From Art to Artifact:  Making Sense of Roman Coins

Denarius of Julius Caesar

Guide to the Comparanda

Caesar’s coin’s iconography must be understood not only individually but in its larger numismatic and cultural contexts. The coin was minted after Caesar’s conquest of Gaul, a ten-year long expedition that earned Caesar’s fortune, fame, and army’s loyalty.

Caesar invaded the Italian peninsula and Rome in 49 BCE already a declared enemy of the state and stripped of all political and military offices. The symbols reveal Caesar claimed legitimacy and authority by advertising his conquest of Gaul and citing his religious authority as chief priest of Rome.