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Denarius (Coin) Portraying Pompey the Great

A work made of silver.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of silver.


42-40 BCE, issued by Roman Republic, Sextus Pompeius Magnus


Roman, minted in Sicily

About this artwork

The front (obverse) of this coin portrays the head of Pompey the Great, facing right. Priestly instruments, a praefericulum (tall vase with handle) and lituus (staff), appear to left and right. On the back (reverse), Anapius and Amphinomus carry their parents; between them, Neptune stands with his foot on a ship prow.

Coins were an efficient form of publicity, particularly when new rulers needed to legitimize their succession or strengthen their reputation. After Pompey’s defeat by Julius Caesar, his sons tried to revitalize their father’s reputation and thereby enhance their own stature by issuing coins with Pompey’s portrait, such as this one.


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Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium


Ancient Roman


Denarius (Coin) Portraying Pompey the Great


Sicily (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.

42 BCE–40 BCE




Obverse: MAG PIVS IMP [ITER] Reverse: PRÆF (above) CLAS ET ORÆ / MARIT EX S C


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

Credit Line

Gift of Martin A. Ryerson

Reference Number


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