imply a great role in the foundation of the state (such as George Washington Father of America) so much as a great contribution to the preservation and integrity of the state. Like all official honorific titles of the Roman Republic, the honor of being called pater patriae was conferred by the Roman Senate. It was first awarded to the great orator Marcus Tullius Cicero for his part in the suppression of the Catilinarian conspiracy during his consulate in 63 BC. It was next awarded to Julius Caesar, who as dictator was sole master of the Roman world. The Senate voted the title to Caesar Augustus in 2 BC, but it did not become an automatic part of the bundle of the Imperial powers and honors (Imperator, Caesar, Augustus, Princeps Senatus, Pontifex Maximus, tribunicia potestas); The Senate eventually conferred the title on many Roman Emperors, often only after many years of rule (unless the new Emperor were particularly esteemed by the senators, as in the case of Nerva); as a result, many of the short-lived Emperors never received the title. In the case of Severus Alexander, the Senate rather incongruously awarded the title as soon as he ascended the throne at age 12 1/2. The abbreviation IMP is short for Imperator. Imperator was originally a title or acclamation awarded to victorious generals in the field during the Republic Period (before Julius Caesar). IMP II indicates that this was the second time Antoninus Pius was acclaimed Imperator, or victorious general. Throughout the history of Republican Rome, the title was bestowed upon an especially able general who had won an enormous victory. Traditionally it was the troops in the field that proclaimed a man imperator the first step in the process of the general applying to the senate for a triumph (a ceremony both civil and religious held in Rome itself to publicly honor the general and to display/parade the glories and trophies of Roman victory). After Augustus Octavian (Julius Caesars successor) had established the hereditary, one-man rule in Rome that we refer to as the Imperial Roman Empire, the title Imperator was restricted to the emperor and members of his immediate family. If a general who was not part of the imperial family was acclaimed by his troops as Imperator, it was tantamount to a declaration of rebellion or civil war against the ruling emperor. Though the title Augustus is probably the closest Latin equivalent to the English word emperor; it was eventually the term Imperator which became the root of the English word Imperial. IMP could also be used to abbreviate the term Imperatrix, which was the title of the wife an Imperator. The recitation of the powers and acclamations awarded to the emperor continues on the reverse side of the coin, which starts off with the abbreviation T R POT XIX. TR POT is an abbreviation for Tribunicia Potestas. As Augustus, an acclamation or title oftentimes attributed to the Emperor was that of Tribunicia Potestas, literally tribunician power. Of course constitutionally Tribunes were meant to represent the common man, the plebians. Since it was legally impossible for a patrician to be a tribune of the people, the first Roman “Emperor”, Caesar Augustus, was instead offered of the powers of the tribunate without actually holding the office. This formed one of the main constitutional basis of Augustus’ authority, and the power was generally renewed annually by successive Emperors. The XIX following the abbreviation TR P is the Roman Number 15, indicating that the emperor is exercising his nineteenth annual award of the Tribunicia Potestas. The balance of the reverse legend ends with COS IIII, an abbreviation indicating (the fourth) term as Consul. As described earlier, the reverse strike was high, and so the first I in the legend COS IIII was lost off the flan. One can be sure that it did exist, as the emperors fifteenth term as Tribunicia Potestas corresponds with his fourth term as Consul. As Augustus, an acclamation or title oftentimes attributed to the Emperor was that of Consul. As Consular Imperium (Imperial Consul) he had authority equal to the official chief magistrates within Rome. He had authority greater than the chief magistrates outside of the city of Rome, and thus outranked all provincial governors and was also supreme commander of all Roman Legions. Originally Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic (ultimately it was an appointed office under the Empire). Under the Republic two consuls (with executive power) were elected each year, serving together with veto power over each other’s actions. The office of consul was believed to date back to the traditional establishment of the Republic in 509 B. During times of war, the primary criterion for consul was military skill and reputation, but at all times the selection was politically charged. Initially only patricians could be consuls, but later the plebeians won the right to stand for election. With the passage of time, the consulship became the penultimate endpoint of the sequence of offices pursued by the ambitious Roman. When Octavius Augustus, heir to Julius Caesar, established the Empire; he changed the nature of the office, stripping it of most of its powers. While still a great honor and a requirement for other offices, about half of the men who held the rank of Praetor would also reach the consulship. However under the Empire, Emperors frequently appointed themselves, protégés, or relatives without regard to the requirements of office. For example, the Emperor Honorius was given the consulship at birth. One of the reforms of Constantine the Great was to assign one of the consuls to the city of Rome and the other to Constantinople. When the Roman Empire was divided into two halves on the death of Theodosius I, the emperor of each half acquired the right of appointing one of the consuls. As a result, after the formal end of the Roman Empire in the West, for many years thereafter there would be only one Consul of Rome. Finally in the reign of Justinian the consulship was allowed die; first in Rome in 534 A. Then in Constantinople in 541 A. Back to the obverse side of the coin, which depicts the emperor laureate, or wearing a wreath or crown composed of laurel, or bay leaves. This wreath of laurel leaves is an attribute of the Graeco-Roman God Apollo, and is a symbol of victory. In Greek Mythology, Apollo fell in love with the legendary mountain nymph Daphene. Daphene, anxious to escape Apollos amorous interests, asked the Gods of Olympus to change her into a bay tree. Thereafter Apollo always wore a laurel wreath made from the leaves of her sacred tree to show is never failing love for her. Apollo also declared that wreaths were to be awarded to victors, both in athletic competitions and poetic meets under his care. Laurel wreaths became the prize awarded in athletic, musical, and poetic competitions. For instance by the 6th century B. The winners of the ancient Greek Pythian Games (forerunner of the Olympics and held every four years at Delphi) were awarded a wreath of laurel leaves. Ancient Greek coins from at least as far back as the second century B. Depict laurel wreaths worn by not only Apollo, but also Athena, Saturn, Jupiter, Victory (Nike), and Salus. Eventually the custom of awarding a wreath of laurel leaves was extended from victors of athletic events to the victors of military endeavors. The symbolism was inherited (or mimicked) by the Romans, to whom the bestowal of a laurel wreath became the sign of a victorious general acclaimed by his troops. After defeating Pompey, the Roman Senate not only voted Julius Caesar Imperator for life, but also awarded him the right to wear the laurel wreath in perpetuity. From that point on it is said that Julius Caesar always appeared in public laureate, and all of his coinage depicted Julius Caesar wearing the laurel leaf crown. Thus the laurel leaf crown became associated not only with the victorious general, but became a symbol of the office of Caesar and Imperator. There were other types of wreaths in Graeco-Roman Mythology as well. Dionysus was oftentimes depicted either with a wreath of ivy or with a wreath composed of grape leaves. Zeus was oftentimes depicted with a wreath of oak leaves, and wreathes of roses became associated with Aphrodite. As well, funeral wreaths became a Roman custom, and were often carved into the decorative elements of a sarcophagus. The long reign of the emperor Antoninus Pius is often described as a period of peace and quiet before the storm which followed and plagued his successor, Marcus Aurelius (the elderly emperor in Hollywoods Gladiator). In addition to the relative peacefulness of his reign, this emperor set the tone for a low-keyed imperial administration which differed markedly from those of his two more ambitious immediate predecessors, Trajan and Hadrian. Antoninus managed to govern the empire capably and yet with such a gentle hand that he earned the respect, acclaim, and love of his subjects. Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus on September 19, A. 86 at Lanuvium, an old Latin city southeast of Rome. His father’s family had originally migrated to Rome from Nemausus (Nîmes) in Narbonese Gaul, but his paternal grandfather, T. Aurelius Fulvus, had served twice as Roman consul and also as city prefect and his father, Aurelius Fulvus, also held the consulship. The future emperor’s mother was Arria Fadilla and her father, Arrius Antoninus, had also been consul twice. Young Antoninus was raised at Lorium, on the via Aurelia, where he later built a palace. Very little is known about Antoninus’ life before he became emperor except that according to contemporaneous sources he was Quaestor in 112 A. Praetor in 117 A. And Consul in 120 A. At some point between A. 110 and 115, Antoninus married Annia Galeria Faustina, the daughter of M. Hadrian later appointed Antoninus as one of his consular administrators of Italy and between 130 and 135 A. Antoninus served as proconsul (governor) of Asia. 138 changed Antoninus’ future quite radically when early in the year, Aelius Verus, whom Hadrian had previously adopted and named Caesar, died from tuberculosis. Hadrian met with the Senate and announced his decision to adopt Antoninus as his son and heir and to share the throne with him. After giving this offer careful thought, Antoninus accepted and agreed in return to adopt as his heirs his wife’s nephew, M. Antoninus, the future Marcus Aurelius, and L. Verus, the son of Aelius Verus. Hadrian died in the following summer, and Antoninus’ devotion to Hadrian’s memory is one of the reasons cited for the Senate’s bestowal upon the new emperor of the name “pius”. Unfortunately his wife Faustina died in 141 A. Only two years after Antoninuss accession. The Senate deified Faustina and voted her a temple and priestesses. In memory of his wife, Antoninus also instituted an alimentary program, similar to those of his immediate predecessors, which combined loans to Italian farmers with funds, generated by interest on those loans, set aside for the care of orphaned girls. Antoninuss economic policy in general was relatively conservative and avoided luxurious waste while supporting public works of practical application. His procurators were told to keep provincial tribute reasonable and the provinces in general prospered under his administration. The emperor also used his own funds to distribute oil, grain, and wine free in a time of famine and helped relieve the devastation caused in Rome by fire, flood, and a collapse of stands in the Circus Maximus and by fires and earthquakes in the provinces. Although the reigns of his two immediate predecessors, Trajan and Hadrian, had seen prolific building activity in Rome and throughout the empire, Antoninus chose to be less lavish in his public works projects. He felt an obligation to complete work begun or promised by Hadrian. Antoninus completed the Mausoleum of Hadrian along the Tiber and built the temples of the Divine Hadrian in the Campus Martius and of Faustina in the Forum. He also restored the oldest bridge in Rome, the Pons Sublicius, the Graecostadium, and the Colosseum. Although Antoninus’ reign was generally peaceful, the Historian Capitolinus says that he fought wars, through legates, against the Britons, Moors, Germans, Dacians, and the Alans and suppressed revolts in Achaea, in Egypt, and among the Jews. Antoninus’ daughter Faustina married Marcus Aurelius in 145 A. And she soon became Augusta in place of her deceased mother. Marcus Aurelius was associated in imperial powers and he and L. Verus both held the consulship multiple times in preparation for their accession (Verus eventually predeceased Marcus Aurelius by eleven years when he died in the eighth year of Aureliuss rule). Antoninus made sure that he would leave the Empire secure and in sound financial condition and his adopted sons inherited a large surplus (reportedly 675 million denarii) in the Treasury. Antoninus Pius died on March 7th of A. 161 at the age of 75, and was soon afterward deified by the Senate. His adopted sons and successors, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, erected a column of red granite in his honor in the Campus Martius. The marble base for this column, which is preserved in the Vatican, includes a sculpted image of the apotheosis of Antoninus and Faustina. In many ways Antoninus Pius was a model emperor who provided the Empire with a period of fortune, religious piety, and security perhaps unmatched in imperial annals. Sagacious, learned, eloquent, benign, compassionate, and affable, he was peculiarly endowed with calmness and equanimity, well sustained on all political occasions, by the requisite display of energy and firmness. Kindly disposed towards everybody, and free from vindictiveness, he anticipated, by acts of liberality and beneficence, the utmost wishes of his subjects. As a prince and a ruler, his maxim was to administer strict justice equally to rich and poor, high and low born, weak and humble as well as to the proud and powerful. Circumspect in his choice of ministers; vigilant, wise and fortunate, in the management of public affairs, his sole aim was to rule the empire well, and to leave it in prosperity and peace to his successors. The reverse of this particular specimen portrays the Roman Goddess Pax. Pax is the goddess of peace. Pax is depicted here with a cornucopiae in the crook of one arm, and an olive branch in her opposite hand. Theres a political propagandistic message here, that being that the Roman Peace, Pax Romana, was responsible for the bounty and prosperity enjoyed by the citizens of Rome, and that by extension, this peace and prosperity was attributable to the Emperor Antoninus Pius. The message is conveyed by the attributes shown with Pax. Pax was quite often depicted on Roman coinage holding either corn ears or as in this instance, a cornucopiae, both allegory to the bounty which peace time brings. The Mediterranean route between Alexandria and Rome was plied by relatively huge cargo galleys. A cornucopiae of course remains even today a symbol of abundance, and is commonly known as a horn of plenty, generally a wicker container filled with fruits or vegetables. Used since at least the fifth century B. It seems to have originated in Greek mythology where Amalthea raised Zeus on the milk of a goat. In return Zeus gave her the goat’s horn. It had the power to give to the person in possession of it whatever he or she wished for. This gave rise to the legend of the cornucopia. The original depictions were of the goat’s horn filled with fruits and flowers. Greek and Roman deities would be depicted with the horn of plenty, which was especially associated with the Roman Goddess Fortuna (Greek Tyche). As in this instance, Pax was also typically depicted holding an olive branch, recognized still even today as a symbol of peace. Often in the company of the olive branch, and more commonly depicted than a cornucopiae, Pax was most often portrayed with the hasta pura or a scepter; or on occasion is portrayed instead with a caduceus which was a form of enchanters wand. The caduceus was in Greek Mythology originally an attribute of Hermes (Mercury to the Romans), messenger of the gods of Mount Olympus. The caduceus was originally an enchanters wand, a symbol of the power that produces wealth and prosperity, and also an emblem of the influence over the living and the dead. But even in early times it was regarded as a heralds staff and an emblem of peaceful intercourse. It consisted of three shoots, one of which formed the handle, the other two being intertwined at the top in a knot. The place of the latter two intertwined shoots was eventually taken by serpents and was an attribute of Asclepius, the Graeco-Roman God of Medicine. A hasta pura Pax was often depicted holding was a ceremonial lance (spear, pike) without an iron head, oftentimes with a knob at the end, the forerunner of the standard pilum issued to Roman soldiers. The hasta was derived by the Roman from the Etrurians, who called it a corim. By the Sabines it was called a quiris, their king called coritos as the spear was to them an attribute of royalty. The Hasta was the symbol not only of power, fortitute and valor, but also of majesty and even divinity. It is one of the insignia of the Gods, and of the Emperors and Augustae after their apotheosis, implying that they had become objects of worship. It is generally found in the hands of female divinities, as the war-spear is in those of warriors and heroes. Pax was usually depicted wearing the stola, a sleeveless outer garment worn by mature women over the tunic (or chemise). The stola was the traditional outer garment of Roman women, corresponding to the toga that was worn by men. In ancient Rome, it was considered disgraceful for a woman to wear a toga; wearing the male garment was associated with prostitution. The stola was a long, pleated dress, worn over a tunic (the tunica intima, the Roman version of a slip). A stola generally had long sleeves (but not always; occasionally it was held up by straps), but the sleeves could either be a part of the stola itself, or part of the tunic. The stola was typically adorned with ribbons. It was frequently accompanied by a long shawl-like garment called a palla. Use of the stola continued through the Byzantine period. Theres a very good depiction of the stola right (here). Pax was also occasionally depicted standing near an altar with a patera in her hand. A patera was a broad, flat, round dish used for drinking (wine more often than not) and ceremonially for offering libations. She was sometimes shown wearing a crown composed of laurel or olive leaves. Another interesting depiction seen in some coinage of the realm was that of the Temple of Janus with the doors shut. The temple was always closed during times of peace. Pax was also occasionally shown setting a lighted torch to a pile of weapons, setting them ablaze. Pax might be accompanied by the motto Pax Aeterna (eternal peace), Pax Perpetva (perpetual peace), Pax Orbis (world peace), Pax Publica (public peace), and Pax Fundata in reference to an emperor, the founder of peace. Pax was also frequently depicted while seated in a Curule chair (or throne). In the Roman Republic, and later the Empire, the curule chair (or throne) was the chair upon which senior magistrates or promagistrates were entitled to sit, including dictators, masters of the horse, consuls, praetors, priests of Jupiter, and the curule aediles. In the latter Republic, Caesar the Dictator was entitled to sit upon a curule chair made of gold. The curule chair was traditionally made of ivory; with curved legs forming a wide X; it had no back, and low arms. The chair could be folded, and thus made easily transportable for magisterial and promagesterial commanders in the field. According to the (ancient) Roman Historian Livy the curule chair originated with the Etruscans, though there is evidence that before then it might have originated with Near East potentates. Pax was known to the Greeks as Eirene, and was adopted by the Romans as Pax; as in the motto everyone is familiar with, Pax Romano. Eirene/Pax was also worshipped as the Goddess of wealth, and in Greek renditions, was usually depicted with the infant Plutus in her arms. Plutus was as well the Graeco-Roman personification of wealth; the God of Wealth if you will. An Altar was built and dedicated in Rome to the Goddess on July 4th, 13 B. Upon the return of Augustus from Gaul. The Emperor Claudius began the construction of a magnificent temple in the Via Sacra, which eventually Vespasian finished. On Romes Campus Martius, she also had a temple called the Ara Pacis, and another temple on the Forum Pacis. Theres a couple of nice images of Pax/Eirene here. If youd like to learn more about Pax/Eirene, several good starting points may be found here. Pendant style a is a clear, airtight acrylic capsule designed to afford your ancient coin maximum protection from both impact damage and degradation. It is the most politically correct mounting. Style d is a sterling silver pendant. Either pendant styles include a sterling silver chain (16″, 18″, or 20). Upon request, there are also an almost infinite variety of other pendants which might well suit both you and your ancient coin pendant, and include both sterling silver and solid 14kt gold mountings, including those shown here. As well, upon request, we can also make available a huge variety of chains in lengths from 16 to 30 inches, in metals including sterling silver, 14kt gold fill, and solid 14kt gold. HISTORY OF ANCIENT COINAGE : Coins came into being during the seventh century B. In Lydia and Ionia, part of the Greek world, and were made from a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. Each coin blank was heated and struck with a hammer between two engraved dies. Unlike modern coins, they were not uniformly round. Each coin was wonderfully unique. Coinage quickly spread to the island and city states of Western Greece. Alexander the Great 336-323 B. Then spread the concept of coinage throughout the lands he conquered. Ancient coins are archaeological treasures from the past. They were buried for safekeeping because of their value and have been slowly uncovered throughout modern history. Oftentimes soldiers the night before battle would bury their coins and jewelry, hoping and believing that they would live long enough to recover them, and to return to their family. Killed in battle, these little treasure hoards remain until today scattered throughout Western and Eastern Europe, even into the Levant and Persia. As well, everyone from merchants to housewives found the safest place to keep their savings was buried in a pot, or in some other secretive location. Recently a commercial excavation for a new building foundation in London unearthed a Roman mosaic floor. When archaeologists removed the floor, they found 7,000 silver denarii secreted beneath the floor. Even the Roman mints buried their produce. There were over 300 mints in the Roman Empire striking coinage. Hoards of as many as 40,000 coins have been found in a single location near these ancient sites. Ancient coins reflect the artistic, political, religious, and economic themes of their times. The acquisition of ancient coins is a unique opportunity to collect art which has been appreciated throughout the centuries. Coins of the Roman Empire most frequently depicted the Emperor on the front of the coins, and were issued in gold, silver, and bronze. The imperial family was also frequently depicted on the coinage, and, in some cases, coins depicted the progression of an emperor from boyhood through maturity. The reverse side of often served as an important means of political propaganda, frequently extolling the virtues of the emperor or commemorating his victories. Many public works and architectural achievements such as the Coliseum and the Circus Maximus were also depicted. Important political events such as alliances between cities were recorded on coinage. Many usurpers to the throne, otherwise unrecorded in history, are known only through their coins. Interestingly, a visually stunning portrayal of the decline of the Roman Empire is reflected in her coinage. The early Roman bronze coins were the size of a half-dollar. Within 100-150 years those had shrunk to the size of a nickel. And within another 100-150 years, to perhaps half the size of a dime. ROMAN HISTORY: One of the greatest civilizations of recorded history was the ancient Roman Empire. The Roman civilization, in relative terms the greatest military power in the history of the world, was founded in the 8th century B. In the 4th Century B. The Romans were the dominant power on the Italian Peninsula, having defeated the Etruscans and Celts. In the 3rd Century B. The Romans conquered Sicily, and in the following century defeated Carthage, and controlled the Greece. Throughout the remainder of the 2nd Century B. The Roman Empire continued its gradual conquest of the Hellenistic (Greek Colonial) World by conquering Syria and Macedonia; and finally came to control Egypt in the 1st Century B. The pinnacle of Roman power was achieved in the 1st Century A. As Rome conquered much of Britain and Western Europe. At its peak, the Roman Empire stretched from Britain in the West, throughout most of Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, and into Asia Minor. For a brief time, the era of Pax Romana, a time of peace and consolidation reigned. Civilian emperors were the rule, and the culture flourished with a great deal of liberty enjoyed by the average Roman Citizen. However within 200 years the Roman Empire was in a state of steady decay, attacked by Germans, Goths, and Persians. The decline was temporarily halted by third century Emperor Diocletian. In the 4th Century A. The Roman Empire was split between East and West. The Great Emperor Constantine again managed to temporarily arrest the decay of the Empire, but within a hundred years after his death the Persians captured Mesopotamia, Vandals infiltrated Gaul and Spain, and the Goths even sacked Rome itself. Most historians date the end of the Western Roman Empire to 476 A. When Emperor Romulus Augustus was deposed. However the Eastern Roman Empire (The Byzantine Empire) survived until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 A. In the ancient world valuables such as coins and jewelry were commonly buried for safekeeping, and inevitably the owners would succumb to one of the many perils of the ancient world. Oftentimes the survivors of these individuals did not know where the valuables had been buried, and today, thousands of years later caches of coins and rings are still commonly uncovered throughout Europe and Asia Minor. Throughout history these treasures have been inadvertently discovered by farmers in their fields, uncovered by erosion, and the target of unsystematic searches by treasure seekers. With the introduction of metal detectors and other modern technologies to Eastern Europe in the past three or four decades, an amazing number of new finds are seeing the light of day thousands of years after they were originally hidden by their past owners. And with the liberalization of post-Soviet Eastern Europe, new markets have opened eager to share in these ancient treasures. HISTORY OF SILVER : After gold, silver is the metal most widely used in jewelry and the most malleable. The oldest silver artifacts found by archaeologists date from ancient Sumeria about 4,000 B. At many points in the ancient world, it was actually more costly than gold, particularly in ancient Egypt. Silver is found in native form i. In nuggets, as an alloy with gold (electrum), and in ores containing sulfur, arsenic, antimony or chlorine. Much of the silver originally found in the ancient world was actually a natural alloy of gold and silver (in nugget form) known as electrum. The first large-scale silver mines were in Anatolia (ancient Turkey) and Armenia, where as early as 4,000 B. Silver was extracted from lead ores by means of a complicated process known as smelting. Even then the process was not perfect, as ancient silver does contain trace elements, typically lead, gold, bismuth and other metals, and as much as a third of the silver was left behind in the slag. However measuring the concentrations of the impurities in ancient silver can help the forensic jewelry historian in determining the authenticity of classical items. From Turkey and Armenia silver refining technology spread to the rest of Asia Minor and Europe. By about 2,500 B. The Babylonians were one of the major refiners of silver. Silver treasures recovered by archaeologists from the second and third millenniums demonstrate the high value the ancient Mediterranean and Near East placed upon silver. Some of the richest burials in history uncovered by archaeologists have been from this time frame, that of Queen Puabi of Ur, Sumeria 26th century B. ; Tuankhamun 14th century B. , and the rich Trojan 25th century B. And Mycenaean 18th century B. Treasures uncovered by Heinrich Schliemann. The ancient Egyptians believed that the skin of their gods was composed of gold, and their bones were thought to be of silver. When silver was introduced into Egypt, it probably was more valuable than gold (silver was rarer and more valuable than gold in many Mesoamerican cultures as well). In surviving inventories of valuables, items of silver were listed above those of gold during the Old Kingdom. Jewelry made of silver was almost always thinner than gold pieces, as indicated by the bracelets of the 4th Dynasty about 2,500 B. Queen Hetephere I, in marked contrast to the extravagance of her heavy gold jewelry. A silver treasure excavated by archaeologists and attributable to the reign of Amenemhat II who ruled during the 12th Dynasty about 1900 B. , contained fine silver items which were actually produced in Crete, by the ancient Minoans. When the price of silver finally did fall due to more readily available supplies, for at least another thousand years through at least the 19th dynasty, about 1,200 B. The price of silver seems to have been fixed at half that of gold. Several royal mummies attributable to about 1,000 B. Were even entombed in solid silver coffins. Around 1,000 B. Greek Athenians began producing silver from the Laurium mines, and would supply much of the ancient Mediterranean world with its silver for almost 1,000 years. This ancient source was eventually supplemented around 800 B. (and then eventually supplanted) by the massive silver mines found in Spain by the Phoenicians and their colony (and ultimate successors) the Carthaginians (operated in part by Hannibals family). With the defeat of Carthage by Rome, the Romans gained control of these vast deposits, and mined massive amounts of silver from Spain, stripping entire forests regions for timber to fuel smelting operations. In fact, it was not until the Middle Ages that Spains silver mines (and her forests) were finally exhausted. Although known during the Copper Age, silver made only rare appearances in jewelry before the classical age. Despite its infrequent use as jewelry however, silver was widely used as coinage due to its softness, brilliant color, and resistance to oxidation. By the Lydians of present-day Turkey. Having access to silver deposits and being able to mine them played a big role in the classical world. Actual silver coins were first produced in Lydia about 610 B. And subsequently in Athens in about 580 B. Many historians have argued that it was the possession and exploitation of the Laurium mines by the Athenians that allowed them to become the most powerful city state in Greece. The Athenians were well aware of the significance of the mining operations to the prosperity of their city, as every citizen had shares in the mines. Enough silver was mined and refined at Laurium to finance the expansion of Athens as a trading and naval power. One estimate is that Laurium produced 160 million ounces of silver, worth six billion dollars today (when silver is by comparison relatively cheap and abundant). As the production of silver from the Laurium mines ultimately diminished, Greek silver production shifted to mines in Macedonia. Silver coinage played a significant role in the ancient world. Macedonias coinage during the reign of Philip II 359-336 B. Circulated widely throughout the Hellenic world. His famous son, Alexander the Great 336-323 B. , spread the concept of coinage throughout the lands he conquered. For both Philip II and Alexander silver coins became an essential way of paying their armies and meeting other military expenses. They also used coins to make a realistic portrait of the ruler of the country. The Romans also used silver coins to pay their legions. Roman silver coins also served as an important means of political propaganda, extolling the virtues of Rome and her emperors, and continued in the Greek tradition of realistic portraiture. As well, many public works and architectural achievements were also depicted (among them the Coliseum, the Circus Maximus). In addition many important political events were recorded on the coinage. You can Romaan coins which depicted the assassination of Julius Caesar, alliances between cities, between emperors, between armies, etc. And many contenders for the throne of Rome are known only through their coinage. Silver was also widely used as ornamental work and in other metal wares. In ancient cultures, especially in Rome, silver was highly prized for the making of plate ware, household utensils, and ornamental work. The stability of Romes economy and currency depended primarily on the output of the silver mines in Spain which they had wrested from the Carthaginians. In fact many historians would say that it was the control of the wealth of these silver mines which enabled Rome to conquer most of the Mediterranean world. When in 55 B. The Romans invaded Britain they were quick to discover and exploit the lead-silver deposits there as well. Only six years later they had established many mines and Britain became another major source of silver for the Roman Empire. It is estimated that by the second century A. 10,000 tons of Roman silver coins were in circulation within the empire. Thats about 3½ billion silver coins (at the height of the empire, there were over 400 mints throughout the empire producing coinage). Thats ten times the total amount of silver available to Medieval Europe and the Islamic world combined as of about 800 A. Silver later lost its position of dominance to gold, particularly in the chaos following the fall of Rome. Large-scale mining in Spain petered out, and when large-scale silver mining finally resumed four centuries after the fall of Rome, most of the mining activity was in Central Europe. By the time of the European High Middle Ages, silver once again became the principal material used for metal artwork. Huge quantities of silver from the New World also encouraged eager buyers in Europe, and enabled the Spanish to become major players in the late Medieval and Renaissance periods. Unlike the ores in Europe which required laborious extraction and refining methods to result in pure silver, solid silver was frequently found as placer deposits in stream beds in Spains New World colonies, reportedly in some instances solid slabs weighing as much as 2,500 pounds. Prior to the discovery of massive silver deposits in the New World, silver had been valued during the Middle Ages at about 10%-15% of the value of gold. The discovery of massive silver deposits in the New World during the succeeding centuries has caused the price to diminish greatly, falling to only 1-2% of the value of gold. The art of silver work flourished in the Renaissance, finding expression in virtually every imaginable form. Silver was often plated with gold and other decorative materials. Although silver sheets had been used to overlay wood and other metals since ancient Greece, an 18th-century technique of fusing thin silver sheets to copper brought silver goods called Sheffield plate within the reach of most people. At the same time the use of silver in jewelry making had also started gaining popularity in the 17th century. It was often as support in settings for diamonds and other transparent precious stones, in order to encourage the reflection of light. Silver continued to gain in popularity throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and by the 20th century competed with gold as the principal metal used in the manufacture of jewelry. Silver has the highest thermal and electrical conductivity of any metal, and one of the highest optical reflectivity values. It has a brilliant metallic luster, is very ductile and malleable, only slightly harder than gold, and is easily worked and polished. When used in jewelry, silver is commonly alloyed to include 7.5% copper, known as Sterling Silver, to increase the hardness and reduce the melting temperature. Silver jewelry may be plated with 99.9% pure Fine Silver to increase the shine when polished. It may also be plated with rhodium to prevent tarnish. Virtually all gold, with the exception of 24 carat gold, includes silver. Most gold alloys are primarily composed of only gold and silver. Throughout the history of the ancient world, gemstones were believed capable of curing illness, possessed of valuable metaphysical properties, and to provide protection. Found in Egypt dated 1500 B. The “Papyrus Ebers” offered one of most complete therapeutic manuscripts containing prescriptions using gemstones and minerals. Gemstones were not only valued for their medicinal and protective properties, but also for educational and spiritual enhancement. Precious minerals were likewise considered to have medicinal and magical properties in the ancient world. In its pure form silver is non toxic, and when mixed with other elements is used in a wide variety of medicines. Silver ions and silver compounds show a toxic effect on some bacteria, viruses, algae and fungi. Silver was widely used before the advent of antibiotics to prevent and treat infections, silver nitrate being the prevalent form. Silver Iodide was used in babies’ eyes upon birth to prevent blinding as the result of bacterial contamination. Silver is still widely used in topical gels and impregnated into bandages because of its wide-spectrum antimicrobial activity. The recorded use of silver to prevent infection dates to ancient Greece and Rome. Hippocrates, the ancient 5th century B. Greek “father of medicine” wrote that silver had beneficial healing and anti-disease properties. The ancient Phoenicians stored water, wine, and vinegar in silver bottles to prevent spoiling. These uses were rediscovered in the Middle Ages, when silver was used for several purposes; such as to disinfect water and food during storage, and also for the treatment of burns and wounds as a wound dressing. The ingestion of colloidal silver was also believed to help restore the body’s electromagnetic balance to a state of equilibrium, and it was believed to detoxify the liver and spleen. In the 19th century sailors on long ocean voyages would put silver coins in barrels of water and wine to keep the liquid potable. Silver (and gold) foil is also used through the world as a food decoration. Traditional Indian dishes sometimes include the use of decorative silver foil, and in various cultures silver dragée (silver coated sugar balls) are used to decorate cakes, cookies, and other dessert items. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily lost or misdelivered by postal employees even in the USA. International tracking is at additional cost. We do offer U. Please ask for a rate quotation. Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the business of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE. The item “Genuine Ancient Silver Roman Coin Emperor Antoninus Pius Goddess Pax Pendant” is in sale since Friday, February 9, 2018. This item is in the category “Antiques\Antiquities\Other Antiquities”. The seller is “ancientgifts” and is located in Lummi Island, Washington. This item can be shipped worldwide.
- Material: Ancient Coin
- Jewelry: Ancient Coin Pendant
- Origin: Ancient Rome