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Hadrian, Gold Aureus

Item Reference: KM60445

Hadrian, Gold Aureus

Hadrian (117-138 AD) Gold Aureus.

Rome 134-138 AD.

Obverse: Laureate head of Hadrian facing right, HADRIANVS AVG COS IIII PP.

Reverse: Hadrian advancing right in front of three soldiers, each carrying a standard, DISCIPLINA AVG.

Very Rare. About Extremely Fine.


C 540; BMC 602; RIC 232; Calicó 1251 (these dies).

This very rare gold aureus of Hadrian reflects the emperor’s strong, but often overlooked belief in the Disciplina Militaris (The discipline of the Roman Army). Hadrian believed the army should be kept busy, as well as being ruled strictly and frugally. Hadrian was no hypocrite when it came to these opinions. On his travels around the empire he impressed the army by living just like them, sleeping rough and eating the same rations as the soldiers, in stark contrast to the common opinion of Hadrian as a high-minded, cultured traveller of the classical world.

Hadrian pushed the ideals of frugality, sternness and faithfulness (the virtues of the Goddess Disciplina) onto his army, and many soldiers worshipped the minor deity. The cavalry base at Cilumum on the Tyne, close to Hadrian’s Wall, was dedicated to Disciplina.

This coin shows in detail Hadrian’s role as a leader of disciplined soldiers. He appears slightly taller than the three legionaries, who follow him, each holding a military standard. Hadrian is shown leading from the front and coins of this type would surely have been popular with his army, busy at work on the frontiers.