Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Gold aurei of the Twelve Caesars

Early Imperial, Augustan and Julio-Claudian
ca. 46 B.C.–A.D. 68
Gold, amethyst
7 3/4 × 15/16 in. (19.7 × 2.4 cm) Height (setting of amethyst): 1/2 in. (1.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of C. Ruxton Love Jr., 1967
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 169
The coins are mounted in a matching pair of nineteenth-century gold bracelets that are also decorated with oblong amethysts en cabochon. The jewelry was inspired by the early second-century A.D. writer Suetonius' biographies of the first twelve rulers of imperial Rome, which started with Julius Caesar and ended with Domitian. One bracelet contains aurei of the dictator Julius Caesar and the Julio-Claudian emperors Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, the other has coins of the emperors of the civil war in A.D. 69—Galba, Otho, and Vitellius—and the Flavian emperors Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian.
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