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About This Artwork
Denarius (Coin) Portraying Queen Cleopatra VII, Ptolemaic Period, (about 32 B.C.)
Reign of Cleopatra VII, 51–30 B.C.
Diam. 1.9 cm; 3.36 g
OB: ANTONI ARMENIA DEVICTA
"Antony, with Armenia being conquered"
REV: CLEOPATRAE (REGINAE REG)VM FILIORVM REGVM
"For Cleopatra, Queen of kings and of her sons, being kings"
Gift of Martin A. Ryerson, 1922.4855
Through Cleopatra, Egypt became involved in the chaotic political struggles of the Roman civil war, in which Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, and Octavian sought to control Egypt’s wealth of grain and gold. Eventually this led to the end of Egypt’s existence as a sovereign nation as well as the destruction of the Ptolemaic dynasty. This coin was struckafter Antony and Cleopatra had married and joined forces to fight Octavian. A year later, in 31 B.C. Octavian would defeat the pair at the Battle of Actium, and the ruling dynasty begun by Ptolemy would end with Cleopatra’s death in 30 BB.C.
"Power Struggles: Cleopatra's Relatives and Their Rivals," Gallery 155 (Coin Case), November, 2001 - 2007.
Cornelius Vermeule "Faces of Empire (Julius Caesar to Justinian)" The Celator, Vol. 22, No. 4, April 2008
Alexander, Karen B. 2012. "From Plaster to Stone: Ancient Art at the Art Institute of Chicago." in Recasting the Past: Collecting and Presenting Antiquities at the Art Institute of Chicago, by Karen Manchester, p.29. Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press.