Coin Legends

Translating the Inscriptions

The list below will help with reading most of the common inscriptions. Often, the coin will not be centered perfectly or letters will be missing (could also be caused by damaged dies, or a chip missing), however, that will not stop you from knowing what it is supposed to read if you learn some of the below. If for example you see a reverse legend that starts with FE and ends with IO, you will know right away that it actually says FEL TEMP REPARATIO. If it reads GL…..A RO….RVM, then its GLORIA ROMANORVM.

It gets even easier because certain designs always come with the same legend, like a fallen horseman type with the FEL TEMP legend. Once you acquire a few coins you will start seeing the trends, and by looking at pictures on web sites, catalogs, or coin shows you will learn most of the common legends and will have no problems at all. Finally, with time you will recognize Mars, Jupiter, Sun and other images on the coins, and they will usually have a limited range of legends that were used with them. The ’century’ in the brackets in the list below indicates the most common century that the abbreviation was used, as sometimes the same ones were used at different times to mean different things.

Meanings of Common Inscriptions

Inscription Meaning
ABVNDANTIA abundance or plenty (personification)
AETERNIT forever
ALAMANNIA the Alamanni; a Germanic tribe
AVG, AVGVSTVS emperor
AVGG, AVGGG 2 or more emperors, 3 emperors
BEAT, BEATA blessed
BRIT Britannicus : a title, when used with
name = defeater of the Britans
C Gaius : name, if comes before another C
C, CAE, CAES Caesar : denoted a junior person
CAESS 2 or more Caesars
CONCORDIA harmony or concord (personification)
CARITAS dearness, affection
C, CO, COS, CONS Consul : a high Roman office
COS III office of Consul was held three times
COMITI comrade
CONS, CONSERV, CONSERVATORI preserver, conservator
DAC Dacicus : defeater of the Dacians (title)
DACIA Dacia (ancient Romania), province
DEVICTA victory over; defeated
DN Dominus Noster : Our Lord (4th century)
DDNN our lords (4th century)
DV, DIV, DIVA, DIVO Divine : applied to deceased rulers
EXERC, EXERCIT, EXERCITI, EXERCITVM army
F Filius : son (used in 1st/2nd century)
F, FE, FEL Felix : happy (used in 3rd/4th century)
FEL TEMP REPARATIO happy times (days) are here again
FELICITAS happiness and prosperity (personification)
FIDES loyalty, or good faith (personification)
FIDES MILITVM loyalty of the army
GENIO to Genius, a protecting spirit
GENIO POPVLI ROMANI to the Genius of the Roman people
GERM Germanicus : a title, when used with
name = defeater of the Germans
GERM Germania : province north of Rome
GLORIA glory
GLORIA EXERCITVS the glory of the army
GLORIA ROMANORVM the glory of Rome
HERC Hercules
HOC SIGNO VICTOR ERIS under this sign you will be victorious
IMP Imperator : leader of the army
IMPARI emperors
INV, INVICTO Invictus : invincible, unconquerable
IOM Iovi Optimo Maximo
= Best and Greatest Jupiter
IOV, IOVI Jupiter, to Jupiter
IVL Julius : used before emperor’s name
IVVENT junior, young
LAETITIA Joy (personification)
LEG Legion (of the army)
MARS, MARTEM, MARTI Mars, to Mars
MAX Maximus : the greatest
MILIT, MILITVM army
MVTVA mutual
NC, NOB C, NOB CAES Nobilis Caesar : Noble Caesar
N, NOST Noster : our (4th century)
N nepos : grandson (1st/2nd century)
ORBIS world
ORIENS rising sun or fortune
P Pius : happy (3rd/4th century)
PF Pius Felix : pious happy (3rd/4th cent.)
PAC, PACIF, PACIFERO pacifier, bringer of peace
PART, PARTHICO Parthicus : a title, when used with name = defeater of the Parthians
PAX Peace (personification)
PERP Perpetuus : forever (1st century)
PERPETVITAS AVG Immortality of the emperors
PM, PONT MAX Pontifex Maximvs : high priest
PP Pater Patriae : father of his country
PRINCIPI first (among men), leader
PROFECTIO departure
PROPVG, PROPVGNATOR defender, used with Mars and Jupiter
PT Pater : father (with AVGG; of Augusti)
POPVLI people
PRON pronepos : great grandson
PROVIDENTIAE foresight (personification)
RECTOR master
REDVCI returning, leading back
REGINA queen
REX king
REIPVB, REIPVBLICAE the Republic
RESTITVTOR restorer
ROM, ROMANI, ROMANORVM Rome, Roman
SALVS Health and Safety
SARMATIA the Sarmatians; a Germanic tribe
SC Senatus Consulto
= issued by the decree of the Senate
SM Sacra Moneta : sacred money
SPES hope (personification)
SOL, SOLI the Sun god, to the Sun god
SPQR SENATUS POPULUSQUE ROMANUS The Senate and the Roman People
STATOR stabilizer
PR same as SPQR above (1st/2nd century)
TEMP, TEMPORVM time
TRANQVILLITAS peace
TRP, TRIB POT, P Tribvnicia Potestas : power of the tribune
TVTATORI defender
VBERTAS fertility (personification)
VICTOR victor, defeater : title
VICTORIA Victory (personification)
VIRTVS Virtue, courage (personification)
VLTOR avenger
VNMR Venerabilis Memoria : revered memory
VOT, VOTA, VOTIS Vota : vows
VRB, VRBIS city

Abbreviations of common Roman Names

Abbreviation Name
ANT Antonius
AV, AVR Aurelius
C Caius
CL Clodius
ESV Esuvius
FL Flavius
IVL Julius
L Lucius
LIC, LICIN Licinus
M, MA Marcus
P Publius
Q Quintus
SEPT Septimius
SER Servius
SEV Severus
T Titus
VA, VAL Valerius
VIB Vibus

Abbreviations of less common Roman Names

Abbreviation Name
C Caeliuss
Cn Gnaeus
D Decimus
DID Didus
K Kaeso
M Messius
MAG Magnus
OPEL Opelius

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