Aureus (Coin) Portraying Emperor Caligula

A work made of gold.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gold.

Date:

37/38, issued by Caligula

Artist:

Roman; minted in Rome

About this artwork

The purpose of the first portrait coins was to identify the ruler. The front side became a mirror of the sovereign’s self-image. The back was often used to communicate the ruler’s accomplishments or intentions.The profile portrait was used because it suited the very shallow depth and limited surface of the coin. The tiny images were carved by engravers into bronze dies, one for the front and another for the back. Whereas modern coinage is cast by pouring molten metal into molds, these coins were struck, one by one.

Portraits of Fashion
Clean-shaven Romans took up wearing beards that they first saw on Hadrian’s coinage. Coins recorded the ever-changing hair-dos of the royal ladies in Rome and carried the new fashions to the far corners of the empire.

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Ancient and Byzantine Art

Artist

Ancient Roman

Title

Aureus (Coin) Portraying Emperor Caligula

Origin

Rome

Date

37 AD–38 AD

Medium

Gold

Inscriptions

Obverse: C.CAESAR.AVG.GERM.PM.TR.POT Reverse: AGRIPPINA.MAT.C.CAES.AVG.GERM.

Dimensions

Diam. 2 cm; 7.77 g

Credit Line

Gift of Martin A. Ryerson

Reference Number

1922.4860

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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