Starting with C. Julius Caesar the Roman emperors not only minted coins but – at first only occasionally, since the second century AD more regularly – medallions as well. We do not know how the Romans called these special products of the imperial mint – but most of them obviously differ from normal coins by their technical features, and normally medallions are not found in the same contexts as coins. For that reason they must have served for other purposes than regular coinage. Modern numismatists disagree about the question when, why and for whom they were produced. Before focussing these questions it seems to be helpful to focus at first briefly on technical aspects. In a second step I would like to deal with the question why and when medallions where produced and who were the recipients. In the longer third part I would like to call your attention to some selected medallions that are typical for their time.