Author Topic: Captives  (Read 4177 times)

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Offline livingwater

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Captives
« on: May 17, 2014, 07:01:01 AM »
Hello,
I saw this coin on ebay this morning from seller denant.  It has nice detail.  I've never paid much attention to the captives.   This one seems to show a male on the left and a female on the right.  Maybe this is normal?  The right captive does look like she could go to Vicky Secret for a new bra like my wife does :).   

Offline Victor

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Re: Captives
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2014, 09:32:45 AM »
I have only ever seen male captives depicted and believe that this one is male also. Despite having good detail overall, the captive on the right is reduced to basically an outline, probably from a weak strike, so it is hard to tell what is exactly going on. Every other example I have seen, from all the mints, seem to depict men, though the hairstyles sometime vary. Boudica being an exception, I also believe that the Romans would have been fighting armies made up of men.

Offline livingwater

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Re: Captives
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2014, 09:57:37 AM »
Yeah all male probably, but there are two issues I can think of that show female captives, the Judaea Captive series and a Republican type that shows two Roman soldiers carrying away Sabine women.

Offline Victor

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Re: Captives
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2014, 12:15:07 PM »
there are two issues I can think of that show female captives,

Both of those issues are different though, The Judea type is a female personification of Judea and the Sabine women is from the tale of the rape of the women, not victory over them in battle...rather they are spoils of war- like a trophy. Captives portrayed on types proclaiming "the valor of the army" have to be men as there would be no valor in declaring your victory over women. Some of the VIRTVS types even have the trophy of arms with captives on either side.

I was very interested in the barbarians on Constantine coins and wondered if they might be representations of actually tribes or just generic barbarians. There are two basic types- the ones most typically found have straight hair like a bowl cut and the others have long hair in sort of a ponytail. I have attached a picture.

The most common types of Constantinian coins with captives are IOVI, SARMATIA, DAFNE, ADVENTVS, FVNDAT PACIS, VIRTVS EXERCIT and some SOL INVICTO. The rare types with captives are FELICITAS PERPETVA SAECVLI, PRINCIPI  IVVENTVTIS, SPES REIPVBLICAE,  VICTORIAE LIBERAE, VIRT PERP CONSTANTINI AVG, VIRTVS AVGG ET CAESS NN, and VIRTVS CONSTANTINI CAES

Two books on the topic of captives on coinage that I enjoyed are- Annalina Calo Levi, "Barbarians on Roman Imperial Coins and Sculpture." American Numismatic Society 1952 (offprint) and Burns, Thomas S. and Bernhard H. Overbeck. Rome and the Germans as Seen in the Coinage. Emory University, 1987.

Offline Genio popvli romani

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Re: Captives
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2014, 02:49:34 PM »

I was very interested in the barbarians on Constantine coins and wondered if they might be representations of actually tribes or just generic barbarians.

I was too, and remember that there are sometimes significant differences between mints about the representation and the attitude of the captives. I have in mind two virtus exercit, one from Trier which is now in Nikko's collection (my avatar) and another one from Siscia that are depicting very differently the barbarians. Note that Siscian barbarians look more barbaric than Trier's ones.   :)

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Offline Victor

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Re: Captives
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2014, 04:40:22 PM »
Note that Siscian barbarians look more barbaric than Trier's ones.   :)

The ones from Siscia make me think of Persians

Offline Genio popvli romani

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Re: Captives
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2014, 12:15:41 PM »
As I was checking some Sarmatia Devicta coins, I have made a little reverse gallery from Trier and Lyon mints with different representations.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2014, 12:17:14 PM by Genio popvli romani »
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Offline Victor

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Re: Captives
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2014, 01:05:08 PM »
As I was checking some Sarmatia Devicta coins, I have made a little reverse gallery from Trier and Lyon mints with different representations.

Nice, here is a pic of some from London, Arles and Sirmium. The captives on the Sarmatia type are remarkably similar across the mints.

Offline Genio popvli romani

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Re: Captives
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2014, 03:34:08 PM »
You are right, Victor, and after all, it seems logical that a Sarmatian should be identically represented across the whole Empire. What is different of the Virtvs Exercit case (and other general concepts) on which a captive can be identified to any barbarian (according to the area where it has been struck).
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Offline Victor

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Re: Captives
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2014, 05:13:08 PM »
it seems logical that a Sarmatian should be identically represented across the whole Empire.

The issue, though, is how would the western mints, especially London know what a Sarmatian looked like?

“When Constantine learned that the Sarmatians, who live near Lake Maeotis, had sailed across the Danube and were pillaging his territory, he led his army against them…he killed many, took more prisoners and put the rest to flight.” Zosimus 2:21

Lake Maeotis, which is now called the Sea of Azov, is very far from the western mints that issued these coins. There may have been some sort of image circulated (perhaps even a design for the coin reverse was issued to the mints) and I am sure that prisoners were taken, who would have been displayed and sold, but perhaps these depictions are still just generic representations of barbarians.

Sarmatians are also usually depicted as having beards in images from Trajan's time and coins issued by Marcus Aurelius seem show bearded Sarmatian captives (below is an example that is not very clear); but styles may have changed by the 4th century. Commodus also issued some coins celebrating a victory over Sarmatians, but from the examples I have seen I could not tell if they were bearded or not. My sample size is not very large for these Marcus Aurelius and Commodus coins either.

The ALAMANNIA DEVICTA type issued at about the same time has an almost identical reverse to the SARMATIA type including the captives, which makes be think even more that these captives are not styled on any actual living people, but only portray an idea of "barbarianism"

Offline seth

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Re: Captives
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2014, 07:06:21 PM »
This map would make better sense as for the sarmatians and Constantine's 323-334 campaigns north of the Danube:

Offline Genio popvli romani

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Re: Captives
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2014, 02:57:17 AM »


 There may have been some sort of image circulated (perhaps even a design for the coin reverse was issued to the mints).

It is one of the general issues ("metallic" and "iconographic" courses) about the minting processus I am curious to know. Who decided, and what was the way until the strike itself?

The ALAMANNIA DEVICTA type issued at about the same time has an almost identical reverse to the SARMATIA type including the captives, which makes be think even more that these captives are not styled on any actual living people, but only portray an idea of "barbarianism"

May be we have to generalize by few iconographic categories, Western and Eastern and/or Northern and Southern barbarians
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