Hood Museum of Art: Gift of Arthur Fairbanks, Class of 1886; 27.1.29324
Obverse: Bust of Hadrian, facing right, bearded, laureate. Border of dots.
Legend: HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS (Hadrian Augustus) clockwise from seven o’clock.
Reverse: Seven-rayed star within crescent moon in the center of the field. Border of dots.
Legend: CO(n)S(ul) III (consul for the third time) in field.
With his coin displaying a seven-rayed star within a crescent moon, Hadrian creates an iconographic connection to the return of a Golden Age, first represented in coins by Augustus in 19 BCE. Representative of eternity, this motif reminds people of Hadrian’s accomplishments, in turn making Hadrian himself timeless. This design dates back to the 4th century BCE, and was continuously used throughout history until its present status as a symbol of Islam.
This text was prepared by Matthew Wefer, Class of 2014