Courtesy of the American Numismatic Society, New York

Regal, commanding, the goddess Vesta peers out from a silver Roman coin minted during the civil wars of the first century B.C. Vesta’s image was probably intended to remind Rome’s warring factions of the need for patriotism and unity in times of trouble. The reverse side of the coin shows a pair of clasped hands, with the Latin inscription Fides Exercituum—a legend pledging “the loyalty of the army” to the goddess Vesta and the republic of Rome.