Roman Coinage – Jupiter / Greek equivalent Zeus
The first god I want to discuss is Jupiter. I came to the conclusion when I started to investigate the coins on MA-Shops with Jupiter on it, that almost 1500 coins have a iconographic reference to Jupiter.
To be honest I was little surprised, I know that Jupiter was an important god on Roman coins but that such a big part of all the Roman coins on MA-Shop have a reference to Jupiter amazed me. It is possible that it reflect the amount of coins minted with Jupiter on them but to make that conclusion I should do more research.
Jupiter can be seen on coins since the beginning of the Roman coinage until the appearance of Christianity.
Constantine I The Great “Jupiter”
Weight: 5.45 g – Diameter: 23.00 mm
Silvered Follis. Heraclea Mint 312 AD.
Obverse: IMP C FL VAL CONSTANTINO PF INV AVG, laureate head right.
Reverse: IOVI CONSERVATORI, Jupiter standing facing, head left, chlamys draped from shoulder, holding globe and scepter, wreath to left; HTA in exergue.
Professional Numismatic Notes: EF and a rare type with these obverse legends! Choice quality with silvering!
Jupiter in the Roman period
Jupiter was above all the king of the gods in the Roman period. Besides this he was also the god of the sky and of course the god of thunder. On a lot of coins he has a thunderbolt in his hand. For example on this Aureus of Hadrian. Here he has a thunderbolt in his right hand. Besides the thunderbolt he wears a cloak and has a sceptre in his left hand. The sceptre refers to his upper status. This was normally a symbol of a ruling monarch but it was now the symbol of the ruling god. Jupiter was the equivalent of the Greek god Zeus. On a lot of Greek coins you can detect Zeus as well. For example on the many Tetradrachms and Drachms of Alexander the Great. Zeus is here seated on a throne.
Aureus c. 121-4 AD Hadrian
Weight: 7.23 g
Catalog: BM-101, C-1058 (40 Fr.)
Obv: IMP CAESAR TRAIAN – HADRIANVS AVG Bust laureate, draped, cuirassed r., seen from front.
Rev: P M TR P – COS III Jupiter standing r., head front, nude except for cloak hanging over l. shoulder, holding thunderbolt and scepter.
AE Sestertius (115) Trajanus
Weight 28,98gr. | bronze Ø 33mm.
Catalog: Cohen 49 | RIC 643 | BMC page 217
obv. Draped and laurated bust right IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC PM TR P COS VI PP
rev. Naked jupiter standing left, holding scepter and a thunderblot over the head of a small figure of Trajanus, who is standing left in toga with laurelbranch and scepter CONSERVATORI PATER PATRIAE S C
Jupiter with the Roman emperor
On a lot of Roman coins and medals we see Jupiter in combination with the emperor himself. The question is why does the emperor illustrate himself in this way? For example we see this by this fantastic medallion below. On the reserve we see Jupiter and flanked to him Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. What Marcus Aurelius tries to do is to legitimate himself and his co-emperor Lucius Verus. He shows this to illustrate himself and the co-emperor side by side with Jupiter. In this way is seems that Jupiter gave his approval to this emperors to rule over Rome.
Medaillon 168 AD. Marcus Aurelius
Weight: 51.67 g – Rome. 40.1 mm.
Catalog: Cohen 886; Gnecchi 52, Tv. 63, 3 (this coin).
Obv: M ANTONINUS AVG ARM PARTH MAX; laureate, draped bust of Marcus Aurelius
Rev: TR P XXII IMP IIII COS III; Jupiter standing to the left, with lightingbolt and sceptre, flanked by Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus.
Visit the website for more Jupiter Coins in this category: https://ma-shops.com/s/mc122
Written by Joël van Dam, Owner of Joëlnumismatics.
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