The front (obverse) of this coin portrays a bust of Emperor Balbinus facing right, with a radiate crown and wearing a cuirass and paludamentum. The back (reverse) depicts two hands clasped.
Since few citizens actually saw their sovereign, recognizable symbols such as crowns, robes, and regalia served to identify the ruler on coinage. The ray-like crown depicted on Balbinus’s head associated the emperor with the sun much like a halo indicates a holy being.
Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.
Obverse: IMP CAES D CAEL BALBINVS AVG
"Imperator Caesar Decimus Caelius Balbinus Augustus"
Reverse: PIETAS MVTVA AVGG
"Mutual Piety of the Augusti"
Diam.: 2.2 cm (7/8 in.)
Gift of Martin A. Ryerson
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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. 64 Antoninianus Portraying Balbinus: Curatorial Entry,” in Roman Art at the Art Institute of Chicago (Art Institute of Chicago, 2016).
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