As a rule, coins are not manufactured to provide future generations with an insight into their users’ environment, but to be recognized as a reliable currency in the largest possible geographic area. The recognition effect was important – for instance, the most successful coins from Greek antiquity, the tetradrachms introduced by the Athenians and by Alexander the Great, featured the same image for more than one and a half centuries.
The denarii of the Roman Republic, on the other hand, are a completely different matter! Here, in the excited first century BC, the coin motifs change quicker than the years. We find everything: scenes from the past, allusions to the present, images of everyday political life, buildings, people, and of course deities. The ones responsible seem to have squeezed their whole world into the small space a denarius provides for coin motifs.
The exhibition highlights the phase of the Roman Empire when it was still Republican and focused on virtues, which enabled this state to fly high later.