Coins and Power

Early on, ruling classes realized the power of money to convey their authority and principles across vast regions.  The front of coins often featured portraits of leaders, while the reverse might reflect personal, religious or political beliefs.  In a time without printing presses or mass media, this might be the only opportunity for a leader to connect with their subjects.   This quadrans of Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of the Roman Republic, also features an eagle on its reverse, symbolizing imperial rule.  The symbol of the eagle endures today and is used on heraldry and coinage throughout the world, including that of the United States of America. 

 

 

 

 

 

  Quadrans of Augustus                    Copper                                                27 B.C.E. - 14 C.E.                          2015.16.0052                                    Gift of Ron D’Argenio