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Roman Coins on Display


image of Roman coin

Coin 2008: Republican denarius minted by Decimus Albinus Brutus in 48 BCE in honor of Julius Caesar: Pietas on the obverse, two clasped hands on the reverse. Four years later, Decimus Brutus joined M. Junius Brutus (no relation) in assassinating Caesar.


1. Aes grave, "heavy bronze," sextans (269-222 BCE; 48 gr): obverse, scallop shell flanked by two dots (the value of the coin); reverse, caduceus (no. 2001).

2. Aes grave, "heavy bronze," triens (269-222 BCE; 105 gr): obverse, thunderbolt flanked by four dots (the value of the coin); reverse, dolphin with four dots about (the value of the coin) (no. 2000).

3. Aes grave, "heavy bronze," triental as (222-295 BCE; ca. 90 gr): obverse, Janus head; reverse, ship's prow, single stroke above (value of the coin) (no. 2002).

4. Aes grave, "heavy bronze" sextans (269-222 BCE; 55 gr): obverse, turtle; reverse, wheel (no. 2003).

5. Silver denarius (187-175 BCE; 2 gr): obverse, head of Roma, inscr. ROMA; reverse, Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux), X (value of the coin) (no. 2006).

6. Silver denarius (79 BCE; 2 gr): obverse, Spain personified, inscr. HISPAN(IA); reverse, man in a toga (the moneyer, Albinus Nepos), inscr. ALBIN(US) N(EPO)S (no. 2007).Obv.

7. Silver denarius (88-87 BCE; 3 gr): obverse, Tatius; reverse, two soldiers about to crush the traitor Tarpeia with their shields; inscr. (off edge) L(UCI) TITURI (no. 2).

8. Silver denarius (ca. 54 BCE; 4 gr): obverse, Diana Plancia (for the Roman family, Plancius); inscription CN(AEUS) PLANCIUS AED(ILIS) CUR(ULIS); reverse, Cretan wild goat (agrimi), bow and quiver (no. 758).

9. Silver denarius (48 BCE; 2 gr): obverse, defeated Gaul chief, Vercingetorix?; reverse, Diana of Ephesos, stag and spear; inscription HOSTILIUS SASERNA (the moneyer) (no. 4).

10. Silver denarius (49-48 BCE; 4 gr): obverse, Piety personified; inscription PIETAS; reverse, two right hands clasping a caduceus; inscription ALBINUS (BRUTI) F(ILIUS), the moneyer Decimus Brutus who joined Marcus Brtusin assassinating Caesar in 44 BCE (no. 2008).

11. Silver denarius (32-31 BCE; 3 gr): obverse, Marc Antony with naval galley; inscription ANT(ONIUS) AUG(UR) IIIVIR R(EI) P(UBLICAE) C(ONSTITUENDAE); reverse, eagle standard of Antony's second legion; inscription LEG(IO) II(no. 2009).

12. Silver denarius (41 BCE; 3 gr): obverse, Mark Antony, with an inscription that gives both his titles and the name of the eastern moneyer Marcus Barbatius: M(ARCUS) ANT(ONIUS) IMP(ERATOR) AUG(UR) IIIVIR R(EI) P(UBLICAE) C(ONSITIVENDAE) M(ARCUS) BARBAT(IUS) Q(UAESTOR) P(UBLICAE); reverse, Octavius (became "Augustus" in 27 BCE) (no. 834).

13. Silver denarius (32-31 BCE; 3 gr): obverse, Octavian (becomes "Augustus" in 27 BCE); inscription IMP(ERATOR) CAESAR DIVI F(ILIUS) IIIVIR ITER(UM) R(EI) P(UBLICAE) C(ONSTITUENDAE) M(ARCUS); reverse, sacrificial instruments (replacing Marc Antony now in exile in Egypt); inscription CO(N)S(UL) ITER(UM) ET TER(TIUM) DESIG(NATUS) (no. 839).

14. Silver denarius (27 BCE or after; 2 gr): obverse, Augustus; inscription CAES(ARI) AUGUSTO; reverse, shrine with chariot and staff with eagle (legion's standard); inscription S(ENATUS) P(OPULSUS)Q(UE) R(OMANUS) (no. 2019).

15. Bronze as (27 BCE; 10 gr): obverse Agrippa wears a crown shaped like a ship prow; inscription M(ARCUS) AGRIPPA (L(UCII) F(ILIUS) CO(N)S(UL) III; reverse, Neptune with trident; inscription S(ENATUS) C(ONSULTO) (no. 2013).

16. Silver denarius (17 BCE- 2 CE; 2 gr): obverse, Augustus, inscription IMP(ERATOR) CAESAR (AUG(USTUS) DIVI F(ILIUS) PATER PAT(RIAE); reverse, Gaius (20 BCE- 4 CE) and Lucius (17 BCE- 2 CE) Caesar, sons of Agrippa and of Augustus's daughter Julia; inscription CO(N)S(ULES) DESIG(NATI) PRINC(IPES) IUVENT(UTIS) CAESAR (no. 2015).

17. Bronze as (21 CE; 10 gr): obverse, emperor Tiberius (ruled 14-37 CE); inscription IMP(ERATOR) TI(BERIUS) CAESAR DIVI AUG(USTI) F(ILIUS) AUGUSTUS; reverse, Tiberius's titles S(ENATUS) C(ONSULTO) PONTIF(EX) MAXIM(US) TRIBUN(ICIA) POTEST(ATE) XXIII (no. 2014).

18. Silver denarius (22 CE; 2 gr): obverse, emperor Tiberius (ruled 14-37 CE); inscription IMP(ERATOR) TI(BERUIS) CAESAR F(ILIUS) DIVI AUG(USTI) PONTIF(EX) MAXIM(US) TRIBUN(ICIA) POTEST(ATE) XXIIII; reverse, Livia or a personification. This is possibly an example of the coin that Jesus held aloft: "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's" (no. 2018).

19. Bronze dupondius (54-68 CE; 10 gr): obverse, Nero (ruled 54-68 CE); inscription IMPERATOR (NERO) CAESAR AUG(USTUS) GER(MANICUS) P(ONTIFEX) M(AXIMUS) TR(IBUNICIA) P(OTESTATE); reverse, a butcher's market ("macellum"), the symbol of the mint at Lyons; inscription MAC(ELLUM) AUG(USTI) S(ENATUS) C(ONSULTO) (no. 2010).

20. Silver tetradrachm (54-68 BCE; 14 gr); obverse, emperor Nero (ruled 54-68 CE), his name in Greek; reverse, eagle, mint-mark of Antioch, Syria; inscription H OP (no. 2121).

21. Bronze sestertius (69 CE; 25 gr): obverse, emperor Vitellius (ruled 69 CE); inscription Obv. A(ULUS) VITELLIUS GERMANICUS IMP(ERATOR) AUG(USTUS) P(ONTIFEX) M(AXIMUS) TR(IBUNICIA) P(OTESTATE); reverse, Peace with an olive branch; inscription PAX AUGUSTI S(ENATUS) C(ONSULTO) (no. 919).

22. Silver denarius (98-117 CE; 2 gr): obverse, Trajan (ruled 98-117 CE); inscription IMP(ERATORI) TRAIINO AUG(USTO) GER(MANICO) DAC(ICO) P(ONTIFICI) M(AXIMO) TRI(BUNICIA) P(OTESTATE); reverse, Equity with scales of justice; inscription CO(N)S(ULI) V P(ATRI) P(ATRIAE) S(ENATUS) P(OPULUS)Q(UE) R(OMANUS) OPTIMO PRINC(IPI)(no. 2016).

23. Bronze dupondius (17-138 CE; 14 gr): obverse, Hardrian (ruled 117-138 CE); inscription HADRIANUS AUGUSTUS; reverse, Welfare personified; inscription S(ENATUS) C(ONSULTO) (no. 2010).

24. Silver denarius (138-141 CE; 2 gr): obverse, Faustina (100-141 CE), wife of Antoninus Pius (ruled 138-161 CE); inscription FAUSTINA AUGUSTA; reverse, Juno queen of heaven; inscription IUNONI REGINAE (no. 2011).

25. Silver denarius (175 CE; 17 gr): obverse, the emperor Marcus Aurelius; inscription M(ARCUS) ANTONIUS AUG(USTUS) GERM(ANICUS) SARM(ATICUS); reverse, Victory personified and Aurelius's titles TRI(BUNICIA) P(OTESTATE) XXIX IMP(ERATOR) VIII CO(N)S(UL) III (no. 2012).

26. Bronze sestertius (192 CE; 22 gr): obverse, the emperor Commodus (died 192 CE), son of Marcus Aurelius; inscription L(UICUS) AEL(IUS) AUREL(IUS) COMM(ODUS) AUG(USTUS) P(IUS) F(ELIX); reverse, Commodus's titles LIB(ERTAS) AUG(USTA) P(ONTIFEX) M(AXIMUS) TR(IBUNICIA) P(OTESTATE) XVII CO(N)S(UL) VII P(ATER) P(ATRIAE) S(ENATUS) CONSULTO (no. 1014).

27. Silver (debased) denarius (193-211 CE; 3 gr): obverse, Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus; inscription IULIA AUGUSTA; reverse, Ceres seated with wheat; inscription CERERI FRUGIFERAE (no. 1039).

28. Silver denarius (235 CE or before; 2 gr): obverse, Julia Mamaea (died 235 CE), mother of Alexander Severus; inscription IULIA MAMAEA AUG(USTA); reverse, Julia Mamaea offers a libation to Juno the Preserver, Juno's peacock at her feet; inscription IUNO CONSERVATRIX (no. 1083).

29. Silvered bronze Antoninianus (244-249 CE; 2 gr): obverse, Philip I (ruled 244-249 CE); inscription IMP(ERATOR) M(ARCUS) IUL(IUS) PHILIPPUS AUG(USTUS); reverse, Annona, the grain supply personified, and fruits of plenty; inscription ANNONA AUG(USTORUM) (no. 1156).

30. Bronze sestertius (298-336 CE; 2 gr): obverse, Canstantine the Great (ruled 298-336 CE); inscription CONSTANTINUS AUG(USTUS); reverse, Providence personified, the gate of a camp mint-mark of Thessalonica, Greece; inscription PROVIDENTIAE AUG(USTORUM) TS.S (no. 1252).

31. Bronze centenionalis (350-353 CE; 4 gr): obverse, Magnentius (ruled 350-353 CE); inscription D(OMI)N(US) MAGNENTIUS P(ATER) P(ATRIAE) AUG(USTUS); reverse, the Christian monogram Chi-Rho flanked by Alpha and Omega; inscription SALUS D(OMINIS) N(OSTRIS) AUG(USTUS) A W ROMA (no. 2017).

Text by: Mike Cibura

Featured item:

Nike (Victory) of Samothrace (reduced size)
Modern plaster replica (given to the Wilcox by the KU Department of French and Italian) at a about 1/2 scale of a Greek original of ca. 190 BCE (original is just over 8 ft tall). According to the small metal oval in the back, the cast was purchased from the Caproni Bros. cast company of Boston probably in 1885.

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