Aureus (Coin) Portraying Emperor Hadrian

A work made of gold.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gold.

Date:

120/23, issued by Hadrian

Artist:

Roman; minted in Rome

About this artwork

Five Good Roman Emperors
The Roman Empire, which flourished from 27 B.C. to A.D. 410, was ruled by a variety of emperors, some who inherited the throne and some who seized it. As rulers came and went, it was important to announce the transition of power quickly. Since the Mint regularly struck coins to pay the armies stationed throughout the empire, it was easy to change the portrait, revise names in the inscription, and publish the news.

Trajan’s cousin Hadrian (r. A.D. 117–38) recognized that Rome could not defend the distant boundaries of the empire. He reduced the frontier to what could be guarded and built fortifications such as Hadrian’s Wall in Britain to repel the barbarian tribes that threatened the empire’s fragile periphery. Hadrian was a collector of carved gems that were made by the same technique as the dies used in coin production. It is thought that because of his interest in the artistic process, he was actively involved in the production of his coins.

On View

Ancient and Byzantine Art, Gallery 153

Artist

Ancient Roman

Title

Aureus (Coin) Portraying Emperor Hadrian

Origin

Roman Empire

Date

120 AD–123 AD

Medium

Gold

Inscriptions

Obverse: IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG Reverse: P M TR P COS III

Dimensions

Diam. 1.9 cm; 7.34 g

Credit Line

Katherine K. Adler Memorial, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Alexander, and Ancient Art Purchase Funds

Reference Number

2004.144

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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