Thunderbolt on Roman Coins

12 May 2017  Fri

Humankind has worshiped nature since the primitive time. In the beginning, nature was worshipped in its true form but later on there were deities who represented these forces. These beliefs eventually influenced creative minds of men and the forces were represented in pictorial form. The best example is on coins where various forces of nature are shown directly or indirectly, one such example is a thunderbolt on coins.

The Thunderbolt is a symbolic representation of lighting. In Roman and Ancient Hellenic religious traditions it represents Jupiter and Zeus. It is also called Vajara in Vedic text as the weapon of Indra, the King of gods.

In 234 BC Zeus and thunderbolt were depicted on the coins of Epirus. It also appears on the coins of Olympia but this coin depicts thunderbolt with an eagle (432-421 BC). Even the Roman Republic Coinage depicts thunderbolt in their pre-denarius monetary system in the denomination like Terunica, Aes grave Triens, Didram , etc.

This above shown silver coin also belongs to Roman Republic Coinage. The Quadrigatus depicts laureate head of twined Dioscuri within the dotted border on obverse side. The reverse side depicts a Victoria driving quadriga and Jupiter the main deity is holding a spectre in left hand and thunderbolt in right. The legend ‘Roma’ is depicted in exergue.

Some interesting facts:

• The Quadriga is chariot pilled by four horses.
• In Greek mythology, the thunderbolt is a weapon given to Zeus by the Cyclops and same for Jupiter in Roman mythology.
• In Tibetan Buddhism the ‘Vajra’ or thunderbolt is a symbol of Vajrayana branch.

To know more about Roman Republic Coins Click here.

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