One of my favorite things about Roman coins is the portraiture, which in the best of cases can be the next best thing to looting a marble bust from a museum. There are a lot of Roman portraits that I like, but this one of Caracalla takes the cake in my eyes. Caracalla, 211 - 217 AR Denarius ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, Laureate head right LIBERAL - AVG - VIIII, Liberalitas standing, holding cornucopiae and coin-counter Roman emperors were ambitious men. Some were benevolent, others tyrants. Whatever your leaning on this young man, it is hard to argue that Caracalla was anything less than personified malice at times: He murdered his own brother in front of their mother, and had Alexandrian citizens slaughtered en masse for what he perceived as compassion for the late Geta. He ordered the deaths of thousands, including the last living children of Marcus Aurelius. Self-styled after his idealized perception of Alexander the Great, he is said to have favored a near-permanent military scowl to assert his dominance over the legions under his command. This is well documented in most of his surviving busts, but is hit-and-miss on his coinage. Here, however, I feel the celator hit the nail on the head: Intense, focused gaze, wrinkled forehead, scrunched nose, drawn back upper lip--they all say "Away from me, scum!" Another picture in different lighting: Since this coin was minted to commemorate his 9th Liberalitas, I like to entertain the (baseless) conjecture that this obverse die may have been made by the best celator on hand to create a set of presentation pieces for the Emperor and his entourage. Or maybe the Senate to keep them in line! Feel free to share any coins you feel are relevant!