From Art to Artifact:  Making Sense of Roman Coins

Denarius of Augustus

Denarius of Gaius Minucius Augurinus (135 BCE)




As the first emperor, Augustus was the first Roman to have heirs, and he used the religious implements, the military apparel, and the togas on this coin to signal that Gaius and Lucius had religious, military and civil authority to enter Roman politics. Republican coins also used the symbols to indicate priesthood. One example is the coin of Gaius Minucius Augurinus (135 BCE) which shows a man with a lituus and creates a pun on his name. However, Augustus created new contexts for the symbols to identify his heirs and to set a precedent for a concept that was previously abnormal and foreign in the Roman world.
Crawford no. 242/1