'Salting Bequest (A. 70 to A. 1029-1910) / Murray Bequest (A. 1030 to A. 1096-1910)'. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Architecture and Sculpture). London: Printed under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, East Harding Street, EC, p. 113
Gold coin. On the obverse: Inscription. Head of Aurelius to right, border of dots.
Reverse: Inscription. Roma, wearing helmet and military dress, standing left, holding a figure of Victory and a short sword. Border of dots.
This gold coin depicts the Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 AD) and on the reverse Roma holding Victory. Roma is a deity and the personification of Rome and the Roman state.
The aureus was an ancient Roman gold coin, issued from around the 1st century BC up to the 4th century AD. One aureus was worth 25 silver denarii. The denarius was a small silver coin and the principal silver coin issued in the ancient Roman currency system from the late 3rd century BC until the early 3rd century AD.
The use of the portrait is the most persistent and usually the most striking feature of coins of the Roman Empire. Particularly during the first three centuries of the Empire's existence (27 BC-AD 284) images of historically recorded (and some unrecorded) people appear on the majority of coins.
Roman coins acted as a vehicle for the quick and wide-reaching spread of propagandic images of Imperial power, at the centre of which was the embodiment of Rome and all that its Empire stood for, the Emperor himself. Roman coins survive in very large numbers and are frequently found right across Europe, reaching the furthest corners of the Empire.