Aureus of Augustus, Emperor of Rome from Rome Artist: Unknown
Mint: Rome
Ruler: Augustus, Emperor of Rome, 63 B.C.–A.D. 14, ruled 27 B.C.–A.D. 14

19 B.C.


This very rare aureus is perhaps the only gold coin from the mint of Rome in the United States. It portrays the emperor Augustus on the obverse and a chelys—a lyre fashioned from tortoiseshell—on the reverse. The activity of the mint magistrate P. Petronius Turpilianus can be dated securely to 18 B.C., and a reference to the death of the poet Virgil in the preceding year has been seen in this coin.




8.03 g, 9:00, 19.7 mm

Credit Line

Promised gift of Ben Lee Damsky

Loan number



1st century B.C.


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 records is ongoing.


Obverse Description

Obverse Description: CAESAR - AVGVSTVS Head right wearing oak wreath

Reverse Description

Reverse Description: TVRPILIANVS III VIR Seven-stringed chelys-lyra (tortoise lyre)
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

aurei, coins, histories (visual works), money

Technical metadata and APIs


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