Author Topic: VIRTVS EXERCIT with "Chi-Rho" in field  (Read 10430 times)

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Offline livingwater

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Re: VIRTVS EXERCIT with "Chi-Rho" in field
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2014, 06:52:27 AM »
Hi Victor,
Yes of course, these six pointed stars on Constantine's helmet are common.  In Kenneth Jacob's book Coins and Christianity he says these are Chi-Rho symbols, p. 42.  I think they are just stars.  Not enough variation in the vertical line to convince me these represent letters.

Offline Victor

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Re: VIRTVS EXERCIT with "Chi-Rho" in field
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2014, 11:48:41 AM »
In Kenneth Jacob's book Coins and Christianity he says these are Chi-Rho symbols, p. 42. 

I have seen others try to make this claim also... most frequently on Ebay ::). There is no way that these stars are Chi-Rho's. Besides the fact that some VLPP's have a Chi-Rho in the center (like the example that you posted earlier) with stars on either side, sometimes the stars are eight pointed. Jacob also claimed that the POP ROMANVS bridge over a river type issued circa A.D. 330 represented Constantine's victory at the Milvian bridge, which I do not believe either.

Offline Victor

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Re: VIRTVS EXERCIT with "Chi-Rho" in field
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2014, 05:53:53 PM »
I just got an example for Constantine II from Ticinum and the symbol on this one looks like a proper Chi, but the vertical part still does not look like an Iota; but this one looks much closer to a correct Iota-Chi.

Constantine II
A.D. 319- 320
21mm   2.7gm
CONSTANTINVS IVN NOB C; Laureate, draped, Victory on globe in right hand, mappa in left hand.
VIRTVS-EXERCIT; Standard inscribed VOT/XX with captive seated on ground on either side, in left field Iota-Chi.
in ex. TT
RIC VII Ticinum 121

Offline livingwater

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Re: VIRTVS EXERCIT with "Chi-Rho" in field
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2014, 08:22:49 AM »
Nice symbol on your Constantine II coin.  Looks a bit more than a star to me, perhaps letters iota-chi,chi-iota, like the Lactantius account of Constantine's vision/dream.  Lactantius died about 320.  As we know, some examples look like just a star, no dot above.  I'm posting a few photos of our star, the sun with rays and halo.  Sometimes with the right conditions really nice rays and halos can be seen with the sun.  Sun worship goes way back in human history with many cultures, Aztecs, Egyptians, Romans (Sol), etc.  The nimbus, halo, was used as a sign of the divine, the heavenly.  I'm now wondering if this symbol on these VIRTVS EXERCIT coins is not just any star but of our own sun.  Constantine's vision was supposedly of Christ's sign appearing on or above the sun, so showing the sun's rays with a dot above may have been referring to this vision.  It's fun to speculate.  Blending the idea this symbol is both a star, our sun, and a Christian symbol portraying Constantine's vision, is worth consideration.  This could explain the variations of the symbol from the mints.  By the time Eusebius wrote Life Of Constantine, Constantine's vision had changed from the Lactantius iota-chi account to the chi-rho symbol. It seems the first account symbol didn't last long and was replaced by the true chi-rho.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 09:15:59 AM by livingwater »

Offline Victor

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Re: VIRTVS EXERCIT with "Chi-Rho" in field
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2014, 10:15:49 AM »
Constantine's vision was supposedly of Christ's sign appearing on or above the sun, so showing the sun's rays with a dot above may have been referring to this vision. 

Peter Weiss wrote an article about how the vision might have been a solar halo called a sun dog. It is a good article if you have not read it- “The Vision of Constantine.” Journal of Roman Archaeology 16 (2003) : 237-59.

Offline livingwater

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Re: VIRTVS EXERCIT with "Chi-Rho" in field
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2014, 04:10:04 PM »
I have not read this article but I found a discussion about it on FORUM ANCIENT COINS.  Weiss may indeed be correct.  Constantine's Ticinum silver medallion with chi-rho on helmet was struck around 315 and the Siscia bronzes with chi-rho on helmet were struck around 319.  It seems then the reverse symbol on the VIRTVS EXERCIT series of 320 would not be a stylized chi-rho since the chi-rho had already been used.  More likely they are just stars or a symbol of Constantine's sun vision which he later interpreted to be a sign of Christ. 
« Last Edit: May 18, 2014, 04:55:24 PM by livingwater »

Offline Genio popvli romani

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Re: VIRTVS EXERCIT with "Chi-Rho" in field
« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2014, 11:48:09 AM »
What an idiot  :o , I was a few weeks ago at the Cluny Therms Museum ( http://www.musee-moyenage.fr/) in Paris to see "live" some of my prefered ancient artefacts, particularly Ariana ivory  and Areobindus's ivory dyptich and the red light in my brain has not flashed. It just did today. I have just remembered that the Barberini Ivory which is in Louvre Museum shows on its upper panel three well known symbols on the Siscia coinage: the half sun, the crescent and the star and what a star, a six rays one. So, we can reasonably think it is a representation that belongs to the celestial symbols like moon and sun (note that the discussion is note totally closed as they are framing Christ  :) ).


Note also barbarians on central and lower panels.  ;)

Areobindus and Ariana
ROMA CAPVT MVNDI REGIT ORBIS FRENA ROTVNDI

Offline Victor

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Re: VIRTVS EXERCIT with "Chi-Rho" in field
« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2014, 12:47:05 PM »
I have just remembered that the Barberini Ivory which is in Louvre Museum shows on its upper panel three well known symbols on the Siscia coinage: the half sun, the crescent and the star


Thanks for uploading the images. It must be nice to be able to see these in person, I have only seen them in a book.

Offline Genio popvli romani

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Re: VIRTVS EXERCIT with "Chi-Rho" in field
« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2014, 02:18:02 PM »
A real opportunity, indeed, which unfortunately, not much Europeans are aware of and / or involved with.
In fact, the real chance is that in each little town, provided there is a museum (and there is often), there is always something interesting or very interesting to see. You don't have to cross the country to see some ancient artefacts. I will share some pictures of a very little museum of a little town (60k inhabitants) to illustrate this.
ROMA CAPVT MVNDI REGIT ORBIS FRENA ROTVNDI

Online Nikko

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Re: VIRTVS EXERCIT with "Chi-Rho" in field
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2014, 12:19:04 PM »
This coin solve the mistery ;)


Offline Corduba

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Re: VIRTVS EXERCIT with "Chi-Rho" in field
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2017, 07:01:09 AM »
Hi, I´m new here.

Here is my example VIRTVS EXERCIT with "Chi-Rho" in field.

Constantine II. Ticinum 2º of.

I´m not an expert with RIc but I believe it´s RIC VII Ticinum 126.

Best regards, Ignacio Miño.

Offline Victor

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Re: VIRTVS EXERCIT with "Chi-Rho" in field
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2017, 01:15:42 PM »
Hello Ignacio and welcome. Yes, you are right that your coin is Ticinum 126 and thank you for posting your example.