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HOME : Roman Coins : Emperor Hadrian : Silver Denarius of Emperor Hadrian
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Silver Denarius of Emperor Hadrian - C.0668
Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: 117 AD to 138 AD

Collection: Numismatics
Medium: Silver

Additional Information: Found in Jerusalem, Israel
Location: United States
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Impressive silver Denarius dating to the reign of Hadrian.

This is a rare variant. It has not been possible to find a precise match, although it is likely to have been struck in Rome. The profile of Hadrian is closest match to a variant from 119-122. While minted in Rome, it was found in Palestine.

Obverse: HADRIANVS AVG COS III PP; Bust of the Emperor Crowned in a Laurel Wreath

Reverse: PIETAS AVG; Pietas, Standing to the Left, Raising both her Arms in the Air, an Altar by her Feet

Pietas was one of the Roman virtues, along with gravitas and dignitas. Pietas is usually translated as "duty" or "devotion," and it simultaneously suggests duty to the gods and duty to family - particularly to the father.

Publius Aelius Hadrianus, better known as Hadrian, was born in Spain in 76 AD and died in 138 AD. He ruled the Roman Empire from 117 to 138, during which time the Empire reached its apotheosis. Being the third of the so called Five Good Emperors, his rule was characterised by comparatively humanitarianism and conservatism. Following a political career of some distinction – he served as prefect, legate, consul, tribune and senator – it was his expedition to Parthia with Trajan led to his greatest success; Trajan became seriously ill and died on the way back to Rome, naming Hadrian as successor. Hadrian purged the senate of opposition upon his return to Rome, and set about a somewhat conservative reign that involved strengthening the empire’s boundaries and the surrender of indefensible areas (i.e. Mesopotamia). He was known more for rule by threat and strength than active military conquest.

Personally, he was well educated and fond of the great Greek writers and philosophers, and was even appointed Archon in Athens. He was a great patron of the arts, including landscaping and architecture: under his reign the Pantheon was rebuilt, as well as many libraries, aqueducts, libraries and theatres. He was also a keen poet, an Epicurean philosopher and a huntsman, commissioning various reliefs showing him killing bears, lions etc. He is also notable for introducing the socially-acceptable beard – all other emperors before him had been clean shaven. The great love of his life was a boy named Antinous, which may explain the lack of natural heirs to Hadrian’s lineage. Antinous drowned in the Nile aged about 19; the mourning Hadrian had him deified.

This is a striking and attractive ancient coin from the rule of a remarkable ruler.

- (C.0668)


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