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Roman Victory: A sign of strength (or lack thereof)

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As an Imperial Roman Collector, I've always thought Victories to be the most "typical" or "representative" reverse of the Late Empire. An Empire in a downwards spiral towards its untimely demise, while Victories were sparse, this didn't stop the Emperors from claiming their glory in the form of coinage. 

I also enjoy the type of Victory as it's maintained since the very beginning of the Empire to the last "Latin" Byzantine coins, giving us collectors many centuries to choose from when looking for a Victory. 

This said, I have to show here my earliest (not really that early, I have to admit) and my latest Victories:

Postumus | 261 | Antoninianus | Treveris | IMP C POSTVMVS P*F* AVG | VICTORIA AVG (RIC V 89)


Theodosius I 383-394 | AE4 | Antioch | D N THEODOSIVS P F AVG | SALVS REIPVBLICAE (RIC IX 67)


And finally, a comparison of the sizes of both coins:


I cheated a bit, given how the coin of Theodosius doesn't have the reverse legend "Victoria Avg(g)(g)" but I thought it was neat. As a symbol usually used to represent peace, "Salus Reipublicae" now shows the dire state of the empire, showing itself with a cautive and a trophy, helping reinforce the idea that Victory for Rome was at hand.


What's your earliest and latest Victory?




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Fun coins, @GordianAppreciator101! No doubt you'll acquire more such coins commemorating military victories in the future. I have too many coins depicting Victoria/Nike to post, so I'll post my favorite. It's my favorite because not only does it commemorate a victory, but it specifically identified who the Romans vanquished: the Goths! And it features Tacitus with his awesome neck beard!

Tacitus, AD 275-276.
Roman billon antoninianus, 3.57 gm, 21.1 mm.
Ticinum, AD 276.
Obv: IMP C M CL TACITVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust, right.
Rev: VICTORIA GOTTHI, Victoria standing left, holding wreath and palm; P in exergue.
Refs: RIC 172; Cohen 158; Sear 11821; Hunter 59; CBN 1676.


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old coin, nice victory:





AR Denarius, 150 BC, Rome
Obv.: Head of Roma right with winged helmet, X behind.
Rev.: SAFRA / ROMA, Victory in biga right holding reins in right hand and whip in left.
Ag, 19.5mm, 3.87g
Ref.: Crawford 206/1, Sydenham 388


and my latest Victory:



Leo I. (457-474)
Obv: D N LEO PE-RPET AVG, Bust of Leo I, pearl-diademed, draped, cuirassed, right
Rev: VICTORIA AVGVSTORVM: Victory, winged, draped, advancing front, head left, holding wreath in right hand and cross on globe in left hand; star in right field
Av, 1.49g, 14.5mm
RIC X Leo I (East) 611, p.286, 611




Edited by shanxi
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Here's perhaps my latest Roman Imperial Victory that still looks like silver, issued for Gordian III.  As a bonus, Victory is squashing a captive with a shield.  Ouch.  


Gordian III  Antoninianus (243-244 A.D.) Rome (5th Issue, 5th Officina) IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right / VICTOR AETER, Victory standing left, holding palm and resting right hand on shield set atop captive. RIC 154; Cohen 348 (3.03 grams / 25 x 23 mm) eBay Nov. 2019

This is cheating a bit, as it is a Roman Provincial, but it was issued during the Imperial era - and technically it is Nike rather than Victoria in the Greek east.  It came from my local dealer's junk box of unidentified Greeks - they are all pretty rough, but I thought this one worth the $9.95 (maybe not):


Nerva-Trajan Era  Æ 15 Pseudo-autonomous issue  Thessalonica, Macedon   (c. 96-117 A.D.) Nike walking left and holding wreath, crescent in left field / ΘEC | CAΛO | NIKE | ΩN within wreath, eagle above. RPC III 622; Moushmov 6651; Touratsoglou, Pseud. II C, 1–12. (4.25 / 15 mm) az July 19, 2022





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Good topic! As a collector of Roman "Captives Coinage," I have a lot of Victories among my RIC's. One interesting theme I've come across in my reading and forum-browsing is that, over time, the captive became an "attribute of" Victory, much like the wreath and palm were attributes of Victory, or thunderbolt an attribute of Zeus/Jupiter. (I.e., Even if just one of them was depicted, seeing the captive actually implied the presence of Victory, and seeing the Victory implied the presence/theme of captives.) I can't quite recall where I read that at the moment...

Here's one of my recent Victory-captive coins, a Gordian III Sestertius from the Leu 12 - Adrian Lang sale (it was also in the important Gordian III collection of George His, CNG 69 [8 Jun 2005], 1465, which Leu failed to note). I find it really interesting how the captives on Roman coins moved from prominent positions (e.g., on the early Julius Caesar denarii or Vespasian's Judaea Capta coinage) to subordinate (artistically) positions. Actually, this kind of image, Victory balancing something on a captive did begin with Judaea Capta coins under Titus (denarius w/ small captive under the shield/trophy); see also the first "trophy tableaux" on Fundanius and Coelius quinarii (though the captive was just at the foot of the trophy, no balancing required). This specific image may have started with Gordian III, but was also used by Valerian (VICT PART types) and I'm sure others. (On the Maximinus version, Victory holds up a wreath above the captive instead of balancing a shield on his head.)

Below is the Leu 12 photo (I was thrilled to find the patina looked even better than in the photo; here's the coin-in-hand video on Imgur, also shared on a blog post, which also describes some remarkable similarities between the George His & Adrian Lang Collections):



Sometimes, of course, Victory would just be trampling on the captive, here a Sarmatian one, much as Sol used to do to the (usually Eastern) captives under Aurelian. This one from the recent Leu WA 21, holding as much of her other paraphernalia as she could (I guess with the trophy and palm she didn't have a hand free for a wreath):




Edited by Curtis JJ
grammar; fixing links
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Macrinus Ar Denarius 217-218 AD Obv. Bust right laureate and cuirassed. Rv VICTORIA PARTHICA Victory running right hold wreath and palm RIC 97 2.55 grms 19 mm Photo by W. Hansenmacrinus2.jpg.0732c3b17ad8bcece53c14deffd52ae8.jpgMacrinus became emperor under circumstances that could only be described as dubious. He became emperor as the result of the previous emperor Caracalla. The problem was he inherited a rather long drawn out war with the Parthians. After doing battle the results were at best indecisive and as he needed to get back to Rome conducted a rather humiliating peace. Perhaps in a effort to put the best spin on a rather awkward situation he had this coin struck. It celebrates a victory that is less than decisive. This coin was minted later during his reign as the obverse features the image of Macrinus with a longer more full beard. This attempt at spin did him little good. Julia Maesa who was closely related to the Severan ruling house was not happy with some outsider trying to muscle in on the family business. She indicated that her grandson Elagabalus was the illegitimate child of Caracalla. Much of the army bought into this and Macrinus was executed. 

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Here is my earliest



Helmeted head of Roma facing rght. X (XVI monogram) below chin, modius behind.
Victory in biga right, M.MAR  ( MAR in monogram)/ROMA divided by two corn ears below.  134 BC   3.89 gm

My latest would be a Constantine 1 310 - 337 AD but I don't have an image yet.


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Here some victories from my collection:


Emperor Trajan - As - Rome mint




Emperor Lucius Verus - As - Rome mint




Emperor Gallienus - Antoninianus - Lugdunum mint



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Bronze coin (AE Antoninianus) minted at Rome during the reign of CLAUDIUS II GOTHICUS between 268 - 270 A.D. Obv. IMP.C.CLAVDIVS.AVG.: Rad. & cuir. bust r. Rev. VICTORIA.AVG. Victory standing l., holding wreath & palm. SEAR #3222. RICV #104F. DVM #35. RCSVIII #11378


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I only live a few miles down the road from Caerleon, the Roman City of Isca Silurum in South Wales. The museum there has a fascinating 1st century bronze plaque of Victory holding a trophy of arms. It measures between 18 inches (45 cm) and two feet (60 cm) in length. 


I think that this is very useful when attempting to picture what Victory is holding on coins such as the ones below:-






Edited by maridvnvm
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Recent pick up! 


Antoninus Pius, 138-161. Denarius (Silver, 16 mm, 3.43 g, 11 h), Rome, 143-144. ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P COS III Laureate and draped bust of Antoninus Pius to right, seen from behind. Rev. IMPERATOR II Victoria standing front, head to left, holding wreath in her right hand and palm frond in her left. BMC 498. Cohen -. RIC 111e.

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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. (refers to the victorious campaigns in Gaul, ca. 278 A.D.)


Bronze Coin (AE Antoninianus) minted at Antioch during the reign of GALLIENUS in 257 A.D. Obv. IMP.GALLIENVS.AVG. rad., dr. & cuir. bust r. Rev. VICTORIA.GERMAN.: Victory presenting a wreath to Gallienus. (Victory over the Capri, in 257 A.D.) C #1173. RIC #452. DVM #323



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These are my earliest and latest Victories. Neither are Roman, but are copied from Roman coins.

Epatticus Celtic Unit, 35-43image.png.a208ed36935f6a671c4ced7ac86b756f.pngAtrebates Kingdom. Silver, 13mm, 1.19g. Victory seated right, TAS-CIO-V around. Boar right, tree behind, EPAT below (ABC 1349; S 357). Obverse copied from a denarius of M Volteius. Reverse copied from a denarius of M Porcius Cato or M Porcius Cato Uticensis.


Anglo-Saxon Pale Gold Phase ‘Two Emperors’ Thrymsa, 645-675image.png.0ddd25c3be3221c32a9f678638157f81.pngKent. Gold, 13mm, 1.19g. Diademed and draped bust right; pseudo legend around. Two small busts facing; above, Victory with wings enfolding the figures; pellet to each side of Victory’s head (SCBC 767). Ex Jeroen de Wilde. Copied from a late Roman 'two emperors' solidus.

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The earliest I have are a pair of Victoriatus (Victoriatii?)




One of my favorites, condition be damned, is this Augustus restitution issued by Titus. I love it so much I think cuz I saved it... It had been coated in a black tarry and charcoal coating. 


Divus Augustus, Died 14 AD

AE As, Restoration Issue,

Struck under Titus 80-81 AD, Rome Mint

Obverse: DIVVS AVGVSTVS PATER, radiate head left.

Reverse: IMP T VESP – AVG REST, Victory alighting left, holding shield inscribed SP/QR, S-C across fields.

References: RIC Titus 446


Here's a few more of my favorite for honorable mention... 







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