Victory as a coin type

Bellinger, Alfred R. (Alfred Raymond), 1893-1978, Berlincourt, Marjorie Alkins
Numismatic Notes and Monographs
American Numismatic Society
New York
Worldcat Works




Open access edition funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities Open Book Program.


Table of Contents




The choice of types for ancient coins was partly an aesthetic matter, a problem of choosing a design which would adequately fill a round space; it was also partly a matter of employing appropriate symbolism. The symbol might have a limited appropriateness, like the tortoise of Aegina, or a universal one, like the head of Athena which appears at many places and at many times. Sometimes the symbol disappeared with the passing of its particular occasion; sometimes, on the other hand, it continues to appeal to die-sinkers and those who control them so that it long outlasts its original appearance and comes to have connotations quite foreign to its first meaning. Such a symbol is that of victory, whose life as a coin type stretches from the end of the sixth century before Christ to the sixth century after Christ, and beginning as the Greek Nike becomes, at the end, a Christian angel.

Nike, who never appears in the Homeric epic, and is mentioned for the first time by Hesiod, owes the significance which she acquired, especially in Hellenistic and Roman times, neither to cult mythology nor to literature, but to formative art. In Hesiod (Theogony pp. 383f.) Nike is identified as the daughter of Pallas, the Titan, and Styx, being a sister of Zelos, Kratos and Bia. 1 She was not considered anthropomorphic as were the other Olympian deities nor were any myths invented about her. Consequently her real meaning is known to us rather from vases and coins than from literature. Her function might be either warlike or peaceful; the verb νικάω and the substantive νίκη can be used either for victory in war or in any form of rivalry. 2 From the artistic representations it becomes clear that she is not originally the granter of victory, but the bearer of it. She is not depicted in a fighting pose but she can be companion or attribute of all gods granting victory who were identified, as it were, with war. It is only natural, then, that Nike would be associated with those gods possessing special or highest prowess in war, and so she was particularly closely bound to Zeus and Athena. Pheidias emphasized her connection with the highest gods by placing Nike on the hand of Zeus in the great cult statue at Olympia. Her appearance in the vase painting depicting the birth of Athena from the head of Zeus is sufficient illustration of the constant and close association of Nike with Athena. 3 She could, however, be connected with other victory-granting gods, as, for example, Demeter, 4 Aphrodite Urania as mistress of the Pontus, 5 or Aphrodite Stratonikos. 6 But though originally a mere symbol of victory with no mythological existence, she later becomes an individual divinity with her own attributes, such as the wreath and palm. She is winged, as are Hermes and Iris, the messengers of the gods, so that the divine orders may be carried with the swiftness of the wind.

The first appearance of Nike as a coin type ( Plate I, 1) is at Olympia about 510 b.c., 7 where she is certainly intended to symbolize victory in the games. 8 The figure is shown with wings spread, appearing to run to the left, in conformity with a very early convention for depicting flight. 9 "The chiton," says Seltman, "hangs in a semi-circle between the feet suggesting the support a statue of this type would require." 10 In her outstretched hand is the wreath with which the victor is to be crowned. Her wings, except that they are more pointed, are just like those of the eagle on the obverse, with long primaries, short secondaries, and coverts expressed by dots, making a three-fold division. Her drapery is drawn with great delicacy. Altogether, she is a very attractive figure, and a very satisfactory design, "a scheme" as Miss Richter puts it, which is "a convention, highly decorative, far from naturalistic, but admirably serving its purpose." The figure is sometimes to the right, sometimes to the left, but the pose remains essentially the same throughout the early period.

An interesting parallel to this figure is the one on an electrum stater and hecta of Cyzicus ( Plate I, 2) of a winged female figure running left with head turned back. In her right hand is the tunny fish which is the regular sign of Cyzicus, but she has no attributes by which she may be identified. Of this type William Greenwell says 11 "An archaic coin, and possibly not later than b.c. 500. The figure can scarcely represent Nike, for the action is inconsistent with such an attribution." He calls attention to related subjects on vases and to a winged female figure on coins attributed to Mallus in Cilicia. Ernest Babelon does not hesitate to call it Niké ailée, 12 distinguishes it from the figure from Mallus whose wings are curled ( Plate I, 3), 13 and whom he declines to identify, 14 and dwells on its relation to the statue from Delos and the statuette in Athens. However just his argument may be, the similarity of the positions at Cyzicus and Mallus is certainly striking, and suggests that the former, as well as the latter, has been much more affected by oriental influence than the art of Olympia. It is notoriously difficult to date the Cyzicene electrum. The last student of the series, Kurt Regling, believes that the group to which our type belongs falls between 550 and 480, 15 and there seems to be no attempt at more accurate dating than that of Greenwood. It is possible, therefore, that the Cyzicene piece is earlier than the first Nike of Olympia. Yet it is hardly to be regarded as the ancestor of the Olympian series. Aside from the difference of position, the type of Cyzicus, whatever its inspiration, is a casual inclusion in a rich and diverse series, giving no information as to the nature of the goddess and suggesting no such relation with the town as that between Nike and the games.

The greater knowledge of anatomy of the 5th century led to a more gracious drawing of the figure at Olympia ( Plate I, 4). The gain in realism, however, meant an abandonment of the old convention expressing flight. This younger Nike may be understood as just alighting but hardly as speeding through the air. This was a matter of no great concern to the artist, however, for the symbol was now so well established that variation of pose could not obscure its meaning. The goddess therefore appears standing at rest ( Plate I, 5), seated holding out the victor's wreath ( Plate I, 6), seated with her head on her hand ( Plate I, 7) and seated holding a palm branch ( Plate I, 8), this being "the most famous, the last and technically the most perfect of the Nikes of this mint." It was struck in a period which Seltman dates, on reasonable grounds, as 431–421 b.c. The previous reverse ( Plate I, 7) belonging to the series dated 452–432 b.c., is perhaps the most interesting type, and merits a detailed description. Nike, wearing a long chiton and peplos wrapped around her from waist to feet is seated right on a square block. Her hair is rolled, her head, facing slightly, is bent downward and she supports it with her left hand, her elbow resting on her knee. In her right hand, hanging down, she holds two short laurel twigs. As Seltman suggests, her attitude, were it not incompatible with the nature of the Olympian coinage, might be described as mourning. Since there is a growing tendency toward naturalistic treatment, it is a very attractive idea to suppose that the artist is here indicating the general feeling of Greece at the beginning of the Peloponnesian war. This is the extreme of variation, and it must be confessed that the figure, charming as it is, would hardly be recognized as Nike except for the connection with her more explicit predecessors. And, indeed, all the poses except the first, with some archaizing imitations of it, have weakened the significance of the wings. These become purely decorative and not functional at all. Spread wings on an emissary descending from heaven is a pretty fancy; spread wings on a maiden sitting on a stone may be still a pretty pattern, but it is a physiological absurdity. The fact that Nike is so depicted shows what great freedom the die-sinker had within his general subject, and how much might be sacrificed to considerations of design.

The significance of the general subject, however, is kept steadily in mind, and it is interesting as relating not to the issuing authority of the coin, but to its recipient. Victory is granted not by Olympia, but by Zeus, and victory is bestowed not on Olympia but on the individual contestants who come to the games. The other associated types—Zeus and Hera, the thunderbolt and the eagle—express the august powers that ruled over the holy place, but Nike is a hope and a challenge to every aspirant who made his way to the great panhellenic testing grounds.

Perhaps because she was so satisfactory a choice for this place, Nike was not used as a type elsewhere in Greece pro- per until much later. Instead, she appears in Sicily with a related though not identical meaning. The connection of Sicilians with Olympia is well known. Indeed, the suggestion has been made that the development of the games from a regional to a panhellenic celebration was largely due to them. 16 A victor from Syracuse is recorded as early as the middle of the 7th century. The lords of that great city had shown their enthusiasm for the races by selecting a chariot as the type of their tetradrachms. At about the time of the first appearance of Nike at Olympia she was introduced on the Syracusan coins at the top, crowning either the charioteer ( Plate II, 1) or the horses ( Plate II, 2). 17 The connection with the Olympian games is thus clearly expressed. But Nike is modified both in appearance and in meaning. In place of the running figure is one nearly horizontal whose wings are either above and below ( Plate II, 1) or both above ( Plate II, 2). On some dies, to be sure, the figure is nearly upright ( Plate II, 3) and is more like that of the alighting Nike of Olympia ( Plate I, 4). The other pose, however, is much commoner. This has some advantages for the design as a whole, but the goddess herself is nothing like so satisfactory. It was not until the last third of the 5th century that the remarkable artists who signed their dies converted the figure, by careful modelling and skillful use of drapery, into a satisfactory representation of flight ( Plate III, 6).

In spite of the considerable freedom with which the type was developed, the early symbolism is clear and consistent. Nike is not now, as at Olympia, prepared to offer her wreath to the victor, whoever he may be. She is shown in the act of celebrating a particular triumph: that of the chariot from Syracuse. Her meaning is thereby made more pointed and more restricted. We need not assume that the coins were struck to celebrate the first Syracusan victory or any special subsequent one. It is sufficient that some Syracusan chariot should have won before the Sicilian lords presumed to borrow the Olympian type to be an adjunct of their own.

The example of Syracuse was very promptly followed by two of her neighbors, Leontini and Gela who copy her type with no significant changes. A more interesting case is that of Rhegium and Messana. In the early 5th century they were both in the power of the tyrant Anaxilas. 18 We know that it was he who struck in both cities coins showing a hare and a biga of mules, for a fragment of Aristotle, preserved in the lexicon of Pollux (V, 75) tells us that Anaxilas of Rhegium introduced hares into Sicily for the first time, and having won the race for mule cars at the Olympic games, put both hare and mule car on the coins of Rhegium. This victory Dunbabin would date in 480, which is suitable stylistically. Messana used exactly the same types as Rhegium, but the Sicilian city presently added a Nike, after the Syracusan fashion ( Plate II, 4) which the Italian city never did ( Plate II, 5).

These examples all show the same origin and meaning, but a very different Nike appears on an early coin of Acragas ( Plate II, 6). Here the ungainly attitude is not unlike that on the Syracusan coins and is more likely to have been de- from them than from those of Olympia. But the significance is like neither. This Nike has no apparent connection with the games at all, for she is now used as an adjunct not to a victorious chariot, but to the crab which is the normal type of the city. 19 Of course it is not impossible that there should have been a victory in the games here celebrated in this inappropriate fashion, but the effect certainly is to give to Nike a more generalized meaning and to seem for the first time to attach her, not to a particular event, but to a particular city. This is a very different thing from her appearance at Olympia where, as has already been pointed out, she belongs not to the place but to the contests.

Catana also presents the goddess under an unprecedented aspect. The obverse type is a man-headed bull, representing the river-god Amenanos, beneath him a fish, above, a heron or a water-plant, both signifying the marshes through which the stream makes its way. The earliest reverse is an original and unsuccessful attempt to depict flight ( Plate II, 7). The winged figure faces to the right, her wings filling the space behind her, her left arm held stiffly before her. The lower right is filled by a horizontal branch which she holds in her right hand and by a big shell. The inscription runs around the right edge. This strange attitude is varied on a litra of Camarina, 495–484 b.c. where the goddess is shown to the left or right, her wings spread before her and behind, with a swan in front of her ( Plate III, 1). She seems to bear neither wreath nor palm, though the small scale makes it difficult to be sure. A later and softened version is found on a drachm of Camarina whose obverse is a poor copy of Cimon's facing head of Arethusa; Nike has here a fillet and caduceus and there is no object in the field before her ( Plate III, 2).

One obverse die of the Catana stater is used both with the flying Nike and with her successor, a Nike striding to the left carrying a fillet 20 ( Plate III, 3) which continues to be the type until 476 b.c. when Hiero of Syracuse drove the inhabitants out, changed the town's name to Aetna and introduced new types. This goddess may have been derived from the running figure of Olympia, though her appearance is quite different and no illusion of flight is created. Instead she seems to be hastening to meet the victor. But she and the flying Nikes of Catana and Camarina would seem to be connected only with victors from their particular towns, though they are not confined, as at Syracuse, to the celebration of a single event, even if it were the most splendid. We must suppose that their fillets and palms are offered to any son of the city who triumphed. Are they then the impartial, oecumenical goddess of Olympia, or have they a stricter connection each with her own town? The development of the obverse type of Catana is clear evidence that the latter is true. For above the back of the bull sometimes appears a little Nike, like that over the Syracusan chariot, flying to crown his head with a wreath ( Plate III, 4). Here is a conception much like that of the Nike under the crab of Acragas, but more specific. Coupled with the goddess on the reverse, it announces and foretells that the favor of Nike belongs to Catana by right. She has become a goddess whose association with a particular place is permanent, and we may suppose that the same is true of Camarina.

Still another important innovation occurs at Catana. The place of Nike crowning the man-headed bull is sometimes taken by Silenus, in a kneeling attitude, but not touching the bull's back, so that he must be considered, like her, an immortal power moving through the air. Now the importance of Silenus to Catana is made sufficiently clear by the use of his head as obverse type on the succeeding coins of Aetna. Another divinity, then, may perform the function of Nike and crown the victor. It is not now nearly so clear that Nike and Silenus are merely emissaries of Zeus. It looks very much as though they were bestowing victory as well as marking it. The conception of Nike has grown more general and less precise.

As the 5th century advanced, the coinage of Sicily became more luxuriant, and Nike, like all other types, was affected by the progress of artistic imagination. There are no better known and no more brilliant specimens of early and late 5th century art at Syracuse than the Demareteion of 479 b.c. ( Plate III, 5), and the series of decadrachms initiated to commemorate the defeat of the Athenians in 413 b.c. ( Plate III, 6). Without embarking on the barren discussion of comparative merits, we may recognize that the later attention to detail has increased the interest of the figure of Nike, which is now drawn with great care. It does not follow, however, that her significance has increased. Indeed the symbolism has become so conventionalized as to lose contact with its origin. While Nike had disappeared from the Olympian coins toward the end of the first phase of the Peloponnesian war in 421 b.c., she continued to accompany the chariots of Syracuse. The tendency to maintain a successful and familiar type, which is an important element in numismatic history, carried this one through a period when Sicilian participation in the games in the Peloponnese is unlikely, and left it available to serve for the games which Syracuse herself organized. There is no point which marks the end of the connection with the Olympian games, so conspicuous in 510 b.c. Nike simply acquired, by constant repetition, a more general function which makes her association with the new games as appropriate as her connection with the old.

In the period of spectacular experimentation which extended from the late 5th century through the first half of the 4th the use of Nike as a subsidiary to the type is widespread. The victory-crowned chariot (in which galloping horses replace the earlier walking ones) is confined to Sicily; on that island it is found on coins of Acragas, Camarina, Catana, Cephaloedium, Gela, Himera, Leontini (but not after 466), Messina, Panormus, Selinus, Thermae Himerensis (Naville Catalogue X [1925] no. 214). These exhibit many variations: the chariot is either to the right or to the left, Nike is either to the right or to the left, sometimes she crowns the horses and sometimes the charioteer, sometimes she bears a complete wreath and sometimes a fillet, sometimes she is not crowning the charioteer but handing the wreath to him, on one coin of Messana she is about to put the fillet on his head with one hand while she offers a wreath to him with the other ( Plate IV, 1). A more extreme variation was invented by the artist Cimon at Syracuse. The goddess appears standing on the heads of the two near horses on the reverse of a piece with a celebrated facing head for obverse, and an equally unlikely pose shows her standing on the reins of the mule car at Messana ( Plate IV, 2).

These are differences of varying degrees of artistic effectiveness which do not modify the earlier idea of Nike. Real modifications do appear, however. At Syracuse the artist Evainetos produced a die with an astonishing display of self-assurance, for the Nike flying over the chariot holds now not wreath or fillet, but a tablet bearing the name of Evainetos himself! ( Plate IV, 3). Obviously her original function has been entirely forgotten. A less startling use of the tablet is found at Acragas, where it appears above the chariot with the city's name upon it; in this case Nike herself is the charioteer. Nike drives the chariot again at Gela when her place above the horses is taken by an eagle, that equivalent symbol of victory ( Plate IV, 4). Finally, at Camarina, Nike is again crowning the charioteer, but this is now no mortal driver, but Athena herself ( Plate IV, 5). In the ill-defined imagination of the artist the bearer of victory is returning it to its divine source.

The parallel conception of Nike as attached to the community rather than to an event, already noticed in Catana, has its influence outside of Sicily. The man-headed bull which is the standard type of Naples is crowned by Nike in apparent imitation of the Sicilian ones though there is a century between them ( Plate IV, 6). On a 4th century coin of Heraclea in Lucania Nike is shown crowning the hero Heracles ( Plate IV, 7) and on one of about the same time from Velia a little Nike flies over the city's lion ( Plate IV, 8). But these two cases are somewhat different from the earlier ones. Nike is only one of a number of symbols used to accompany the main type, and though she is related to it in a way that the vase or owl or bucranium of Heraclea, the caduceus or trident or wheat-ear of Velia are not, it is by no means impossible that she is merely the mint magistrate's sign, like them, and therefore no organic part of the type. That she does occur as a magistrate's symbol on later coins is, of course, well known and is strikingly illustrated by gold of Philip II of Macedon where the little goddess is placed in a preposterous context, for she is about to be trampled by the galloping horses ( Plate V, 1).

At Carthage, on the other hand, the connection is closer. The standard reverse of Carthage is a horse, or the head or forepart of a horse, generally combined with a palm tree. Nike is frequently seen flying above the horse, or its forepart, crowning it with a fillet ( Plate V, 2, 3) or in front of and crowning a standing horse ( Plate V, 4). This, like the series of Naples, is a continuation of the doctrine of Catana that victory is an essential possession of the city.

We must now discuss a very interesting but abnormal series: that of the didrachms of Terina in Italy, which is not connected with the Nikes of Sicily and is affected by the later Olympian types only. The first issue, of about 480 b.c., 21 raises a curious problem, for the standing figure on the reverse is without wings, yet her identity is in no doubt, for the name NIKA is beside her ( Plate V, 5). This has, of course, roused recollections of Nike Ápteros at Athens, and encouraged the theory of an ancient cult of wingless victory at Terina. 22 This is not provable and not particularly likely, but the question has little importance to us, for after this first experiment the artists replaced the figure with a maiden with wings, ( Plate V, 6-8). Three other pieces of the first period, which lasted until about 450 b.c., are in three different attitudes: the first holds a wreath and branch, the second a branch in both hands ( Plate V, 6), the third a wreath alone, one hand being concealed in the folds of her chiton. These are all suitable enough for Nike, as is the single branch in the hand of their wingless elder sister, and Regling is doubtless right in concluding that the three unnamed figures are also representations of the same divinity. But there is no suggestion as to how she is to exercise her function. There are no games here, still less any prospect of war at this period. The recorded history of the town is bare enough 23 and would give us no reason to suspect the brilliance to which the coins testify. There may well have been some local meaning which now eludes us but the prima facie significance of the obverse type is to attribute victory in general to the nymph Terina whose portrait appears on the obverse. This close connection of Nike with the city herself is emphasized on the succeeding issues which fill the century down to the sacking of Terina by the Bruttii in 356 b.c. With one exception the figures retain their wings and often their wreaths, but they usually hold a caduceus and their poses hardly suggest the bearer of victory. One variety, with wings spread on both sides ( Plate V, 7), does indeed recall the Olympian Nike seated on a pedestal ( Plate I, 6), but others, whether standing, or seated on an overturned jar, as they frequently are ( Plate V, 8), have a charming playfulness about them quite out of keeping with the normal conception of Victory. Many of the dies show (as does Plate V, 8) a little bird perched on the maiden's hand in a manner which suggests her humanity rather than her divinity—or at least a diversion of her divinity bey ond that of even the latest Olympian Nike. Regling's opinion is that we have here a conflation of divine persons, Nike and Terina, and this is strongly supported by one coin on which the seated figure is wingless while a little Nike flies up behind her to crown her ( Plate V, 9). This is the idea already familiar to us from the crowned bulls of Catana and Naples. The types of Terina have only carried it one step farther and not merely claimed a special relation between Nike and their city but actually identified the two.

The issues of Terina are perhaps the clearest demonstration of the independence of the artist through the 5th and 4th centuries. We need not suppose that it was the die-sinkers themselves who invented the device of presenting their city as the goddess of victory herself but, the device once established, they clearly had great latitude in modifying it, and they were certainly virtuosi who deserved such confidence. 24 That they were not impervious to the influence of other mints is proven by comparison of Plates I, 6; V, 7. This attitude of the figure at Terina is the only one which displays wings to right and left since the standing goddess of the first period ( Plate V, 6), and one can hardly doubt that the Olympian coin served as a model for that from Terina. But it is a model not to be slavishly followed, and it is an isolated instance. Indeed this freedom of the artist is the most important characteristic of the appearance of Nike in the period with which we have been dealing. He was quite competent to adapt his material to his design, and if he sometimes copied, as the early chariots of Gela and Leontini copied those of Syracuse, it was from choice and neither from poverty of imagination nor compulsion from higher authority.

Of course there were forms of Nike other than those popular with the die-sinkers. One has only to recall the variety of attitudes on the balustrade of the temple of Athena-Nike at Athens to realize that we must not expect every sculptural treatment to have its reflection on the coins. 25 Here and there, however, a type does appear not connected with any of the commoner treatments with which we have been dealing. An instance of this is the unique gold piece of Abydus of the late 5th or early 4th century ( Plate V, 10) showing Nike kneeling upon a ram that she is about to sacrifice. Whether this is an original conception of the artist or whether it goes back to an earlier group we cannot tell. There is a similar group, in which Nike is slaying a bull, reappearing frequently on later gems, 26 but the only other occurrence of just this coin type is on a gold stater of Lampsacus ( Plate V, 11) which is certainly a direct copy, made about 380 b.c. 27 The pattern is a very effective one and perhaps we should be satisfied to leave it at that without pressing the symbolism too far. The sacrifice of a victim is an obviously appropriate way of celebrating a victory; to have the sacrifice performed by Victory herself is a symbolic ellipsis very unlike the frank and obvious meaning of the Nike of Olympia. There may, of course, have been local conditions which made it all plain to the users of the coins, but the precise meaning is lost to us. We may remark, however, that the purely decorative element is quite as strong here as at Terina and may quite possibly dominate the symbolic. Is it an aspect of this that Nike now appears nude to the waist, whereas at Abydus and in the West she is clothed? 28

There is another gold piece of Lampsacus ( Plate V, 12) which is connected with a new motif altogether. So far the only specific idea involved in the coins we have considered is that of the games. Though it has been weakened and generalized it has not been replaced by anything recognizably military. But there are exceptions to this rule. On a rare hemidrachm of Camarina Nike is shown with a large round shield (Plate VI, 1). This appears to be the first numismatic instance of the warlike aspect of Nike which later becomes so very prominent. It must be confessed, however, that since the hemidrachm is of about the same time as the drachm of Camarina already mentioned ( Plate III, 2) it introduces the possibility that the latter, and perhaps other examples of the goddess alone, may have had a military meaning which we should have had no reason to suspect. We are helped to define this particular victory by late 5th century litrae and bronzes from Himera ( Plate VI, 2) on which Nike (named by the inscription) carries an aphlaston. Since it was customary to tear off this ornament attached to the stern of a war vessel and display it as a sign of victory, scholars are agreed in the doctrine that the aphlaston signifies a naval victory. 29 Now it is not difficult to decide what victory would be celebrated in the late 5th century by Himera. We know from Thucydides VII, 1 that she joined Gylippus. She was his headquarters while he was waiting to make his way into Syracuse, supplied him with a contingent and furnished arms for the crews of his ships. Later, when she attempted to send him reinforcements, they were ambushed by the Sicels on instructions from Nicias and cut to pieces. The final defeat of the Athenians, therefore, would be an obvious cause of joy in Himera, and when it is remembered that Camarina also was an ally of Syracuse in 413 (Thucydides VII, 58) it is clear that these lesser issues were saying in their own way what Syracuse said with the great issue of decadrachms, and that the little Nikes are here for the first time unmistakable goddesses of victory in war. 29a

Another coin to which a warlike significance has been attached is an electrum stater of Cyzicus showing Nike kneeling and holding an aphlaston, with the city's regular tunny fish beneath ( Plate VI, 3). There is difference among the authorities as to its date, and consequently, as to its meaning. Without going into the guesses of earlier writers, we may cite William Greenwell, 30 who thinks it may have been struck to commemorate the victory of Alcibiades over the Spartan fleet off Cyzicus in 410. "This," says Mr. Greenwood, "is perhaps the first instance where Nike appears on a coin as the goddess of victory in war. On the coins of other Greek states she seems to be, up to this date and onwards, until the time of Alexander and the Diadochi, the goddess of agonistic victory." Ernest Babelon endorses this judgment, 31 though he mentions the other dates that have been suggested, 394 and 375 since 410 seems to him too early for the style. Von Fritze, without committing himself to any specific occasion, lists the piece in his Class III, which he dates ca. 475-ca. 410, thus excluding the later suggestions. 32 Finally Mrs. Brett, 33 gives her opinion that the stater is of fourth century style and "doubtless commemorates the victory of Conon and Pharnabazus over the Spartans off Cnidus in 394." In spite of this variation of the date, there is unanimity in the belief that a naval victory is intended. We have just seen, however, that it is not the first instance of this symbolism.

To return to our second Lampsacus ( Plate V, 12) gold piece; her significance is certainly clear enough for she is kneeling before a trophy of arms to the top of which she is nailing a helmet. Like the earlier goddess, she is nude to the waist, and the artist's interest has obviously been quite as much directed to decoration as to symbolism. At the same time it is hard to believe that she does not refer to a specific event of local importance. The event has not been identified, 34 but Mrs. Brett's calculations 35 would place it about 355. Before Alexander, then, the military function of Nike, destined to loom so large in her symbolism, was already established on the coin types.

End Notes

* This study began as a paper in the Yale Graduate School by Dr. Marjorie Alkins (Berlincourt) in 1951. Its initial purpose was to discover, if possible, the appearance of the Victory of the Roman Senate which played so conspicuous a part in the religious controversy of the fourth Christian century. This proved to be an unexpectedly elusive question but in its pursuit the author gathered a large amount of information about the use of Victory on coins, which she presented as a history of the type. There have been some modifications both of form and of content in the intervening years and photographs for illustration have been collected to supplement her original descriptions. It would not be easy now to say how much of the present text is precisely as she wrote it. Since it has not been practicable to collaborate with her since her leaving New Haven, I may not always have represented her present opinions, and she cannot be charged with errors which I may have introduced. But the work is essentially hers and I am grateful for her permission to make this use of it.
29a It should be mentioned that the Nike on the east pediment of the temple of Zeus at Olympia may commemorate a 5th century military victory. Marcus N. Tod, A Selection of Greek Historical Inscriptions, Oxford, 1933, no. 27, pp. 43f., no. 65, pp. 146–148.
1 In the literature of later times, when she is referred to as the daughter of Zeus, we may be sure that she is regarded as Athena-Nike.
2 To conquer in battle or any contest: Iliad III, 439; XXIII, 656, 663. In war: Iliad VII, 26; Plato, Laws 641 A. In the games: Thucydides VI, 16; Pindar, Isthmian II, 13, VII (VI) 22, VI (V) 60. Bacchylides, Bergk 48, calls on Nike to look favorably on the chorus.
3 G. M. A. Richter, The Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks, New Haven, 1951, P. 341, fig. 3.
4 Cicero, In Verrem IV, 49, 110.
5 Ludolf Stephani, "Erklärung einigen im jähre in südlichen Russland gefundener Kunstwerke" Compte-rendue de la Commission impériale archéologique pour l'année 1887, St. Petersbourg, 1880, pp. 246–262.
6 Von Sallet, NZ VIII, p. 334.
7 Charles T. Seltman, The Temple Coins of Olympia, Cambridge, 1921. Reprinted from Nomisma VIII, IX, XI. He gives, pp. 1–3, five reasons for assigning the coins to Olympia rather than to Elis. His arguments and dates are here accepted.
8 F. Imhoof-Blumer, "Die Flügelstalten der Athena und Nike auf Münzen," NZ 1871, pp. 1–50 esp. 24f., believes that Nike originally belonged to the games. The archaic sculptor Achermos is alleged to have made the first Nike with wings. Antony E. Raubitschek, Dedications from the Athenian Akropolis, Cambridge, 1949, pp. 484–487.
9 Richter, op. cit., pp. 62–64 discusses the development of the flying figure. Seltman's statement that this was "the only attitude by which flight could be suggested at this primitive age" is mistaken, as the contemporary Sicilian coins show.
10 This raises the question, which Seltman does not pursue, of whether the coin type is derived from an actual statuary model. There is nothing impossible in this, though it is not necessary; no one could assume a model in the round for the eagle on the obverse, and models in relief would have no significance for the chiton as support. In any event, later modifications of the type show that the die-sinkers emancipated themselves from the sculptural original if there was one.
11 The Electrum Coinage of Cyzicus, London, 1887 (reprinted from NC of 1887), p. 81.
12 RN 1903, pp. 421–423.
13 BMC Lycaonia, etc., Pl. XVI, 7. This is illustrated instead of the still earlier pieces, Pl. XV 10–12 (ca. 520–485 b.c.) because it is so much clearer. The series to which it belongs is dated by Hill ca. 485–425 b.c. He is dubious of the attribution to Mallus, which he retains with a question mark out of respect for the authority of Imhoof-Blumer (ibid., pp. cxviif).
14 Traité de Monnaies grecques et romaines, Part II, Vol. I, Paris, 1907, pp. 561–564.
15 "Der griechische Goldschatz von Prinkipo," ZfN 1931, p. 5, n, 1.
16 T. J. Dunbabin, The Western Greeks, pp. 39f.
17 Since these coins are dated by style ca. 510–485 b.c., we have no way of proving that those of Olympia are earlier, but the logic of the types would seem to make it sure that the independent figure was the original, the accessory figure of Syracuse the adaptation. The dating and arrangement followed in general is that of Erich Boehringer, Die Münzen von Syrakus, Berlin, 1929. We need not assume any particular incident to account for the first appearance in Sicily, but Seltman ( Greek Coins, p. 74) misses the point when he speaks of "a flying Nike, whose introduction is probably to be ascribed to the archaic horror vacui rather than to any historical episode." G. Taddei, "La Vittoria in volo," Italia Numismatica, No. 3 (Mantua, March 1950), p. 18, suggests that the inspiration for coin types is frequently paintings of which the pictures on vases are minor copies. Whatever the likelihood of his theory, he cites interesting parallels on vases to the horizontal flying Nikes of the Sicilian coins.
18 For this whole episode see Dunbabin, op. cit., pp. 387–398.
19 The conventional theory that the crab was the canting device of the city has lately been called in question by L. Lacroix, Revue belge de Numismatique 1950, pp. 5–11.
20 G. E. Rizzo, Monete greche della Sicilia, Pl. IX, 1, 2.
21 Kurt Regling, Terina, Berlin, 1906, is an exhaustive study of the whole series. The dates and sequence there given are adopted here.
22 R. S. Poole, "Athenian Coin Engravers in Italy," NC 1883, pp. 269–277. It is more reasonable to suppose that this earliest coin shows a combination of Nike and the city goddess such as is evident later. We should also remember the remark of Pausanias (III, 15, 7) who explains the absence of wings as an artistic indication of the reluctance of the Athenian people to allow Nike to leave Athens.
23 Regling, op. cit., has collected all of it into pp. 3–5.
24 On the question of artists' signatures at Terina, not pertinent here, and on the whole consideration of style see Regling, op. cit., pp. 32–60 and H. von Fritze and H. Gaebler, "Terina," Nomisma I (1907), pp. 14–22.
25 Leonida Marchese, "Su alcuni tipi monetali della Vittoria derivati da prototipi sculturali," Italia Numismatica, No. 2 (Mantua, Feb. 1950), p. 11, holds the extreme position that most of the types which do not derive from the Nikes of Paeonius and Samothrace are reflections of the Athena-Nike balustrade. The tendency to see copying in every similarity comes from a misunderstanding of the talent and the function of the die-sinker. There is also the use of Nike in vase painting which presents much too large a field to be studied here. Paul Knapp, Nike in der Vasenmalerei, Tübingen, 1876.
26 A sketch by Cecil Smith, "Nike Sacrificing a Bull," Journal of Hellenic Studies VII (1886), pp. 275–285, points out that the kneeling position of Nike is more appropriate to the smaller animal, and suggests that the coin, and the late Italian vases on which a ram is shown rather than a bull, may represent the earlier form of which the bull is a later modification. Smith supposes that the first preserved appearance of the group is on the balustrade of the Athena-Nike temple, but this is probably a Roman restoration (Stanley Casson, Catalogue of the Acropolis Museum, Cambridge, 1921, II, 170f.).
27 Agnes Baldwin (Brett), "An Unedited Gold Stater of Lampsakos," ZfN 32 (1920), 7. The whole of the gold coinage of Lampsacus is treated by Mrs. Brett in the American Journal of Numismatics 53 (1924), 1–77. "Lampsakos: the Gold Staters, Silver and Bronze Coinages."
28 It seems, pace the British Museum Catalogue that the Nike of Terina always wears a chiton. It is certain that she generally does so, and it seems unlikely that a detail of such importance would be subject to the artist's whim. But the chiton is represented as very light and transparent and with a little wearing of the coin it would become invisible. At least there is a great difference between the maiden of the Lampsacus coin and the amply clothed ladies of the Athena-Nike balustrade.
29 Eckhel, Doctrina Numorum Veterum I, p. 213, supposes that the battle of Himera of 480 b.c. is intended, but the coin cannot be so early. He can suggest no explanation for the youth riding a goat on the obverse, nor does there seem to be any later attempt to identify him.
30 The Electrum Coinage of Cyzicus, pp. 74f.
31 Traité, Part II, Vol. II, Paris, 1910, pp. 1423f.
32 "Die Elektronprägung von Kyzikos," Nomisma VII, p. 12, no. 154 and p. 34.
33 "The Aphlaston on Greek and Roman Coins," Transactions of the International Numismatic Congress, London, 1938, p. 24.
34 In publishing the coin (NC VI [1843] p. 156) H. P. Borrell says only "on the obverse of this interesting coin is seen a victory erecting a trophy, which probably alludes to some victory by which the people of Lampsacus received some signal benefit or in which its citizens had participated and acquired honour to their native city." The single known specimen was found in Nubia! Borrell comments on the fact that the gold of Lampsacus is regularly found far from that city (though it is not confined to Syria and Egypt as he supposed). Doubtless this wide dispersion of the gold pieces had its influence on the tendency to make their apparent connection to Lampsacus subordinate to their intrinsic beauty.
35 "Lampsacus: the Gold Staters, Silver and Bronze Coinages," AJN 1924, pp. 16–18.


The accession of Alexander the Great opens a new epoch in the history of our type. The Nike which appears on the reverse of the gold, an innovation to Macedonian issues ( Plate VI, 4), will be discussed in my forthcoming Essays on the Coinage of Alexander the Great.

But there is one matter of great importance for our present purpose. The gold of Philip had displayed a head of Apollo and a chariot: a guardian deity and a memorial of his own glory—a divine effigy and a personal one. Nike is to Alexander what the winning chariot had been to his father. The idea underlying the choice of this type is unprecedented. Though the concept of Nike had widened as it spread from Elis to Sicily and South Italy, where her increasing generalization enabled her to commemorate any kind of victory, she never became a completely abstract attribute, always rather retaining her relation to some specific event. It is true that she might have a particular temporary association with some city, some other deity or some mint magistrate, and the last phenomenon occasionally appears under Alexander. 36 But the type, as it appears on Alexander's coins embodies a new and abstract idea, for now she has become one of his attributes or possessions and belongs to him, presented not in commemoration of a particular victory, but to signify the career of conquest that he set out for himself. The audacious assumption was brilliantly fulfilled, and it was proper that the great car that bore his coffin should have been decorated at each of its corners with a golden Nike. 37

Alexander had an abundance of good generals but none so clearly superior to his fellows that he could be considered a natural successor, and the ambiguous indications given by the conqueror on his deathbed showed that there was no single person on whom could be concentrated either his hopes or his fears for the continued power of his family. It soon became apparent that there was no lack of individual ambition ajnong his followers, but their uneasy compromise by which his half-brother Philip and his posthumous son Alexander were made equal sovereigns proved that his estate was still too great a power to be challenged by any of his subordinates. The empire was still his as the victory had been his. Of this the coins are evidence; the same types were still minted. To be sure, the legend BAΣIΛEΩΣ AΛEΞANΔPOY would designate the young son just as well as the dead conqueror. In addition the types were universally known and established as an international currency which might be continued and was continued without raising the dangerous question of the rival claims of conflicting generals. Supported by the deification of the hero and the cult that was beginning to be established this continuation outlasted the life of the younger Alexander and as late as 280 b.c. a tetradrachm from Pergamum still purports to be the issue of his father. 38 The position of Philip III, however, raised a problem. Though he had ardent supporters among the Macedonian soldiery, his estimation in the eyes of the rest of the world can never have been as high as that of Alexander's son. If the imperial coins bore only Alexander's name it would certainly make Philip seem to be an inferior. On the other hand if different types were chosen for Philip it would suggest a most undesirable division between the co-rulers. The solution was to strike the same types, but, on some of the coins, replace the name of Alexander with that of Philip. It was a natural compromise and was doubtless accepted by the citizenry without much attention but, in the case of Nike, it really emphasizes how much the coinage was that of Alexander's estate instead of that of his successors. No fortune and no quality of the young Philip could entitle him to lay claim to Nike as his. So far as his name beside her is appropriate at all, it is so because his great forerunner had made her the expected symbol of royalty.

The death of Philip III occurred in 317 b.c., that of Alexander IV in 311 b.c. With their violent removal perished all hope of maintaining the unity of the empire for the legitimate house, and the successors were left to work out their opposed ambitions, and the change of conditions is presently apparent in the coins. Ptolemy, who had already replaced the head of Heracles on the tetradrachms with a head of Alexander in elephant-skin headdress, now changed his reverse types as well, choosing for his silver first Athena Promachos 39 and then an eagle; for his gold, a prow, then a quadriga of elephants, then an eagle like that on the silver. One issue of the old gold type is dated after 311 b.c., 40 and, on coins from Cyrene struck between 308 and 304 b.c., the familiar Nike appears with the name of Ptolemy. 41 This experiment, in obvious imitation of the practice of Philip III was taken up by other rulers of the time, but with Ptolemy it was of brief duration and thereafter Nike is abandoned, never to reappear on the coins of the kings of Egypt. 42 That land, therefore, has nothing to contribute to the history of her use as a type.

At about the time that Ptolemy's new reverses were appearing (310–304 b.c.), an unprecedented Nike, quite unrelated to the Macedonian, was struck by Agathocles of Syracuse to commemorate his victory over the Carthaginians in Africa ( Plate VI, 6). This goddess, like the kneeling figure of Lampsacus ( Plate V, 12) is nude to the waist and is about to nail a helmet to the top of a trophy. It would be rash to insist that the later coin was influenced by the earlier since we have no evidence that the earlier ever found its way to Sicily, but it must be remarked that this gold and silver of Agathocles shows a figure very different from the earlier tradition of Syracuse and from the contemporary currency of the East, except for issues of Seleucus I from Susa and Persepolis which will be presently considered. Whatever its inspiration, the Sicilian issue shares with the Lampsacene gold a character of which the decorative element is quite as important as the symbolic.

Associated with this type for silver is a gold didrachm of Agathocles with a young head in elephant's skin headdress on the obverse and, on the reverse, a winged Athena, armed, with an owl at her feet ( Plate VI, 7). 43 This is no abstract victory but Athena Promachos (or Alkidemos) imitated from the tetradrachms of Ptolemy I. The striking similarity of the types shows the close connection of Agathocles with the Egyptian monarch and also places him in the succession to Alexander the Great, which may well have been his ambition since he was highly covetous of honor. Arthur J. Evans 44 thinks that the occasion for this coin was the period after the murder of Ptolemy's officer during the African campaign when Agathocles was left without a rival and might consider himself in the position of a Diadochus on African soil. 45 It was the constant aim of Agathocles, a novus homo, to establish his position among the Macedonian princes, and it was following in their footsteps that he took the title of king soon after 305 b.c. The most interesting thing about the present type for us is that the addition of wings to Ptolemy's Athena gives the same kind of conflation of Nike with another deity which we have already met at Terina and which becomes common in the Roman empire.

Although the coinage of Ptolemy was the first to break from the tradition of Alexander, independent paths were eventually followed by some of his rivals also. There are two dates of capital importance for us in the early history of the successors: 306–305 b.c. and 301 b.c. The former is the time when the generals took the title of king, Cassander in Macedonia, Lysimachus in Thrace, Antigonus and his son Demetrius in Asia, Seleucus in Babylonia, and Ptolemy in Egypt. With Ptolemy we have already dealt; Cassander does not concern us for he always adhered to the types and name of Alexander. Almost the same can be said of Antigonus, but he is responsible for one interesting though ephemeral variation. In 306 Demetrius won a great naval victory over Ptolemy off Salamis in Cyprus and in that year Antigonus founded the city of Antigonea on the Orontes to serve as the capital of his empire. On the first tetradrachm issued from the new city the Zeus, in other respects indistinguishable from that of Alexander, holds not an eagle but a little Nike about to place a wreath on his head 46 ( Plate VI, 8). This is her attitude on Pheidias' great statue of Zeus at Olympia, if we may judge by the reproduction on a Roman coin 47 and it is doubtless from that source that Antigonus got the idea of the device for celebrating his son's great accomplishment in establishing command of the seas. It must be admitted that the theology of the group is somewhat obscure. If Zeus be the author of Victory and Nike his agent why is he also the recipient? Presumably the problem was settled to the satisfaction of the devout at Olympia and Antigonus adopted the solution with the goddess. In any case his natural conservatism reasserted itself at once, and his subsequent tetradrachms from Antigonea like those from all his other mints show the usual eagle on the hand of Zeus. 48

Seleucus took the more extreme step of announcing his new position on his coins at once. From his newly founded capital of Seleucia-on-the-Tigris he put out gold pieces with the familiar Nike but with the inscription ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΣΕΛΕΥΚΟΥ. 49 Whether or not this was later than the Ptolemaic gold from Cyrene it is to be distinguished by the use of the royal title and by the fact that it remained the device of Seleucus for all his reign and from all his mints. It is also to be distinguished from the same convention used in the name of Philip. Instead of a weak child whose only hope lay in the continuance of tradition, the issuer is now a successful general whose capture of Babylon became the starting point of a new era and who might with justice feel that victory was his by right. Moreover, about 303 b.c. he adopted, at the same mint, the Zeus Nicephorus which Antigonus had in- vented and abandoned. 50 Newell suggests that, taken in conjunction with new types of bronze appearing at the same time, the innovation may be considered as referring to successes of Seleucus in the East. 51 Like the coin of Antigonus, therefore, and like the electrum of Lampsacus and Cyzicus ( Plates V, 12; VI, 3) Nike is here used to signify not military victory in the abstract but some specific military victory.

Our second Hellenistic date of capital importance is 301 b.c. when at the battle of Ipsus, Antigonus and Demetrius were beaten by a great coalition of their rivals and Antigonus was killed. Lysimachus used this occasion to copy the practice of Seleucus and put his own name on the gold with Alexander's Nike. 52 Seleucus may have been influenced by the outcome to replace Nike on the hand of Zeus at Seleucia, and to show her in that position on his first tetradrachms from Seleucia Pieria and Antioch. 53 But he celebrated Ipsus in a more striking fashion. From the mints of Persepolis and, to a less extent Susa, he issued new types with an idealized portrait of himself on the obverse and, on the reverse, Nike placing a wreath on a trophy 54 ( Plate VII, 1). The likeness to Agathocles' coin ( Plate VI, 6) is too close to be accidental. If we had to suppose that Seleucus' die-sinkers were their own masters the remoteness of Syracuse would create a difficulty. But it is clear now that types are not the creation of artists but the selection of officials whose chief concern was with meaning rather than with form. We know of no specific connection between the courts of Agathocles and Seleucus, but the Syracusan was certainly in sufficiently close relation with the Hellenistic kings in the East for them to have been acquainted with his coins. It was the government which decided that his type should be imitated and the government which decreed that the imitations should be struck only at Susa and Persepolis. We cannot say how much the government was responsible for the modifications which are interesting though not, it would seem, of much symbolic importance. For one thing, the goddess is now clothed instead of being nude to the waist, for another she now holds a wreath instead of hammer and nail. Both these changes bring her into direct relation with the Nike of Alexander. For a third thing, instead of greaves attached at the bottom of a bare trunk there is now a shoot with leaves at the side. If this change has a meaning it escapes us now. But quite evidently the difference in execution was beyond the government's control. The stiff folds of the drapery show an awkward hand and, more important still, the revised pose brings the figure into profile instead of the almost frontal body of Agathocles' Nike produced by the right arm hanging down with the hammer. Yet the display of wings to right and left is retained though now it produces an anatomical impossibility. Perhaps Seleucus did as well to keep his type from too close inspection by the more accomplished artists of the West.

It was not the victors alone who made use of the battle of Ipsus. It would not seem that Demetrius had much to celebrate, beside escaping with his life. But there was one circumstance which it was very important for him to keep prominent in the minds of his antagonists. His father's bid for supremacy on land might have failed disastrously, but Demetrius still controlled the sea. Though the victory of Salamis was some years past its effects were not diminished. He therefore abandoned the conservatism of Antigonus and struck one of the most notable types of antiquity ( Plate VII, 2). Its first appearance is likely to have been at the appropriate mint of Salamis in Cyprus, but Tarsus, Miletus and Ephesus also supplied these tetradrachms until 294 b.c. when he lost control of those cities, and between 294 and 292 b.c. Pella and Amphipolis continued to strike them. 55 To make more emphatic his defiance of those who considered him beaten, Demetrius transferred Nike to the obverse of his new coins. The fashion of her wings, her clothing, the mast she carries are all like the Nike of Alexander. But now she is seen just on the point of alighting on one of the captured ships, 56 in her right hand a long straight trumpet on which she blows a blast to announce the victory won. The striding Poseidon on the reverse of the tetradrachm forms an excellent complement. Against the victor of Salamis and a hostile god of the sea who would dare to contend? 57 The fact that these types were issued at almost all Demetrius' mints and were issued for many years makes this a more vigorous statement of peculiar right to Nike than that of Seleucus, but both are symbols of particular victories rather than claims to Victory herself as a special and perpetual possession after the fashion of Alexander. Demetrius did, it is true, like Seleucus use his own name on gold with the Nike of Alexander, but this was not an enduring profession of equality, for he presently gave it up for new types with only human figures. As for his successors the Antigonid kings of Macedon, their types followed other conventions and never returned to Nike.

About 297 b.c. Lysimachus produced a new general issue on which the same types were used for both silver and gold simultaneously from all mints ( Plate VII, 3, 4). The new obverse is a head of the deified Alexander with the horns of Zeus Ammon; on the new reverse is the warrior Athena seated to the left with her shield beside her. On her outstretched right hand is a little Nike who is crowning the name of Lysimachus. It was an adroit invention. The choice of Alexander's portrait was at once an act of modesty and an assertion of that close connection with him so important to all his associates. The reverse device suggests a less assured claim on victory than Alexander's Nike, but a superior claim to that of the Zeus Nicephorus of Antigonus and Seleucus. As in the old days at Olympia Nike is not a source but an agent and it is Athena the wise and warlike goddess by whom the victory is given. But by the pretty conceit of allowing the king's name to stand for the king it was made to appear that Lysimachus, while no longer the possessor of victory was the regular recipient, an idea quite as valuable for his purposes. The types became instantly and widely popular and long after his death in 281 b.c. the cities continued to strike them as an international coinage. Thus, though Lysimachus had no heirs, his memory persisted in the country he had ruled when that of his rivals had been forgotten.

In 280 b.c. Seleucus, whose final fortune it was to conquer his old ally Lysimachus, died a violent death himself and there were none left of the great group that had been companions of Alexander. If we consider their use of Nike as a type we may fancy that something of the essential quality of the men is illustrated in this minor fashion: Cassander's lack of originality and imagination which led him to attempt to continue what he had received without change or addition; Ptolemy's far-sighted embracing of a separatist policy which brought about an entire break with the tradition; the cautious conservatism of Antigonus intent on using to the full the advantage of appearing Alexander's true successor; the bold innovation of his son Demetrius with confidence enough in himself to replace the victory of Alexander by a victory of his own; finally the calculating statesmanship of Seleucus and Lysimachus looking for a formula that would express the importance of tradition and at the same time recognize the new age which they intended to dominate. None of them was as great in his fortunes as Alexander, as none had been as great in his ambition and his confidence.

Of them all, Seleucus was the only one whose descendants continued to use Nike on their coins but, before dealing with them, it will be well to return to Sicily. The successor of Agathocles, Hicetas, who held the power from 288 to 279 b.c. reintroduced a familiar Syracusan device on his coins when he struck gold on which Nike is driving a galloping biga ( Plate VII, 6). Hiero II (274–216 b.c.) used the same type for gold (Giesecke Pl. 24, 3), and Nike with a galloping or a walking quadriga for his silver and that of his wife Philistis ( Plate VII, 7). But between these instances of a well established Syracusan device comes the period from 278 to 276 b.c. when Pyrrhus, the adventurous wanderer through Hellenistic turmoil, finding that his campaign against the Romans in South Italy was progressing less rapidly than he could desire, was diverted by the opportunity of commanding the united Sicilians in a war against Carthage. Like all the other episodes of his career, the conception was larger than the performance, but the spirit in which he undertook what ultimately proved to be too big a task for him is shown by the gold struck for him at Syracuse bearing what might be called a Sicilian translation of the Nike of Alexander ( Plates VII, 8, 9; VIII, 1). It was in two denominations and with two varieties of Nike, one with one wing falling behind the body, the other with both wings displayed, both carrying a wreath and trophy. Both have a Sicilian grace quite unlike the sobriety of Alexander's type, but otherwise the announcement of a special title to victory is like that of Alexander, differing only in the fact that its use was much restricted both in time and space. 58 To his contemporaries Pyrrhus was a mighty figure and this likening of himself to the conqueror would probably not have seemed extravagant to many who watched his revolutionary progress with astonishment. It is only after the event, when we consider the disproportion between his ambitions and his accomplishments that this late assertion of a claim to victory seems like ill-supported conceit.

The Nikes of the house of Seleucus are numerous but, for the most part, of no great interest. The gold type is found for Antiochus I at Susa (280–261 b.c.), 59 and for Antiochus II at Tarsus (261–246 b.c.). 60 Zeus Nicephorus proved very popular as a type for silver and continued to the end of the dynasty without significant change, though the Nike sometimes faces to the right, sometimes to the left. A comparable symbol is the Nike held by Athena Parthenos who appears first on the tetradrachms of Alexander Balas from Antioch in 149–8 b.c., 61 and is frequently used by his successors. Under Alexander Balas also was issued from Aradus a tetradrachm on which Tyche sits in much the same attitude as the Athena of Lysimachus and holds a little Nike to the left ( Plate VII, 5). Tyche certainly represents the city itself, but whether there was any special circumstance to make it appropriate that Aradus should be portrayed as the granter of victory we do not know. It is more likely that this is merely a royal complimentary and conventional recognition of the fact that Aradus herself associated victory with her city-goddess, as shown by the series of municipal tetradrachms which began in 138–7 b.c. 62 A bronze Tyche Nicephorus had earlier been issued by Antiochus IV from Seleucia-on-the-Tigris. 63 In this case the importance of the city, which was the Seleucids' eastern capital, is so clear that the town might well be figured as the bearer of victory since the fortunes of the dynasty depended on its loyalty.

An odd eastern reflection of a Sicilian theme is found on a bronze unit apparently struck at Susa whose obverse has the head of Zeus Ammon, its reverse Nike driving a galloping biga to the right. 64 Newell's preference for assigning it to Antiochus III rather than Antiochus IV (the identification of its first publisher Allotte de la Fuÿe) may have been partly based on a silver piece of Carystus in Euboea with Nike left in a biga, the obverse being apparently a portrait of Antiochus III. 65 The uncertainties involved make it useless to argue the matter closely; de la Fuÿe's view is supported by bronzes with a radiate head of Antiochus IV as obverse, Nike left in a biga as reverse. 66 Whatever the proper dating the most conspicuous thing about these coins is their clumsiness compared with the Syracusan chariots of the third century. The type transplanted is no more than a numismatic curiosity.

Seleucus Nicator's interesting type of Nike and a trophy ( Plate VII, 1) was never reproduced in its original form, but it gave rise to two variations. The first appears on three denominations of bronze struck by Antiochus I at Seleucia ( Plate VIII, 2). Though they are from different mints, the later bronze must surely have been influenced by the earlier silver, but how very different it is! Not only has the sober portrait of Seleucus been replaced by a sentimental facing head of Apollo, but the goddess of the reverse, so quiet and seemly on the tetradrachm, has been transformed to a violently active figure. Babelon 67 remarked that she bears a strong resemblance to Pan who is erecting a trophy on bronzes of Antigonus Gonatas of Macedon ( Plate VIII, 3) and concludes that they both refer to the defeats of the Gauls in Asia and Europe which were important triumphs for both rulers. The victory of Antigonus came in 277 b.c., 68 that of Antiochus probably in 275 b.c. 69 Newell 70 objects to dating the type of Antiochus so early, and puts it about 267–265 b.c. which would be a tardy reminiscence of a great battle. Perhaps, as he says, "the new types may have borne a general, rather than a specific, implication." It would be unsafe to count this as a sure instance of a particular victory celebrated by a coin type, but at least there is general agreement that it is later than the design of Antigonus, which may therefore be taken to account for its striking and unusual appearance.

The second variation recurs on three denominations of bronze struck by Seleucus II at Seleucia-on-the-Tigris ca. 240–230 b.c. ( Plate VIII, 4). Although the profile of Seleucus I on the obverse has been replaced by heads of the Dioscuri and the group on the reverse is in the opposite direction, there can be no doubt that this is an intentional reflection of the earlier eastern tetradrachms, for the object of uncertain shape between Nike and the trophy turns out, on close inspection of some specimens, to be a bull's head, the well-known symbol of the first Seleucus. Newell 71 suggests that the occasion may have been the assembling of the expedition which was to win back the eastern lands originally held by Seleucus Nicator and that his namesake recalled his victorious type as an omen and an encouragement to the people of Seleucia. Nike here, then, has a double excuse for being: pious tradition and pious hope. Very often among the later Seleucids the hope of victory outruns its achievement and Nike appears optimistically on the coins of monarchs whose fortunes were anything but triumphant. Except for the bull's head and the palm which Nike bears, the new group adds nothing to the old. The goddess has recovered from the excitement she displayed under Antiochus I and is now a fair replica of the original type, with such inferiority as might be expected from the difference in time and resources of the two kings and from the fact that a bronze type seldom displays the care that is spent on a major silver issue.

The only important innovation for our purpose is a type which appears on two denominations of bronze ( Plate VIII, 5) attributed by Newell to Seleucus II at Seleucia-on-the-Tigris, ca. 240–230 b.c., without perfect assurance, since their monograms are not identical with those of Seleucia and the coins themselves have not been recorded from the excavations of that city. 72 But the question of the mint is of minor importance for us, and the identity of the king may be taken as sure. In a sense the symbolism is only that of Lysimachus made more explicit. Instead of the king's name crowned by victory, it is now the king himself who is crowned. But though the symbolism is the same, the unprecedented use of the figure of the monach in military garb seems to suggest a special occasion and perhaps the fact that the type is not repeated either by Seleucus II or by his successors may be taken as evidence that there is a single occasion for this issue. In this case, however, as Newell points out, there are two such occasions available: one when Seleucus drove back the Parthian king Tiridates who had previously defeated his lieutenants, the other when he drove back his rebel brother Antiochus Hierax who had taken advantage of his absence in the east to invade Mesopotamia. The second case is perhaps not quite so clear as the first, but both give occasion for the greater precision of this new type: though subordinates may be beaten, when the king himself takes the field Nike is with him. This type, then, we may class with some probability as celebrating a particular victory.

The use of Nike alone was common but uninspired. Seleucus I had transferred Alexander's gold type to bronze still bearing Alexander's name at Susa ( Plate VIII, 6) and Ecbatana. He also struck at Nisibis large bronzes in his own name with the heads of the Dioscuri as obverse, while the reverse bears a somewhat different figure of Nike walking to the left carrying a wreath in her right hand, a palm in her left. 73 One or other of these varieties was used by a great many succeeding monarchs. In some cases Nike crowns the king's name, in some she holds her wreath over the Seleucid dynastic anchor but the only important variation in her attitude is that on rare occasions she is drawn to the right rather than to the left. 74 By the later kings the type is used for small silver as well as for bronze ( Plate VIII, 8). In both cases it is only one of several types available, 75 and never therefore has the symbolic importance of Nikeon Alexander's gold. The question naturally arises whether these Nikes had specific historical occasions or whether they had become a mere stereotype. To this we cannot give any clear answer. The lives of the later Seleucids were so full of fighting that any of them might have achieved a passable imitation of a victory, and the record of the times is so very fragmentary that nothing at all can be deduced from the silence of the authors. But if one cannot deny that a particular Nike may celebrate a particular forgotten battle, one must admit that other factors play a part in the convention. For example, Timarchus struck bronze at Ecbatana showing a Nike to the left; it is true that his brief career from 162–160 b.c. saw him take possession of Media, which might account for the type; it is also true that the predecessor of his issue is that of Antiochus III from Ecbatana bearing the same Nike, and the borrowing of the legitimate ruler's type has its political uses irrespective of its symbolism. Again, Demetrius III struck a Nike on his bronze from Damascus for four years between 96 and 87 b.c. 76 His winning of the town in 96–5 b.c. may explain the first of these, but the year 88–87 b.c. was so inglorious for him that the last of them is to be explained only as a vain repetition of a device once adopted. Finally it may be remarked that no victory of a king later than Seleucus I was of sufficient importance to be recorded on an issue of big silver.

As one gets farther from Alexander there is a sense of the fading out of royal personality. This is certainly largely the result of the deterioration of our sources. Nobody in his time thought of Antiochus III or Antiochus IV as a feeble personality. Yet the general decline is a reality. The monarchs set their ambitions on lower goals, they governed with lessening resources, their gains were slighter and more ephemeral, their losses more frequent and more vital. Nike might still appear on their coins but she was hardly a goddess any more. She was a memorial without honesty, a hope without conviction, a numismatic cliché from which the life had departed.

Like other types that had become conventional, Nike was borrowed by the kings of the partly Hellenized lands. There may well have been times when her appearance on the coins of some dynast signified a greater or lesser triumph, but interesting as the hunt for such occasions might be for political history, it adds nothing to the history of the type. The semi-barbarous royal Nikes are figures of little beauty and no individuality, and the same is true for the great majority of Nikes which appear, either as type or symbol, on the coinages of Hellenistic cities. They are numerous, and for the most part, uninteresting. There are cases, however, where a civic issue is noteworthy.

A conspicuous example is on the series of tetradrachms struck by Aradus from 138–7 b.c. ( Plate VIII, 7) to 46–5 b.c. 77 It is suggested that this appearance of larger silver from a mint which had never struck such ambitious pieces before may have been occasioned by the destruction of her rival Marathus. It would be tempting to suppose that the Nike now selected as a reverse type commemorated that event, but it must be remembered that her association with the Tyche of Aradus, whose head adorns this obverse, had already been expressed by the coin of Alexander Balas already referred to, 78 though the attempt of that king as ally of the city to destroy Marathus was a failure. On whatever occasion the selection was made, Nike now becomes the official sign of the city for nearly a century. The aphlaston which she carries in her right hand certainly testifies to the naval might of Aradus whether or not it celebrates a particular naval victory. The figure is carefully drawn and attractive at the beginning, with the seemliness and dignity of Alexander's Nike and with somewhat more grace. But succeeding die-sinkers were not now independent artists nor were they treated as such. Their duty was unvarying reproduction of the figure officially prescribed, and if the start of the series is a pleasure to the eye, before it reaches its end it has become a lamentable example of what officialdom can do to art ( Plate VIII, 9). One has only to remember the charm and variety of the Nikes of Olympia and Terina to see one of the gulfs between the pre-Alexandrine and post-Alexandrine worlds. The symbolism was reasonably justified, however; though the career of Aradus may not have been invariably victorious, her importance and general success were great enough to give her a respectable title to her Nike.

A case of quite a different sort is that of the issue of identical types in the time of Mithradates Eupator (120–63 b.c.) by a group of cities of Pontus and Paphlagonia: Amisus ( Plate VIII, 10), Comana, Chabacta, Laodicea, Cabeira, Amastris, Sinope. 79 The obverse has an aegis with Medusa's head in the center, referring to the supposed descent of Mithradates from Perseus, the reverse, Nike to the right with the name of the city. The goddess is ugly and there is nothing remarkable in her position except the odd way in which she holds the wreath behind her as though she were about to throw it. The only notable point about her is that she is to be associated not with the issuing authorities—for the cities had neither independent victories nor defeats—but with their lord the King of Pontus who took this means of identifying their fortunes with his own. In the same way we later find in the Roman empire cases of ostensible civic types that are in fact a part of the imperial propaganda.

Issues of the Boeotian League show how entirely devoid of meaning a type can become. In the period between the granting of freedom to the League by Demetrius Poliorcetes and its defeat by the Aetolians (288–245 b.c.), and probably connected with the Boeotian resistance to the invading Gauls in 278 b.c., bronze coins were struck with a head of young Heracles and a fighting Nike to the right (SNG Copenhagen Aetolia-Euboea, 377f.). The obverse is usual enough, Heracles being a Theban hero who had often appeared on types. The reverse is interesting, for the figure is an Athena Nike of a different kind from that of Agathocles in the fourth century: 80 the thunderbolt and aegis which she bears proclaim her the warrior daughter of Zeus, but the wings and unhelmeted head are those of Nike and remind us of the strange fact that, closely as she had come to be associated with war as distinguished from all other types of victory, she is very rarely shown in combat. This is an interesting combination of divinities and prepares us for unusual features in other Boeotian types. And such we presently find.

Silver drachms have a head of Poseidon on the obverse, Nike holding a trident on the reverse ( Plate VIII, 11). 81 Small bronzes, obviously of the same series, have a shield as obverse while Nike is represented as walking rather than standing ( Plate VIII, 12). The trident in her hand might be supposed to refer to a naval victory, but since no such event is known to which the type could possibly apply, we must conclude that the trident is no more than the usual symbol of the Boeotian god Poseidon, whose figure appears on other Hellenistic coins of the League. 82 This, then, is the second Boeotian instance of Nike endowed with the attributes of another deity. But Nike herself creates a difficulty. Head's date for the beginning of the issue, which has been generally accepted, is 197 b.c., the year of Flamininus' victory over Philip V at Cynoscephalae. This would certainly give an occasion for the type, since the Boeotians were the allies of Flamininus. But they were far from enthusiastic allies, having merely yielded to Roman pressure, and indeed a Boeotian contingent fought at Cynoscephalae in Philip's army. Even at the beginning, therefore, the appearance of the new type would have given a dubious satisfaction to the Boeotians, and as time went on its propriety would have grown more and more doubtful since relations with Flamininus became much worse in the next year, and in 192 b.c. when Antiochus III crossed the Aegean to Greece the Boeo- tians at once joined him against Rome. His defeat and their second surrender did not keep at least a portion of them from joining Perseus in 173 b.c., and when Rome protested the League was broken up. Yet the number of magistrates' monograms known proves that this series was of considerable duration, quite enough, indeed, to account for the whole period from Cynoscephalae to the dissolution of the League. Surely this is only explicable if one assumes that Nike had become a figure entirely devoid of real significance.

An alternative date of 245 b.c. for the series has recently been proposed by Michel Feyel, but this is only an exchange of dilemmas. 83 The year 245 b.c. saw the Boeotians forced into alliance with the Aetolians as the result of a bad defeat by the latter near Chaeroneia. At some date after 239 b.c.—the year is still disputed—they extricated themselves from this humiliating association and joined Demetrius II, King of Macedon. If the first appearance of Nike in 197 b.c. would cause surprise, in 245 b.c. it would be almost incredible. Doubtless in the period after 239 b.c. there were events which might be construed as Boeotian victories but, again, a long series can be given place only on the assumption that the type was continued after it had ceased to be appropriate: that is, it had lost its meaning.

There is one creation of a Hellenistic city, however, which is at once beautiful and an ingenious addition to the symbolism of our goddess. On some of the abundant didrachms of Tarentum the founder Taras rides his inevitable dolphin but holds in his hand a little Nike who crowns him ( Plate IX, 1): that is the demigod Taras who is, of course, the city itself, has been exalted to the usual position of Zeus or Athena, at once the author and the recipient of victory. This may be doubtful theology, but as a metaphor of the city made glorious by victory of her own creation it is a pretty and effective figure. It is a conceit to which we need not attach too much importance. For one thing Nike is only one of a number of things that Taras may hold; for another, its intermittent occurrence from the fourth century 84 to the alliance with Hannibal 212–209 b.c., 85 embraces times when Tarentum certainly had no victories of her own. But it is pleasant to recall that Tarentum could continue to the end of the third century some of that variety and independence of the die-sinkers' art which royal dominance had extinguished in the East.

End Notes

36 F. Lederer, "Eine Goldstater Alexanders des Großen" ZfN 1922, p. 185, Pl. VII, 1. See also Plate VI, 5, a tetradrachm of Tarsus.
37 Diodorus, XVIII, 26, 6.
38 WSM, p. 317, no. 1530. Alexander staters also are found after 300 b.c. E.T. Newell, The Coinages of Demetrius Poliorectes , Oxford, 1927, p. 25, no. 19.
39 Or Athena Alkidemos, cf. Agnes Baldwin Brett, "Athena Alkidemos of Pella," ANSMN IV (1950), pp. 55–72.
40 J. N. Svoronos, Tὰ Nομίσματα τοũ Κράτους τῶν Πτολεμαίων Athens, 1904, Part II, p. 9, no. 36, Pl. II, 16.
41 Svoronos, ibid., pp. 11f., nos. 61–64, Pl. III, 2–5. Omission of the title Bασιλέως indicates a date before 306 b.c.
42 A trivial exception is furnished by a little bronze of Cleopatra VII struck at Berytus in 31 b.c. with a most inappropriate Nike. Svoronos, ibid., Pl. LXIII, 20.
43 Walther Giesecke, Sicilia Numismatica. Die Grundlagen des griechischen Münzwesens auf Sicilien, Leipzig, 1925, Pl. 21, 7.
44 "Contributions to Sicilian Numismatics," NC 1894, pp. 237–242.
45 Evans calls attention to the owl on the didrachm as a possible reminiscence of whatever actually lay behind the fantastic account in Diodorus (XX, 11, 3f.) of Agathocles letting loose owls in the face of the Carthaginians in order to encourage his soldiers at the battle of Tunis against Hanno and Bodmilcar.
46 WSM, p. 84, no. 1, with the brilliant demonstration, pp. 84–89, that these issues are in fact the coins of Antigonus though they never bear his name.
47 Richter, The Sculpture and Sculptors of the Greeks, fig. 607.
48 The attribution to Antigonus disposes of the suggestion of Babelon (Rois de Syrie, p. XCV) that it was Seleucus I who set up, at Daphne by Antioch, a copy of the Pheidian Zeus of Olympia, against the testimony of Ammianus Marcellinus (XXII, 13, 1) that it was Antiochus IV. Babelon's case rests entirely on the assumption that the type with Nike was first struck by Seleucus.
49 ESM, p. 12, no. 1.
50 ESM, p. 15, nos. 13f.
51 ESM, pp. 20f.
52 E. T. Newell, Royal Greek Portrait Coins, New York, 1937, p. 21.
53 ESM, p. 22; WSM, pp. 89, 93.
54 ESM, p. 113, nos. 300–302, pp. 154–159. Why should the type be confined to two mints so remote from the victory? Is it not because he was reluctant to show a trophy of Greek arms too near home? In Syria his foundation of cities was a perfectly clear proof of his power and what had he to gain by reminding his neighbors that the power had been bought at the cost of Greek and Macedonian lives? The East had no such susceptibilities to be considered. There the celebration of Ipsus was paired with his other new reverse of Athena driving an elephant chariot, referring to real or supposed Indian victories, and Seleucus is thereby displayed as conqueror in both the parts of his empire.
55 Demetrius. Especially the discussion of this type, pp. 32–38.
56 Newell, op. cit., pp. 35–38 argues strongly for the view that the ship is one of the defeated vessels, the acrostolium torn away. If it were not for this interpretation of the curious notched appearance of the stolos one might more readily assume that the ship was Demetrius' own and that the trumpet blast was sounding the attack, since we know that trumpets were used for just that purpose at Salamis (Diodorus XX, 51, 2). But we know also that the trumpet was used to announce a victory—though I know of no case referring to a naval victory. Cf. the article "Tuba" by A. Reinach, Dictionnaire des Antiquités grecques et romaines V, pp. 522–528 especially figs. 7145, 7146. The relation of this type with the Nike of Samothrace in the Louvre, often discussed, does not concern us here. It is now apparently unanimously agreed that the statue is too late to have been a monument of Demetrius.
57 The reverse of a very rare issue of gold with the same obverse, (Newell, op. cit., Pl. II, 11, 12) issued simultaneously with the first Salamis tetradrachms has Athena Promachos to the left, exactly reversing the figure used as early as 312 b.c. on the silver of Ptolemy. There could hardly be a more telling type for a coin recording Ptolemy's great defeat (Newell, op. cit., p. 40).
58 Two types of Tarentine bronze are to be associated with Pyrrhus, both with the laureate head of Zeus for obverse, one with a reverse of Victory and trophy (A. Reinach "Pyrrhus et la Niké de Tarente," Neapolis I (1913), p. 21, fig. 1), the other with Nike holding a thunderbolt (below, p. 45). The former appears also on contemporary bronzes of the Bruttii (ibid., pp. 22f., fig. 3).
59 ESM, p. 129, 353.
60 WSM, p. 220, 1305f., 1308.
61 E. T. Newell, The Seleucid Mint of Antioch, New York, 1918, p. 48, 150.
62 See below, p. 39.
63 Babelon, Les Rois de Syrie, pp. 71f., 548–555; R. H. McDowell, Coins from Seleucia on the Tigris, Ann Arbor, 1935, pp. 19f., 44.
64 ESM, p. 150, 412, Pl. XXXI, 18.
65 BMC, Central Greece, p. 103, 18, Pl. XIX, 2.
66 Babelon, Rois de Syrie, p. 72, 556–558.
67 Rois de Syrie, p. LIII.
68 CAH VII, p. 106.
69 David Magie, Roman Rule in Asia Minor, Princeton, 1950, p. 731, 12.
70 ESM, pp. 66f.
71 WSM, p. 19.
72 ESM, p. 80.
73 WSM, Pl. VII, 1–2. The available specimens are too much worn to illustrate.
74 Babelon, Rois de Syrie, p. 206, 1563–1566, Demetrius III, Damascus; p. 210, 1588, Antiochus XII, Damascus. The reversal of position may have been intended to be significant; cf. the countermark of Demetrius I with Nike r. on coins of Timarchus with Nike 1. (ANSMN I, 1945, pp. 37–44). It is perhaps worth noting that among the early Seleucids only Seleucus II and Antiochus III use this reverse with a royal portrait as obverse. The others use divine or heroic heads.
75 The case of the usurper Timarchus is hardly an exception. Nike is his only bronze type, but his reign from 162–160 b.c. produced a single issue alone.
76 E. T. Newell, Late Seleucid Mints in Ake-Ptolemais and Damascus, New York, 1939, pp. 78–82, 117, 120, 124, 131.
77 E. T. Newell, Miscellanea Numismatica: Cyrene to India, New York, 1938, pp. 35f., Pl. II, 15, BMC Phoenicia, pp. XVf., 23–35.
78 Above, P. 33.
79 W. H. Waddington, Recueil général des Monnaies grecques d'Asie Mineure, 2nd ed., Paris, 1925, I, Chabacta: Pl. XI, 23, Comana: Pl. XI, 25, Laodicea: Pl. XII, 17, Cabeira: Pl. XII, 21, Amastris: Pl. XVIII, 17, 18, Sinope: Pl. XXVI, 12.
80 Above, p. 24.
81 B. V. Head, On the Chronological Sequence of the Coins of Boeotia, London, 1881, pp. 88–92. Head calls the obverse Zeus, but Poseidon seems a better identification.
82 Head, op. cit., Pl. VI, 3.
83 Polybe et l'Historie de Béotie au III Siècle avant notre Ere, Paris, 1942, pp. 231–234, p. 232, n. 2.
84 Oscar E. Ravel, Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Tarentine Coins formed by M. P. Vlasto, London, 1947, Pl. XVIII, 560.
85 Ibid., Pls. XXXIf., 975–980.


Unlike the lesser barbarians who surrounded the Hellenistic world, the Romans had an independent numismatic tradition and a fine one. There is no Greek parallel to the great series of aes signatum of the Republic. Yet contact with the Greek cities of Italy affected the Romans too, and shortly after their power had been established in the South the first Roman Victory appears on a silver didrachm struck in that region, perhaps in the city of Tarentum 86 ( Plate IX, 2). Her relation to the Nike of Agathocles ( Plate VI, 6) is sufficiently obvious, though this is not merely a copy but a very competent piece of composition. In place of the trophy there is now a long palm branch to which Victory is attaching a wreath with a fillet. The act extends both arms and brings the body around so that it is viewed more from the side. The wings are properly to the left instead of displayed, but the flexibility of the figure is preserved by the bent right leg. The palm and wreath to the right with serial letter beneath, and the inscription to the left fill the space comfortably. But there is a type closer to the Roman than the Nike of Agathocles both in time and in form. A bronze of Tarentum has a Nike to the right holding a thunderbolt. The combination of type and symbol is convincingly connected with Pyrrhus of Epirus. 87 To the Tarentine die-sinkers of his time, therefore, the credit must go for the successful alteration of the figure's pose to eliminate the trophy without leaving space undesirably vacant. 88 The designers for the Romans would then have to hand a Nike from Tarentum itself in bronze, to be sure, but suitable as a basis for the first type of the new masters of South Italy. Their elimination of the thunderbolt, the sign of the Epirote King, would be a matter of course, but the substitution of the conventional palm produces an arrangement sufficiently specific without being an affront to the vanquished. Altogether it is an auspicious beginning to Victory's career on the Roman coinage.

From Rome itself was later issued another coin of Syracusan inspiration, the so-called quadrigatus ( Plate IX, 3) showing Jupiter with a thunderbolt driving a quadriga to the right, with a little Victory behind him. The composition is uninteresting and the execution poor. The theology also is dubious and the whole thing a disappointing contrast to the preceding which had clearly been the work of a good Greek artist. Nor is the decorative standard much raised by the victoriatus ( Plate IX, 4) introduced to replace the half-quadrigatus. 89 This also originates at the mint of Rome and is a much simplified version of Agathocles' group. North Italian sobriety has presented the goddess fully clad. She is in profile, though on early specimens her weight is still on the left foot with the right knee bent. The gesture of crowning the trophy is a simpler attitude than that of the didrachm, but the meaning of the type was clear and apparently satisfying to the Romans, for it persisted for a long time, getting stiffer and increasingly careless.

The original reverse type of the denarius was the Dioscuri on galloping horses. An alternative was Diana driving a biga to the right, and Diana later came to be replaced by Victory ( Plate IX, 5). Of course this, like the type of the quadrigatus, is a borrowing from the Greek, without beauty or special significance to make it notable. 90

There are a number of variations of the chariot type: a quadriga or triga instead of biga; Victory crowning the horses or the charioteer. These occur at different times and give no further light on the Roman principles and practice of adaptation. There is, however, one concentration of powers which is worth mentioning as showing the Roman instinct for impressiveness at the expense of finesse. A denarius of C. Metellus of the late second or early first century b.c. shows Jupiter driving a biga of elephants over which Victory flies to crown him! ( Plate IX, 6). The elephants are a reminiscence of those captured in the battle of Panormus in 251 b.c. by the moneyer's ancestor L. Caecilius Metellus, but how they came to be harnessed to the chariot of Jupiter only the moneyer or his die-sinker could say.

Victories appear frequently throughout the Republic, but most of them are such bare conventions as to call for no comment. There are two exceptions, however, in the time of the Social Wars, for in both cases the Roman reverse is borrowed by the Italian insurgents. The first is a denarius of M. Cato showing Victory seated with the inscription VICTRIX ( Plate IX, 7). Mommsen identified the reverse type as the cult statue in the aedicula of Victoria Virgo dedicated by Cato the Elder in 194 b.c. to celebrate his Spanish campaign. The figure does indeed have the appearance of a particular statue 91 but it must have been understood in a general sense as well, for there are rare denarii copying both obverse and reverse, but with the inscription changed to ITALIA. 92 A clearer case still is that of the denarius on which Rome is depicted seated on a pile of arms, crowned by Victory standing behind ( Plate IX, 8). This is an evident picture of Rome victorious in the war, again parodied by a denarius of the insurgents on which the legend ROMA is replaced by ITALIA. 93 This type is apparently adapted from a Greek symbol for there are Athenian New Style tetradrachms where a seated figure with sword and spear is crowned by Nike ( Plate IX, 10). The coin was struck 122/1 b.c.; 94 the figure is usually taken to be a Roman general because one of the moneyers is named KOINTOΣ. Aside from the difficulty produced by the hypothesis that one of the moneyers would be allowed to use a picture of himself being crowned as a symbol, and the lack of a Quintus of the proper eminence at the proper time, there is positive evidence that the figure is not a human. Miss Thompson's work with the New Style tetradrachms has made it clear that this series is immediately preceded by one struck by Xenokles and Harmoxenos on which also the seated figure appears though not crowned by Nike. 95 Comparison with the seated figure of Aetolia on coins of the Aetolian League, 279–168 b.c., 96 in spite of the difference in scale and in date will strongly suggest that the Athenian coin also shows a national divinity. Whether that divinity be Rome or not is doubtful since she appears before the year of Quintus, whose inclusion among the Attic mint magistrates is the chief reason for assuming Roman influence. In any case the author of the denarius had the precedent of a similar group with a seated goddess crowned by Victory.

In general it may be said that the importance of the Roman types is in their association or the ideas behind them, and seldom in their art. Republican coins have their own attractiveness and their own value, but no one can feel that the Republican die-sinkers are as skilful as their Greek predecessors. They illustrate interesting events, and they more rarely give form to interesting conceptions, but it is the event or the conception which is of importance, not the form. To list all the modifications of a well-known figure, therefore, would advance our subject very little. One innovation, however, is worthy of remark: the substitution of a bust of Victory for the whole figure ( Plate IX, 9). This appears late in the Republic 97 and was used by Augustus. The increase in scale of the portrait gave opportunity to show the features of real persons—though whether this was actually done or not is a matter of dispute—but the loss in dignity is conspicuous and the bust was never a serious competitor of the full figure.

The fashion of moneyers of recording the great deeds of their ancestors makes it certain that Victory would occur prominently on these reminiscent series. As the Republic drew to its close, however, contemporary events began to intrude among the historical ones, and some Victories of the civil wars have especial point as illustrative of the propaganda of rival chiefs. An instance is that of the gold and silver struck by L. Manlius and L. Sulla in 82–81 b.c., possibly in Athens itself, showing Sulla in a triumphal quadriga crowned by Victory ( Plate IX, 11). Although the group is a direct descendant of the Sicilian quadrigas, the significance is entirely different. The chariot is no longer the vehicle of a competitor in the games bearing him to triumph by its swiftness. It is the car of a Roman who has already triumphed, moving in solemn procession to celebrate that triumph. The earlier Greek meaning has therefore been entirely replaced. 98

The type of Sulla, it must be emphasized, was evidence of a fact of great religious importance. He claimed Victory as his own in a fashion less bold and simple than Alexander's but more explicit. After his defeat of the Samnites Sulla instituted games to which he gave the name Ludi Sullanae Victoriae. 99 This was much more than commemorating "a victory won by Sulla." It was a statement that his victory was a characteristic like his fortune or his valor. In this, as in other matters, Pompey aped his chief and a rare aureus shows him in a similar triumphal quadriga, though here Victory crowns the horses, and an added feature is his young son Gnaeus riding one of them. 100

It was natural that Victory should have a prominent place among the types of Julius Caesar. The transition between Republican and Imperial coinage is manifest in the use of his portrait as an obverse type where no living Roman had ever appeared before. The supposed descent of the Julian gens from lulus the son of Aeneas is the reason for the use of Venus, the mother of Aeneas, as a reverse type ( Plate X, 1). Here she has the special form of Venus Victrix, not only equipped with spear and shield, but also holding a Victory with outstretched wreath. The obvious analogy with the Athena Nicephorus of the Seleucids is no accident. Like the Hellenistic Kings, Caesar is asserting for his family a special connection with a goddess who brings victory. L. Aemilius Buca, one of the moneyers who struck this common type used also another Hellenistic reminiscence: Venus seated holding Victory ( Plate X, 2). But a more remarkable type of his shows a group much more complicated ( Plate X, 3). Sabatier and Babelon supposed this to refer to the myth of Endymion, but that would be an unparalleled representation for this time and, one would suppose, very obscure to the users of the coin. A better explanation is that of Eckhel who sees here a reference to the dream of Sulla, reported by Plutarch ( Sulla, ix). On his way to his contest with Marius at Rome he had a vision of the moon putting a thunderbolt in his hands and urging him to strike his enemies, who were thereupon vanquished. The winged figure in the middle is then Victory, symbolizing that of which the dream was itself a prophecy. The remarkable thing about this is the time of its appearance, for Caesar was well known for the honor he rendered to the memory of Marius and one would little expect to find Sulla so prominent on a type of one of his moneyers. But the fact seems to be that Buca struck coins both before and after Caesar's death in 43 b.c. If Babelon be correct in his conjecture that Buca was the son of M. Scaurus the step-son of Sulla, it is easy to see why he should take advantage of the dictator's assassination to proclaim the distinction of his own house. 101

In currency, as in other matters, the brief regime of Caesar was a prelude to the empire. His arrangements were revised, enlarged and confirmed by his heir in many ways that do not now concern us. 102 What is of importance for our discussion is that the choice of types is no longer the result of a casual preference, but is part of a concerted plan for the influencing of public opinion. As Sutherland puts it, "It is a truth to be realized at the very outset that (Augustus), with the majority of his successors for at any rate two centuries or more, considered the choice of appropriate types as a matter of genuine importance in the conduct of empire." 103 It is therefore to be expected that after the years of the second triumvirate, with their gathering of rival forces and mutual recrimination, when the battle of Actium and the conquest of Egypt had concentrated power in a single hand, Victory should appear on the coins to celebrate what was recognized as a turning point of history. As a matter of fact, on August 13, 14 and 15 of 29 b.c. three victories were celebrated, the Dalmatian, the Actian and the Alexandrine; and policy dictated that it should be the third of these, which had added immense resources to the Roman power, that should be emphasized, rather than the second, whose memory was always involved with that of Antony and the horrors of civil war. 104 There were many, however—Vergil, Horace and Propertius among them—who recognized Actium as the critical point, and the tradition has left us with the instinctive conviction that Actium was Octavian's victory par excellence. Even before the celebration of the triumph, coins struck in the East had begun to show appropriate types. 105 Two of these are traditional: a bust of Victory (Sutherland, op. cit., Pl. I, 1) and Victory in a biga (BMC Empire I, Pl. XIV, 11, 12); but the other three are of more interest. The first is Victory with wreath and palm alighting on a prow ( Plate X, 4), a fine group to commemorate a naval battle; 106 the second shows the goddess with wreath and palm alighting on a globe ( Plate X, 5), and this has been taken to be a copy of the golden Victory of Tarentum which he had installed in the Curia Julia, 107 before which the Senators took oath. 108 The only real basis for the identification is the Hellenistic appearance of the attitude, but it is an attractive fancy that the original might have been a statue set up at Tarentum by Pyrrhus in celebration of his victory at Heraclea in 280 b.c., to become, by the irony of fate, the very embodiment of empire for the Romans whose defeat brought it into being. 109 The popularity which the type later achieved gives some, though doubtful, support to the possibility of its displaying a famous monument.

The third pertinent early type of Augustus is a silver quinarius bearing the cista mystica and serpents, long a standard type for Asiatic silver ( Plate X, 6). The addition of a Victory standing on the cista and the inscription ASIA RECEPTA was a reminder that though Asia had not been conquered, like Egypt, her restoration to the empire was an achievement of the conqueror whose portrait appeared on the obverse. 110 If these cannot be considered great art, they are competent designs and pleasant to the eye.

The position of Victory in the later coinage of Augustus is a minor one. Once he had been granted that honorable name, and the structure of the constitution had been arranged in 27 b.c., it was not foreign conquest but internal organization which engrossed his attention and for the success of which his propaganda was employed. Tension with Parthia, which might well have led to war, was composed by diplomacy, and the fortunes of his lieutenants against the Germans were not such as to call for advertisement. Yet as an adjunct, Victory does appear. Spanish mints, beginning about 19 b.c. portray her with the Clupeus Virtutis ( Plate X, 7, 8). This is an interesting combination. For one thing, the Clupeus itself stood beneath the statue of Victory in the Senate House; 111 for another the ideas are complementary. The shield had been presented to Augustus "virtutis, clementiae, iustitiae et pietatis causa" and it might be understood that it was the victory of Augustus which had made those qualities effective in the new age; and, conversely, that it was because of those very qualities that he had been victorious. This is an important point in the theology of our subject. Victory as a gift of the gods had been familiar from the beginning and doubtless it was always assumed that victory would be the reward of those with suitable powers. A mortal might be, like Alexander, of such surprising power that he could assume that victory would always be his. But that victory should be deserved by moral qualities as well as by might was a new idea, converting a religious concept into an ethical one, very familiar in the lines of Vergil and Horace.

Though the types are a successful statement of a novel idea, they certainly cannot be classed as artistic successes. The shield is the central element of the design and it must be shown frontally so that its inscription shall make it clear what shield it is. To combine with this circle the figure of the goddess was beyond the skill of the die-sinkers. The type on which she is displaying it like a great tea tray is awkward and a bit ridiculous ( Plate X, 7), but it is better than the other on which she seems to be diving over it ( Plate X, 8). The attitude is practically that of the old Nike flying above the victorious chariot, but the new group is hopelessly unconvincing.

Another case of impossible proportions is more successful. In 13 b.c. Augustus returned from Gaul after reorganizing the province and apparently in the next year 112 a portrait of him appeared on dupondii of Rome with a little Victory tying the laurel wreath on his head ( Plate X, 10). The disproportion is not greater than on the familiar groups with a seated figure crowned by Nike, but it does not seem to have been well received for it was not repeated and the surviving specimens are few.

One new Victory belongs to the later years of Augustus: one seated on a globe in an attitude that had not been seen since the Nikes of Terina. She occurs on a gold quinarius of 11–10 b.c. ( Plate X, 9) and may have reference to the campaign of Tiberius in Pannonia for which official credit went to Augustus under whose auspices he fought. She is, as Sutherland remarks, 113 a "rare intruder in an otherwise stereotyped series." Other kinds of Victory were used on the gold quinarius: Victory with a trophy, 114 three varieties of Victory alighting on a globe, 115 but it was the seated goddess that became the standard type for that denomination.

One more gold piece deserves special mention ( Plate XI, 1). It was struck in the East and borrowed a famous eastern design: Victory kneeling on a bull's back and cutting its throat with a knife ( Plate V, 10, 11). Why this should be appropriate to a coin with the legend ARMENIA CAPTA is not apparent. It seems that for once the die-sinker was without special instructions—or ignored them—and selected a type to suit his own taste.

Bronzes figuring the altar of Rome and Augustus at Lugdunum ( Plate XI, 2) show an invention, not originally numismatic, but destined to have an influence on numismatic design: two statues of Victory, each holding a wreath, on columns to right and left of the altar. So far as this design is the expression of a religious conception it probably means that Victory is thought of as having especially close relations with both Rome and Augustus. 116 But the simultaneous appearance of one divine person in two forms was certain to lead to a multiplication of Victories which destroyed her personality.

In his chapter "Tiberius and the Continuity of the Principate" Sutherland has used the evidence of the coins to show how the second emperor avoided any appearance of individual display, preferring to present himself as the heir of Augustus' policies as well as of his powers. It was not a reign from which to expect innovations, and the only occurrence of Victory which calls for remark is the adaptation on a bronze of Augustus' Victory with a shield ( Plate XI, 3). The shield—which is now inscribed SPQR and may not be intended for the clipeus virtutis—is being held upright by Victory and the group is altogether a very attractive one. It is a pity it was not more widely used.

Under Caligula our goddess appears only on the gold quinarius 117 but in his first year Claudius invented a type which is a remarkable example of syncretism. A figure identified by the legend PACI AVGVSTAE has the wings of Victory, the caduceus of Felicitas, the serpent of Salus, and she veils her face with a gesture like that of Pudor ( Plate XI, 4). 118 This combination of attributes, an appropriate creation of the learned emperor, was used on both gold and silver and was minted repeatedly while simple Victory was almost ignored, 119 though there were perfectly suitable occasions for her use, like the invasion of Britain. Nero's types of Victory are not many and are not remarkable except that the artistic level of his coins is high. The period of the Civil Wars, though victory was the price of survival—or perhaps for that very reason—produced few novelties in the idea of victory beyond ephemeral but understandable attempts to attach the goddess to one or another of the contestants, signified by the inscriptions VICTORIA GALBAE AVG, 120 VICTORIA OTHONIS, 121 VICTORIA IMP VESPASIANI. 122 Minor innovations appear on bronze of Galba: Rome holding Victory, 123 Victory holding a Palladium, 124 and Vitellius has a sestertius showing Victory inscribing OB CIVES SERV on a shield affixed to a tree ( Plate XI, 5). This is a complicated conception, owing something to the Victory with a trophy which goes back to Agathocles and something to the clupeus virtutis of Augustus. Presumably the designer intended to suggest that Victory would end the war (her foot is on a helmet) and result in saving the citizens. But the symbolism cannot be pressed, nor need it be. Orthodoxy was maintained by the inscription VICTORIA AVGVSTI, but in fact, of course, there was no victory.

One of the most striking aspects of the Roman Imperial Coinage is its memorial and repetitive character. This has its own importance and interest, 125 but it much reduces the proportion of types that have something new to say. In the large repertory of Vespasian most of the Victories are adaptations of earlier types, sometimes quite recent ones. There is an aureus showing Victory 1. crowning the emperor ( Plate XI, 6) which is either a derivative of bronze of Seleucus II ( Plate VIII, 5) or a remarkable coincidence. There is an aureus of Rome bearing the Victory on a cista mystica with two serpents which had been used on a quinarius of Augustus from the East ( Plate XI, 7). Victory to the left setting a shield on a trophy ( Plate XI, 8) is an obvious echo of the old Victoriatus type ( Plate IX, 4) made novel by reversing the position of the goddess and altering the details. Not all the origins are remote. Vespasian had no hesitation in borrowing the bronze type of his rival Vitellius ( Plate XII, 1). Two rare bronzes do present new groups: on one Victory to the right is presenting a legionary eagle to the emperor; 126 on the other she gives him the Palladium. 127 But, for the most part, there is only more or less literal and uninspired copying of well-known types. As time goes on the minor variations multiply, but it would be useless to review them all. There are little changes of adjuncts or of posture and combinations of Victory with other figures, but they have nothing to add to the significance of the goddess and the later one gets the less of artistic merit they have to offer.

There is progressive weakening of the divine person which it is well to note. It is clearly seen in the groups of Victory with a shield. Under Augustus the meaning was plain, and Victory was of the utmost importance to him. Tiberius' shield with SPQR is not so sharply defined and that of Vitellius and Vespasian with OB CIVES SERV still less so. There follow shields more explicit in themselves but more ambiguous as to the goddess. Domitian has a sestertius which shows Victory writing DE GER on a shield. 128 Presumably now the shield is part of the spoils taken from the Germans. But when on a denarius of Trajan Victory writes DA CI CAP, 129 and, on a sestertius, VIC DAC ( Plate XII, 3), one is driven to wonder who the divine scribe is, after all. The conquest of the Dacians is being recorded; is it an immortal and eternal power that is making the record, or is she herself in some sense restricted to this single occasion? The question is still more pointedly put by a sestertius of Commodus where Victory, seated on a pile of arms, holds a stylus with which she is about to inscribe a shield balanced on her left knee. She has as yet written nothing, but below her, where they give every appearance of being her identification, are the words VICT BRIT ( Plate XII, 4). It should be remarked in passing that, influenced perhaps by the Republican didrachm, this seated figure is nude to the waist, a convention that was maintained by seated Victories for generations.

That the goddess did come in time to have a merely topical significance is proved by an entry in the Feriale Duranum of the third Christian century "ob victorias arabicam et adiabenicam et parthicam maximam—victoriae parthicae, bovem feminam." 130 Even earlier than the Feriale there is numismatic proof in the aurei struck by Septimius Severus and Caracalla with the conventional figure with wreath and palm entitled VICTORIA PARTHICA MAXIMA ( Plate XI, 9). The adjective can only refer to the actual physical event and it can hardly be denied that the figure must be a symbol of the same event. Possibly intended as a corrective is the occasional use of the words VICTORIA AETERNA, occurring as late as Diocletian 131 —a phrase of very dubious metaphysical soundness and hardly improved by Constantine's VICTORIAE PERPETVAE. 132 But the development was the other way, and as early as Commodus we find a serious divorce between Victory and her proper function on a sestertius on which the shield is inscribed VO DE, that is VOTIS DECENNALIBVS SVSCEPTIS. 133

Another fashion of deterioration is that foreshadowed by the Altar of Lugdunum, the types with two Victories. The commonest kind is that where they are simply heraldic supporters of the shield. Valerian shows the simplest form, where the shield is marked S C and the main legend is VOTA ORBIS ( Plate XII, 2). But the normal purpose of the shield comes to be to proclaim the decennial or quinquennial vows offered by the emperor and on his behalf. So Antoniniani of Diocletian are entirely preoccupied with the imperial date, the shield reading VOT X, while the encircling inscription is PRIMIS X MVLTIS XX. 134 One might urge that as victory was essential to the ten years achieved and the ten to come, the two figures stood for the past and the future, but it seems unlikely that either the die-sinker or the user bothered much with subtle explanations. The two Victories were simply available to create a symmetrical pattern, the easiest design to produce and to understand. Sometimes the shield is omitted and the two figures are opposed, either clasping hands 135 or holding wreaths ( Plate XII, 5). 136 The disappearance of personality is complete and can hardly be made more so even by the occasions when the number is raised to three. 137

But these late types do have a new element to contribute which the earlier ones lacked: the presence of the defeated. A denarius of Septimius Severus is typical ( Plate XII, 6): VICT PARTHICAE shows which contest is intended and at the feet of Victory is a little captive. Sometimes there are two captives, sometimes the victim is being trampled by Victory, as on an aureus of Constantius II, 138 sometimes dragged away, as on the very common bronzes of Theodosius I and Arcadius ( Plate XII, 7) where the inscription SALVS REIPVBLICAE seeks to give the sanction of the general welfare to a scene that looks like mere brutality. The emperor frequently takes the place of Victory in these scenes and shows what is intended by Constantius II when he calls himself DEBELLATOR HOSTIVM or DEBELLATOR GENTIVM BARBARORVM. 139

A more pleasing concept is that of Victory guiding the ship of state, either alone, as on the Constantinian bronzes inscribed CONSTANTINOPOLIS ( Plate XII, 8) or with the emperor standing before her, on the bronzes of Constans and Constantius II ( Plate XIII, 1) of the series inscribed FEL TEMP REPARATIO. This last example shows a com- promise of Victory's original pagan character which had not been ostensibly affected by the issues of the first Christian emperor. It is not that she herself is different, but here the emperor holds not only a phoenix, whose significance is ambiguous, but sometimes a labarum instead, the standard with the Christian monogram, whose significance is not. The scene at once becomes one in which the former goddess is reduced to an adjunct of a new deity by whom her nature must be fundamentally affected. From now on, with increasing frequency, she is only the lesser companion of the Christian God.

Occasionally the late empire made rash experiments with that most dangerous of numismatic designs, the facing portrait. The emperor is sometimes so portrayed—with unhappy results—and a gold piece of Constantine has the figure of Victory, facing, holding the familiar shield ( Plate XIII, 2). Another design of Diocletian shows a Victory flying forward between and above two emperors enthroned to the left ( Plate XIII, 3). This is somewhat more attractive. Unfortunately it commended itself to Valentinian I and his family on whose types the little Victory is really absurd ( Plate XIII, 4).

The post-Constantinian period is notable for the great reduction of the number of types used and it is rare that a new idea is added. But there are two phenomena that call for remark. One is the use by Theodosius I of a separate type for his wife Flacilla. It was struck in all metals and was borrowed by her daughter-in-law Eudoxia ( Plate XIII, 5) the wife of Arcadius, by her daughter Galla Placidia and by Arcadius' daughter Pulcheria. It was the old seated Victory with a shield, but in two respects she is new. In the first place she is now fully clothed, though the similar type on the gold semis of Theodosius preserves the tradition of showing her nude to the waist. The other change is much more important, What she is inscribing on the shield is now no votive date but the Christian monogram. Victory has, in fact, become an angel.

The other notable incident is quite as explicit. Theodosius II began his reign with the gold types familiar to his house. But at the celebration of his vicennalia he introduced a new design: Victory standing to the left and supporting a long cross ( Plate XIII, 6). This pious anomaly quickly became popular and for 60 years, until the reign of Zeno at the end of the century, this was the solidus type par excellence, at first inscribed only with the date VOT XX MVLT XXX, but later bearing the old familiar title VICTORIA AVGG. The types of semis and tri ens also become fixed. The former has Victory seated writing on her shield a date which is not always legible and not always possible when it can be read ( Plate XIII, 7). So far as the hasty and careless drawing permits us to judge, she continues the thoroughly outdated tradition of being nude to the waist, but she is converted, for she is accompanied by a little Christogram in the field. On the triens Victory appears to be walking forward, perhaps as a remote modification of the goddess alighting on a globe on Augustus' gold. In her right hand she bears the conventional wreath, but in her other is a globus cruciger ( Plate XIII, 10). All three Victories are therefore expressly connected with the new religion. The pagan figure does indeed appear once more, on the large bronzes which Zeno struck to have the value of 40 of the miserable minimi which had been all that was left of the bronze currency. She flies to the right with wreath and trophy and is accompanied by the legend INVICT ROMA or GLORIA ROMANORVM ( Plate XIII, 9).

There were two more modifications for the Christianized Victory of the solidus to undergo. One, a minor one, was when Anastasius substituted a scepter with the Christian monogram for the long cross. The other, a major and a strange one was when on the coins of Justin I the profile figure gives place to a facing one leaning with the right hand on a long cross and holding a globus cruciger in the left ( Plate XIII, 8). The remarkable thing is that, though the inscription is still VICTORIA AVGG, the figure wears the male attire of tunic and pallium. The ingenuity of A.A. Vasiliev and A.M. Friend has suggested that the occasion was the religious reunion with Rome of 519. 140 Whether or not they are right, the anomaly persists through the reign of Justinian. Justin II, for whatever reason, though he kept the inscription, replaced the angel with the old figure of Constantinople enthroned. The types of semis and triens were preserved, however, until the accession of Tiberius II in 578. He used only a cross for the reverses of his gold and so put an end forever to the last remnant of pagan symbolism on the Roman imperial coinage.

End Notes

86 Greek influence is detected even on the aes grave; Karl Pink, The Triumviri Monetales and the Structure of the Coinage of the Roman Republic (NS 7), New York, 1952, p. 49.A large literature has recently accumulated around the question of the dating of early Roman silver. The generally accepted theory that the denarius was first struck in 269 b.c. has been challenged by Harold Mattingly and E. S. G. Robinson with an impressive and still growing body of evidence showing that 269 b.c. is the date of striking of the Romano-Campanian didrachms (The Date of the Roman Denarius and other Landmarks in Early Roman Coinage, Proceedings of the British Academy, 1932; Mattingly, "The 'Diana-Victory' Didrachms and the Decadrachms of Arsinoe," NC 1946, pp. 63–67). The resulting revised dates for quadrigatus, victoriatus and denarius are much more uncertain. Mattingly and Robinson proposed 187 b.c. for the denarius, which Mattingly later brought down to "ca. 170 (or earlier)" (NC 1949, p. 66), but J. G. Milne preferred 205 (JRS 1934, pp. 61–63) and Pink accepts 210 (op. cit., pp. 16, 51). New and apparently conclusive evidence is furnished by the Princeton excavation of Morgantina in Sicily. The controversy does not really concern us, but it may be remarked that the part of Pink's argument which relies on 229 b.c. as the beginning of the New Style tetradrachms of Athens (p. 51) is no longer possible to maintain (Margaret Thompson, "The Beginning of Athenian New Style Coinage," ANSMN V, New York, 1952, pp. 25–33).The distinction between the mints of Roman silver is discussed by Mattingly, "The First Age of Roman Coinage," JRS 1945, pp. 65–77, "The Various Styles of the Roman Republican Coinage," NC 1949, pp. 57–74.
87 A. Reinach, op. cit. (n. 58 above), p. 21, fig. 2.
88 Since another nearly contemporary type from Tarentum does have a trophy (Reinach, op. cit., fig. 1), may we assume that this one was struck in anticipation of victory over the Romans, the other after their defeat at Heraclea in 280 b.c.?
89 In 292 b.c. according to Leslie H. Neatby, "The Bigatus," AJA 55 (1951), 241–244.
90 In an interesting article, "The Roman 'Virtues' " (Harvard Theological Review 30 [1937], 103–117) Mattingly suggests that the Virtues, among which he classes Victoria, may have had their roots in old Roman religion, though they became prominent at the time of increasing Greek influence. If there is an old Roman element it does not appear in the earliest Roman types. There is, however, abundant evidence that a cult of Victory flourished in the Republic (cf. Daremberg et Saglio, Dictionnaire des Antiquités, s.v. Victoria, pp. 836–839).
91 Victory seated is a rarity. This one is no close relative of the seated Nikai of Olympia and Terina, yet it is plausibly suggested that the cult she represents may be derived from that of the Nymphs of South Italy (Daremberg et Saglio, op. cit., p. 837, fig. 7453).
92 BMC Republic II, p. 325, Type IV.
93 BMC Republic III, Pl. XCVIII 8.
94 Margaret Thompson, The New Style Coinage of Athens, New York, 1961. pp. 362f.
95 Thompson, op. cit., pp. 359–61.
96 BMC, Thessaly to Aetolia, Pl. XXX, 5.
97 Harold Mattingly, Roman Coins (Chicago, 1960), p. 67, Pl. XV, 15–17.
98 Mommsen did not believe that the figure was Sulla on the grounds that it was too early for the appearance of a contemporary scene on a coin. But surely that is perfectly characteristic of Sulla. See the remarks of Grueber, BMC Republic II, pp. 461f., n. 1.
99 Vellerns Paterculus II, 27 felicitatem diei quo Samnitium Telesinique pulsus est exercitus, Sulla perpetua ludorum circensium honoravit memoria, qui sub eius nomine Sullanae Victoriae celebrantur.
100 BMC Republic II, pp. 464–466; III, Pl. CX, 13.
101 BMC Republic I, p. 545, notes 1 and 2. N. Breitenstein, "Sulla's Dream" Acta Archaeologica 1937, pp. 181–186.
102 Two recent books of great importance have studied the Augustan coinage: Michael Grant, From Imperium to Auctoritas, Cambridge, 1946, chiefly concerned with constitutional questions; and C. H. V. Sutherland, Coinage in Roman Imperial Policy, 31 b.c.-a.d. 68, London, 1951, dealing with the types as part of the imperial propaganda.
103 Op. cit., p. 28.
104 Sutherland, op. cit., p. 18.
105 Indeed it has been argued that they, or some of them, belong to the years before Actium, and to Italy, celebrating the victories over Sextus Pompey. Grant, op. cit., pp. 49f., n. 4. Sutherland, op. cit., p. 186, conceded the possibility that this may be true of the CAESAR DIVI F coins but believes that those with IMP CAESAR "should probably be given to post-Actian Eastern mints."
106 Interesting speculation is aroused by the wording of Sutherland's description, "a representation of the Victory of Samothrace, made famous as a coin type long years before by Demetrius Poliorcetes" (op. cit., pp. 29f.). It is inevitable that Augustus' types should recall to us the earlier type as well as the statue. Specimens and reproductions are available to any numismatist. Were they so readily available in antiquity that a more recent type may be assumed to be a copy or an adaptation of an earlier one? Professor Raubitschek asks aptly, "did the emperors have a Cabinet de Médailles?" If not, may the repetition of types, the importance of which Grant has emphasized, be taken as proof that the earlier instance was still in circulation at the time the later was issued?
107 Cassius Dio LI, 22. 1.
108 Herodian V, 5, 7; VII, 11, 3.
109 The theory is presented by Adolphe Reinach, "Pyrrhus et la Niké de Tarente," Neapolis I (1913), pp. 19–29. The article is an astonishing piling of one hypothesis upon another. Of its many ingenious suggestions not one will stand scrutiny and we are left with no more evidence than that of Cassius Dio and Herodian in the passages cited. Yet H. Bulle in the article "Nike" (W. H. Roscher, Lexikon der griechischen und römischen Mythologie III, Leipzig, 1897–1902, cols. 354–356) can conclude that "there can be no doubt that the coins reproduce the Victoria of the Curia." The coins which he cites exhibit four major variations and one might well ask by what criterion he would accept one as original and reject the others as changes. But he regards the fact that the figure is shown to left, to right and facing as certain proof that it had a statuary model (since statues may be viewed from three sides, anything that is viewed from three sides must be a statue), and, once that position is taken, the details can be resolutely dealt with.
110 Sutherland, op. cit., p. 31.
111 J. Gagé, "Un Thème de l'Art impérial romain: la Victoire d'Auguste," Mélanges d'archéologie et d'Historié de l'Ecole française de Rome, 1932, pp. 61–92.
112 K. Pink, "Die Triumviri monetales unter Augustus," NZ 1946, pp. 117f.
113 Op. cit., p. 67, n. 2.
114 BMC I, p. 54, nos. 293–297, Pl. 5. 13, 14.
115 Ibid., p. 73, nos. 424–426, Pl. 9. 18–20.
116 The intimacy of connection between Victory and Augustus is demonstrated by Jean Gagé, "La Victoria Augusti et les Auspices de Tibère," Revue Archéologique 1930, pp. 1–35. The multiplication of Victories had already been an important device in Greek art: the golden Nikai of the Acropolis, the figures of the Nike parapet, the Nikai on the hearse of Alexander, to mention only the most famous examples. Moreover, a pair of Nikai appears on the back of Zeus' throne on certain Alexander tetradrachms, e. g. Noe, Sicyon, p. 17, no. 30. But there was no such development as took place under the Romans.
117 BMC I, pp. 146, no. 6, 148, no. 21, 150, no. 31, Pl. 27. 5, 17, 25.
118 The complicated symbolism has been analyzed by Grant, "Pax Romana," University of Edinburgh Journal 1949, pp. 229ff. See also Sutherland, op. cit., p. 127.
119 One denarius, BMC I, Pl. 32, 10, and the gold quinarii, Pl. 33. 23, 24.
120 BMC I, Pl. 55. 10, 11.
121 Ibid., Pl. 60. 11.
122 BMC II, p. 71, nos. 361f., Pl. 11, 13, 14.
123 BMC I, Pl. 56. 3.
124 Ibid., Pl. 56. 6.
125 Fully developed by Grant, Roman Anniversary Issues, Cambridge, 1950.
126 BMC II, Pl. 35. 6.
127 Ibid., Pl. 36. 2.
128 Ibid., Pl. 70. 10; Pl. 72. 7.
129 BMC III, Pl. 14. 16; Pl. 16. 2, 14.
130 R. O. Fink, "Victoria Parthica and kindred Victoriae," Yale Classical Studies VIII, 1942, pp. 81–101.
131 RIC V. 2, p. 235, nos. 149f.
132 Cohen VII, p. 305, nos. 647f.
133 BMC IV, Pl. 106. 12.
134 RIC V. 2, p. 238, no. 178.
135 E. g., Probus, RIC V. 1, p. 103, nos. 799f.
136 The larger field of medallions allows them sometimes to present much more complicated duplication. Numerian is shown on horseback attacking six enemies, the inequality being compensated by two Victories crowning him! RIC V. 2, p. 194, no. 401, Gnecchi no. 1, Plate 4, 7.
137 Gallienus, RIC V. 1, p. 156, nos. 294f.; p. 158, no. 311. Carausius, RIC V. 2, p. 508, no. 530.
138 Cohen VII, pp. 476f., no. 237.
139 Ibid., p. 443, nos. 23, 24.
140 Justin the First, Cambridge, 1950. Excursus. "The Archangel Ivory in the British Museum and the Coins of Justin the First," pp. 418–420.



I am indebted to G. K. Jenkins, R. A. G. Carson and G. LeRider for the illustrations of coins from the British Museum and the Cabinet des Medailles. If no place is indicated the illustration is taken from a published work.

Plate I, 1. Olympia. Nomisma VIII, p. 31, no. 19. Paris. 3
2. Cyzicus. BMC Mysia , Pl. IV, 9. London. 4
3. Mallus. BMC Lycaonia , Pl. XVI, 7. London. 4
4. Olympia. Nomisma VIII, p. 45, no. 78. 5, 7
5. Olympia. ibid., p. 51, no. 115. 5
6. Olympia. ibid., p. 46, no. 87. 5, 15
7. Olympia. ibid., p. 52, no. 120. 5
8. Olympia. ibid., p. 61, no. 133. 5
Plate II, 1. Syracuse. Boehringer Die Münzen von Syrakus , p. 117, no. 34. ANS. 7
2. Syracuse. ibid., p. 119, no. 43. ANS. 7
3. Syracuse. ibid., p. 120, no. 46. ANS. 7
4. Messana. cf. BMC Sicily , p. 100, no. 16. ANS. 8
5. Rhegium. BMC Italy , p. 373, no. 3. London. 8
6. Acragas. SNG Vol. 2. Lloyd Collection 805. London. 8
7. Catana, cf. Rizzo Monete greche della Sicilia Pl. IX, 1. Private Collection. 9
Plate III, 1. Camarina. SNG Lloyd 862. London. 9
2. Camarina. cf. SNG Vol. 4. Fitzwilliam Museum 946. London. 9, 18
3. Catana. BMC Sicily , p. 41, no. 1. London. 10
4. Catana. ibid. p. 42, no. 6. London. 10
5. Syracuse. Boehringer, pp. 184f., no. 376. London. 11
6. Syracuse. BMC Sicily , p. 176, no. 201. London. 8, 11
Plate IV, 1. Messana. BMC Sicily , p. 104, no. 49. London. 12
2. Messana. ibid., p. 103, no. 37. London. 12
3. Syracuse, ibid., p. 172, no. 188. London. 12
4. Gela. ibid., p. 72, no. 59. London. 12
5. Camarina, ibid., p. 35, no. 14. London. 12
6. Naples, cf. BMC Italy , p. 96, no. 25. ANS. 13
7. Heraclea. cf. ibid., p. 229, no. 38. London. 13
8. Velia, ibid., p. 313, no. 88. London. 13
Plate V, 1. Philip II. Gold stater. Cast in ANS. 13
2. Carthage. SNG Lloyd 1610. London. 13
3. Carthage. ibid., 1608. London. 13
4. Carthage. ibid., 1621. London. 13
5. Terina. Regling Terina , Ib. London. 14
6. Terina. ibid., 3c. London. 14, 16
7. Terina. ibid., 25g. London. 14, 15
8. Terina. ibid., 30a. ANS. 14, 15
9. Terina. ibid., 77g. London. 15
10. Abydus. BMC Troas , p. 2, no. 10. London. 16, 56
11. Lampsacus. AJN 1924, Pl. I, 10. London. 17, 56
12. Lampsacus. BMC Mysia , Pl. XIX, 9. London. 17, 20, 24, 27
Plate VI., 1. Camarina. SNG Lloyd 877. London. 18
2. Himera, BMC Sicily , p. 81, no. 50. London. 18
3. Cyzicus. BMC Mysia , Pl. VI, 16. London. 19, 27
4. Alexander III. Amphipolis. ANS. 21
5. Alexander III. Tarsus. Newell Tarsos under Alexander no. 47 (232) ANS. 21
6. Agathocles. cf. BMC Sicily , p. 195, no. 378. ANS. 24, 27, 45
7. Agathocles. Giesecks Sicilia Numismatica, Pl. 21, 7 24
8. Antigonus I. Antigoneia. Newell Western Seleucid Mints Pl. XIV, 1. ANS. 25
Plate VII, 1. Seleucus I. Persepolis. Newell Eastern Seleucid Mints Pl. XXXII, 14. ANS. 27, 34
2. Demetrius I. Salamis. Newell Demetrius , Pl. II, 6. ANS 29
3. Lysimachus. SNG Fitzwilliam , Pl. XXXIII passim. ANS. 30
4. Lysimachus. ibid. ANS. 30
5. Alexander Balas. Aradus. Babelon Rois de Syrie, Pl. XVII, 8. 33
6. Hicetas. Syracuse, cf. BMC Sicily , p. 201, no. 433. 31
7. Philistis. cf. ibid., p. 213, no. 542. ANS. 31
8. Pyrrhus. Syracuse. BMC Thessaly , Pl. XX, 7. London. 32
9. Pyrrhus. Syracuse, ibid., Pl. XX, 8. London. 32
Plate VIII, 1. Pyrrhus. Syracuse. BMC Thessaly , Pl. XX, 8. London. 32
2. Antiochus I. Seleucia-on-the-Tigris. ESM, Pl. XV, 5. ANS. 34
3. Antigonus Gonatas. Æ. SNG Fitzwilliam 2313. Yale. 34
4. Seleucus II. Seleucia-on-the-Tigris. WSM, Pl. II, 1, 2. Berlin. 35
5. Seleucus II. Seleucia-on-the-Tigris. ESM, Pl. XVII, 9, 10. ANS. 36, 58
6. Seleucus I. Susa. cf. ESM, Pl. XXII, 14. ANS. 36
7. Aradus. 138/7 b.c. Newell Miscellanea Numismatica pp. 35–37. ANS. 39
8. Antiochus VII. Antioch. Newell Seleucid Mint of Antioch Pl. X, 304. ANS. 37
9. Aradus. 64/3 b.c. cf. BMC Phoenicia , p. 33, no. 276. ANS. 39
10. Amisus. 120–63 b.c. cf. BMC Pontus , Pl. IV, 2. ANS 40
11. Boeotia. cf. Head Boeotia , Pl. VI, 7. ANS. 41
12. Boeotia. cf. ibid., Pl. VI, 8. ANS. 41
Plate IX, 1. Tarentum. cf. SNG Fitzwilliam 305. ANS. 42
2. Romano-Campanian. Didrachm. cf. BMC Republic III, Pl. LXXIV, 10, 11. ANS. 44
3. Quadrigatus. cf. ibid., Pl. LXXV, 1–5. ANS. 45
4. Victoriatus. cf. ibid., Pl. XIII, 8, 12, 15. ANS. 46, 58
5. Denarius, cf. ibid., Pl. XXIII, 1, 2, 4–7 46
6. C. Metellus. Denarius, cf. ibid., Pl. XXX, 8. ANS. 47
7. M. Cato. Denarius, cf. ibid., Pl. XCV, 15, 16. ANS. 47
8. C. Malleolus. Denarius, cf. ibid., Pl. XCVI, 3. ANS 47
9. Longus. Denarius, cf. ibid., Pl. LVI, 10. ANS. 49
10. Athens. 123/2 b.c. Thompson New Style Silver, p. 361. ANS. 48
11. Sulla. Denarius, cf. BMC Republic III, Pl. CX, 5–10. ANS. 49
Plate X, 1. Caesar. Denarius, cf. BMC Republic III, Pl. LIV, 5, 6. ANS. 50
2. L. Aemilius. Buca. cf. ibid., Pl. LIV, 10. ANS. 50
3. L. Aemilius. cf. ibid., Pl. LIV, 12. ANS. 50
4. Augustus. Denarius, cf. BMC Empire I, Pl. 15, 6, 7. 52
5. Augustus. Denarius, cf. ibid., Pl. 14, 19. ANS. 53
6. Augustus. Quinarius. cf. ibid., Pl. 15, 20. ANS. 53
7. Augustus. Denarius. cf. ibid., Pl. 9, 8. ANS. 54, 55
8. Augustus. Denarius. cf. ibid., Pl. 9, 5. ANS. 54, 55
9. Augustus. Gold, Pl. 11, 12. ANS. 55
10. Augustus. Sestertius, cf. ibid., Pl. 20, 5. 55
Plate XI, 1. Augustus. Aureus, cf. BMC Empire I, Pl. 16, 14. 55
2. Augustus. Sestertius, cf. ibid., Pl. 21, 1. ANS. 56
3. Tiberius. Dupondius. cf. ibid., Pl. 25, 11. London. 56
4. Claudius. Aureus, cf. ibid., Pl. 31, 5. ANS. 57
5. Vitellius. Sestertius, cf. ibid., Pl. 63, 6. ANS. 57
6. Vespasian. Aureus, cf. BMC Empire II, Pl. 6, 7, 8. ANS. 58
7. Vespasian. Aureus. cf. ibid., Pl. 5, 3. ANS. 58
8. Vespasian. Aureus. ibid., Pl. 7, 13. London. 58
9. Septimius Severus. Aureus. BMC Empire V, Pl. 33, 12. London. 60
Plate XII, 1. Vespasian. Sestertius, cf. BMC Empire II, Pl. 22, 11. ANS. 58
2. Valerian. Antoninianus. RIC V. 1. p. 60, nos. 294–296. ANS. 60
3. Trajan. Sestertius, cf. BMC Empire III, Pl. 30, 1. ANS. 59
4. Commodus. Sestertius. BMC Empire IV, Pl. 105, 8. London 59
5. Constans I. Æ. Cohen VII p. 431, no. 176. ANS. 61
6. Septimius Severus. Denarius, cf. BMC Empire V, Pl. 44, 13. ANS. 61
7. Arcadius. Æ. cf. RIC IX, p. 234, no. 86(c). ANS. 61
8. Constantinople. Cohen VII, p. 324, no. 12. ANS. 61
Plate XIII, 1. Constans I. Æ. Cohen VII, p. 406, no. 9. ANS. 61
2. Constantine I. Solidus. ibid., p. 305, no. 652. ANS. 62
3. Diocletian. Aureus, RIC V, Part 2, Pl. XII, 15. ANS. 62
4. Gratian. Solidus. cf. RIC IX, p. 77, 5(d). ANS. 62
5. Eudoxia. Solidus. cf. Tolstoi, Pl. 4, 136–140. ANS. 62
6. Theodosius II. Solidus. cf. ibid., Pl. 5, 47. ANS. 63
7. Theodosius II. Semis, cf. ibid., Pl. 5, 61, 62. ANS. 63
8. Justin I. BMC Byzantine, Pl. II, 10, 11. ANS. 64
9. Zeno. Æ. cf. Tolstoi, Pl. 10, 65. 63
10. Leo I. Triens. cf. Tolstoi, Pl. 8, 19–21. 63