Cistophor of Hadrian, “ΒΕΙΘΥΝΙΑΣ”

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117–138 CE
Hood Museum of Art: Purchased through the Hood Museum of Art Acquisitions Fund; 2010.3.2

Obverse: Bust of Hadrian, facing right, laureate.

Legend: [AYT KAI]Σ TΓ[AI AΔΓIANOS ΣEBA] (Autokrator Kaisar Traianos Hadrianos Sebastos) clockwise from seven o’clock.

Reverse: Distyle temple façade with a figure performing sacrifice in the pediment. Within the temple are three figures: on the left, a draped female figure (possibly Bithynia) with a scepter; in the center, Hadrian holding a scepter in his right hand; on the right, a draped female figure (possibly Roma) crowning Hadrian with her right hand and holding a palm in her left hand.

Legend: KOI[NON] ΒΕΙΘΥΝ[ΙΑΣ] (city of Bithynia) in exergue.


Although the coin undoubtedly recollects the Capitoline Triad of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva, it may simultaneously represent the figures of Hadrian, Roma, and Bithynia. Roma crowns Hadrian, Bithynia watches, and displaying them together associates Bithynia with two centrally important symbols of the Empire and includes the province in the greater Roman world.

This text was prepared by Anne Ressler, Class of 2014

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