Pontifex Maximus Coins

Kelsey 91-2-345 = RIC I(2) Tiberius 30

I’m grateful to Prof. Irene Soto Marín for access to Kelsey coins during the digitization process.

Who is the female figure on the reverse of the coins with legend PONTIF MAXIM?

The above reverse design with a seated female figure holding a scepter and an branch and a legend referring to the emperor in the role of Pontifex Maximus repeats on the coins of Augustus, Tiberius, and then revived under Vitellius, and Vespasian. The Vitellius aureus differs only slightly, with a shorter legend and a patera instead of a branch. RIC identifies the Vitellius reverse as Vesta and that was my first throught for the others, but Vesta is always (?) veiled. So perhaps we’d be safer reading this as a personification? Perhaps Pietas?

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