Skip to Content
Closed today, next open tomorrow. Closed today, next open tomorrow.

Denarius (Coin) Portraying Julius Caesar

A work made of silver.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of silver.

Date:

43 BCE

Artist:

Roman, minted in Rome

About this artwork

Portraits of important people appear on local currency all around the world. The same was true in ancient Rome, which began producing its first coinage in the late 4th century BCE. Early coins depicted the heads of gods and goddesses on the front side, often in profile, while the back depicted animals, natural resources, symbols, and references to historical events. It was not until 44 BC that the portrait of a living person—Julius Caesar—appeared on coins. Thereafter, profile portraits of rulers or other members of the imperial family became the standard subject on coins throughout the Roman Empire.

Inscriptions on coins help identify the ruler. While the front side depicted the sovereign’s portrait, the back was often used to communicate the ruler’s accomplishments or aspirations. Until Late Antiquity, portraits usually appeared in profile. The tiny images were carved by engravers into bronze dies, with one for the front and another for the back. The coins were then struck, one by one, in a process similar to how coins are created today.

The front (obverse) of this coin portrays Julius Caesar facing right. The back (reverse) depicts the goddess Venus to the left, with a scepter and caduceus.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium

Artist

Ancient Roman

Title

Denarius (Coin) Portraying Julius Caesar

Place

Italy (Object made 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.

43 BCE

Medium

Silver

Inscriptions

Reverse: L FIAMINIUS IIII VIR

Dimensions

Diam.: 2.1 cm (7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. William Nelson Pelouze

Reference Number

1923.1246

IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

https://api.artic.edu/api/v1/artworks/9934/manifest.json

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 . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share