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The Coins - Roman Imperial Coin Portraits

Roman Imperial Coin Portraits
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The Coins

Glossary

Techniques of Coinage

Antoninus Pius coin portraintAntoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161)
Bronze AE 35

Mint of Prostanna, Pisidia (modern Egherdir, Turkey)
Date of issue: A.D. 138-161
Description of obverse: Head of Antoninus Pius, wearing a laurel wreath and a paludamentum, facing right.
Legend:legend in Greek

(2000.17)

AugustusAugustus (27 B.C.-A.D. 14)
Silver Denarius

Mint of Lugdunum, Gaul (modern Lyons, France)
Date of issue: 7-6 BC
Description of obverse: Head of Augustus, wearing a laurel wreath, facing right.
Legend: CAESAR AVGVSTVS DIVI F PATER PATRIAE

(68.337)

AUGUSTUS (Octavian) (27 B.C.-A.D. 14), born in Rome in 63 B.C., was a grand-nephew of Julius Caesar who adopted him as his heir. After the defeat of Mark Anthony at Actium in 31 B.C., Octavian became sole master of the Roman world. In 27 B.C., he was given the title of "Augustus" by which he is popularly known.

TiberiusTiberius (A.D. 14-37)
Silver Denarius

Mint of Lugdunum, Gaul (modern Lyons, France)
Date of issue: circa A.D. 26-37
Description of obverse: Head of Tiberius, wearing a laurel wreath, facing right.
Legend: TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS

(69.490)

TIBERIUS (A.D.14-37), born in 42 B.C., was AUGUSTUS' (see above) stepson and successor. He was intelligent, an excellent military commander, and a more than capable administrator. He was, however, so reluctant to run the state that he retired from Rome and lived out his final years at his villa on the island of Capri. Jesus Christ was crucified during his reign.

CaligulaCaligula (A.D. 37-41)
Bronze As

Mint of Rome
Date of issue: A.D. 37-38
Description of obverse: Bare head of Caligula, facing left.
Legend: C · CAESAR · AVG · GERMANICVS · PON · M · TR · POT ·

(69.499)

CALIGULA (Caius Caesar) (A.D. 37-41) was born in A.D. 12, and named by TIBERIUS (see above) as his heir. He was murdered in 41, after a reign of only four years. He received his nickname from the soldiers when as a child he wore the miniature uniform of a soldier, including the "caligula" a sort of half-boot.

ClaudiusClaudius (A.D. 41-54)
Bronze As

Mint of Rome
Date of issue: A.D. 41-50
Description of obverse: Bare head of Claudius, facing left.
Legend: TI · CLAVDIVS · CAESAR · AVG · P · M · TR · P · IMP ·

(69.512)

CLAUDIUS (A.D. 41-54) was born in 10 B.C., and was excluded from public and political circles for much of his life due to physical deformities. He is best known for his successful invasion of Britain in 43, and for his marriage to his niece AGRIPPINA (see below) the younger, whose son NERO (see below) became his heir. He died in 54, perhaps poisoned by his wife.

NeroNero (A.D. 54-68)
Bronze Sestertius

Mint of Lugdunum, Gaul (modern Lyons, France)
Date of issue: A.D. 65
Description of obverse: Head of Nero, wearing a laurel wreath, with small globe at the point of the bust, facing right.
Legend: NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P

(67.76)

NERO (A.D. 54-68), committed suicide in 68, on the eve of his arrest, after a reign of extravagance. He was a lover of the arts, and it is said of him that he played the fiddle while Rome burned in A.D. 64.

VespasianVespasian (A.D. 69-79)
Silver Tetradrachm

Mint of Antiocheia, Syria (modern Antakya, Turkey)
Date of issue: A.D. 70-71
Description of obverse: Head of Vespasian, wearing a laurel wreath, facing right.
Legend (in Greek): greek text

(68.348)

VESPASIAN (A.D. 69-79), born to a humble family in A.D. 9, was proclaimed emperor by the legions at Alexandria and went on to be a just and industrious ruler. He is perhaps best known for beginning construction of the Colosseum in Rome.

Titus (A.D. 79-81)
Silver Denarius

Mint of Rome
Date of issue: A.D. 80
Description of obverse: Head of Titus, bearded, wearing a laurel wreath, facing right.
Legend: IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M

(68.354)

TITUS (A.D. 79-81), VESPASIAN's (see above) eldest son, was born in 41. He is remembered chiefly for his capture of Jerusalem in 70; scenes from the triumph are still visible on his arch in Rome.

DomitianDomitian (A.D. 81-96)
Silver Denarius

Mint of Rome
Date of issue: A.D. 73 (under Vespasian)
Description of obverse: Head of Domitian, wearing a laurel wreath, facing right.
Legend: CAES AVG F DOMIT COS II

(67.80)

DOMITIAN (A.D. 81-96), younger son of VESPASIAN (see above), was born in 51. Although his reign started well, he soon became paranoid, cruel and tyrannical, which led to his murder in 96.

NervaNerva (A.D. 96-98)
Silver Denarius

Mint of Rome
Date of issue: A.D. 97
Description of obverse: Head of Nerva, wearing a laurel wreath, facing right.
Legend: IMP NERVA CAES AVG P M TR P II COS III P P

(68.357)

NERVA (A.D. 96-98), born in 32, was consul with DOMITIAN (see above) when the latter was assassinated. His short rule was marked by justice and careful administration. He adopted TRAJAN (see below) as his successor.

TrajanTrajan (A.D. 98-117)
Silver Denarius

Mint of Rome
Date of issue: circa A.D. 115-117
Description of obverse: Bust of Trajan, wearing a laurel wreath and a paludamentum, facing right.
Legend: IMP CAES NER TRAIAN OPTIM AVG GERM DAC

(91.338)

TRAJAN (A.D. 98-117), born in Spain in 52, is well known for his victories over the Dacians (commemorated on the famous column that still stands in Rome) and the Parthians, which extended the eastern boundaries of the Roman empire.

HadrianHadrian (A.D. 117-138)
Gold aureus

Mint of Rome
Date of issue: circa A.D. 128-132
Description of obverse: Bust of Hadrian, wearing a laurel wreath and a paludamentum, facing right.
Legend: HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS P P

(60.32)

HADRIAN (A.D. 117-138), adopted by TRAJAN (see above) as his heir, spent much of his reign in visiting the provinces of the empire and greatly improved the defenses of the frontiers. Much of HADRIAN's wall in England, built against invasions from the north, still stands. He thoroughly reorganized the government of the empire, and his rule was just and humane.

AgrippinaNero (A.D. 54-68) and Agrippina (A.D. 16-59)
Silver Tetradrachm

Mint of Antiocheia, Syria (modern Antakya, Turkey)
Date of issue: A.D. 56-57
Description of reverse: Bust of Agrippina, facing right. Greek inscription with name and title of Agrippina; year of emperor's reign below her chin:
greek text greek text

(60.44)

AGRIPPINA the younger, the fourth wife of CLAUDIUS (see above) and mother of NERO (see above), was murdered at her son's orders in 59.

SabinaHadrian (A.D. 117-138) and Sabina (A.D. 86-136/137)
Billon Tetradrachm

Mint of Alexandria, Egypt
Date of issue: A.D. 128-129
Description of reverse: Bust of Sabina, facing right, wearing diadem, hair in braids rolled up over head. Greek inscription with name and title of Sabina and, behind head, year of emperor's reign:
greek text greek text

(69.351)

SABINA married HADRIAN (see above) in 100, but she bore no children. She accompanied Hadrian on his travels and was honored with the title of Augusta on coinage in 128. She was consecrated by Hadrian after her death in 136 or 137.

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