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M. Aurelius, Commodus, Septimius Severus, and Severus Alexander, bearing on the Obverse the radiate head of the Emperor with the usual legend DIVO, and on the Reverse the altar, or an eagle with the legend CONSECRATIO.
The uniformity of type of all these coins proves that they were not struck at different periods, that is to say at the consecration of each of the Emperors named above; but that they were the product of one single issue : a similar occasion can only be found at the time of the Restitution series of Trajan, and thus they may be looked upon as a special series of Consecration or Restitution money issued at one time.
Judging by the types they should belong to the period which elapsed between the reigns of Philip and GaTlienus. Some desire to attribute them to the reign of this latter Emperor; but for my part I should rather attribute them to the former reign, in the first place because they are more like the coinage of Philip in style and fabric than that of Gallienus, and in the second place because we can give a better explanation of such an issue in the reign of Philip if we consider them to have been struck to commemorate the festival of the Millenarium of Rome which was then being celebrated.
272. What has been said concerning the coins of Restitution applies also to those of Consecration, Vi\, that they ought strictly speaking to be arranged under the reign of whoever caused them to be struck, and never under that of the name they bear. In regard to some of the Consecration coins however we might make an exception, or we might as it were wrest chronology a little by regarding the consecration coins as a secondary or complemental coinage of the deified Emperor; or they may be looked upon as a commemoration of the last episode in the biography of the deceased Emperor.
It should be moreover observed that the Consecration coins never bear a date, nor the name of him who caused them to be struck, seeing that it was quite evident they were issued soon after the death of an Emperor by his immediate successor.
THE OFFICES AND TITLES FOUND ON THE IMPERIAL COINS
273. Imperator. — The head of the military forces in the primitive period of Rome was called Imperator and as a title of honour it was conferred by the Senate on any general who had obtained a brilliant military success, and with this meaning the title is found on the coinnge of the Republic. From the reign of Augustus howevc-r-trte title uflmptratorwas used to signify the highest authority, and hence it came to mean that which we in modern times signify by its use. In fact the legends of almost all the Imperial coins, from Augustus to Postunms, commence with the word IMP. The title Imperator could be conferred more than once, many instances are found on the coins in the legends of which we read IMP. ITERUM, IMP.Ill, (TER), IMP X, IMP.XX &c.
In the later period the value of this title was depreciated and was only used to indicate the number of the years of a reign. For instance a gold solidus of Theodosius II hears IMP.XXXII.
_274J_CijESAiu. Originally this was a cognomen of the Julian gens and was afterwards assumed by any member of the same and also By those who entered the gens by adoption.
When the Julian gens became extinct the Claudian gens took the name. It was found expedient to claim as near relationship as possible to the Julian gens in order that its prestige and popularity might be enjoyed, hence the cognomen CAESAR was assumed and gradually came to be the title indicating a claim to the inheritance of the imperial purple and was afterwards conferred with that significance. On coins it was expressed by the letters C, CAE., CAES., or fully CAESAR, and in the plural CAESS.
In later times it was found necessary to add to this title the epithet NOBILISSIMUS, and the legends N.C, NOB.CAES., NOBIL CAES, arc very common.
275. Augustus. — When Octavius had gathered all authority into his own hands he wished the Senate to pass a decree giving him a new name winch should indicate in itself the chief source of authority and be for himself and his successors synonymous with Imperator.
The name which he had eagerly desired by preference was that.' of Romulus intending thus to proclaim himself as the second founder of Rome; but after due thought fearing that that name might awake some slumbering democratic opposition he chose that of Augustus and from that time called himself Caius Cajsar Augustus.
The name was passed on to all his successors related or not, and thenceforth the title Augustus, enduring not only throughout ancient, but also through mediaeval and modern times, ever preserved the meaning attributed to it by Octavius and expressed in one word the sovereign power.
All the Imperial coins bore the title Augustus generally expressed by the first letters AVG (in the plural AVGG;, and moreover all the ladies who had the honour to be represented on the coinage had the title AUGUSTA added to their names.
The allegorical personifications figuring on the reverses of the Imperial coinage such as Pax, Salus &c. had this title also added to their names Pax Augusta, Salus Augusta &c.
In the days of the Antonines there were added to the title Augustus the epithets PIVS FELIX (P.F., P.FEL), for which PERPETVVS (P, PER, PERP AVG) was substituted in the later days of the Empire.
276. Rex. — This title appears for the first time at the end of the fourth century on the small brass coins of Hannibalianus, King of Pontus.
The title of Rex was in fact retained by the Romans as a suitable expression for the rank of the head ruler of a barbarous people. Thus we have the legends REX ARMENIS, REX QUADIS DATVS and also REX PARTHVS; still later this title was adopted by the Gothic Kings on both their silver and bronze coins.
The gold medallion of Theodoric is perhaps the only gold coin on which the title REX appears.
277. Princeps. — This title does not signify any special dignity but is a generic title very common under Trajan in the legends SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI. Later on it was only used exceptionally.
278. Pontifex Maximvs(p.m.,po.ma., PON.MA., PONT. MAX.) —The priests instituted by Numa sometimes used to elect a chief or Pontifex Maximus from among their number and at other times received one appointed by the people or by the Senate. By assuming this title Augustus claimed for himself the rights ot the Senate as well as of the People and the Priestly college itself. Up to the time of Alexander Severus the Pontificate was always held by one individual even when there were more Emperors than one; but afterwards beginning with Balbinus and Pupienus the associated Emperors each assumed the High Priesthood.
Gratian appears to have been the first to renounce such a title because it had become incompatible with the new faith.
279. Dominvs Noster (D. N.). — This title which implied the same difference between the Emperor and his subjects as between the Lord and his slaves certainly could never have been tolerated by the Romans of the early period of the Empire ; in fact it was rejected by Augustus, and was only timidly adopted by Aurelian and then generally by all the Emperors who followed during the decadence of the Empire.
280. Basilevs (rex), Despotes (imperator) or Avtocrates, are titles indifferently adopted during the Byzantine period instead of the former Dominus noster.
281. Diws or Devs. — The title DIVVS appeared for the first time on the posthumous coins of Julius Caesar, but was continually used through all the series of Consecration coins. Hence it was a title only conferred upon a deceased ruler, but there came a time when an Emperor dared, although exceptionally, to attribute to himself the title DEVS, as equivalent to DIVVS, though perhaps not as containing in itself the full force of the word. We know of an aureus of Carus bearing the legend DEO ET DOMINO CARO AVG and an antoninianus of Aurelian with the legend DEO ET DOMINO NATO AVRELIANO AVG.
282. Consul. — This office and title continued in use after the times of the Republic throughout the period of the Empire (see what has been said thereon in chapter XVII. 182).
283. Censor. — This office and title also existed during the Imperial period (see chapter XVII. 184).
284. Tribvnicia Potestate (with functus understood). The Tribunes of the People were instituted in the year 262 of Rome to protect the people from the Patricians. The office was therefore essentially plebeian and it was only by a sort of contradiction that it was ever accorded to a patrician such as the Emperor was, at least such as he came to be considered whatever may have been his origin.
However this may have been, so great and important were the powers annexed to this office, it was only too natural that the Emperors desired to retain them in their own hands.
The tribunitial powers were decreed for life to Cassar by the acclamation of the people; and to Augustus, by the Senate, for ever; but none of the Emperors assumed the title of Tribune, a title which would have appeared too inconsistent with those of Imperator or Augustus, and they therefore adopted instead, a circumlocution expressing the reality by the letters TR.P., or TR.POT., abbreviations for TRIBVN1TIA POTESTATE (functus) either in the form of the ablative absolute, or as an indication of date by adding a numeral indicating how many times this power had been conferred (See in chapter XXVIII an account of the Tribunes).
285. Princeps Ivventvtis. — This title is synonymous with that of the Captain of the knights (Magister equitum"). Juventus is not to be taken in this case in its literal sense of youth, but rather in the military sense in which the Romans were accustomed to use this generic word, as meaning the military youth.
The order of knights was chosen from among the higher classes of the citizens (ex primoribus civitatis) and formed in itself a civil order distinct from the People and the Senate, and had its own leader or head who was entitled Princeps Juventulis.
The Cassar, however, designated to be the successor to the Imperial throne was given this title, which we find upon coins up to the time of Gratian.
The legend PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS is always accompanied with the figure of the Cajsar on foot in military attire holding a globe and sceptre or with the baton of a commander.
286. Other Titles. — Numerous other titles are found of a less important nature than those we have hitherto examined on coins bearing titles decreed to Emperors or Empresses, sometimes for civil merit or special goodness, sometimes and rather more often for military achievements, in consequence of which a surname was accorded to the Emperors recording the conquest of a nation. From the former the following may be cited.
Pater Patrix (P.P.), which was first conferred by the Senate upon Augustus, and in later times was given to most of the Emperors.
Mater Patrix was a title given to Livia and to Julia Domna. Pater Senatus, this title was given to Commodus, Balbinus, and Pupienus.
Mater Senatus, Julia Domna had this title conferred upon her.
Mater Castrorum, this title was given to Faustina the younger, Julia Domna and Julia Mamaea.
Pius, was used from the reign of Antoninus.
Felix, was used from the reign of Commodus, after which the two words Pius and Felix (P.F.) were generally used together.
Nobilissimus Cxsar was used from the time of Caracalla.
Vir Consularis was adopted by Vaballathus.
Invictus, was used by Carausius, and others afterwards.
Victor, was used by Postumus, and others afterwards.
Felissimus and Beatissimus were used by Diocletian and Maximianus Herculeus.
Fortissimus, by Decentius, and Constantius Chlorus.
Servus Christi was used by Michael II, Basil I, and Justitianus II.
The ladies generally bore the title Augusta.
But Fausta the wife of Constantine and her daughter Helena bore upon their coins the title Nobilissima Fcemina (N.FA
Among the titles recording special victories over barbarous nations, the following may be cited:
Adiabeniacus which was conceded to Sept. Severus.
Arabicus, to the same Emperor.
Armeniacus, to Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus.
Britannicus, to Claudius, Commodus, Sept. Severus, Caracalla and Geta.
Carpicus, to Philip land his son.
Dacicus, to Trajan, and Hadrian.
Germanicus, to Drusus, Claudius, Nero, Vitellius, Domitianus, Nerva, Trajanus, Hadrianus, M. Aurelius, Commodus, Caracalla, Maximinus, Maximus, Philippus I, and Philippus II, Valerianus, Gallienus, Claudius II.