Maximinus II Daia 305AD Ancient Roman coin genius cult Protection
Authentic Ancient Coin of:
Maximinus II 'Daia'- Roman Emperor: 308-313 A.D.
Maximinus II 'Daia' as Caesar
Bronze 'Quarter Follis' 18mm (1.69 grams) Struck at the mint of Siscia 305-306 A.D.
Reference: RIC VI 170b
GAL VAL MAXIMINVS NOB C, laureate head right
GENIO POPVLI ROMANI, Genius standing left, naked except for modius on head
& chlamis over shoulder, holding patera & cornucopiae, SIS in ex.
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The cornucopia (from Latin cornu copiae) or horn of plenty is a symbol of abundance and nourishment, commonly a large horn-shaped container overflowing with produce, flowers, nuts, other edibles, or wealth in some form. Originating in classical antiquity, it has continued as a symbol in Western art, and it is particularly associated with the Thanksgiving holiday in North America.
Allegorical depiction of the Roman goddess Abundantia with a cornucopia, by Rubens (ca. 1630)
Mythology offers multiple explanations of the origin of the cornucopia. One of the best-known involves the birth and nurturance of the infant Zeus, who had to be hidden from his devouring father Cronus. In a cave on Mount Ida on the island ofCrete, baby Zeus was cared for and protected by a number of divine attendants, including the goat Amalthea ("Nourishing Goddess"), who fed him with her milk. The suckling future king of the gods had unusual abilities and strength, and in playing with his nursemaid accidentally broke off one of her horns, which then had the divine power to provide unending nourishment, as the foster mother had to the god.
In another myth, the cornucopia was created when Heracles(Roman Hercules) wrestled with the river god Achelous and wrenched off one of his horns; river gods were sometimes depicted as horned. This version is represented in the Achelous and Hercules mural painting by the American Regionalist artistThomas Hart Benton.
The cornucopia became the attribute of several Greek andRoman deities, particularly those associated with the harvest, prosperity, or spiritual abundance, such as personifications of Earth (Gaia or Terra); the child Plutus, god of riches and son of the grain goddess Demeter; the nymph Maia; and Fortuna, the goddess of luck, who had the power to grant prosperity. InRoman Imperial cult, abstract Roman deities who fostered peace (pax Romana) and prosperity were also depicted with a cornucopia, including Abundantia, "Abundance" personified, andAnnona, goddess of the grain supply to the city of Rome. Pluto, the classical ruler of the underworld in the mystery religions, was a giver of agricultural, mineral and spiritual wealth, and in art often holds a cornucopia to distinguish him from the gloomier Hades, who holds a drinking horn instead.
In modern depictions, the cornucopia is typically a hollow, horn-shaped wicker basket filled with various kinds of festive fruit andvegetables. In North America, the cornucopia has come to be associated with Thanksgiving and the harvest. Cornucopia is also the name of the annual November Wine and Food celebration inWhistler, British Columbia, Canada. Two cornucopias are seen in the flag and state seal of Idaho. The Great Seal of North Carolinadepicts Liberty standing and Plenty holding a cornucopia. The coat of arms of Colombia, Panama, Peru and Venezuela, and the Coat of Arms of the State of Victoria, Australia, also feature the cornucopia, symbolising prosperity.
The horn of plenty is used on body art and at Halloween, as it is a symbol of fertility, fortune and abundance.
Head of a genius worshipped by Roman soldiers (found atVindobona, 2nd century CE)
In ancient Roman religion, the genius was the individual instance of a general divine nature that is present in every individual person, place, or thing.
Winged genius facing a woman with a tambourine and mirror, from southern Italy, about 320 BC.
Nature of the genius
The rational powers and abilities of every human being were attributed to their soul, which was a genius. Each individual place had a genius (genius loci) and so did powerful objects, such as volcanoes. The concept extended to some specifics: the genius of the theatre, of vineyards, and of festivals, which made performances successful, grapes grow, and celebrations succeed, respectively. It was extremely important in the Roman mind to propitiate the appropriate genii for the major undertakings and events of their lives.
Bronze genius depicted as pater familias (1st century CE)
Although the term genius might apply to any divinity whatsoever, most of the higher-level and state genii had their own well-established names. Genius applied most often to individual places or people not generally known; that is, to the smallest units of society and settlements, families and their homes. Houses, doors, gates, streets, districts, tribes, each one had its own genius.The supreme hierarchy of the Roman gods, like that of the Greeks, was modelled after a human family. It featured a father, Jupiter ("father god"), who, in a patriarchal society was also the supreme divine unity, and a mother, Juno, queen of the gods. These supreme unities were subdivided into genii for each individual family; hence, the genius of each female, representing the female domestic reproductive power, was a Juno. The male function was a Jupiter.
The juno was worshipped under many titles:
Iugalis, "of marriage"
Matronalis, "of married women"
Pronuba, "of brides"
Virginalis, "of virginity"
Genii were often viewed as protective spirits, as one would propitiate them for protection. For example, to protect infants one propitiated a number of deities concerned with birth and childrearing: Cuba ("lying down to sleep"), Cunina ("of the cradle") and Rumina ("of breast-feeding"). Certainly, if those genii did not perform their proper function well, the infant would be in danger.
Hundreds of lararia, or family shrines, have been discovered atPompeii, typically off the atrium, kitchen or garden, where the smoke of burnt offerings could vent through the opening in the roof. A lararium was distinct from the penus ("within"), another shrine where the penates, gods associated with the storerooms, was located. Each lararium features a panel fresco containing the same theme: two peripheral figures (Lares) attend on a central figure (family genius) or two figures (genius and Juno) who may or may not be at an altar. In the foreground is one or two serpents crawling toward the genius through a meadow motif. Campaniaand Calabria preserved an ancient practice of keeping a propitious house snake, here linked with the genius. In another, unrelated fresco (House of the Centenary) the snake-in-meadow appears below a depiction of Mount Vesuvius and is labelled Agathodaimon, "good daimon", where daimon must be regarded as the Greek equivalent of genius.
History of the concept
Etymologically genius (“household guardian spirit”) has the same derivation as nature from gēns (“tribe”, “people”) from theIndo-European root *gen-, "produce." It is the indwelling nature of an object or class of objects or events that act with a perceived or hypothesized unity. Philosophically the Romans did not find the paradox of the one being many confusing; like all other prodigies they attributed it to the inexplicable mystery of divinity. Multiple events could therefore be attributed to the same and different divinities and a person could be the same as and different from his genius. They were not distinct, as the later guardian angels, and yet the Genius Augusti was not exactly the same as Augustus either. As a natural outcome of these beliefs, the pleasantness of a place, the strength of an oath, an ability of a person, were regarded as intrinsic to the object, and yet were all attributable to genius; hence all of the modern meanings of the word. This point of view is not attributable to any one civilization; its roots are lost in prehistory. The Etruscans had such beliefs at the beginning of history, but then so did the Greeks, the native Italics and many other peoples in the near and middle east.
Genii under the monarchy
No literature of the monarchy has survived, but later authors in recounting its legends mention the genius. For example, underServius Tullius the triplets Horatii of Rome fought the triplets Curiatii of Alba Longa for the decision of the war that had arisen between the two communities. Horatius was left standing but his sister, who had been betrothed to one of the Curiatii, began to keen, breast-beat and berate Horatius. He executed her, was tried for murder, was acquitted by the Roman people but the king made him expiate the Juno of his sister and the Genius Curiatii, a family genius.
The genius appears explicitly in Roman literature relatively late as early as Plautus, where one character in the play, Captivi, jests that the father of another is so avaricious that he uses cheap Samian ware in sacrifices to his own genius, so as not to tempt the genius to steal it.In this passage, the genius is not identical to the person, as to propitiate oneself would be absurd, and yet the genius also has the avarice of the person; that is, the same character, the implication being, like person, like genius.
Implied geniuses date to much earlier; for example, whenHoratius Cocles defends the Pons Sublicius against an Etruscan crossing at the beginning of the Roman Republic, after the bridge is cut down he prays to the Tiber to bear him up as he swims across: Tiberine pater te, sancte, precor ..., "Holy father Tiber, I pray to you ...." The Tiber so addressed is a genius. Although the word is not used here, in later literature it is identified as one.
Horace describes the genius as "the companion which controls the natal star; the god of human nature, in that he is mortal for each person, with a changing expression, white or black".
Genius of Domitian
Octavius Caesar on return to Rome after the final victory of theRoman Civil War at the Battle of Actium appeared to the Senate to be a man of great power and success, clearly a mark of divinity. In recognition of the prodigy they voted that all banquets should include a libation to his genius. In concession to this sentiment he chose the name Augustus, capturing the numinous meaning of English "august." This line of thought was probably behind the later vote in 30 BC that he was divine, as the household cult of the Genius Augusti dates from that time. It was propitiated at every meal along with the other householdnumina.The vote began the tradition of the divine emperors; however, the divinity went with the office and not the man. The Roman emperors gave ample evidence that they personally were neither immortal nor divine.
Inscription on votive altar to the genius of Legio VII Gemina by L. Attius Macro (CIL II 5083)
If the genius of the imperator, or commander of all troops, was to be propitiated, so was that of all the units under his command. The provincial troops expanded the idea of the genii of state; for example, from Roman Britain have been found altars to the geniiof Roma, Roman aeterna, Britannia, and to every legion, cohors, ala and centuria in Britain, as well as to the praetorium of every castra and even to the vexillae. Inscriptional dedications to genius were not confined to the military. From Gallia Cisalpinaunder the empire are numerous dedications to the genii of persons of authority and respect; in addition to the emperor's genius principis, were the geniuses of patrons of freedmen, owners of slaves, patrons of guilds, philanthropists, officials, villages, other divinities, relatives and friends. Sometimes the dedication is combined with other words, such as "to the genius and honor" or in the case of couples, "to the genius and Juno."
Surviving from the time of the empire hundreds of dedicatory, votive and sepulchral inscriptions ranging over the entire territory testify to a floruit of genius worship as an official cult. Stock phrases were abbreviated: GPR, genio populi Romani ("to the genius of the Roman people"); GHL, genio huius loci ("to the genius of this place"); GDN, genio domini nostri ("to the genius of our master"), and so on. In 392 AD with the final victory of Christianity Theodosius I declared the worship of the Genii,Lares and Penates to be treason, ending their official terms. The concept, however, continued in representation and speech under different names or with accepted modifications.
The genius of a corporate social body is often a cameo theme on ancient coins: a denarius from Spain, 76–75 BC, featuring a bust of the GPR (Genius Populi Romani, "Genius of the Roman People") on the obverse; an aureus of Siscia in Croatia, 270–275 AD, featuring a standing image of the GENIUS ILLVR (Genius Exercitus Illyriciani, "Genius of the Illyrian Army") on the reverse; an aureus of Rome, 134–138 AD, with an image of a youth holding a cornucopia and patera (sacrificial dish) and the inscription GENIOPR, genio populi Romani, "to the genius of the Roman people," on the reverse.
Scene from Lararium, House of Iulius Polybius, Pompeii
Agathodaimon ("good divinity"), genius of the soil around Vesuvius
Unknown Roman genius near Pompeii, 1st century BC
Genius of Augustus
Genius of Antoninus Pius
Genius of love, Meister des Rosenromans, 1420-1430
Genius of victory,Michelangelo (1475-1564
Genius of Palermo, Ignazio Marabitti, c. 1778
Genius of liberty,Augustin Dumont, 1801-1884
Genius of Alexander, Marie Louise Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, 1814
Genius of war, Arturo Melida y Alinara (1849-1902)
Genius of Beethoven
Gaius Valerius Galerius Maximinus (20 November, c. 270 – July/August, 313) Roman emperor from 308 to 313, was originally named Daia. He was born of peasant stock to the half sister of the Roman emperor Galerius near their family lands around Felix Romuliana; a rural area now in the Danubian region of Misia today Bulgaria, then the newly reorganised Roman province of Dacia Aureliana subordinated to the later Prefecture of Illyricum).
He rose to high distinction after he had joined the army, and in 305 he was adopted by his maternal uncle, Galerius, and raised to the rank ofcaesar, with the government of Syria andAegyptus.
In 308, after the elevation of Licinius to Augustus, Maximinus andConstantine were declared filii Augustorum ("sons of the Augusti"), but Maximinus probably started styling himself after Augustus during a campaign against the Sassanids in 310.
On the death of Galerius, in 311, Maximinus divided the Eastern Empire between Licinius and himself. When Licinius andConstantine began to make common cause with one another, Maximinus entered into a secret alliance with the usurper CaesarMaxentius, who controlled Italy. He came to an open rupture with Licinius in 313, he summoned an army of 70,000 men, but still sustained a crushing defeat at the Battle of Tzirallum, in the neighbourhood of Heraclea Pontica, on the April 30, and fled, first to Nicomedia and afterwards to Tarsus, where he died the following August. His death was variously ascribed "to despair, to poison, and to the divine justice".
Maximinus has a bad name in Christian annals, as having renewed persecution after the publication of the toleration edict of Galerius (see Edict of Toleration by Galerius). Eusebius of Caesarea, for example, writes that Maximinus conceived an "insane passion" for a Christian girl of Alexandria, who was of noble birth noted for her wealth, education, and virginity - SaintCatherine of Alexandria. When the girl refused his advances, he exiled her and seized all of her wealth and assets.
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