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A Roman Coin of Alexandria

The ancient city of Alexandria, Egypt personified as a woman appears on the obverse, or head, of this coin. The four turrets on her head represent the towers which stood at the gates of the city. Below her neck appears the Latin inscription "ALEXANDREA."

Depicted on the reverse is Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, a Consul of Rome crowning the young Ptolemy V as King of Egypt. Both are dressed in togas. The Latin inscription along the left "TVTOR REC"; in the exergue (bottom) "M. LEPIDVS"; on the right "PONF MAX"; and at top "S.C." translates roughly into English as: "Guardian of the King, Marcus Lepidus, High Priest -- decreed by the Senate."

The coin is silver and of the denomination called a "denarius." It was minted in 61 BCE to commemorate the coronation of the Egyptian King in 187 BCE as overseen by M. Aemilius Lepidus. Ptolemy V, called Ptolemy Epiphanes, inherited his throne in 204 BCE at age 5 when he was made a ward of Rome per his father's last requests.

The illustration is from: David R. Sear, Roman Coins and Their Values 4th ed. rev. (London: Seaby, 1988), Plate 4, Inventory number 298A.

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Last revised: June 8, 1996