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AD240 Silver Denari Roman Religion Teenage Emperor Gordian Sacrificing at Altar

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Seller: ancientgifts (4,186) 99.3%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 381755982675 TRANSLATE Arabic Chinese French German Greek Indonesian Italian Hindi Japanese Korean Swedish Portuguese Russian Spanish Your browser does not support JavaScript. To view this page, enable JavaScript if it is disabled or upgrade your browser. Click here to see 1,000 archaeology/ancient history books and 2,000 ancient artifacts, antique gemstones, antique jewelry! Silver Roman Antoninianus (Successor to the “Denarius”) of Emperor Gordian III with Depiction of the Emperor Sacrificing over Altar with Patera (Offering Dish) and Wand – 240 A.D. OBVERSE INSCRIPTION: IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG. OBVERSE DEPICTION: The bust of Emperor Gordian III, cuirassed, draped, with radiate crown. REVERSE INSCRIPTION: P M TR P II COS II PP. REVERSE DEPICTION: The Emperor Gordian standing left, veiled and in toga, sacrificing over a tripod altar, with a patera in one hand and a wand in the other. ATTRIBUTION: City of Rome Mint approximately 240 A.D. SIZE/MEASUREMENTS: Diameter: 24 x 21 millimeters. Weight: 4.20 grams. NOTE: Coin is mounted free of charge into your choice of pendant settings (shown in sterling silver pendant), and includes a sterling silver chain in your choice of 16", 18", or 20" length, (details below or click here). We can reverse coin in mounting if you prefer opposite side showing front. DETAIL: This is a very handsome silver antoninianus produced in the city of Rome itself in the year 240 A.D. It is in exceptionally good condition, only very light wear from circulation in ancient Rome. All legends and themes are clear and distinct. It was well struck both front and back the result just a little oblong, and with a ragged flan (edge), both quite characteristic of the coinage of the era. However unlike most coins of the era, the strike caught the entirely of both the legends and the themes, and this is applicable to both the obverse as well as the reverse. Toward the end of the obverse legend a couple of the Latin characters are a little indistinct, but this too is quite ordinary and commonplace. The coins were of course struck by hand, and little bits of metal (“detritus”) would slowly clog up the finer features of the coin, especially the engraved letters, and from time to time they would have to be re-engraved. If you look closely at the obverse toward the end of the inscription, you’ll see that the last six or eight letters in the legend of the obverse die were a bit clogged up when the coin was struck, and so some of the Latin characters are in low profile, a bit fragmented and incompletely formed, and indistinct. However again while this is an interesting characteristic, it is certainly not unique or uncommon feature of the coinage of the era; to the contrary, it is quite commonplace. You might also notice that while the obverse is a very nice strike in high profile, the reverse strike is of slightly lower profile. This the consequence of the fact that the Roman mints tended to use the reverse dies about three times as long as they did the obverse dies (which of course contained the portrait of the emperor). In fact in many instances as the reverse die wore (excessively), the coins struck from them became progressively lower and lower in profile, until finally in many cases the reverse was almost indeterminable. This specimen is not at all in such a sad condition. In any event, consequentially, the reverse sides of most Roman coins will be of lower profile than the obverse side, and this is the case with this particular specimen. Again, as was the case with regard to the slightly clogged letters of the obverse legend, this is an interesting observation, though certainly not a unique or uncommon feature, and certainly not detrimental, merely simply a characteristic of the coinage of the era. Given the generous proportions of the planchet (blank coin) and the well-centered and sharp strike, as well as the fact the absolute entirely of both legends and thematic elements were captured on the coin, it is without a doubt a superior specimen. The obverse of the coin depicts Roman Emperor Gordian III, draped, cuirassed, and with radiate crown; and the legend “IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG”. “M ANT GORDIANVS” refers to the Emperor’s name, Marcus Antonius Gordianus. The “IMP” preface to his name is an abbreviation for “Imperator”. Imperator was originally a title or acclamation awarded to victorious generals in the field during the Republic Period (before Julius Caesar). 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). Imperatrix was the title of the wife an Imperator. After Augustus Octavian (Julius Caesar’s 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”. The “CAES” refers to the title “Caesar”, which was a title of imperial character used by either the Emperor or the heir apparent of the Emperor – though in the fragmenting later Roman Empire it was used to refer to the “junior” sub-emperors; inferior to “Augustus”, or the “senior” Emperor. The title’s origin was the name of Julius Caesar, the famous Roman General and Dictator. This came about when Octavius, eventually the first Emperor of Rome, was named by Julius Caesar posthumously (in his will) as his heir and adopted son. Octavius adopted the name “Caesar” in order to emphasize his relationship with his Uncle, Julius Caesar. Eventually the term evolved into part of a title, “Imperator Caesar Augustus”, when Octavious adopted his nephew Tiberius Claudius Nero as his successor, renaming him "Tiberius Iulius Caesar". The precedent was set: the Emperor designated his successor by adopting him and giving him the name "Caesar". The title was occasionally accompanied by that of “Princeps Iuventutis” (literally "Prince of Youth"). After some variation among the earliest Emperors, the title of the heir apparent evolved into NN Caesar before accession and Imperator Caesar NN Augustus after accession. A later evolution expanded the title to “NN Nobilissimus Caesar” (“Most Noble Caesar") rather than simply NN Caesar. Ultimately to this the additional titles “Pius Felix” ("the Pious and Blessed") and “Invictus” ("the Unconquered") were added. The suffix to Gordian’s name, “AVG”, 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 Caesar’s nephew and heir. Octavian was given the title of Augustus by the Senate in 27 B.C. Over the next forty years, Caesar Augustus literally set the standard by which subsequent Emperors would be recognised, 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 recognised 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. The obverse of the coin portrays Roman Emperor Gordian III. Gordian was born in Rome in 225 A.D. His mother was a daughter of the Senator Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus, who eventually became known to historians as the Roman Emperor Gordian I (his mother’s brother, Gordian’s Uncle, was Gordian II). Thus Gordian was linked maternally to preceding Roman royalty. However the identity of his father, though undoubtedly a senator, is today unknown. Gordian’s maternal grandfather, Emperor Gordian I had committed suicide a few months prior upon being informed of the death of his son, Gordian II, both of whom had been involved in the power struggle which followed the murder of Severus Alexander and end of the Severan Dynasty (in 235 A.D.). Subsequently two Senators, Balbinus and Pupienus were elected emperors by the Roman Imperial Senate upon the death of Gordian I and Gordian II, and it was hoped they would prevail in the civil war against the rebellious usurper Maximinus. After the death of Maximinus at the siege of Aquileia, perhaps in early June 238, the Roman army decided that they found neither of the two new emperors to their liking, and the Praetorian Guard murdered both on July 29th, 238 A.D., thereupon proclaiming thirteen-year-old Gordian III emperor. Gordian III was very popular amongst the people and especially the Praetorians, who lifted him up on a shield to be cheered by the jubilant people of Rome. As Gordian was so young, for a while Rome was actually ruled by Rome’s aristocratic families through the Senate. Eventually Gordian appointed the experienced former Pro-Consul Timestheus as Praetorian Prefect, and married his daughter Tranquillina. As chief of the Praetorian guard and father in law of the emperor, Timesitheus quickly became the de facto ruler of the Roman empire. Nonetheless under the “counsel” of Timestheus, Gordian ruled well and became quite popular. The Roman Empire had peace and stability during his reign, which was rare during the Third Century. But the peace was marred by the necessity for Gordian to spend about half of his reign engaged in campaigns against the Persians. In 241 A.D., the Sassanian Persian king Ardashir died, and his son Shapur immediately began making trouble for Rome by invading Syria. Gordian III and his army went to deal with Shapur a year later and won several victories in battle against the ruthless Persian. In fact the Roman military campaigns were so effective that the Persians were compelled to evacuate most of Mesopotamia. However during the campaign Praetorian Prefect Timestheus died of an illness in 243 A.D. (perhaps poisoned). The surviving Praetorian Prefect, C. Julius Priscus, convinced the emperor to appoint his brother M. Julius Philippus (eventually known to history as the Roman Emperor “Philip the Arab”) Praetorian Prefect in Timestheus’s place. Philip was not the loyal friend that Timesthius was. Philip took great pains to make the soldiers dislike Gordian III by bringing about a shortage of supplies and blaming it on Gordian’s inexperience. Despite the desperate offer by Gordian to voluntarily relinquish his throne in favor of Philip, nonetheless Philip inspired the Roman troops to murder Gordian III on February 25, 244 A.D., while campaigning in Mesopotamia. Philip intimidated the Senate into acknowledging him as Augustus, and then appointed his own son, Philip II as Caesar. If you’d like to learn more about Emperor Gordian, there are several articles here, here, and here, which are all excellent starting points. The image of Gordian III depicted on this coin shows him wearing a radiate crown. The radiate crown, common on the dupondius and antoninianus coins of Roman origin, is reference to divinity, specifically to the Greco-Roman Sun God Sol (or Helios, to the ancient Greeks, and Apollo to the later Greeks). The ancient Greeks generally portrayed their sun god as radiate crowned – as can be seen depicted on the reverse of many ancient Greek (and ultimately Roman) coins. Eventually the Emperors of Rome borrowed the theme, not only depicting a Crowned God Sol on the reverse of their coins, but as well bestowing these divine attributes upon the obverse depiction of their Emperors. The Emperor is also depicted wearing a cuirass. Roman muscle cuirass armor was considered a sign of a high ranking commander and was worn by Roman Emperors, Praetorian Prefects, Roman Generals, Praetorian Tribunes, and Legionary Legates. Examples of this type of armor can be seen in Roman marble statues and engravings at various museums throughout the world. They were constructed of a leather-trimmed, thin sheet of metal (bronze, silver, or gold) and covered the chest and back. The metal work was generally very elaborate, and in the form of various gods or goddesses, mythological creatures, or the Roman eagle. There has only been one (fragmentary) ancient Roman cuirass ever recovered. The reverse of the coin portrays depicts Emperor sacrificing over a tripod altar, with a patera in one hand, and a wand in the other. The emperor is both veiled and in toga, as well he might be conducting a religious ceremony. In his role as both “Pontifex Maximus” (Chief Priest/Augur of the Roman State Religion), and as political leader of the Roman Empire, this depiction was a meaningful message of both religious and political import to the Roman people. Besides being veiled and togate, Gordian is also depicted with the tools of an augur. The “patera” Gordian is shown holding in one hand was a broad, flat, round dish used for drinking (wine more often than not) and ceremonially for offering libations, often ceremonially, as in poured over an altar. A “Lituus” shown in Gordian’s other hand was a ceremonial augur’s wand, and was a frequent depiction of Roman coinage where ceremonial or religious implements were depicted. An augur was one of Rome's pagan religious priests (or in later Rome, perhaps the emperor himself) whose ceremonial function (the ceremony known as an auguration) was to prognosticate good or evil, favor or disfavor, by observing the flight, the chirps or screams of birds (chiefly ravens), and by observing how enthusiastically chickens ate the ceremonial offerings of cakes provided by those supplicants wishing their fortunes prognosticated. Augurs also took note of phenomena of the heavens (comets, falling stars, etc.), and consulted with the Haruspices (who practiced divination by examining the entrails of slaughtered sacrificial animals). A lituus was a frequently depicted thematic element on the coinage of ancient Rome, often in the company of other “professional tools” used by an augur such as a “lituus”, a praefericulum (a ceremonial handled metal pitcher used to pour offerings or libations of wine), a patera (flat offering dish used to pur libations of wine as well), and sometimes a raven or chicken. Although the chief augur in the Roman State Religion, the “Pontifex Maximus” has always been a professional priest, Julius Caesar had taken the title of Pontifex Maximus for himself, in essence, making himself the focal point not only of the Roman State, but of the Roman State Religion. Of course Julius Caesar was deified, as was Octavius Augustus, his adoptive heir. Octavius had also assumed the title of Pontifex Maximus. And in the future, as the Imperial Cult grew, emperors not only assumed the title of “Pontifex Maximus”, but they were also deified and worshipped as gods (particularly in the Eastern half of the empire). The reverse legend the coin bears is P M TR P II COS PP. “P M” is an abbreviation for “Pontifex Maximus”. As Augustus, an acclamation or title oftentimes attributed to the Emperor was that of as “Pontifex Maximus”, literally "greatest bridgemaker", the significance being that he was the chief priest of the Roman state religion. From 382 A.D. onwards this title has been held by the Pope in Rome. Prior to Octavious Augustus Julius Caesar (in the Roman Republic) the Pontifex Maximus was the head of the pagan Roman Religion, the most important of the priests (pontifices) of the sacred college (Collegium Pontificum). However with the establishment of Empire, Julius Caesar, then Octavius Augustus, and then each Roman Emperor afterwards held the title Pontifex Maximus himself, as the Roman Emperor became deified, i.e., a living god and the apex of the Roman religion. The reverse legend continues, “TR P II”, an abbreviation for Tribunicia Potestas (the “II” indicates the sixth term). As Augustus, an acclamation or title oftentimes attributed to the Emperor was that of Tribunicia Potestas, literally "tribunician power”. As such the Emperor he had personal inviolability (sacrosanctitas) and the right to veto any act or proposal by any magistrate within Rome, the authority to convene the Senate, and the right to exercise capital punishment in the course of the performance of his duties. 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 abbreviation “COS”, an abbreviation indicating (the first) 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.C. Consuls executed both religious and military duties. 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.D.; then in Constantinople in 541 A.D. Finally the legend ends with the abbreviation “PP”. "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 honours (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 depiction of the emperor sacrificing was a very significant religious and propagandistic message. Both in his religious role as “Pontifex Maximus” and in his political role as head of the Roman State, the emperor had to be perceived as being pious and reverent toward the gods and goddess which made up the Roman Pantheon, for ultimately it was they who responsible for protecting and ensuring the continued prosperity of the Roman State and the Roman people. It was critical in his dual roles as religious and political head of the Roman State, that the emperor appease and curry favor with the gods of Rome, for to displease them would bring ruin not only to the emperor, but to the Roman populace as well. The Romans had a strong belief in gods. Before the rise of Christianity, in most cults orthopraxy (doing the right things), was more important than orthodoxy (believing the right things). This is the case in Roman religion too. Daily life was inextricably linked to religious practice. Ancient Roman religion encompassed quite a number of various cults which varied throughout the empire. However all were polytheistic, and as such are oftentimes referred to as "pagan". Originally the pre-Roman Latin tribes followed an animistic tradition in which many “spirits” were each responsible for specific, limited aspects of the cosmos and human activities, such as plowing, traveling, etc. The early Romans referred to these spirits as numina. Another aspect of this animistic belief was ancestor, or genius, worship, with each family honoring their own dead by their own rites. Earliest Roman Religion included fetishism, the belief in the magic or divine power of inanimate objects. Even the boundary-stones between properties (termini) were also the objects of cult at the annual festival of the Terminalia. Tree worship (especially sacred groves of trees) was widespread in ancient Rome. Roman fetishism stopped short at natural objects. Household gods were always part of an active religious cult, and certain objects in the house; the door, the hearth, the store-cupboards as examples, always had a sacred significance. There even exists traces of evidence of animal cults in that animals, once the objects of worship themselves in earliest times, appear in later times as the attributes of divinities, for instance, the sacred wolf and woodpecker of Mars. Roman Animism grew to encompass not merely with visible and tangible objects, but also with states and actions in the life of the individual and the community. There were detailed lists of the spirits which presided over the various actions of infants, or the stages in the marriage ceremony, or the agricultural operations of the farmer. The powers (“numina”) which became the objects of worship were spirits specialized in function and limited in sphere. They were not necessarily animate or anthropomorphic, not necessarily male or female. But their sphere of influence is clearly delineated. Household spirits were worshipped at the door, the hearth, the store-cupboard, and the external spirits of the fields and countryside in their sacred hill-tops or groves. Within the Roman household small bronze statues of gods which were worshipped in a lararium (a special location innermost within the Roman home). All-powerful in their individual spheres of action, these powers were believed to influence the fortunes of men, and could enter into relations with them. They were thus regarded with fear and respect, and a sense of awe as they were superhuman in power. But the practical mind of the Roman gave this relation a legal turn, the “ius sacrum”, which regulated the dealings of men with the divine powers. The “ius sacrum” was an inseparable part of the “ius publicum”, the body of civil law, and the various acts of worship, prayer and thanksgiving. These were regarded almost in the sense of a legal contract. The belief was that the spirits, if they are given their due, would return a dividend in divine intervention and guidance in the affairs of men and the state. The intent of recurring annual festivals and sacrifices was to propitiate the gods, to forestall any hostility by putting the Gods, through these festivals, temples, and sacrifices, as it were, indebted to their worshippers and favorably inclined toward them, in a quid-pro-quo relationship. The original settlement on the Palatine (the centermost of the Seven Hills of Rome, 125 feet above the Forum Romanum looking down on one side, and above the Circus Maximus on the other), like its neighbor on the Quirinal (another of the original seven hills), was an agricultural community, whose unit of measurement both from the legal and religious point of view was not the individual but the household. The household (“domus”) was thus the logical starting-point of religious cult, and remained its center throughout Roman history. The head of the household (“paterfamilias”) controlled domestic worship as priest of the household. He could be assisted by his sons as acolytes and delegate certain portions of the ritual to his wife and daughters. Household worship centered around the spirits dwelling in the sacred places of the home in which the family lived. Janus, the god of the door, came undoubtedly first, though unfortunately little is known of his worship in the household, except that it was the concern of the men. To the women was committed the worship of the “blazing hearth", or “Vesta”, the natural center of the family life. This agrarian early Roman citizen settler met with his neighbors to celebrate the various stages of the agricultural year in religious ceremonies. There were three rough divisions of the agricultural calendar year, the festivals of Spring, of the Harvest and of Winter. These agrarian ceremonies were the progenitors of the great festivals of the Roman state calendar dedicated to the great gods of the state, such as Jupiter, Mars or Ceres, sometimes to vaguer divinities who remained always indefinite and rustic in character, such as Pales and Consus. The identities of all the deities, major and minor alike, were linked to specific times, places, offerings and the patronage of specific occupations and status groups. The less skeptical Roman historians, Livy in particular, took for granted that the problems of the late Republic stemmed from "failure of religious piety", and the failures described are those of ritual procedures. In the late 3rd century the historian Aelian applauded the pious "wisdom of barbarians" who practiced the "pure and unpolluted" rites of their ancestors. Religious rites could be polluted by errors in the order of ceremony and prayer, or unpropitious events observed by the augur or the gods. Minor errors might be expiated by an additional offering, but in more serious cases the whole ceremony had to be repeated from the beginning. Most public, state-sponsored public religious rituals took place outside the covered sanctuary building, but within its sacred space. Public ritual was state funded as a matter of public interest, however the boundaries between public and private religious ritual were extremely fluid. Private cults could include major and minor state divinities, and public cults could include certain essential "domestic" rites. Sacred offerings (“sacrificium”) were the core transaction between humanity and the divine, based on the reciprocal principle “do ut des” (or, “I give so that you give”). Participation in public sacrificium acknowledged personal commitment to the community and its values, and religious law prescribed the sacrificial requirements of particular deities for specific occasions, though on occasion, extraordinary circumstances could call for extraordinary sacrifice. For example the annual ceremony of Jupiter Capitolinus required the sacrifice of two oxen in the annual vows of the ruling consul, but in one of the many crises of the Second Punic War, Jupiter was offered every animal born that entire year, in return for five more years of protection from Hannibal and his allies. Rome claimed to abhor human sacrifice, but officially resorted to it during the general panic following Roman defeat at Cannae. To propitiate the gods, two Gauls and two Greeks were buried under the Forum Boarium, in a stone chamber. The gladiatorial games as well were at least initially a form of sacrifice, first conducted in connection with funerary rites. Even though gladiatorial combat might not necessarily end in death, nevertheless gladiatorial combat was invariably dedicated as an offering to the gods, and was therefore sacrificium in the strict sense of the term. By the end of the period in which Rome had been ruled by kings (the first two-and-one half centuries after its mythical founding in 753 B.C.), Rome had ceased to be a mere agricultural community and had developed into a city-state. Tradition always assigned to the last three kings of Rome a connection with the mysterious people of Etruria, who introduced to the Roman pantheon Minerva. Minerva was the goddess of handicraft and protectress of the artisan guilds, and was established by the Romans in a temple on the Aventine (another of Rome’s original seven hills). Soon however, Minerva found her way on to the Capitol (yet another of Rome’s seven hills, the “Capitol Hill”), and there a new Etruscan triad, Jupiter, Juno and Minerva, possibly dating back from Etruria to Ancient Greece, was enshrined in a magnificent new temple built by Etruscan workmen and decorated in the Etruscan manner. Rome also formed relations with her neighbors of Latium, and, as a sign of the Latin league which resulted, the cult of Diana (from whom Julius Caesar traced his lineage) was brought to Rome and a temple established on the Aventine. So great became Rome's sense of kinship to the Latins that they adopted two additional Latin cults, the worship of Hercules, and also of Castor as the patron of cavalry. Both these deities were originally Greek. Other Italian cults introduced at this period were those of Juno and Venus. From Magna Graecia came the Greek triad Demeter, Dionysus and Persephone, who were identified with the old Roman divinities Ceres, Liber and Libera, as well as Apollo and Mercury. Asclepius was brought from Epidaurus. The legions brought home cults originating from Egypt, Britain, Iberia, Germany, India and Persia. And when the Romans took over Greece, with the spread of Greek mythology and literature, they inherited the Greek gods, fusing them with their Roman counterparts. Thus Roman Religion evolved into a form based heavily in Greek and Etruscan mythology, Roman religion came to encompass and absorb hundreds of other religions, developing a rich and complex mythology. In addition, an Imperial cult supplemented the pantheon beginning with Julius Caesar and many of the following emperors. Under the Empire, religion in Rome evolved in many ways. Numerous foreign cults grew popular, such as the worship of the Egyptian Isis and the Persian Mithras, the cults of Ma of Phrygia, introduced by Sulla and identified with Bellona, and the secret Oriental cult of Bacchus, which grew to such proportions that it had to be suppressed by decree of the Senate in 186 B.C. The importance of the imperial cult also grew steadily, reaching its peak in the third century. The divinity of the emperor and the cult surrounding him were a very important part of religion in the latter Roman Empire. In an effort to enhance political loyalty among the populace, subjects were called to participate in the cult and revere the emperors as gods. The emperors Augustus, Claudius, Vespasian, and Titus were deified; and after the reign of Marcus Cocceius Nerva (96-98 A.D.), few emperors failed to receive this distinction. Thus the Roman religion in the latter empire tended more and more to center upon the imperial house. Especially in the eastern half of the empire, imperial cults became very popular, and the cult complex became one of the focal points of life in the Roman cities, and as such it was one of the major agents of romanization. The central elements of the imperial cult complex were located next to a temple and included a theatre or amphitheatre for gladiatorial displays and other games and a public bath complex. Sometimes the imperial cult was added to the cults of an existing temple or celebrated in a special hall in the bath complex. The role of the emperor in placating and currying the favor of the pantheon of Rome’s gods became increasingly paramount as the emperor was not only in the role of the chief officer of the Roman State and Rome’s Legionary Armies, he was also the chief priest in the Roman Religion, the “Pontifex Maximus”. As the state came to dominate religion, the spirits gained much more clearly defined anthropomorphic personalities. Old spirits formerly identified with household and agricultural cults gained new prominent roles reflecting the broader needs of a more cosmopolitan society, especially with respect to the new necessities of internal justice between citizens and war against external enemies, and the organization of more or less informal worship into something like a consistent system. So for example, as Janus was in the household the spirit of the door, so in the state he became the god associated with the great gate near the corner of the forum. Along with that came an expanded conceptualization of Janus as the "god of beginning," in which character he has special charge of the first beginnings of human life, the first hour of the day, and the first month of the year, etc. Vesta who was the spirit of the household hearth became the spirit of the emperor's hearth. Vesta’s temple was in close proximity to the emperor's palace, and the Vestal Virgins evolved to take charge of the sacred fire and became the daughters of the emperor, the daughters of the state. Likewise Jupiter had been a rustic sky-god concerned mainly with the wine festivals and associated with the sacred oak on the Capitol. Later he developed a two-fold character associated with war, as the stayer of rout (Stator) and the giver of victory (Victor), in which last capacity he later gives birth to an offshoot in the abstract conception of the goddess Victoria. As the sky-god again he is appealed to as the witness of oaths in the special capacity of the Dins Fidius, producing once more an abstract offshoot in the goddess Fides. In much the same manner Mars takes on in addition to his agricultural character the functions of war-god, which in time completely superseded the earlier idea. The concept of a “legal relationship” between the gods and the state also evolved. Whereas simple households still had a direct relation with their household spirits, the state approaches the gods through its duly appointed representatives, the magistrates and priests. The role of the individual participant in religious rituals is usurped by state ceremonies, and the private citizen is required to do no more on festival days than a ceremonial abstinence from work. New festivals had been continually introduced over the centuries to mark the “naturalization” of new gods. So many festivals were adopted eventually that the work days on the calendar were outnumbered. When Constantine became the sole Roman Emperor in 324 A.D., Christianity became the leading religion of the empire. After the death of Constantine in 337 A.D., two of his sons, Constantius II and Constans took over the leadership of the empire. Constans, ruler of the western provinces, was, like his father, a Christian. In 341 A.D. he decreed that all pre-Christian Greco-Roman worship and sacrifice should cease; warning those who still persisted in practicing ancient Greco-Roman polytheism with the threat of the death penalty. Christianity, as opposed to other religious groups, became the official state religion of the Roman Empire in 380 A.D. through an edict issued by Emperor Theodosius I in Thessalonica and published in Constantinople. All cults, save Christianity, were prohibited in 391 A.D. by another edict of Theodosius I. Destruction of temples began immediately, most being converted to Christian churches. And so began the final death throes of Rome’s traditional religion. Though it would still be practiced here and there for another century, by the end of the fifth century, along with the Western roman Empire, it was gone. Your purchase includes, upon request, mounting of this coin in either pendant style “a” or “d” as shown 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 COINAGE: Coins came into being during the seventh century B.C. 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.C.) 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. If they met an unexpected end, the whereabouts of the merchants trade goods or the household’s sugar jar money might never be known. 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. In exchange for a very modest amount of contemporary currency, you can possess a small part of that great civilization in the form of a 2,000 year old piece of jewelry. The Roman civilization, in relative terms the greatest military power in the history of the world, was founded in the 8th century (B.C.). In the 4th Century (B.C.) the Romans were the dominant power on the Italian Peninsula, having defeated the Etruscans and Celts. In the 3rd Century (B.C.) the Romans conquered Sicily, and in the following century defeated Carthage, and controlled the Greece. Throughout the remainder of the 2nd Century (B.C.) 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.C.). The pinnacle of Roman power was achieved in the 1st Century (A.D.) as Rome conquered much of Britain and Western Europe. 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. In the 4th Century (A.D.) the Roman Empire was split between East and West. The Great Emperor Constantine temporarily arrested 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.D.) when Emperor Romulus Augustus was deposed. However the Eastern Roman Empire (The Byzantine Empire) survived until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 A.D. At its peak, the Roman Empire stretched from Britain in the West, throughout most of Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, and into Asia Minor. Valuables such as coins and jewelry were commonly buried for safekeeping, and inevitably these ancient citizens 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, two thousand years later caches of coins and rings are still commonly uncovered throughout Europe and Asia Minor. Roman Soldiers oftentimes came to possess large quantities of “booty” from their plunderous conquests, and routinely buried their treasure for safekeeping before they went into battle. If they met their end in battle, most often the whereabouts of their treasure was likewise, unknown. 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 2,000 years or more 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 treasures of the Roman Empire. Domestic shipping (insured first class mail) is included in the price shown. Domestic shipping also includes USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site). Canadian shipments are an extra $15.99 for Insured Air Mail; International shipments are an extra $19.99 for Air Mail (and generally are NOT tracked; trackable shipments are EXTRA). ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per item so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. If you intend to pay via PayPal, please be aware that PayPal Protection Policies REQUIRE insured, trackable shipments, which is INCLUDED in our price. International tracking is at additional cost. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs). 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. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. 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. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world – but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. 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. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. 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. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly – even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE."

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