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ID number:  BIRBI-R1191
Object type:  Coin
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Named collection:  G. Haines Collection
Collector:  Haines, Geoffrey
Maker:  Antoninus Pius (138-161)
Denomination:  Sestertius
Place made:  Mint of Rome
Culture:  Roman
Date made:  140-144
Metal:  Brass
Weight (g):  24.39

Description:  Obverse: Laureate bust of Antoninus Pius.
Reverse: Antoninus Pius, togate, placing a tiara on the head of the Armenian King.

Armenia was a vassal state of Rome. The land formed controlled many of the passes between the Roman Empire and the Parthian Empire. As a result both powers tried to control Armenia. A compromise was reached in the early empire whereby the King of Armenia would be of Parthian blood, but would be a vassal of Rome. Trajan conquered Armenia outright, but Hadrian restored the monarchy. This coin clearly shows the Roman Emperor acting as overlord of Armenia. Antoninus Pius continued to use the republican powers and titles and which were the constitutional basis of the secular power of the emperor, Tribunicia Potestate, as well as the now customary honorifics and imperial titulature.

Inscriptions:  Obverse: ANTONINVSAVGPI VSPPTRPCOSIII (Antoninus Pius Augustus, Father of his Country, [holder of] Tribunician Power, Consul three times)
Reverse: REXARMENIIS DATVS (King Given to the Armenians) S C (by permission of the Senate)

Bibliography:  Mattingly, H, and Sydenham, E. The Roman Imperial Coinage Vol III, Antoninus Pius to Commodus (London 1962) Coin 619.

2 Related People

Haines, Geoffrey Colton
Whitting, Philip David
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