The ancient Roman lore codified by Varro, mentions the official date of Rome’s foundation as 21st April 753 BC.
A thousand years later, the reigning emperor, Philip I (AD 244 to 249) organised magnificent games and associated his family with the 1000th Anniversary celebrations by issuing attractive coins. These coins of Philip I are specially collected for their historical significance and varied designs.
These millennial coins of Philip I depicted inscriptions which suggest the celebration that marks the end of one age and beginning of another e.g. SAECVLARES AVGG meaning ‘new age’. SECVLARES was also used in reference of the secular games held every 100 years.
This inscription on coins of millennial coinage is dwarfed, when one refers to the animals depicted on the coinage of Philip I. Philip I dedicated Five animals on these coins which were produced in a different workshop (Officinae). Each Officinae was allocated with one animal like lion, she-wolf and twins European, hippopotamus, stag and antelope. Each of these coins was engraved with Roman numeral I, II, III, IIII, V or VI in the exergue on the reverse.
The above-shown coin of millennial coinage depicted the most impressive animal - lion. This animal is the age-old emblem of royalty and power. The special reason to depict lion on Philip I coinage was that his family hailed from a rather remote part of the Near East.
All animals were shown with his family members like Antelope with his son Philip II and hippopotamus with his wife Octavia Severa.
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