CLEOPATRA ON COINS
Livia, Octavia, Julia, and their families were displayed on the south and north friezes of the Ara Pacis Augustae for all in Rome to see. Cleopatra had made being a woman with a family an asset, and Augustus had every reason to match her maternal achievements with those of women in the imperial circle. While the Ara Pacis was Augustus's answer to Cleopatra's temple of Dendera in the capital, he used the official Roman coinage to advertise his message more universally by disseminating it around the empire.
Julius Caesar had already broken the ice by minting coins with his own image during his lifetime, making it perfectly natural for Augustus and the other triumvirs to follow in his footsteps. Octavian commissioned coins with his own portrait on the obverse in 43 B.C., Antony in 44. Both Octavian and Antony immediately claimed a close connection with Caesar by striking coins with a laureate Caesar on the reverse and their own bearded portraits in mourning on the obverse. As the two rivals continued to jockey for power in east and west, they issued coins that staked out their positions and advertised their political and personal alliances. The small size and easy transportability of these specimens meant that these messages were not only conveyed in Rome but also had the potential to reach the furthest frontiers of the growing empire. This evidence has some limitations, however, since most preserved coins are from hoards concealed during times of war or other catastrophes and never retrieved;