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1.000 years celebration, that must have been a party. Please show your AETERNITAS and SAECVLARES coins!


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I just bought my first celebration-coin, so it's time for a party! 😉


Philip I (248), RIC 24.


For further reading, see this article in Coin World from David Vagi (with thanks to @DonnaMLhttps://www.coinworld.com/news/precious-metals/coins-games-mark-roman-millennium.html and the below excellent topic from @curtislclay which I quoted (hope that's ok, if not I'll remove of course).

I guess it will take me a while before I can expend my collection with the more decent examples from this interesting series. But surely you all can make me happy with some nice pictures from your collections? As this is a party, please join!

What interest me is the question why these specific animals where shown on the coins. As Vagi stated: 


Philip I depicted five animals on his coinage, the most impressive being the lion. It was an age-old symbol of royalty and power, which would have been especially familiar to Philip since his family hailed from a rather remote part of the Near East.

The she-wolf could be symbol for the start of Rome, etc. About the hippo Vagi says: 


The most common reverse type for the coins of Otacilia Severa is the hippopotamus, a creature that must have delighted the audiences in Rome. Why it was dedicated only to her (just as the European elk was exclusive to her son) is not recorded.

It seems to me this was no coincidence, as a hippo was symbol for fertility, prosperity, rebirth, and regeneration. So an excellent symbol for the (female) spouse of Philip and hope for the future (as the times were troubled). What are your thoughts about this?


Some twenty years ago I undertook a die study of the sestertii of the last three issues of Philip's reign, and was able to establish what in my opinion is beyond dispute their correct order. Each issue included six reverse types, four for Philip I and one each for Philip II and Otacilia Severa. Each type was struck in about equal volume in the main denomination, that is in antoniniani. The types of Issue 4a, the first stage of Issue 4, were for Philip I AETERNITAS AVGG Elephant, SAECVLVM NOVVM Temple, SAECVLARES AVGG Column, and FIDES EXERCITVS Four standards; for Philip II LIBERALITAS AVGG III Emperors seated; and for Otacilia PIETAS AVGVSTAE standing. These six types must have been introduced in January 248, since the only dated type of the preceding Issue 3 had just made it into 248 before ending and ceding to Issue 4: P M TR P V COS III P P Felicitas standing, a scarce and obviously short-lived type that was represented in the large Dorchester hoard by only five antoniniani. The AETERNITAS AVGG Elephant type, then, was introduced in January 248, at the same time as SAECVLVM NOVVM Temple and SAECVLARES AVGG Column. Since these two companion types obviously referred in advance to the Saecular Games that were to be celebrated in spring or summer 248, it seems likely that the Elephant type too was chosen with reference to those upcoming Saecular Games. In Issue 4b, only three new types were introduced, all for Philip I: FIDES EXERCITVS standing to replace his Four Standards type with the same legend, and FORTVNA REDVX seated and FELICITAS IMPP in wreath to replace AETERNITAS AVGG Elephant and SAECVLVM NOVVM Temple. The other three types of Issue 4a continued to be struck unchanged alongside the new types until the end of Issue 4: SAECVLARES Column for Philip I and the Liberalitas and Pietas types of Philip II and Otacilia respectively. Two issues remain, whose composition is self-evident: Issue 5 with reverse legend SAECVLARES AVGG, the well known animal reverse types, and a Latin numeral for each type, numerals I-II and V-VI for Philip I, III for Philip II, and IIII for Otacilia Issue 6 carried on the numerals, but changed them to Greek letters, and introduced six new reverse types and legends: for Philip I TR P V Mars standing, TRANQVILLITAS AVGG standing, VIRTVS AVGG Emperors on horseback, and NOBILITAS AVGG standing, with letters A, B, E, and S respectively; for Philip II VIRTVS AVGG Mars advancing with letter Γ; and for Otacilia PIETAS AVGG sacrificing with letter Δ. But what was the sequence of these final two issues? It seems likely that the Animal types, always with legend SAECVLARES AVGG, must have followed directly on Issue 4, which had already used that same legend with the COS III on column reverse type; and this supposition is proved beyond reasonable doubt by die links on the corresponding sestertii and by the shortening of the braid extending up the back of Otacilia's head, which proves that PIETAS AVGG Δ of Issue 6 must have been her latest reverse type: compare the shortened braid of RIC pl. 7.17 with the longer braid of her two earlier issues, RIC pl. 7.16 (Issue 5) and pl. 7.18 (Issue 4). Thus a conclusion is reached that no one could have expected: Philip's Rome-mint coinage must have ended before he became TR P VI on 10 December 248 or 1 January 249, since the TR P V Mars type of his final issue (Issue 6) never advanced to TR P VI. I think the only likely explanation is that Philip I with his son and wife must have made an expedition to the East late in 248, perhaps to deal with usurpers; note the VIRTVS AVGG Emperors on horseback type of his Issue 6. While he was absent, before the end of 248, his successor Trajan Decius must have seized Rome and of course ended Philip's coinage from that mint. In 249 Philip was able to maintain himself in the East, while Decius ruled in Rome and the West, until Philip decided to march against the usurper and was defeated and slain by him in a battle at Beroea in Macedonia in c. September 249, shortly after his Alexandrian coinage registered the beginning of his seventh regnal year on 28 August 249. (Cited from: https://www.cointalk.com/threads/animals-on-philip-i-coins-including-saecvlares-avgg-coins.355236/page-3)





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I guess there's no harm posting my set again:

Philip I AR Antoninianus, 248 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Radiate, draped, & cuirassed bust right, IMP PHILIPPVS AVG / Rev. Hexastyle temple with statue of seated Roma on pediment in center, holding long scepter in left hand and [unidentified object] in upraised right hand, SAECVLVM NOVVM [ = new century or era]. 22x25 mm., 2.90 g. RIC IV-3 25b, RSC IV 198, Sear RCV III 8963 (ill. p. 154). Purchased from CGB.fr., June 2023.*


*This type, together with the SAECVLARES AVGG types issued the same year in the names of Philip I, Philip II, and Otacilia Severa, “belongs to the extensive series, in all metals, commemorating the celebration in AD 248 of the thousandth anniversary of Rome’s founding.” Sear RCV III p. 153. As Sear also explains (see id. p. 154), “This is a simplified depiction of the temple of Roma, part of Hadrian’s remarkable double-temple of Venus and Roma completed under Antoninus Pius in AD 141."

Philip I AR Antoninianus, 248 AD, Rome Mint, 1st Officina. Obv. Radiate, draped, & cuirassed bust right, IMP PHILIPPVS AVG/ Rev. Lion walking right, SAECVLARES AVGG; I in exergue.  RIC IV-3 12, RSC IV 173, Sear RCV III 8956 (ill.). 23 mm., 3.41 g.  (Games commemorating 1,000th anniversary of founding of Rome.)


Philip I AR Antoninianus, 248 AD, Rome Mint, 2nd Officina. Obv. Radiate, draped, & cuirassed bust right, IMP PHILIPPVS AVG/ Rev. She-wolf standing left, suckling twins Romulus and Remus, SAECVLARES AVGG; II in exergue. RIC IV-3 15, RSC IV 178, Sear RCV III 8957 (ill.). 22.75 mm., 4.72 g.  (Games commemorating 1,000th anniversary of founding of Rome.)  Ex Madroosi Collection (Joe Blazick).


Philip II, Caesar AR Antoninianus, 248 AD, Rome Mint, 3rd Officina. Obv. Radiate, draped & cuirassed bust right, IMP PHILIPVS AVG/ Rev. Moose [North American term for northern European elk]* standing left, SAECVLARES AVGG, III in exergue. RIC IV-3 224, RSC IV 72, Sear RCV III 9275 (ill.). 22 mm., 4.33 g., 12 h. (Games commemorating 1,000th anniversary of founding of Rome.)


* See Sear RCV III at p. 187: "The animal on the reverse has traditionally been identified as a goat, but cf. John Twente in 'The Celator,' Jan. 2002, p. 38. There seems little likelihood of the common goat having been featured as one of the exotic animals in the arena, whereas the northern European elk (North American moose) would have been a most suitable candidate."

Otacilia Severa (wife of Philip I) AR antoninianus AD 248, Rome mint, 4th Officina. Obv. Draped bust right, wearing stephane, crescent behind shoulders, OTACIL SEVERA AVG/ Rev. Hippopotamus standing right, jaws open, SAECVLARES AVGG; IIII in exergue. RIC IV-3 116(b), RSC IV-3 63, Sear RCV III 9160 (ill.). 23 mm., 4.52 g. (Games commemorating 1,000th anniversary of founding of Rome.)


Philip I AR Antoninianus, 248 AD, Rome Mint, 5th Officina. Obv. Radiate, draped, & cuirassed bust right, IMP PHILIPPVS AVG/ Rev. Stag walking right, SAECVLARES AVGG; V in exergue.  RIC IV-3 19, RSC IV 182, Sear RCV III 8958.  22 mm., 4.32 g.  (Games commemorating 1,000th  anniversary of founding of Rome.)



Philip I AR Antoninianus, 248 AD, Rome Mint, 6th Officina. Obv. Radiate, draped, & cuirassed bust right, IMP PHILIPPVS AVG / Rev. Antelope standing left, SAECVLARES AVGG; VI in exergue. RIC IV-3 21, RSC IV 189, Sear RCV III 8959.  22 mm., 3.54 g.  (Games commemorating 1,000th  anniversary of founding of Rome.)


Oddly enough, there's one other Philip I antoninianus that's clearly part of the SAECVLARES AVGG series but does not have any officina number on the reverse:

Philip I AR Antoninianus, 248 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Radiate, draped, & cuirassed bust right, IMP PHILIPPVS AVG / Rev. Stone cippus inscribed COS | III in two lines, SAECVLARES AVGG. RIC IV-3 Philip I 24(c), RSC IV 193, Sear RCV III 8961 (ill. p. 154).  23 mm., 4.15 g., 6 h. (Part of series issued in connection with games commemorating 1,000th anniversary of founding of Rome.)*


*A cippus was a low stone column, usually square but sometimes round (as here), used for various purposes including as boundary stones and “to preserve the memory of some event.” See https://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Cippus
(noting “those cippi which commemorate the Secular Games”). 

This Philip I elephant antoninianus is also generally believed to have been issued in AD 248 (even though it does not bear the SAECVLARES AVGG legend), but also does not bear any officina number:

Philip I AR Antoninianus, ca. 247/48 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Radiate, draped, & cuirassed bust right, IMP PHILIPPVS AVG/ Rev. Elephant walking left, bearing driver holding goad, AETERNITAS AVGG. RIC IV-3 58, RSC IV 17, Sear RCV III 8921. 23 mm., 4.2 g.  (Issued in connection with 1,000th anniversary of founding of Rome.)


Nor do any of the bronzes issued for the same occasion have any officina numbers. See, e.g.:

Philip I AE Sestertius, 248 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG / Stag walking right, SAECVLARES AVGG; S C in exergue. RIC IV-3 160a (p. 89), Sear RCV III 9012. 27x29 mm., 16 g. (Games commemorating 1,000th anniversary of founding of Rome.)


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Here's one from the series that has not been posted. It's scarce but, alas, damaged. A group lot find.

Otacilia Severa SAECVLARES AVGG S C as.jpg
Otacilia Severa, 244-249 CE.
Roman Æ as, 7.18 g, 23.7 mm, 12 h.
Rome, 248 CE.
Obv: MARCIA OTACIL SEVERA AVG, diademed and draped bust, right.
Refs: RIC 202b; Cohen 69; RCV 2644.

Shame about the bronze disease scars on her face.

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Many thanks to all! I see some mighty lions and @DonnaML is of course years ahead of me with her wonderful series. Interesting to read about the cippus, that's what I like about this forum: everyday a numismatic knowledge snack comes by! 🤗

Also of interest are the double G (AVGG). As I understood, these revers to the two Augusti: Philip I and his son Philip II. Plus of interest:


Although the dates are uncertain, the Ludi Saeculares , the centennial games celebrating the anniversary of Rome’s foundation, were first celebrated in either the mid-4th or the mid-3rd century B.C. The games should have been celebrated in the early 40s B.C., but at the time Caesar had cast his die, crossing the Rubicon and bringing to the Roman world two long decades of civil war and upheaval. After the wars and once firmly established in power, in 17 B.C. Augustus revived the ancient Tarentine games as the Ludi Saeculares , allowing future emperors who wished to hold the games two different dating cycles from which to choose.

(source:  https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=3359272)

Edited by Coinmaster
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Great coin of Philip, the erroneously called Arab! 

Here is my best Aeternitas:


Diva Faustina I AR Denarius. Struck under Antoninus Pius, Rome, AD 141. DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust left / AETERNITAS, Juno standing left, raising right hand and holding sceptre. Reference:RIC 344 Very Fine, 2,8 gr, 17 mm Purchased from NBS Aug 2021 


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It's hard to participate in this topic as a Constantine/LRB collector, but these are all great coins, and the Ludi Saeculares is a fascinating topic! I do hanker after a "LVD SAEC FEC" (one can imagine the issuing emperor smugly patting themselves on the back!), although that might be a slippery slope to go down!

There are hints of saecular celebrations on some late roman types, although I'm pretty sure Philip's was the last actual games?

I think it's recorded that Maximian was keen to celebrate the upcoming saeculum during his first reign, even though he was a bit over-eager and it was too early. Nonetheless he did issue a number of highly desirable SAECVLARES and AETERNITAS types c.295 AD (!). None of these are mine, sadly:


Constantine also gives a nod to the new saeculum in 314 AD (110 years after Severus's 204 AD celebration, on the Syballine cycle), with gold types such as "FELICITAS PERPETVA SAECVLI", "SAECVRITAS SAECVLI" and perhaps related "TEMPORA FELICITAS" (with the four seasons).

Finally, on the Claudian 100 year cycle, the next celebration after Philip's games in 248 AD should have been in 348 AD, when we see the introduction of the "FEL TEMP REPARATIO" types. The timing, and cyclic referral, seems to suggest that the date is no coincidence, although maybe also referring to a new Virgilan golden age (SAEC AVR) as had previously been referred to by Hadrian:


Sadly this Hadrian coin isn't mine either, so best I can do is this:


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