This coin was issued by Metellus Pius, one of the most important military commanders under Lucius Cornelius Sulla in the Roman civil war of the years 83-82 BC. As reward for his services, Sulla appointed Metellus Pius Pontifex Maximus, the highest priest in the Roman cult of gods.
The obverse of the denarius depicts the head of Pietas, the personification of the Roman virtue of duty. The reverse shows a jug and a staff within a laurel wreath. The jug and the staff – a lituus – are symbols of the priestly office and of the pontificate, the laurel wreath is the sign of the victor. The inscription IMPER denotes the moneyer as 'Imperator,' as military leader.