Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Woods, D.
War in the Visual Arts
War on Roman Imperial Coinage: The Exceptional Coinage of the Emperor Aurelian (AD270-75)
University College Cork
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields

One of the dominant themes of Roman imperial coinage was the military success of the emperor. However, this success was celebrated in a very limited number of ways, from stereotypical depictions of the goddess Victory, or whatever other god or goddess was also credited with having assisted in the victory, conventional depictions of defeated barbarians or triumphant emperor, or depictions of various types of victory monuments. The coinage celebrated the victorious conclusion to the war as a whole rather than individual events or battles within the war. Aurelian was one of the most successful Roman emperors of the third century before he was finally assassinated in 275. He crushed barbarian invasions across the Danube into Northern Italy and defeated both a powerful Palmyrene kingdom that had absorbed most of the empire in the East and a secessionist Gallic empire that had absorbed a large part of the empire in the West. His coinage celebrated his victories in the conventional manner, but it also included a number of unique depictions of the goddess Venus and the god Sol. I will argue here that these conceal references to specific events during his wars with the Palmyrenes.