The arranged marriage between Hadrian (76–138; reigned 117–138) and Sabina (83–136/37), who is portrayed on this gold coin, took place around 100, but ancient writers reported that it was not a loving relationship. They were childless, and although Hadrian granted Sabina many of the honors usually accorded to an empress, he did not mint coins with her portrait until much later in his reign, around 128.
The front (obverse) of this coin portrays the bust of Sabina, draped, wearing a diadem; her hair is waved up in a crest. The back (reverse) depicts the goddess Juno standing to the left, veiled, with a patera in her right hand extended over a peacock, her left hand rests on a scepter.
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Karen B. Alexander and Mary Greuel. Private Taste in Ancient Rome: Selections from Chicago Collections. Exh. cat. (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1990), cat. 54.
Karen B. Alexander, “From Plaster to Stone: Ancient Art at the Art Institute of Chicago,” in Karen Manchester, Recasting the Past: Collecting and Presenting Antiquities at the Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), p. 29.
Theresa Gross-Diaz, “Cat. 51 Aureus Portraying Sabina: Curatorial Entry,” in Roman Art at the Art Institute of Chicago (Art Institute of Chicago, 2016).
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