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Sculpture on Ancient Coins
Many of the images of gods and goddesses on ancient coins were derived from sculptures. The coins on this page depict known sculptures or images that are clearly taken from sculpture.
|A gilded 2nd century B.C. slightly over-lifesize bronze statue, Hercules of the Forum Boarium, has Hercules in a similar pose. This statue is probably the one mentioned by Pliny, which originally stood in the Temple of Hercules Victor, by the Tiber. It lacks the lion skin. Perhaps a actual lion skin was once draped on it. The sculpture is now in the Musei Capitolini, Rome. Another similar sculpture, from the 2nd Century A.D., the Hercules of the Theatre of Pompey, was discovered in 1864, carefully buried under protective tiles. It was incised FCS (fulgor conditum summanium), indicating that it had been struck by lightning, and had been carefully interred on the spot. The figure lightly supports himself on his grounded vertical club, the skin of the Nemean Lion is draped over his left forearm. This sculpture is now in the round room area of Museo Pio-Clementino, in the Vatican.|
|This type was issued by Caligula for his two deceased brothers, Nero Julius Caesar and Drusus Julius Caesar Germanicus. Nero Caesar was Tiberius' oldest adoptive grandson and was the emperor's most obvious successor until 29 A.D. when he was accused of treason along with his mother, Agrippina the Elder. He was exiled to the island of Ponza where he was either induced to commit suicide or starved to death before October 31. In 30, his brother Drusus Caesar was also accused of treason and exiled and imprisoned. He starved to death in prison in 33, reduced to chewing the stuffing of his bed. In Suetonius', The Lives of Twelve Caesars, Claudius IX we learn that Caligula ordered his uncle and co-consul Claudius to commission statues of his deceased elder brothers. The statues appear on dupondii, immortalized in a pose recognizable as the Dioscuri. The marble statue in the photo right was found in or near Rome during the fifteenth century, and is now in the British Museum. The pose differs from the image on the coins but restorations include the youthís arms and three of the horseís legs. Is it one of the two statues commissioned by Claudius? Click the photo to see additional photos and information.|