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Loan Object
Ruler: Hadrian, Emperor of Rome, A.D. 76–138, ruled 117–38
Mint: Rome
Artist: Unknown
Honorand: Vibia Sabina, Empress of Rome, ca. 88–137

Aureus of Hadrian, Emperor of Rome from Rome

A.D. 135


7.27 g, 6:00, 19.4 mm
Promised gift of Ben Lee Damsky

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.

Made in Rome, Italy
2nd century
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.