Recently, I must admit, my posts have become somewhat infrequent and sporadic: sometimes life simply gets in the way of writing. Nevertheless life includes collecting and I would like to share one of my best recent acquisitions, a denarius of Hadrian
A very fine specimen, it dates from 134 – 138 AD. Whilst the obverse portrays the bust of the emperor crowned by a laurel and gazing defiantly into the distance, the reverse shows the figure of Tellus ( a Roman earth god) with the inscription TELLUS STABIL which roughly translates as ‘Stable Earth’, ‘Pacified earth’ or ‘Regional stability’. Essentially the inscription links peaceful state of the empire with the Emperor Hadrian, a somewhat rather apt statement.
Owning this coin is a thing of some considerable pleasure to me. The Emperor Hadrian ruled during a time of great prosperity and stability and thus for once the reality can be seen to live up to the propaganda of the coin legend, therefore he is often praised as being one of the best rulers of the Roman Empire. Indeed he did rule during a period later christened as ‘The five good emperors.’
Hadrian can be seen a good emperor for many reasons such as his many building projects, renovations and reformations of Roman practice, such as famously setting out the Roman frontiers in stone and formalising the limits of Roman dominion. He personally travelled extensively around the empire, indeed during these travels he visited Britain in 122 AD and commissioned the ever famous Wall. This, with his many achievements has made him rather popular for many Romanists.
Needless to say this is a very brief overview of Hadrian’s world, and of course there are criticisms to be made, as are there much more detailed examinations of his character and his reign, however all I hope to show here is some of the esteem that he is held in. Therefore hopefully others may understand why to own a coin of such an esteemed emperor, and one of such great quality, give me that extra reason to smile.