Reproduction Tetradrachm of Mark Antony and Cleopatra
Obverse: Diademed and draped bust of Cleopatra right, her dress embroidered with pearls. Text around BACILICCA KLEOPATRA QEA NEWTERA.
Reverse: Bare head of Mark Antony right. Text around ANTWNIOC AVTOKPATWP TPITON TPIWN ANDRWN.
History: Cleopatra was queen of Egypt when the Roman Empire was gradually expanding into the wealthy eastern Mediterranean. By allying herself first with the powerful Roman generals Julius Caesar and then Mark Antony, she hoped to maintain her country’s independence and her own authority.
This tetradrachm, struck after the separation of Antony and Octavia, heralded the political alliance between the Roman triumvir Mark Antony and the Ptolemaic Egyptian queen Cleopatra VII. Cleopatra's profile has been made to resemble the features of Mark Antony in the tradition of many Hellenistic coin portraits of couples.
Unlike most coins portraying royal couples, Cleopatra's portrait is not situated behind Antony's. Instead, Antony and Cleopatra are portrayed on opposite sides of the coin with appropriate titles for each. Cleopatra’s image appears on the front of the coin, which identifies her as the more important of the two rulers. A crown circling her carefully braided hair symbolizes her status as a queen.
Date: Syrian mint most likely Antioch, circa 36 BC