"When in Rome": Ancient Roman Coin Necklace (Gallienus/Pax)
*Note: These coins are identified to the best of my ability using any letters/symbols that are visibly available, and searching against a numismatic database. Please note that while I try incredibly hard to correctly identify them, I am just a hobbyist -- not an expert. Each coin is hand cleaned by me in a process that takes months of soaking, toothpicking, and toothbrushing. Colorization is natural patina from old age that is valued by coin collectors, and I have protected it with Renaissance wax. Because these coins are around 2000 years old and spend hundreds of years buried in the ground, there will be imperfections in surface, patina, and shape. My coins mostly come from the Balkans, and are discovered in buried hoards by farmers tilling soil.
Materials in Bezel/Bail/Chain: Sterling Silver
Chain and Closure: 16", dainty, lobster claw closure with small jump ring
Specific Coin Identification: RIC V Gallienus 256
Obverse: "GALLIENVS AVG"
Reverse: "PAX AVG"
Emperor in Power: Gallienus
Emperor Bust on Coin: Gallienus
Deity/Image on Back: Pax
Mint Date: 260-268 CE. This coin is ~1,753 years old.
Mint Location: Rome
Denomination: Antoninianus (Silver)
Meet Pax, the goddess of peace. She's holding an olive branch (duh) and a sceptre.
Now when WE think of peace, we think of the kind sung about in Christmas songs: Love, compassion, calm, empathy, and non-violence.
Unsurprisingly, that is NOT how the Romans pictured it. Initially, peace to them was more the outcome of war: Complacency, acceptance of defeat, and submission. Pax was the daughter of Jupiter, king of the gods and ultimate imperial power symbol, so to bow before Pax was more like a political stance of accepting the authority of the Empire.
But, as early Christianity began spreading around the Empire, people became more willing to equate Pax with the Christ-like version of peace. In fact, Jesus actually took the place of Pax worship when Christianity became the sole religion of the empire. It's why even NOW whwn we talk about extending Pax's olive branch, we do not mean "ACCEPT YOUR DEFEAT, PLEBIAN!" like we would in Ancient Rome, but rather something like, "Hey, I know we are mad at each other, but let's still be friends."
But here is the interesting thing about this coin: it was minted in the Third Century Crisis, when there was no empire-wide peace. Instead, Gallienus was using this coin as propaganda, pleading with the people to just SUBMIT TO HIS RULE AND BE COMPLACENT! Simple, right? Nah. Gallienus' rule, albeit long for the time period, was riddled with uprisings and usurpers everywhere. People were not chill with being complacent. And unsurprisingly, Gallienus was unpeacefully murdered in 268 CE.