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Why did Emperors put their faces on coins?

  1. profile image46
    fredscho164posted 7 years ago

    Why did Emperors put their faces on coins?

  2. dabeaner profile image57
    dabeanerposted 7 years ago


    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".

  3. Tony Ballatore profile image59
    Tony Ballatoreposted 7 years ago

    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.


  4. Blackspaniel1 profile image76
    Blackspaniel1posted 2 years ago

    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.