You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.


7. Coinage

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this lecture we consider the importance of coinage as a source for understanding the Augustan regime, focusing in particular on: (i) the proliferation of coins in the Augustan period, especially among the army; (ii) the opportunities provided by coinage to disseminate certain images and ideas very widely; (iii) the extent to which the imagery on coinage was approved by the regime; (iv) an aureus from 28 BC, which states that Augustus has ‘restored to the Roman People their laws and rights’ (H18); (v) a coin from 12 BC – now lost – showing Augustus extending his right hand to a personification of the Roman state (H33); and (vi) an aureus from 27 BC showing an eagle holding the civic crown [corona civica], which Augustus was awarded in 27 BC for saving the lives of Roman citizens (H21).


In this course, Professor Matthew Nicholls (University of Oxford) explores the reign of the first Roman emperor, Augustus. Across twenty-one lectures, we consider a range of issues including: (i) the historical sources for reign of Augustus and their reliability; (ii) the events that led to the creation of the principate, particularly the Battle of Actium; (iii) the various constitutional settlements that formalised Augustus’ powers; (iv) his military achievements; (v) the importance of contemporary poetry (Virgil, Horace, Propertius, Ovid) and coinage for understanding his reign; (vi) the significance of key figures around Augustus, such as Livia, Marcus Agrippa, Tiberius and Germanicus; (vii) the extent to which Augustus really ‘restored the republic’ as he claimed he did; (viii) Augustus’ involvement in religious life at Rome and in the provinces; (ix) his administrative changes in Rome and in the provinces; (x) his management of various different sections of Roman society – the senatorial elite, the equestrian order, the army, the people of Rome and the provincial elites; (xi) challenges to his rule; (xii) his management of the succession; and (xiii) the importance of his own record of his achievements, the Res Gestae.


Matthew Nicholls is a visiting professor of classics at the University of Reading and Senior Tutor at St John's College, Oxford, specialising in the political and social history of the Romans, and the way the built environments of Rome and cities around the empire expressed their values and priorities. In 2014, Matthew was presented with a Guardian Teaching Award for his 'Virtual Rome' project, a digital model of the city of Rome, showing the city as it appeared in c. AD 315.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Nicholls, M. (2023, May 23). Augustus - Coinage [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Nicholls, M. "Augustus – Coinage." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 23 May 2023,