Thursday, February 2, 2012

American Politics...Roman Imperial Style!

This will not come as news to my American readers, but for my friends from the U.K. and elsewhere I must admit with a degree of chagrin that our current Presidential election is going to result in the expenditure of somewhere between one and two billion dollars. 

Of course this money could be better spent doing other things, and in fact is such an enormous pile of cash that campaigns actually have a difficult time finding effective ways to use it.  In an age where print and broadcast television are in decline you just can't keep buying ads and expect them to do much.

In Roman Imperial times the news media were very limited.  In fact, other than various propaganda on the coinage and a few mentions of political satires being written, there was not much.

But perhaps there is an opportunity for our modern image spinners in these archaic methods.  I propose that the respective campaigns take the money they have collected from contributors and turn it into......different money.  We can even use the same imagery.

Here for instance is a coin image for Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee.  Some feel he is not conservative enough, so lets just start minting coins with his image on the front, and on the back:
The CONSERVAT AUG  legend indicates stability courtesy of the Augustus, or emperor.

 His opponent, Barack Obama could perhaps shore up his political base-some of whom are unhappy with his occasional forays into moderation-by issuing coinage with this reverse:
LIBERALITAS AUG, indicates the generosity of the ruler.

All campaigns have certain qualities they wish to project, so we might see coins from both men with the following images:

PIETAS AUGUST.  Because religious piety is not a bad thing in American politics.  Since this particular coin was issued in the name of an empress (AUGUSTA instead of AUGUSTUS), it could be an issue of Michelle Obama.  I suppose that would be her two daughters there as well.

Next up:

SECURITAS.  Because keeping our nation secure is good policy.  And as an add on it could be considered a promise to not touch Social Security.  Note the AUGG designation.  This is plural, so from a time when two Augusti were sharing power.  Not always a recipe for security.

Alas, I must admit that even in this enlightened age our political process still harbors a few rascals who would play dirty tricks on their opponents.  Lets hope we don't see any coinage issued in an opponent's name with:

A very racy looking Venus, the goddess of love, leaning suggestively on a phallic looking column!  Sometimes the Romans would over-strike older coins, so this could be left over from the Bill Clinton years.  Or if you prefer, a rare artifact from the brief Herman Cain campaign.

Finally a coin that could foretell a major political surprise.  The current Vice President is a talkative fellow named Joe Biden.  Some feel he is more of a liability than an asset, and have suggested he be replaced.  Next time campaign workers show up at your door offering you a sack full of denarii for your political favor, dip into the bag and look for:

The reverse motto on this coin is HILARITAS,  which means time for happiness.  But with the slight blurring of the legend and the image on the front it just might mean "Time for Hillary"!


rewinn said...

Pardon my innocence and/or cynicism, but are these photos of actual Roman coins?
The collection is so Onion-like; if you have stuck to actual coinage then congratulations on a job well done ... and LOL!

Tacitus2 said...


is a good overview. with 500 years of coinage, albeit a little tawdry towards the end, there are a lot of great ones.