Common Obverse Abbreviations

AEL Aelia. Initially Aelia Flaccilla’s first name, it was used during the 5th century by the coinage of the emperor’s wife in an honorary fashion equivalent to the use of “Caesar” by their male counterparts.
ARM Armeniacvs. Customarily given after a successful military campaign against Armenia.
AVG Short for Augustus.
AVGG Used to denote that there was more than one emperor ruling at the same time either jointly or simultaneously in another part of the empire. The number of “G’s” denotes how many emperors this particular emperor recognized.
AVGVSTVS This was the honorary title traditionally given to all emperors following Octavian, on whose accession he renamed himself after.
BRIT Britannicvs. Customarily given after a successful military campaign in Britain.
C Short for Caesar.
CAES Short for Caesar.
CAESAR Honorary title given to imperial princes who were next-in-line to the emperor himself. This title was initially Julius Caesar’s personal last name and it was used afterwards to honor his memory.
CL Clavdivs, A common first name.
COS Consulate, often followed by Roman numerals indicating the term. This was a largely honorary title given to the person being depicted on the coin and akin to “President” if we keep in mind that during the imperial age of Rome the military’s Commander in Chief was the one who held actual power.
The use of this term faded as emperors become more despotic and less inclined to take the Senate into consideration.
DIVI God, this always denotes a posthumous issue on behalf of the deceased emperor who is being deified.
DIVO as above.
DIVVS as above.
DN Dominus Noster “Our Lord”, in use from the early 4th century through the Byzantine period.
IMP Imperator This title meant the equivalent of “Commander in Chief” and is the word from which we get “emperor”.
FL Flavius, a common first name.
GERM Germanicvs Customarily given after a successful military expedition against any tribe of German origin.
IVL Ivlianvs or Ivlivs; short for Julian or Julius.
IVN short for Junior, used to distinguish from a parent emperor of the same name.
MAX Maximvs Maximum.
NOB Nobillissimus Belonging to the highest aristocratic circles.
PART Parthicvs Customarily given after a successful military expedition against the Parthians.
PERP Perpetvvs For eternity, used mostly on 5th century coins.
PIVS Title used for denoting the emperor's piety.
PM Pontifex Maximvs The highest religious office, a notch belong being a god himself.
PP Pater Patriae Honorary “Father” of the empire. On very late-empire coinage it becomes simply an abbreviation for Perpetvvs.
TRP Tribune Potestas Tribunician Powers, the highest judicial offices.
VAL Valerivs, a common first name often used in coins of late 3rd and early 4th century.
VIRTVS Virtuous