Loan Object
Ruler: Hadrian, emperor of Rome, A.D. 117–38
Honorand: Sabina, wife of the emperor Hadrian (ruled 117–38)
Mint: Rome

Aureus of Hadrian for Diva Sabina

A.D. 135

Gold

7.27 gm, 6:00, 19.4 mm
Promised gift of Ben Lee Damsky
ILE2013.17.96

Sabina, the long-suffering wife of Hadrian, preceded her husband in death by about two years, and continuing a recently established tradition, Hadrian saw to her deification. The ancients disagreed about the meaning of the word Divus (for males) or Diva (for females), but it seems to have referred to deities created by men, in this case by a vote of the Senate doubtless managed by the emperor himself. The coin shows Sabina being transported from the earth on the wings of an eagle, recalling the first deification of Julius Caesar, from whose pyre an eagle was said to have emerged. The coin is very rare.

Geography: 
Made in Rome, Italy
Culture: 
Roman
Period: 
2nd century
Classification: 
Coins and medals
Status: 
Not on view
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.

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