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Glossary - Roman Imperial Coin Portraits

As: a bronze coin
Aes: bronze
Antoninianus: a silver coin introduced in A.D. 215 and valued at two denarii
Antoninus Pius: Roman emperor from A.D. 138-161, his reign was one of peace and prosperity for the empire; he acquired the Pius because of his devotion to the emperor Hadrian’s memory
Aureus: a gold coin

Biga: a two-horse chariot
Billon: an alloy of silver with copper

Cuirass: a leather and metal covering designed to protect the torso and shoulders of the wearer
Cybele: the great mother-goddess of Anatolia, she was worshipped with her youthful lover Attis, a god of vegetation

Dacia: a province of the Roman empire consisting of what is today Romania
Denarius: a silver coin, equal to ten asses
Die: metal piece for striking coins, engraved with the design in negative
Drachm(a): the basic denomination for most Greek coins, usually divided into six obols. The name is thought to be derived from a "handful" (drax) of six iron cooking-spits (obeloi). Spits were used as currency in early times.

Electrum: an alloy of gold and silver, either natural or artificial
Exergue: the separate area of a coin below the ground-line of the main decoration

Fortuna: an Italian goddess who was the bringer of fertility and increase.

Gordian III: Roman emperor from A.D. 238-244; became emperor at the age of 13; murdered while on campaign against the Persians

Incuse: concave design or impression

Mên: a Phrygian god worshipped throughout Anatolia, he is often shown with a crescent moon behind his shoulders and with a pinecone in his hand

Obverse: the front and principal side of a coin (i.e. that on which the main design is placed), struck from the anvil die

Petilius Capitolinus: one of the tresviri monetales (the three men in charge of minting during the Roman republic) in 43 B.C.; otherwise unknown
Paludamentum: a military cloak; a soldier’s cloak, especially a general’s cloak

Reverse: the back side of a coin, struck from the punch die

Septimius Severus: Roman emperor from A.D. 193-211; his reign restored stability to the empire after a period of civil war; he died of natural causes while on military campaign in Britain
Sestertius: (1) a silver coin originally equal to two-and-a-half asses; one quarter of a denarius. (2) a brass coin introduced by Augustus, equal to four asses, or one quarter of a denarius
Stater: a Greek gold, silver, or electrum coin, the principal denomination of a coinage

Tetradrachm: a four-drachma coin
Trajan Decius: Roman emperor from A.D. 249-251; both he and his eldest son were killed at the Battle of the Abrittus in A.D. 251
Type: the design or device on a coin

Roman Imperial Coin Portraits
Online Exhibit Home

The Coins


Techniques of Coinage

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