This gold and glass representation was found during the building of the line C subway in Rome and now widely reported in the news.
It is being reported as representing Roma, but it could just as easily represent Virtus. This issue comes up again and again (old blog posts: a Lararium in Stabiae, RRC 403/1, Roma as Amazon, Literary treatments). There is some stuff on this in my coin book too.
In art history the debate over Virtus or Roma usually plays out in the interpretation of imperial monuments
Who holds the emperor’s arm here?
Who leads the chariot here?
There are some parallels in coin images but none exact, no triple crested helmet, no spear in front of the bust, no emphasis on bands crossing between breasts (an amazonian element). It looks like on the glass what is typically a shield in such bust representations is just extra drapery.
More than anything the style of the gold and glass reminds me of the artistic style of Contorniates, but I don’t yet own the standard reference catalogue for those. I think it is the long face. I’m not sure if there are any Roma/Virtus contorniates… Must check… (cf. Alföldi Contorniates 77 and p. 26, 10, no spear, Cf. Alföldi, Kontorniat, 70/493; )
The closest parallel seems to be with personifications of Constantinople but no triple crested helmet and it is a scepter instead of a spear.
For the triple crest cf. RRC 329/1
Also earlier post on the helmet type
I also have a strong memory that Miles MacDonald, in his book on Roman Manliness (virtus) talks about this helmet. …