From Art to Artifact:  Making Sense of Roman Coins

The Coin of Julia Titi


This reverse image of Venus illustrates the evolution of a numismatic symbol and its gendered meaning. By looking at the different coins that use the same Venus reverse before and after Julia Titi’s, we can better understand the meaning of the Venus symbol. Included here are coins from Octavian (32-29 BCE), Titus (79-80 CE), Domitia (82/95 CE), Sabina (128-136 CE), and Julia Domna (193-211 CE). The symbol’s meaning is also a product of the contemporary culture. A fashion of the 1st and 2nd c. CE funerary statues was to place the heads of Roman matrons on naked Venus statues. This provides context and meaning for Julia Titi’s use of the Venus reverse.