Description of the "Divi Series"

This series is composed of antoniniani, the most common currency circulating during the Mid Third Century A.D.

The average weight of these coins is 3.78 grams  and their alloy is of billon silver , with occasional silver plated, ‘fourré’ coins .

Ichnographically, the obverse of these coins depicts the radiate head or bust of a restituted emperor , typical of the male images on other antoniniani of this period.  Two reverse types exist:  a funeral pyre, and an eagle with outspread wings.

The obverse legend is:  DIVO plus the name of the restituted emperor, while the reverse legend is CONSECRATIO.

This restitution series does not contain the name of the restorer, but only that of the restituted emperor.  This omission is common when honoring recently deceased emperors, but in cases where emperors honored predecessors  from the more distant past, the coins often indicated the name of the emperor responsible of the restoration issue – highly useful information for dating coins, but not available in our case.

The list of restituted emperors raises several questions by its inclusions and omissions. Our modern view of each Roman emperor is based on a wide range of historical and archaeological sources, that are, however, fragmentary and distant in time.  In ancient times, the opinion of previous rulers could vary from one reign to the next, or according to changing political events.

Some emperors honored in this series come as no surprise to modern viewers: emperors such as Augustus, Trajan, Antoninus Píus and Marcus Aurelius.  It is a surprise however, that for this last emperor, so well regarded today, only half as many dies were used as compared to his son Commodus, whose image today is far from his portrayal in Mid Third Century propaganda. A few clear omissions in this series of deified emperors must be mentioned too:  Julius Cesar, Claudius and Lucius Verus.
 

 

 

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