Coin Portraying Emperor Antoninus Pius | The Art Institute of Chicago

Canopus, a port city in the Nile Delta, was famous for an ancient sanctuary dedicated to Osiris, god of vegetation and rebirth. His worship included a procession of his priests carrying jars filled with Nile water, the symbol of fertility. The jars, as depicted on this coin, were topped with the head of Osiris, here shown in profile, with an elaborate headdress. Emperor Antoninus Pius, who issued the coin, never set foot in Egypt, but he used this imagery to honor one of Egypt’s ancient traditions.

The date this coin was struck is indicated in the back inscription ” B “, which means the second year of the emperor’s reign, or 138-139 CE. Antoninus Pius reigned as emperor from 138-161 CE.

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