Description

    Hadrian's Travels Concluded

    Hadrian (AD 117-138). AV aureus (20mm, 7.00 gm, 6h). NGC AU ★ 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style. Rome, AD 134-138. HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, bare head of Hadrian left / AD-VEN-TVS · AVG, Roma seated right on cuirass and arms, shield behind, holding spear in left hand, clasping right hands with Hadrian, who stands left, togate, holding scroll in left hand. RIC --, cf. 224a (head right). BMCRE 580 note. Calicó 1181 (R1, same dies). Very rare! An exceptionally beautiful aureus, with an elegant portrait matched to a poignant, evocative reverse. Satiny fields and crisp devices well merit the elusive "star" designation.

    The reign of Publius Aelius Hadrianus did much to transform the Roman Empire from a supreme city imposing its will on subject peoples into a true commonwealth of nations. Hadrian was born in Rome in AD 76, the son of a distinguished Spanish senator and related through his mother to the future Emperor Trajan.  As the protégé of the emperor, Hadrian seemed marked out for the succession, but he was not formally adopted until Trajan lay on his deathbed in August, AD 117. The transition proved rough, and four distinguished ex-consuls were summarily executed for plotting a coup. Relations with the Senate remained strained throughout the reign. Hadrian abandoned many of Trajan's over-ambitious conquests and engaged in a policy of peace abroad and reform at home. He spent most of his 21-year reign traveling, visiting every province of the Roman Empire. His building projects were many and long-lasting, including Hadrian's Wall in northern Britain and the Pantheon in Rome. Under his patronage, Roman art and sculpture reached its creative peak. This beautiful aureus, which shows the goddess Roma welcoming home the "wandering emperor," can be viewed as the final issue of Hadrian's extensive Travel Series of coins.




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