Roman coins feature symbols and iconography which represented beliefs and significant events during the Roman Empire. Coins were not just used by Romans as currency but also as a way of telling a story. These stories can be useful in helping us discover more about how they lived. Making Roman coins from clay is not only a fun art and craft activity but will also allow children to discover more about them, using their coins to tell their own unique Roman story.
After gaining an understanding of the symbols used on Roman coins and seeing some examples, children can design and make their own unique coin from clay. Here’s how:
You will need:
- Roll a piece of air dry clay into a ball and then flatten to create a coin shape.
- Use the sharp point of the cocktail stick or knitting needle to draw an image onto the coin.
- Leave the clay to dry before painting the coin in a metallic paint.
- Coins can then be used as part of a Roman role play, perhaps a Roman market.
Symbols/ Iconography on Roman Coins
Earlier Roman coins featured images of deitys including Roma, a female that personified the city of Roman. Later moneyers, a committee of 4 or 5 men appointed to decide which images were to be featured on the coins, began to display images relating to their family histories on coins. Julius Caesar was the first Roman Emperor to issue coins showing his own portrait but after his assassination continued with other emperors.
Do you have any more fun ideas for learning about Romans?
Below are some links with further information about Roman coins and the symbols used on them and examples of Roman coins to look at:
The Roman Baths website also has a fun app which lets children create their own Roman coin design using their own photograph.