Sep 11 – 16, 2022
University of Warsaw
Europe/Warsaw timezone

Facing portraits of the emperor in the 260s AD

Sep 15, 2022, 9:00 AM
Auditorium Maximum - Hall B

Auditorium Maximum - Hall B


Michele Lange (SFB 1391/Universität Tübingen )


Facing portraits of the emperor are often discussed in the art of late antiquity, but such discussions rarely focus on imperial coinage, where the facing portraits of Gallic emperor Postumus are mark an important step . This paper will argue that these coins represent a decisive step in the development of the facingimperial busts. Facing portraits on the reverse of Roman city coinage of the Severan period are well known, whereas tetrarchic rulers such as Maxentius, Constantine and Licinius use nimbate frontal portraits to signify their divine qualities. Postumus’ coins serve as an intermediary between these two phases by adopting a mode of representation on the obverse side which previously reserved primarily for gods such as Sol/Helios and Jupiter Ammon. His images did not adopt explicitly divine attributes such as the nimbus, but relied rather upon a specific image formula in order to create a new theomorphic ruler image.

Primary author

Michele Lange (SFB 1391/Universität Tübingen )

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