See wikipedia for "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away".
Thanks for reading my articles and asking this question.
I don't know why exactly any individual emperor did so, but I do have some thoughts on the matter. Julius Caesar was the first roman to put his face on a coin while still alive. Before that, portraits of family members, and deeds of ancestors were put on coins by powerful Romans (Moneyers) who were allowed by the senate to produce coins. Following Julius Caesar, all emperors put their portrait on coins, so Augustus would be the first emperor to do so as Julius was not an emperor, but an Imperator (a powerful military leader).
Putting your face on the very means of controlling the soldiers, and citizens of a nations was, and is, a great propaganda tool. Emperors would relate themselves to victories, gods, good fortune, and anything else that would give them a bit more power. A great deal of what we know of some emperors has been retrieved from the coins of the time. Empress Severina was the only female to rule the Roman Empire alone. All we know of her is from the coins left behind. Here is an address to articles on significant female Romans who are know primarily from their portraits on coins: http://www.vrbsroma.com/Severina.html
I hope this answers your question.
Only emperors staring with Julius Caesar did this, since before him the Romans thought the image should be of one of their gods. In fact, he angered the people by doing so.
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