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This study examines how the Roman emperors c. AD 260–295 attempt at maintaining their power-bases
through legitimation of their claims to power, with reference to various potentially powerful groups of
society, such as the military, the inhabitants of the provinces and the senate in Rome. The purpose has
been to discern the development of ‘Roman imperial ideology’ in an age which has frequently been
referred to as an ‘age of military anarchy.’ Focus is on how claims to power could be expressed through
visual media. Of such media, mainly the coins struck for the emperors c. AD 260-295 have been studied.
A close investigation has been made of the iconography of these coins. Furthermore, the ways in which
coin-images are modified and combined with various legends are studied. An additional purpose of this
investigation has been to provide a comment on the general potential of conveying visual imagery and
messages on objects such as coins and medallions.
The study argues that novel, intricate and multi-layered images were created on the coins struck for the
emperors c. AD 260-295. Furthermore, it is suggested that these coin-images were created to assume the
function of larger-scale expressions of imperial authority, such as triumphal arches and imperial statues.
This adaption of coinage was made because there was a need for intensified communication of imperial
authority. This need arose due to the incessant warfare of the age, and a process of regionalization of the
empire, which was connected to this warfare. The conclusion is that these coins provide an illustration
of the development of the Roman empire in the second half of the third century. This was a development
by which the city of Rome lost its importance in favour of regional capitals, and ultimately in favour of

Date created: 
Sunday, January 6, 2013
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