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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive Emperors ▸ HadrianView Options:  |  |  |   

Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

Hadrian, one of the "Five Good Emperors," abandoned the expansionist policy of Trajan and established a policy of defense and consolidation during which Hadrian's Wall in Britain was constructed. He traveled to nearly every province of the Empire, more than any other emperor, often ordering grandiose building programs to improve infrastructure and the quality of life in those regions. An ardent admirer of Greece, he sought to make Athens the cultural capital of the Empire and ordered the construction of many opulent temples in the city. He spent much of his time with the military; usually wore military attire and even dined and slept amongst the soldiers. He ordered military training and drilling to be more rigorous and made use of false reports of attack to keep the army alert. He suppressed the Bar Kokhba revolt in Judaea, renaming the province Syria Palaestina.Roman Empire 125 AD


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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The Lighthouse of Alexandria, also called the Pharos, built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom between 280 and 247 B.C., was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Between 393 and 450 feet (120 - 140 m) tall, it was one of the tallest man-made structures on Earth for many centuries. Damaged by three earthquakes between 956 and 1323, it then became an abandoned ruin. It was the third longest surviving ancient wonder (after the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the still extant Great Pyramid of Giza), until in 1480 the last of its remnant stones were used to build the Citadel of Qaitbay on the site. In 1994, French archaeologists discovered some remains of the lighthouse on the floor of Alexandria's Eastern Harbor.
RX86722. Bronze drachm, Dattari 1765, Milne 1373, SNG Cop 375, Kampmann 32.547, Emmett 1002/17, Geissen -, BMC Alexandria -, SNG Milan -, aF/aVF, well centered, corrosion but mostly on obverse, most of obverse legend obliterated, weight 22.681 g, maximum diameter 34.1 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 132 - 28 Aug 133 A.D.; obverse AYT KAIC TPAI(AN) A∆PIA(NOC) CEB, laureate and draped bust right,; reverse Isis Pharia standing right, sistrum in extended right hand, holding a billowing sail with both hands and left foot, sailing toward the Pharos (lighthouse) of Alexandria, which is surmounted by a statue and two Tritons, each blowing a buccinum (sea shell trumpet); L IZ (year 17) above center; Emmett lists this highly desirable year 17 type as common but there are none on coin archives and it is missing from Cologne, London, and Milan; however, year 18 is common; $310.00 (€263.50)
 


Ainos, Thrace, c. 117 - 138 A.D.

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This extremely rare type is unpublished in references and missing from major collections. The only other example we know is the referenced example sold in Nomos obolos 7. Nomos dated the type c. 280 - 200 B.C. AMNG and RPC Online IV list a similar type with both Hermes and the goat right. RPC dates that type to the 2nd Century A.D. We believe the Hermes portrait is Augusticized and has some resemblance to Hadrian. We tentatively date the type to Hadrian's reign, c. 117 - 138 A.D.
GB86124. Bronze AE 18, Nomos obolos 7 (9 Jul 2017), lot 28 (same dies); cf. AMNG 403, pl. V.26 (rev.) (Hermes and goat right, etc.); RPC Online IV temp. 4495 (=AMNG 403), F/aF, well centered, bumps and marks, corrosion, porosity, centration dimple on reverse, weight 4.132 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Ainos (Enez, Turkey) mint, c. 117 - 138 A.D.; obverse head of Hermes left, caduceus before, no centration dimple; reverse AI-NIΩN, goat standing left, centration dimple; unpublished in references, missing from major collections, extremely rare - 2nd known specimen; $180.00 (€153.00)
 


Hadrian, 117 - 138 A.D., Perga, Pamphylia

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Artemis is depicted here in the same pose as The Diana of Versailles, a slightly over life-size Roman marble statue from the 1st or 2nd century A.D., copying a lost Greek bronze original attributed to Leochares, c. 325 B.C. The sculpture also has a stag at her side. The sculpture may have come from a sanctuary at Nemi or possibly from Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli. In 1556, it was given by Pope Paul IV to Henry II of France, a subtle allusion to the king's mistress, Diane de Poitiers. It is now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris.
RP86567. Bronze AE 21, SNG BnF 400, Waddington 3345, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Righetti -, gVF/aVF, nice green patina, attractive portrait, porous, areas of reverse slightly rough, weight 5.484 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Perga (15 km east of Antalya, Turkey) mint, 117 - 138 A.D.; obverse A∆PIANOC KAICAP, laureate draped cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse APTEMI∆OC ΠEPΓAIAC, Artemis standing right, bow in left hand, reaching with right hand for arrow in quiver on his shoulder, stag right on far side; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; rare; $155.00 (€131.75)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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Most references list this type as a quadrans but examples without a thick patina, including this coin, appear to be orichalcum (brass) vice copper. Yellow brass indicates the type is a semis.
RB85750. Orichalcum semis, RIC II 625 (S), BMCRE III 1279, Cohen II 1167 (5 fr.), SRCV II 3704, Strack II 579, Hunter II 380 var. (standing left, head right), VF, Tiber patina, tight flan, corrosion, weight 2.104 g, maximum diameter 17.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 120 - 123 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR TRAIAN HADRIANVS AVG, eagle standing half right, head turned left, wings open but not spread; reverse P M TR P COS III, horizontal winged thunderbolt, S C (senatus consulto) below; scarce; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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A life-size, black basalt statue of the Apis Bull inscribed with a dedication of Hadrian was discovered in the underground vaults of the Serapeum. It is now in Room 6 of the Greco-Roman Museum in Alexandria. The Apis Bull statue appears on Alexandrian coins of Hadrian and other emperors. The custom of the Apis Bull had been reluctantly preserved by Augustus. He refused to “enter the presence of Apis . . . declaring that he was accustomed to worship gods, not cattle.” Dio, 51.16:5. “In spite of this declaration, two stelai from the Bucheum at Hermonthis in Upper Egypt show Augustus” dressed as a Pharaoh sacrificing to bovine deities. Richard Ashton, The City of Roman and Byzantine Egypt, p. 198. Ptolemy III built the Serapeum, the largest and most magnificent of the temples of Alexandria, containing a giant statue by Briaxis. Almost 400 years later, Hadrian rebuilt the temple, which may have been among the temples of Alexandria damaged in 117 AD during the Kitos War by the Jewish forces under Lukuas. “Eusebius of Caearea, “Historia Ecclesiastica,” books iv & v, written in the 4th century AD.” The Apis Bull depicted here may have been that bull, a replacement for an earlier similar statue.
RX86734. Bronze diobol, Geissen 1102, Dattari 2009, Milne 1436, SNG Cop 391, SNG Milan 1114, BMC Alexandria 811, Kampmann 32.610, Emmett 1114/18, F, well centered on a tight flan, some legend weak, scratches, edge cracks, weight 7.579 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 133 - 28 Aug 134 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC TPAIAN - A∆PIANOC CEB, laureate and draped bust right; reverse Apis bull standing right on ground line, altar to right, L IH (year 18) above; scarce; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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In 132 A.D., merchants in Britain erected structures outside the forts of Hadrian's Wall and offer goods and services (including brothels) to Roman soldiers. The soldiers receive salaries in a region that otherwise has virtually no coinage.
RS86785. Silver denarius, Hunter II 185, RSC II 652, RIC II 209 corr. (this bust not listed), BMCRE III 543 var. (bust noted), SRCV II 3490 var. (bust), Strack II 337, VF, well centered, toned, bumps and scratches, obverse die wear/damage, edge cracks, weight 2.896 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 132 - 135 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate and draped bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse FELICITATI AVG (clockwise above), COS III P P (counterclockwise below), galley left, vexillum(?) on prow, four rowers, pilot and cabin; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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The Romans used poppy for cooking and medicinal purposes. For cooking, it was used mainly as a garnish or sprinkled on bread, perhaps also in desserts. Pliny sites the medicinal purpose: "...allow the poppy sap to thicken, roll it into pastilles and allow these to dry in the shade. It is a tranquilizer, but if you take too much, you will die in your sleep." (N.H. XX-lxxvi)
RS85761. Silver denarius, RSC II 172, RIC II 230a, BMCRE III 595, Hunter II 201, Strack II 227, SRCV II 3461 var. (laureate), VF, well centered, uneven toning, light corrosion, edge cracks, weight 2.514 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 134 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, bare head right; reverse ANNONA AVG, modius with four stalks of grain and one poppy in center; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Cyrenaica and Crete(?)

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This type was certainly struck in the east. RPC Online III assigns it to the province of Cyrenaica and Crete; Mantis ANS to Caesarea in Cappadocia; Bostra is also a possibility.
RP85807. Bronze semis, RPC Online III 11, Mantis ANS 1944.100.62449, Sydenham Caesarea 288, Asolati 179 (Cyrene), RIC II p. 428 note, BMCRE III p. 440 note, VF, slightly rough, scratches, encrustations, edge cracks, weight 2.813 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain eastern (Caesarea?) mint, 11 Aug 117 - 10 Jul 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse COS III, bearded and horned head of Zeus Ammon right; scarce; $110.00 (€93.50)
 


Roman Empire, Anonymous, Domitian to Antoninus Pius, c. 81 - 161 A.D.

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Quadrantes, like quinarii, were issued only occasionally, perhaps exclusively for imperial distributions. Suetonius reported that, from the roof of the Basilica Julia "Caligula threw coins among the people." Perhaps this small coin was thrown to the crowd by the emperor himself at a similar event.
RB87147. Bronze quadrans, RIC II p. 218, 25; King Quadrantes p. 71, 7, VF, thin flan, some striking weakness, very light corrosion/deposits, weight 0.954 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 81 - 161 A.D.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Venus right, no legend; reverse dove standing left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 40 (28 Oct 2017), 558; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


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Hadrian's galley reverse types refer to his return to Rome by sea from his travels to the provinces.
RB85872. Copper as, RIC II 673d (S), Hunter II 422, BMCRE III 1342, SRCV II 3682, Cohen II 446 var. (no drapery), VF/F, centered on a tight flan, corrosion, scrapes on reverse, weight 8.824 g, maximum diameter 25.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 125 - 128 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse COS III, galley right with rowers; ram, acrostolium, and vexillum (or furled sail) at prow; rudder and arched cabin at stern; S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; scarce; $70.00 (€59.50)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

AVGVSTVSHADRIANVS
AVGVSTVSHADRIANVSPP
DIVVSHADRIANVSAVG
HADRIANVSAVGCOSIIIPP
HADRIANVSAVGVST
HADRIANVSAVGVSTVS
HADRIANVSAVGVSTVSPP
IMPCAEDITRAIANFDIVNERNEPTRAHADRIANOAVG
IMPCAEDIRAPARFDIVINERNEPTRAHADRIANOAVG
IMPCAESARTRAIAHADRIANVSAVG
IMPCAESARTRAIANHADRIANVSAVG
IMPCAESARTRAIANVSHADRIANVSAVG
IMPCAESARTRAIANVSHADRIANVSAVGPMTRPCOSIII
IMPCAESHADRIANDIVINERTRAIANOPTFIL
IMPCAESTRAHADRIANOAVGPP
IMPCAESTRAIANHADRIANOAVGDIVITRA
IMPCAESTRAIANHADRIANOAVGDIVITRAPARTHF
IMPCAESTRAIANHADRIANOPTAVGGERDAC
IMPCAESTRAIANHADRIANOOPTAVGGERDAC


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Blum, G. "Numismatique D'Antinoos" in JIAN 16. (Athens, 1914). pp. 33 - 70.
Calicó, E.X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 2: Nerva to Antoninus Pius. (Paris, 1883).
Hill, P.V. The Dating and Arrangement of the Undated Coins of Rome, A.D. 98-148. (London, 1970).
Mattingly H. & E. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. II: Vespasian to Hadrian. (London, 1926).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 3: Nerva to Hadrian. (London, 1936).
McAlee, R. The Coins of Roman Antioch. (Lancaster, PA, 2007).
Robinson, A.S. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Seaby, H.A. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Strack, P.L. Untersuchungen zur römischen Reichsprägung des zweiten Jahrhunderts, Teil II: Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit des Hadrian. (Stuttgart, 1933).
Toynbee, J.M.C. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, July 17, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Hadrian