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Golden coin showing Roman Emperor Frederick II (1198-1250)

Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and king of Sicily, was one of the most powerful of medieval rulers and was called by one contemporary chronicler ‘stupor mundi’ (the wonder of the world). Frederick reformed the coinage of his domain in Sicily, probably in 1231, producing the gold augustale. This splendid coin is strongly reminiscent of the classical coinage of the Roman Empire, with a portrait in the manner of an early Roman emperor on the obverse, while the reverse carries an imperial eagle. This is a notable example of the artistic influence of the ancient world in thirteenth-century Italy, two centuries before it spread to the rest of Europe in the Renaissance.