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Captives, Barbarians, and Enemies - Five new additions, c. 89 BCE - 360 CE (Titurius, Philip II, Constantine I & II, Constantius II)

Curtis JJ

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If you feel like sharing any --

I'd love to see anyone else's Captives, Barbarians, or Enemies coinage!


I've shared some of these recently, but I've just received my package from the previous Leu Web-Auctions. (I've two more I'll show elsewhere.) Most of these are from the Adrian Lang Collection, Part II. (I previously got a Gordian III Sestertius with a captive from Part I, which was Leu Auction 12.)

Happily, Adrian Lang's collection was very rich in captives and fallen horsemen coin throughout Imperial period. Previously I didn't have a Philip II captive coin (not that he got to live long enough to take any himself), a Constantine Jr. captives AE3, or an Arles mintmark Fallen Horseman (I had some TCON Ae3s, for Arles-as-Constantia). The SARMATIA DEVICTA is a definite upgrade.

(Eventually I'd like to have a captive from every emperor that produced one, but that's a lifelong project. So far I have a couple dozen emperors down.)




The only coin not from the Lang part of the auction is the Titurius Sabinus Denarius below (Crawford 344/1a; 19mm, 3.89g, 6h; ex JMAL Collection, formed 1970-2000).

Republican coinage is reportedly the first place Romans developed what art historian Lauren Kinnee calls the "Trophy Tableau Monument" -- a scene depicting one or more captives at the base of a trophy. It appears first on the Marius-era Quinarii of Fundanius (101 BCE) and Cloelius (98 BCE) [examples of both on ACSearch], after which this distinctively Roman image spread rapidly into sculpture and other art. Later versions of the "trophy tableau" appear on a Memmius denarius [ACS exs.] (copied later by Titus), and Julius Caesar's famous Gallic captives denarii [my example - external site]. (Even Brutus had a rare one [ACS ex.] -- at least one member here has a great example.)

Captives became a staple of Roman Imperial Coinage almost from the start, with Augustus' varieties.

But "trophy captives" (as I call them) weren't the only captives portrayed on Roman Republic coinage. Another remarkable classic is the Titurius Sabinus AR Denarius depicting "The Rape of the Sabine Women" [wiki, or "Abduction of..."].


According to the Roman origin myth, the city was founded by an army of male "bandits," followers of Romulus and Remus. Since this army had no women with which to produce a  great civilization, naturally they took someone else's -- namely, the women of the Sabines, an Italic tribe. (They basically set up a trap -- a festival with games -- where they attacked the men and took the women.)

People are fond of pointing out that the "rape" in this context means a "kidnapping," from the Latin word Raptio [wiki] (literally, mass abduction of women for purposes of marriage and child-bearing). Strictly speaking, that may be correct. But it's hard to image forced reproduction in captivity happening without forced sex. (In some versions, the women may have been convinced to accept their situation once captured.)

I've always found it telling that the Romans would be so proud of such a founding myth (one in which the first mothers of Romans were captured/raped en masse by Rome's founding fathers). As it would be for the next 500+ years, captivity, enslavement, and violence toward outsides were central to how Romans defined their culture. (The last captive coins I know are those of Leo I, c. 457-474 CE; I don't believe they appear on later "Byzantine" coins.)


I thought a couple of these coins looked nicer in hand than in the Leu photos, especially the Republican Denarius and the Constantine Jr captives-and-VOT XX standard.

Here's the coin-in-hand video (5 coins / 0:57s):



Edited by Curtis JJ
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Poor captives , nice coins !


Here are some of mine:



Valentinianus I.
364-375 AD
AE-Follis, Siscia, 367-375
Obv.. DN VALENTINIANVS PF AVG / Diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Rev.: GLORIA ROMANORVM M / * / P, BSIS in ex, Emperor advancing right, holding labarum and grasping captive
AE, 15 mm, 2.5g
Ref.: RIC 14a




Gratianus (AD 367-383)
Siscia Mint
Obv: DN GRATIANVUS P F AVG, Bust of Gratian, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed, right
Rev: GLORIA ROMANORVUM, Emperor advancing right, dragging captive with right hand and holding labarum in left, M/(*/P)//ΓSISC
RIC 9, p.147, 14c / Kankelfitz 5



Lucius Verus
Obv.: Λ AYPHΛIOC OYHPOC CEB, laureate head right
Rev.: APMENIA, Trophy of arms, at base of which Armenian captive seated right, head left, wearing pointed cap, hands tied behind back, L - E = year 5 (164/165).
Billon, 13.88g, 21,8mm
Ref.: RPC IV.4, 14502 (temporary)





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Here is a small selection of mine.

Marcus Aurelius denarius

Obv:- M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXVIII, Laureate, cuirassed bust right (Seen from rear)
Rev:- IMP VI COS III, Trophy of arms, German captive at foot, two curved swords to right
Minted in Rome. Dec. A.D. 173 - Jun. 174
Reference:- BM 599. RIC II Marcus Aurelius 291


The above type being the prototype for the following type adopted for the Eastern issues of Septimius Severus

Obv:– L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP VIII, Laureate head right
Rev:– INVICT IMP, Trophy with arms below, dejected captive seated beneath (no shield)
Minted in Laodicea ad Mare, A.D. 196 – 197
References:– RIC -, RSC -, BMCRE -


It could be noted here that there is quite a variety of sub-type variation to be found with just this type. In the Marcus Aurelius coin there are two swords behind the captive. In the Septimius Severus there is a sword lying beneath the exe line on the ground.

In another the sword is present but there is a shield behind too. The captive here seems to have a hand raised to the head almost akin to the IVDEA CAPTA types of Vespasian

Obv:– L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP VIII, Laureate head right
Rev:– INVICT IMP, Trophy with arms below, dejected captive seated beneath, shield on knees
Minted in Laodicea ad Mare, A.D. 196 – 197
References:– RIC -, RSC -, BMCRE -


Then the captive can bee seen in isolation.

Obv:– IMP CAE L SPE (sic) SEV - PERT AVG COS II, Laureate head right
Rev:– TR P III IMP V COS II, captive seated right with peaked cap, hands bound behind, quiver and shields behind, curved sword in ex
Minted in Emesa. A.D. 195
Reference:– RIC 432 var (obv legend). RSC 660 var (same)


And of course the Trophy and two captives type

Obv:– SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right
Rev:– PART MAX P M TR P VIIII, two captives seated at foot of trophy
Minted in Laodicea-ad-Mare. A.D. 202
Reference:– RIC IV -; BMCRE -; RSC -.



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I don't just do Severans.... Here are a few captives from other reigns. Some slightly more unusual than others.

Postumus - Antoninianus 

Obv:– IMP C POSTVMVS P F AVG, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right
Rev:– VIRTVS AVG, Emperor (sometimes referred to as Mars) advancing right, holding spear and shield, small captive to right.
Minted in Cologne. A.D. 266
Reference– RIC 331; Elmer 291; AGK (corr.) 103; Cunetio 2427.



Obv:- IMP C L DOM AVRELIANVS P F AVG, Radiate, cuirassed bust right
Rev:- ORIENS AVG, Mars in military dress stg. right, holding long sceptre in left hand, receiving globe from Sol standing left, holding whip in left hand, resting with right foot on a bound captive in oriental dress seated left, head turned right
Minted in Serdica (–/–//XXI(•)P(•)). Issue 7, Phase 2. April – November A.D. 274
Reference:- RIC Unlisted, RIC temp #2671.1 corr. (this coin)

Same reverse die as RIC temp #2672


A few Probus

Obv:– IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, Radiate cuirassed bust right
Rev:– ORIENS AVG, Sol walking left between two captives, right hand raised, left holding globe.
Minted in Lugdunum (I in exe) Emission 2 Officina 1. from November to December A.D. 276
Reference:– Cohen 388. Bastien 164. RIC 44 Bust type F.


Obv:- IMP C M AVR PROBVS AVG, Radiate cuirassed bust right
Rev:- ORIENS AVG, Sol standing right, holding branch and bow, and treading down captive
Minted in Lugdunum (III in exe.) Emission 2 Officina 3. A.D. 276
Reference:- Cohen 387. Bastien 169. RIC RIC 45 Bust type F.


This one is more unusual.

Obv:– IMP C PROBVS P F AVG, Radiate, cuirassed bust right
Rev:– MARS VICTOR, Mars walking right, holding spear and trophy; at foot, captive.
Minted in Lugdunum (unmarked) Emission 7 Officina -. Summer A.D. 281
Reference(s) – RIC 35 Bust Type F (Scarce)

From aureus reverse dies. Same reverse die as aureus - Bastien 301


Obv:– VIRTVS PRO-BI AVG, Radiate, helmeted, cuirassed bust left, holding spear and shield, decorated with emperor riding past row of soldiers with shields
Rev:– ADVENTVS PROBI AVG, Emperor riding left, right hand raised, left holding sceptre; at foot, captive
Minted in Lugdunum (IIII) Emission 5 Officina 4. End A.D. 277 to Early A.D. 278
References:– Cohen 69. Bastien 256 (2 examples). RIC 64 Bust Type G (S)
Appears to be an obverse die match to the plate example in Bastien


A more unusual Numerian. The Emperor is seen slaughtering the captive in foot with a sword. I believe that this reverse die is the only one to depict this scene.

Obv:– IMP C NVMERIANVS AVG, Radiate, cuirassed bust right
Rev:– PACATO-R ORBIS, Emperor advancing right, holding shield and sword, captive, cowering beneath
Minted in Lugdunum (C in exe) Emission 9 Officina 3. Summer A.D. 284
Reference:– Cohen 41 (30 F). Bastien 618 (2 examples).

(Sorry - needs a better more up to date image)


Constantius II

Obv:– D N CONSTANTIVS P F AVG, Pearl diademed, draped, cuirassed bust left, globe in hand
Rev:– FEL TEMP REPARATIO, Emperor bare headed & in military dress standing, holding standard with chi-rho on banner in his right hand, resting left hand on shield, two bound captives in Phrygian helmets standing, facing each other before him
Minted in Siscia (* | _ // BSISM). A.D. 348-350.
Reference:– RIC VIII Siscia 225 (Rated C2)




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I never considered the L Titurius L f Sabinus as being a captives coin, but if I think about it it makes sense.

Here are my two examples, bought from the same auction - this is what you get when there are 3 coins of the same type and somehow you manage to get exactly the ones you liked less




Here are coins with captives from my first lot of ancient coins I have ever bought




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Domitian. As Caesar, AD 69-81. AV Aureus (18.5mm, 7.09g, 7h). Rome mint. Struck under Vespasian, AD 77-78. Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS; Laureate head right. Rev: COS V in exergue; Parthian King kneeling right, extending left hand and holding out signum, with vexillum attached, in right. Ref: RIC II.1 959 (Vespasian); Calicó 819. Lightly toned, a few minor marks. Near Very Fine. Ex CNG eAuction 517 (1 May 2022), Lot 500. This reverse type repeats an issue of Augustus struck by several moneyers circa 19/8 BC (RIC 288) celebrating the recovery of the standards lost to the Parthians by Crassus in 53 BC at the battle of Carrhae. The return of the standards (SIGNIS RECEPTIS) featured prominently in Augustan propaganda as a diplomatic and military triumph. The Flavian rulers frequently reused Augustan imagery on their coinage, seeking to legitimize their dynasty by association.


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Here’s an imitative solidus of Lugdunum struck by the infamous “uncertain Germanic tribe” with a captive reverse.  I wonder if the, presumed barbarian, engraver appreciated any irony in the choice of motif.   I have previously posted this, but it is my only captives coin.  




 Ex: Dr. E. Poncet collection,(Bourgey, 15 March 1926, lot #71), then Triton III lot #1224 “unusual and extremely rare”;  and Leu 72, 12 May 1998 lot#542. “One of only two specimens known” per Freeman and Sear, published in their mail bid list #9 on 7/16/2003.  

The other specimen known to me, from the Bastien collection, was auctioned by Burgan Numismatique Maison Florange in March of this year, but I believe it went unsold. 

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Great coins posted.  

I do have a simple Licinius II.


Licinius II (Caesar, 317-324). AE Follis, 2.96 gram, 19.0mm, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint,
Obverse..D N VAL LICIN LICINIVS NOB C ("Our Lord Valerius Licinianus Licinius, Noblest Caesar"), helmeted, cuirassed bust left, shield in left hand and spear in right held over shoulder;
Reverse..IOVI CONSERVATORI ("To Jupiter the protector"), Jupiter standing facing, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulder, Victory on globe offering wreath in his right hand, eagle-topped scepter vertical in left, eagle with wreath in beak on left, X/IIΓ (12 1/2) on right above bearded captive at feet seated right with head turned looking back at Jupiter, SMANTZ in exergue (7th officina)
RIC VII Antioch 36 (R3), SRCV IV 15410, Cohen VII 21,

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8 hours ago, jdmKY said:

Gallic Barbarians

Hostilius Saserna, 48 BC


Vercingetorix (maybe?) Gallia (maybe?)

Two all-stars of Roman Barbarians-Captives-Enemies coinage! "Vercingetorix" (Pavor) gets all the attention, but I find Gallia (Pallor) even more interesting to ponder...

I think there are two sets of obverse dies for the female (Crawford 448/3):

(Idealized) "Type 2," as I call it, is represented very well by jdmKY's example above:
The idealized Gallia, or Gallia-as-Pallor, has the artistic qualities typical of Roman deities. She shouldn't look like a real person but invoke a superhuman or divine entity (Pallor). There are several wonderful dies of this type.

(Realistic) "Type 1":
Portrait of an actual woman, maybe a Gallic captive who was publicly-known at the time, or maybe just a generic but realistic stand-in for female Gauls. There is really only one great die of this type (several lesser dies copy it; a much less artistic example on ACS or another such die). It's clearly based on a living model & captured minute details of her visage and emotion.



In the past 20 years, besides mine, only three specimens appeared in major auctions (I believe they also all had the same reverse die):
(1) Kunker 341, in 2020 (ex Bertolami 6 in 2012);
(2) Gorny & Mosch 269, 2020 (ex CNG 63, 2003, Slg. Dr. G.W.) [shown below];
(3) NAC 98, 2016 (ex Kunker 158, 2009 & Gorny 159, 2007).
(All three are included in Richard Schaefer's research binders/ANS; noted below.) I was very lucky to find my coin  in 2020 [ACSearch] , since years can pass without one appearing at auction.

NOT MINE (currently Shanna Schmidt's): I just love "Gallia's" grimace. You can really feel her contempt for her Roman captors, and imagine her ferocity and what vengeance she might wreak, were she to escape.

The 2nd example (Gorny 269 = CNG 63), pictured above, has been with Shanna Schmidt since ~2020 (on VCoins & her website). Personally, I think her price will seem entirely acceptable once everyone recognizes how special and rare this particular die pair is, and how much the obverse stands out!

Of >150-200 examples in the Richard Schaefer notebooks (ANS - Roman Republican Die Project), only about 5-7 were struck from this obverse die; three of their (future) ACSearch records are linked above. Mine doesn't appear in Schaefer/ANS-RRDP. (The "processed binder" includes at least 140-145 specimens of this type, but they missed quite a few among the 14 "unprocessed binders.")


In my opinion (not impartial, since it's my coin!), it's worth investigating whether the obverse die above is the Type 1 (realistic) archetypal or "master die" (see Beckmann 2008; see also Elkins 2009: pp. 32-33, on the concept).

Various characteristics should apply to a "master die," to the extent that the concept is valid: struck more carefully (e.g., centered); engraved more finely by more talented, senior artists (i.e., "master engraver"); there should exist very few die-pairs, maybe only 1 or 2 reverses; should not be die-linked to other obverses, or not many.

I'm not certain yet that this one qualifies, but I've been toying with the idea of attempting a partial die study using what's available from the ANS' Roman Republican Die Project.


Just to quickly round out the discussion, my "Vercingetorix" and Julius Caesar "trophy captives" depicting the same two figures but as full-bodied, seated captives (the first depiction of the two-captives-and-trophy-motif [off-site blog post] and, as @JayAg47 correctly noted above, the first depiction of the mourning female):




Edited by Curtis JJ
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Billion Coin (AE Antoninianus) minted at Cyzicus during the reign of AURELIAN between 272 – 275 A.D. Obv. IMP.C.AVRELIANVS.AVG.; Rad., dr. & cuir. bust r. Rev. ORIENS.AVG. Sol stg. head l., r. hand raised, l. holding globe, two captives at his feet, in ex. A C RCS #153. RICV #363. DVM #14.


Bronze coin (AE Centenionalis) minted at Constantinople, Turkey during the reign of CONSTANS between 348 - 350 A.D. Obv. D.N.CONSTA-NS.P.F.AVG. Diad. draped and cuir. bust l. Rev. FEL.TEMP.REPAR-ATIO. Helmeted soldier, spear in l. hand, advancing r., head turned to l.; with his r. hand, he leads a small bare-headed figure from a hut beneath a tree. The spear points downwards, between the soldier’s legs. RCS #3978. RICVIII #88 pg.454. DVM #64. LRBC #2014.


Bronze coin (AE Centenionalis) minted at SMNr=Nicomedia during the reign of CONSTANTIUS II after 348 A.D. Obv. D.N.CONSTANTIVS.P.F.AVG. Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust left, holding labarum. Rev. Emperor in military dress stg. l., holding standard with Chi-Rho on banner & resting l. hand on shield; in front of Emperor are two captives kneeling (var. b). RCS #4004. RICVIII #71 pg. 476. DVM #87 pg. 300. Dark chocolate brown patina





Bronze coin (AE Antoninianus) minted at Rome during the reign of PROBUS in 278 A.D. Obv. IMP.PROBVS.P.F.AVG.: Radiate, draped & cuir. bust r. Rev. VICTORIA.GERM.: Trophy flanked by two captives, in ex. ReEA. SEAR #3375. RICV #220 pg.41. DVM #52/1 pg.262. ebay #1354721846.


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