I came across the answer to my question some weeks ago about the origins of the Victory inscribing a shield motif. There is a nice summary of the evolution in Hölscher (p. 61-2 with references to his earlier work on Victoria). He sees its origins in three different elements: 1) 4th century representations of Nike’s inscribing inscriptions like the one above from Heracleia Pontica or this one from Mallos:
2) The practice of dedicating inscribed shields to record victories at major sanctuaries. Here’s a relatively recent piece of scholarship with examples and references to relevant literature And 3) the adaption of the Venus of Capua who is looking at herself in the reflection of Mars’ shield:
He then much to my delight mentions lots of gem and glass paste examples that located the fusion of these three elements in the second century BC. All of which very nicely contextualizes its first appearance as a variation of the standard quinarius reverse design (RRC 333/1).
Part of me feels guilty for not knowing this already. Hölscher has been on my bookshelves for donkey’s years. I swear I’ve read this portion a number of times. My mind just didn’t make the connection while I was writing the earlier post. That had to wait until I read it again. Perhaps that’s why I”m so interested in re-reading (see today’s earlier post). To see information again for first time. For pleasure, for work. The repetition seems the only way to build the paths in my mind that lead to the connections that build the ideas that make the endeavor of learning seem worthwhile.
Update 4/21/2014: Key bibliography also includes:
R. Kousser, “The Desirability of Roman Victory: Victoria on Imperial and Provincial Monuments.” in Representations of War in Ancient Rome, Cambridge University Press, 2006.
R. Kousser, Hellenistic and Roman Ideal Sculpture: The Allure of the Classical, Cambridge University Press, 2008. BMCR review here.