American Numismatic Society
American Numismatic Society

The Harry W. Fowler Lecture

Hadrian's Coins: Voyages, Celebrations and Commemorations
by Mr. Richard Abdy

25 June, 2009

5:30 Reception
6:00pm Lecture

75 Varick Street, Floor 11 New York NY 10013

To RSVP or for more information please contact
Megan Fenselau at 212-571-4470 ex.117
Government I.D. required

Summary of Lecture

HADRIAN'S COINS: VOYAGES, COMMEMORATIONS AND CELEBRATIONS. Hadrian (AD 117-138) is remembered today as the great traveller of the Roman Empire. He is particularly renowned in Britain as one of the very few imperial personalities to set foot on the remotest and dampest part of the Roman World. Of course he left his great mark on the island in the form of Hadrian’s Wall, and this monument stands as a symbol of Hadrian’s concern with the protection and the development of the provinces. Much more than any previous emperor, his reign heralds the cultural inclusiveness characterising the later Roman Empire. Many of Hadrian’s successors would, like him, be from families with roots outside of Italy. Provincial concerns of the reign, however, are balanced with a strong personal artistic interest in producing monuments for the city of Rome, and many of Hadrian’s varied interests are reflected in the marvellously illustrative coinage of the time. From adoption to (posthumous) deification, great expeditions from Britain to Syria, the obsessive pursuit of popularity and intimate references to family and lovers, the coinage of Hadrian is rich in visual messages about the controversial emperor’s life, loves and legacy. This brief overview of the subject was undertaken as part of Mr. Abdy’s input into the lavishly illustrated BM catalogue Hadrian, Empire and Conflict.

Mr. Richard Abdy graduated from the University of Glasgow and now curates the later Roman and early Byzantine coins at the British Museum. In addition, his duties include participating in the recording and publishing of Romano-British coin hoards as part of the UK treasure process. (This enables museums in Britain to judge whether they are historically significant enough to acquire or at least save the information for posterity before their dispersal.) He is currently researching the imperial coinage of Hadrian as part of a project to produce a completely new edition of Roman Imperial Coinage (RIC) vol. II, part 2.