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Denarius (Coin) Portraying Octavian

A work made of silver.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of silver.

Date:

32-29 BCE

Artist:

Roman

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. The coins were then struck, one by one, in a process similar to how modern coins are created today.

The front (obverse) of this coin portrays the Emperor Octavius facing right. The back (reverse) depicts the god Apollo playing a lyre.

Status

Currently Off View

Department

Arts of the Ancient Mediterranean and Byzantium

Artist

Ancient Roman

Title

Denarius (Coin) Portraying Octavian

Place

Italy (Minted in)

Date

32 BCE–29 BCE

Medium

Silver

Inscriptions

Reverse: (c) AESAR DIVI F

Dimensions

Diam.: 1.8 cm (3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. William Nelson Pelouze

Reference Number

1923.1251

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/9949/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.

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