Look at one of the coins you’re carrying today: you’ll see the Queen’s portrait facing right and Latin script around the royal head.
It seems our coins have looked this way forever – and that’s nearly true. But why? This exhibition uses money to explore and question our deep-seated familiarity with the Roman Empire’s imagery. Britain is not the only nation, empire or state to channel ancient Rome in this way: the Barber’s excellent collection of coins from the Byzantine Empire – as well as examples from Hungary, Georgia and Armenia – illustrate both the problems and possibilities of being genuine heirs of Rome.
Attempting to uncover the political uses of Rome’s legacy, this exhibition encourages the visitor to ponder why we are so often told of the empire’s importance – and whose interests such imagery serves.