Another Empress with her Children

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Jun 30, 2020 at 8:16 PM.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Last week, I started a thread about Constantine I's wife Fausta, and the mystery of which two children (Constantine II & Constantius II, or Constantius II & Constans) she's holding on the reverse of many of her coins issued in the last few years of her life. See https://www.cointalk.com/threads/tw...s-are-shown-on-her-coins.362265/#post-4589038

    For this coin, there's apparently no mystery:

    Faustina II [Junior] (wife of Marcus Aurelius & daughter of Antoninus Pius), AR Denarius, Rome Mint, 161 AD. Obv. Draped bust right, hair in chignon behind, wearing stephane, FAVSTINA AVGVSTA / Rev. Two infant boys seated on draped throne (pulvinar), right arms raised towards each other, right hands clasped together [compass dot between the boys], SAECVLI FELICIT. RIC III [Marcus Aurelius] 712, RSC II 191 [variety without stars above boys’ heads], Sear RCV II 5260 (ill.). 17.5 mm., 3.39 g., 12h. [The two infant boys are Faustina’s and Marcus's twin sons b. 31 Aug 161 AD: Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus (the older twin, d. 165 AD) and Commodus.]

    Faustina II with children - jpg version.jpg

    The reason we know that Antoninus was the older twin is that he was the one named after his maternal grandfather Antoninus Pius, who had died earlier that year. One wonders how things would have been different had he lived to adulthood, and Commodus had never ascended to the throne.

    Am I correct that the circular raised dot in the center is simply a compass dot, rather than some sort of ball the children are playing with -- which was my first thought on seeing the coin?

    I know that there are other coins showing Faustina II with various of her children, and you're welcome to post them here if you want to, but are there other empresses (besides Fausta) depicted on coins with their young children?
     
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  3. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Thanks for the write up and very nice Faustina II. I always thought the kids were doing a HIGH-FIVE every time I see that coin! :)

    I do not have one of these. For the reverse, I wish that I did.
     
  4. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Either that, or they're square-dancing.
     
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  5. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    I really like these Fecunditas reverses. Here is Faustina II with 4 'bay-bays' on the reverse:

    [​IMG]
    Faustina II, Wife of Marcus Aurelius
    AE Sestertius, Struck 161-176 AD, Rome mint
    Obverse: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, bust of Faustina II, draped, hair elaborately waved in nearly vertical lines and fastened in a low chignon at back of head, down cheek, curls, right.
    Reverse: FECVND AVGVSTAE, Fecunditas, draped, standing left, between two children and holding two infants in her arms, S-C across field.
    References: RIC III 1635
    Size: 34mm, 24.2g


    And Lucilla, presumably one of those kiddos on the above coin, was a fertile myrtle as well:
    [​IMG]
    Lucilla, Wife of Verus, Daughter of Aurelius
    AE Sestertius, Struck 164-169 AD, Rome
    Obverse: LVCILLA AVGVSTA, Bust of Lucilla, hair waved and fastened in a low chignon at back of head, draped, right.
    Reverse: FECVNDITAS, Lucilla as Fecunditas, draped, seated right on low seat, nursing infant; before her, a girl standing; behind her, a boy standing; SC in exergue.
    References: RIC III 1738
    Size: 32mm, 24.4g
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020 at 9:37 PM
  6. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Faustina's coinage definitely boasted about her child-bearing ability. From my collection:
    Faustina Junior babies.jpg Faustina Junior Fecunditas.jpg Faustina Junior sestertius.jpg
     
  7. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  8. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    LOL, yeah, I like that. Too funny.
     
  9. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I like them too! Do we know who the four children are on the first one? I imagine that one must be Commodus.
     
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  10. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    I'd like to think that the 2 babies she's holding are Commodus and his twin brother based on the date of initial issue (161 AD). Though Faustina II had lots of children (12) many died in their infancy and youth. At that time there would've been the oldest daughter at 14yo, Lucilla at around 11-13yo, and 2 other young daughters at 2yo and 1yo (as well as the newborn twins already mentioned). The 2 standing children appear to me to be male of the left and female on the right, but that doesn't match... Could they instead be both female? And the toddlers? Or are they the both female and the teens/tweens?

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faustina_the_Younger#Children
     
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  11. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    No. That coin dates to 160, before Commodus and his brother were born. The children are thought to represent Faustina III and Lucilla (the older free-standing ones) and the ones in her arms are thought to represent Fadilla and Cornificia, mere infants.
     
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  12. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    The TEMPOR FELIC issue of AD 161 includes the four older sisters (see above), all standing on the ground, in addition to Commodus and Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, held in (Faustina as) Fecunditas' arms:

    Faustina Jr TEMPOR FELIC S C Sestertius.jpg
    Faustina Jr, Augusta 147-176.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 23.99 g, 31.7 mm, 11 h.
    Rome, AD 161-175.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: TEMPOR FELIC SC, Faustina standing left, holding two children, four more at her feet.
    Refs: RIC 1673; Cohen 222; RCV 5284 var. (no diadem).

    Faustina Jr TEMPOR FELIC S C Dupondius.jpg
    Faustina Jr, Augusta 147-176.
    Roman orichalcum dupondius, 11.55 g, 28.2 mm, 11 h.
    Rome, AD 161-175.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: TEMPOR FELIC SC, Faustina standing left, holding two children, four more at her feet.
    Refs: RIC 1675; Cohen 223; BMCRE 996; RCV 5304 var. (no stephane).
     
  13. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks. I thought that Faustina II didn't become "Augusta" until after Antoninus Pius died in 161, so I figured that since the coin says Augusta and Commodus and his brother were born a few months later in 161, one of the babies must be Commodus.
     
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  14. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    She became Augusta in AD 147.

    Strack argued that the FAVSTINA AVGVSTA issues with descriptive reverses commenced as early as 158, a judgement confirmed by Szaivert. Indeed, Mattingly and Sydenham note (RIC p. 3, n. 3), “A recent find of Roman gold in Egypt suggests that the omission of this title [AVGVSTI PII FIL] dates from not later than AD 156-157. Mattingly notes elsewhere (BMC pp. xciii-xciv), “To the last few years of the reign [of Antoninus Pius] belong the beginnings of the great coinage, with FAVSTINA AVGVSTA on obverse and named reverses, which continues till her death in AD 175.”
     
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  15. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Do we know what happened to the older sisters other than Lucilla? I'm actually rather impressed that we seem to have the names of all 12 of Marcus Aurelius's and Faustina II's children, including those who died very young. I'm sure there are some emperors for whom we don't have the names of all their children.
     
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  16. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Faustina III lived to adulthood and married a Consul, Gnaeus Claudius Severus, who later became a senator.
     
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  17. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Here's the sestertius version of your OP, @DonnaML :

    [​IMG]
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 24.40 g, 30 mm, 12 h.
    Rome, AD 161.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: SAECVLI FELICIT SC, draped throne on which there are two infant boys with stars above their heads.
    Refs: RIC 1665; BMCRE 936; Cohen 193; RCV 5282; MIR 27.

    My dupondius version doesn't look so good, but it does have provenance to Henry Clay Lindgren:

    Faustina Jr SAECVLI  FELICIT S C As.jpg
     
  18. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020 at 11:23 PM
  19. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Looking on VCoins, I see that there's also a Faustina II "Fecvnditas" denarius (RIC 677) on which she holds one infant, who appears to be standing on the palm of her hand! Do we know which child that's supposed to be?
     
  20. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    FaustinaJrDenDiana.jpg
    Faustina Jr., wife of Marcus Aurelius. Augusta, 145-175 AD. AR Denarius (18mm; 3.42 gm; 5h). Struck under Marcus Aurelius, circa 161 AD. Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right. Rev: DIANA LVCIF, Diana Lucifera standing left, holding long, lighted torch. RIC III 674 (Aurelius); (Aurelius); RSC 85. A quote from CNG's web site on an identical coin: "An important historical type, commemorating the birth of Commodus and his twin brother, Antoninus, in 161 AD."
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020 at 11:53 PM
  21. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I know I asked about other empresses depicted with children, and I do have a Julia Maesa denarius with a Fecvnditas reverse showing one small child:

    Julia Maesa (grandmother of Elagabalus & Severus Alexander), AR Denarius, 218-222 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Draped bust right, IVLIA MAESA AVG / Rev. Fecunditas standing left holding cornucopiae, a child at her feet, FECVNDI-TAS AVG. RIC IV-2 249, RSC III 8 (ill.), Sear RCV II 7749. 20.08 mm., 2.58 g.

    Julia Maesa. Grandmother of Elagabalus and Severus Alexander AR Denarius - jpg.jpg

    But I doubt that the infant depicted is supposed to be a child (or even a grandchild) of Julia Maesa herself, who, at the time this coin was issued, was already the grandmother of Elagabalus and Severus Alexander, neither of whom was an infant.
     
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