The Faces of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty

Our exhibition centers around the monetary representation of members of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty (27 BCE-68 AD), which included the sovereignty of Emperors Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero. These were the Roman Empire’s first five Emperors, whose lineage dates back to Julius Caesar. Augustus was adopted by Julius Caesar and later became his heir. Tiberius later became Augustus’s heir by divorcing his wife Vipsania to marry Augustus’s daughter. After Tiberius’s death, Caligula and his cousin Gemellus were made equal heirs to their uncles throne. Caligula had murdered his cousin to become the sole heir of the throne at the age of 25. After Gaius’s murder, Claudius was found inside the palace trembling and was crowned emperor by the palace guards. Claudius had conquered parts of the Middle East and Africa during his rule. In his final battle with Parthia, the pro-Roman government had come to a collapse following their defeat. 

All of the coins selected for this exhibition represent Emperors and other Roman public figures either involved with the Emperor or the Julio-Claudian lineage. Each coin features profiled busts of the figure, oftentimes making them appear more youthful or attractive than they really were in order to preserve an idealized, and therefore infallible, appearance. Oftentimes, such figures would invoke Greco-Roman gods and goddesses, which was indicative of how dictators and emperors of ancient Rome, embellished their families and connections. Thus, such coins were designed to make Roman public figures appear less mortal, a departure from Rome’s republican ideals its population had previously held. 


Danny, JoJo and Kieran