Medallion with Roman Emperor Caracalla

Romanca. 215-243 (Imperial Roman)

The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum
Baltimore, United States

Together with 59.1 and 59.2, this piece was discovered in Egypt as part of a hoard that comprised about twenty similar medallions (now dispersed among various museums), eighteen gold ingots, and six hundred gold coins issued by Roman emperors from Severus Alexander (r. AD 222-235) to Constantius I (r. AD 293-306). One of the medallions, now in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, bears an inscription that possibly reads "Olympic games of the year 274", a date corresponding to AD 242-243. It is possible that the medallions were intended as prizes to be given out at that event. Alternatively, they may have been issued by Emperor Caracalla (ruled 198-217 AD), who is potrayed on the present one in profile, bearing a shield on his shoulder decorated with the image of Nike in a racing-chariot. The back depicts Caracalla's distant predecessor King Alexander of Macedon (r. 336-323 BC) in short chiton and chlamys (a cloak) hunting a boar. This depiction of a royal hunt was intended to emphasize the prowess that Alexander also showed in battle.


  • Title: Medallion with Roman Emperor Caracalla
  • Date Created: ca. 215-243 (Imperial Roman)
  • Physical Dimensions: d0.55 cm
  • Type: medallions (medals)
  • Rights: Acquired by Henry Walters, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
  • External Link: The Walters Art Museum
  • Medium: gold
  • Provenance: [Found at Aboukir, Egypt, 1902]; P. Kytikas, Cairo [date of acquisition unknown], by purchase; Dikran Kelekian, Constantinople and Paris [date of acquisition unknown], by purchase; Henry Walters, Baltimore [date of acquisition unknown], by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
  • Place of Discovery: Aboukir, Egypt
  • Inscriptions: [Inscription]
  • ExhibitionHistory: The Search for Alexander. National Gallery of Art, Washington; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Boston; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, San Francisco; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. 1980-1983; Alexander the Great: Treasures from an Epic Era of Hellenism. Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation (USA), New York. 2004-2005
  • Artist: Roman

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