The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, the Lapworth Museum of Geology and the University of Birmingham Collections - Objects
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ID number: BIRBI-R0931
Institution: The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Named collection: G. Haines Collection
Artist / Maker: Caligula (37-41)
Title / Object name / Definition: Denarius
Object type: Coin
Place made: Mint of Rome
Date made: 37-41
Collector: G. Haines
Measurements: 3.58 g
Description: Obverse: Bare head of Caligula.
Reverse: Head of Augustus with radiate crown, between two stars. Caligula, like his predecessors Tiberius and Augustus highlighted the republican offices that he held and which justified his power over the Roman people. Pontifex Maximus, now the title of the pope, was the chief priest of ancient Rome. Tribunicia Potestate gave Caligula all the power of a Tribune of the Plebs. This meant that he could call an assembly of the people, sit in the Senate, veto any law, and that his person was sacred and inviolable. Placing Augustus on the reverse of the coin was a clever political move. It reminded people that Caligula was following in the footsteps of the founder of the dynasty and neatly associated the young princeps with the popular, deified ruler, rather than with his immediate predecessor Tiberius, who’s final years had been filled with political intrigues and terrible reprisals.
Inscriptions / Translations: Obverse: C•CAESAR•AVG•GERM•P•M•TR•POT•COS• (Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus Chief Priest [holder of] Tribunician Power Consul)
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