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Aureus (Coin) Portraying Emperor Vespasian

A work made of gold.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of gold.


75-79, issued by Vespasian


Roman; minted in Rome

About this artwork

Obverse: Head of Vespasian right, laureate
Reverse: Fortuna, standing left on low garlanded altar, holding rudder in right hand and cornucopia in left

In A.D. 68 the chaotic reign of the Roman emperor Nero came to an end with his forced suicide, but what followed was an equally chaotic struggle to succeed him. The support of the army was critical: the year A.D. 69 saw one general after another claim the throne only to be killed by one of his rivals. Finally, the Roman army in Egypt joined the army in Syria to back General Vespasian. Knowing that Egypt was the empire’s breadbasket, Vespasian’s first effort as emperor was to pacify and control this important province. The armor he wears on this coin emphasizes his role as a warrior king.


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Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium


Ancient Roman


Aureus (Coin) Portraying Emperor Vespasian


Rome (Minted in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

75 CE–79 CE




Obverse: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG "Emperor Caesar Vespasian Augustus" Reverse: FORTVNA AVGVST "Fortuna Augusta"


Diam.: 2 cm (13/16 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Martin A. Ryerson

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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