AR Denarius. 3.32g, 18.8mm
MINTED: Rome mint, circa AD 130
REF: RIC III.3 1424
OBVERSE: HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, laureate bust right.
REVERSE: ROMVLO CONDITORI, Romulus in military dress advancing right, holding spear and trophy.
Deeply toned. Well-centered. A few very faint scratches.
This type depicting Romulus, with these legends (ROMVLO CONDITORI = "Romulus the Founder"), is one that is unique to Hadrian. The emperor, who was a great builder of monuments, buildings and public structures, was on this coin not only honouring but also associating himself with the divine founder of Rome.
Hadrian was a capable but complex emperor - he could be ascetic in taste, dressing simply and sleeping and dining with regular soldiers, but he was at the same time a passionate admirer of Greek culture and an active patron of artistes and architects. He began extensive building projects during his reign, not only in Rome, but in many cities throughout his vast empire. Hadrian's Wall in Britain, and the reconstructed Pantheon in Rome, and Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli are some of his most famous architectural legacies.
He was known as perennial traveler, spending more than half of his reign outside Italy. Perhaps his most well-known series of coins is the so-called 'Travel series', various types struck bearing the names and personifications of the provinces visited by the emperor. Hadrian was also well-known for his open homosexual relationship with Greek youth, Antinous, who drowned while travelling with the emperor in Egypt, and who was thereafter deified by him.
HADRIAN . AD 117-138 . AR Denarius . Romulus the Founder; type unique to Hadrian
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