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Virtus & Victoria: Coins Relating to the Severan War Against the Tribes of Caledonia
This talk discusses coins relating to the war conducted from A.D. 208–11 by the Roman emperor Septimius Severus against the tribal inhabitants of Caledonia. The intent here is not to put forth a comprehensive history of this war. It is to examine coins which illustrate the concepts of virtus and victoria within the context of this war, and which were issued contemporaneously with it. The Latin word virtus connotes qualities of manly excellence such as courage, character, strength, and valor. Military success was invariably credited to the emperor’s virtus. Virtus was sometimes personified as an armed woman. Yet especially in this era, virtus is often embodied in depictions of the emperor himself dominating a foe. The Romans personified the concept of victoria, or victory, as the winged goddess Victoria. Martial imagery such as bound captives, battlefield trophies, and piles of captured arms are frequently shown alongside Victoria as part of the same design. They are sometimes also shown in combination with figures representing Severus, Caracalla, and Geta, who in 210 had earned the title of Britannicus Maximus, or “the great victor of Britain.”
Instructor: Michael Kodysz

Mar 24, 2021 12:00 PM in Mountain Time (US and Canada)

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