Antoninianus (Coin) Portraying Emperor Balbinus

A work made of silver.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of silver.

Date:

AD 238 (April/June), issued by Balbinus and Pupienus

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 with Royal Regalia
Since few citizens actually saw their sovereign, recognizable symbols such as crowns, robes, and regalia served to identify the ruler. The ray-like crown depicted on Balbinus’s head associated the emperor with the sun much like a halo indicates a holy being.

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Ancient and Byzantine Art

Artist

Ancient Roman

Title

Antoninianus (Coin) Portraying Emperor Balbinus

Origin

Rome

Date

238 AD

Medium

Silver

Inscriptions

Obverse: IMP CAES D CAEL BALBINVS AVG "Imperator Caesar Decimus Caelius Balbinus Augustus" Reverse: PIETAS MVTVA AVGG "Mutual Piety of the Augusti"

Dimensions

Diam. 2.2 cm; 4.85 g

Credit Line

Gift of Martin A. Ryerson

Reference Number

1922.4894

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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