Faustina Friday – A Relative Chronology for the Concordia Standing and the Concordia Seated Issues

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    In terms of reverse typology, the overarching theme on the coins of Faustina the Younger during the early 150s was that of marital harmony, the concordia of the imperial couple. The volume of coin production depicting Concordia during this period was robust, and involved three reverse designs, scores of dies, and continued for a period of several years. In the process, coinage in the name of Faustina the Younger became firmly established as a major component of mint production.

    In a previous installment of Faustina Friday, I described how Martin Beckmann's seminal die-linkage study of the aurei of Faustina the Younger demonstrated that the reverse type of Concordia standing was in production at the same time as the IVNO seated reverse type issued to commemorate the birth of Lucilla in March AD 149.[1] This allows for accurate dating of the issue.

    Faustina Jr VENVS to IVNO and CONCORDIA transition Beckmann.jpg
    Section of die-linkage chain 2 demonstrating the transition from the VENVS reverse type to the appearance of the IVNO seated and CONCORDIA standing (head left and right) reverse types (Beckmann, p. 36). There are four obverse dies and ten reverse dies in the chain.

    Faustina Jr CONCORDIA standing aureus BMC.png
    Aureus showing Concordia standing from the bottom of die-linkage chain 2 (BMC 1041). Note the obverse inscription is in the dative case: FAVSTINAE AVG PII AVG FIL.

    The next major development in the aurei of Faustina – and almost certainly paralleled in the silver and bronze issues – is a shift to a new obverse legend in the nominative case, FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL. This change was not sudden or clear cut, but transpired over a period of extended coin production marked by what Beckmann describes as a "confusing array of different obverse legends, portraits, and reverse types." He further notes that this legend appeared briefly before a new obverse legend was introduced, FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL, which was used for a somewhat longer time before it was switched back to FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL.[2]

    Groups 4 and 5.jpg
    Small die-linkage groups featuring Concordia standing. Group 4 depicts known die pairs with the shorter FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL inscription; group 5 depicts known die pairs with the longer FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL inscription (Beckmann, p. 41).

    Group 6.jpg
    Small die-linkage group pairing dies with the longer FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL inscription and the CONCORDIA/dove standing right reverse type and the VENERI FELICI/dove standing right reverse type, which were introduced after the Concordia standing type (Beckmann, p. 41).

    Beckmann's groups 4 and 5 can be associated with the end of chain 2 by their common use of the Concordia standing reverse type. But these two groups employ different obverse inscriptions than chain 2, which uses the dative obverse inscription used from the very beginning of Pius' coins for his daughter Faustina: FAVSTINAE AVG PII AVG FIL. In group 4, the inscription merely changes from the dative to the nominative case (FAVSTINAE becomes FAVSTINA). In group 5, the legend becomes longer through the addition of ANTONINI (genitive case, "of Antoninus"). Both legends were short-lived, with only a few obverse dies known. Group 6 demonstrates that the longer legend post-dates the shorter legend by its use with the dove standing right reverse types, which were introduced after the Concordia standing type.

    Beckmann's demonstration that the shorter legend, FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL, was in use both before and after the longer legend, FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL, represented a departure from the chronology proposed by earlier numismatists. Strack dated the longer legend to 149-152 and the shorter to AD 152-156.[3] Mattingly dated the FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL legend to c. 150-152 and the FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL legend to c. 152-153.[4]

    However, in the late 1980s, our own @curtislclay, by comparing the denarii of Pius, Marcus Aurelius and Faustina and their representation in the Reka Devnia hoard, elucidated an absolute chronology for the silver issues of Faustina II. In the course of this work, he concluded that the FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL legend was in use for about four or five months beginning about May AD 151, followed by the FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL legend, which was in use for about seven or eight months, from the end of summer AD 151 to about June AD 152, after which it reverted to the FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL legend, which was in use through the end of AD 155.[5]

    Curtis' findings are confirmed exactly by Beckmann's die-linkage study of her aurei. However, it's important to note that in Beckmann's study, the situation is complicated and not entirely linear, with overlap between and possibly simultaneous use of the various legends and of the empress' various hairstyles. We have no similar die-linkage studies of the silver and bronze issues with these legends and their absolute dating is fraught with difficulty.

    In silver, the period of transition from Faustina's earliest hairstyle to her second and the transition from the earliest dative case obverse inscription to the nominative occurs during the production of the Pudicitia standing issue. This indicates a long period of production of denarii with this reverse type, preceding and following the birth of Lucilla, akin to the Venus standing issue on the aurei. Curtis dates the various varieties of the Pudicita standing left reverse type to very late AD 148 to about mid AD 151 and calls this "issue 3."

    There follows a large and complicated series of denarii featuring Concordia. Issue 4 features Concordia standing, and this reverse type was in use from mid to late AD 151. Thus, it spans the time from the first use of the short nominative inscription FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL into the period when the longer FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL inscription was in use.

    Faustina Jr CONCORDIA standing denarius 1085.jpg
    Faustina Jr, AD 147-175.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.03 g, 17.3 mm, 7 h.
    Rome, Summer AD 151.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: CONCORDIA standing facing, head right, gathering up skirt and holding cornucopiae.
    Refs: RIC 500b,3; BMCRE 1085; Cohen 42, CRE 164.

    Faustina Jr CONCORDIA standing right denarius 1078.jpg
    Faustina Jr, AD 147-175.
    Roman AR denarius, 2.97 g, 18.5 mm, 6 h.
    Rome, c. Autumn-late AD 151.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVG AN-TONINI AVG PII FIL, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: CONCORDIA standing facing, head right, gathering up skirt and holding cornucopiae.
    Refs: RIC 500b(6); BMCRE 1078-79; Cohen 44, CRE 163.
    Notes: RIC erroneously describes the obverse legend as reading FAVSTINAE AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL; this is corrected by BMCRE 4.

    Faustina Jr CONCORDIA standing left denarius.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman AR Denarius, 2.84 g, 18.5 mm, 6 h.
    Rome, c. Autumn-late AD 151.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL, bare-headed and draped bust right.
    Rev: CONCORDIA, Concordia standing facing, head left, holding skirt and cornucopiae.
    Refs: RIC III 501 (Pius); BMCRE 1078 note (Pius); Cohen/RSC 46; RCV --; CRE 166; ERIC II --.

    These coins generally feature the empress with her Beckman type 2 hairstyle, which I discussed earlier this month. But on a unique[6] denarius, she appears wearing a new hairstyle (Beckmann’s type 3 hairstyle). This type 3 hairstyle was used with only 4 dies on the gold coins – far fewer than the other hairstyles – and for very briefly. It was in use simultaneously with the type 2 hairstyle in Beckmann’s die-linkage study of her aurei[7] and only on the issue featuring the CONCORDIA inscription and a standing dove.[8].

    Faustina Jr CONCORDIA dove right type 3 hairstyle Kunker.jpg
    Aureus, RIC 503. Künker, Auction 304, lot 1183, 19 March 2018.

    Faustina Jr CONCORDIA standing denarius type 3 hairstyle A&C.jpg
    Unique denarius featuring Beckmann’s type 3 hairstyle, the longer obverse legend, and the CONCORDIA standing reverse type. Aureo & Calicó S.L., IMAGINES IMPERATORUM lot 120, 15 February 2012.

    More follows …
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Faustina Friday – A Relative Chronology for the Concordia Standing and the Concordia Seated Issues (continued) ...

    Issue 5 features Concordia seated and begins in late AD 151 or early AD 152 with the Beckmann type 2 hairstyle and the longer FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL obverse inscription.

    Faustina Jr CONCORDIA seated denarius ANTONINI inscription Rzeszowski.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.4 g, 19.5 mm, 6 h.
    Rome, late 151-early 152.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVG ANTONINI AVG PII FIL, bare-headed and draped bust right.
    Rev: CONCORDIA, Concordia seated left, holding flower and resting elbow on cornucopiae set on globe under chair.
    Refs: RIC 502a(6); BMCRE 1080-81; Cohen 53; RCV –; Strack 502; CRE 169.
    Notes: Scarce; only 3 examples in the Reka Devnia hoard.

    In mid AD 152, the inscription reverts to the short FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL legend, which continues through the end of the issue in December AD 154 or January 155. Initially, she appears wearing the Beckmann type 2 hairstyle.

    Faustina Jr CONCORDIA seated denarius type 2 hairstyle.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.2 g, 17.8 mm, 5 h.
    Rome, mid 152- autumn 154.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL, bare-headed and draped bust right.
    Rev: CONCORDIA, Concordia seated left, holding flower and resting elbow on cornucopiae set on globe under chair.
    Refs: RIC 502a(3); BMCRE 1086-87; Cohen 54; RCV 4704; Strack 506; CRE 167.

    This reverse type also appears in bronze, such as this middle bronze in my collection.

    Faustina Jr CONCORDIA S C seated dupondius.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman Æ as or dupondius, 12.09 g, 26.4 mm, 7 h.
    Rome, mid 152- autumn 154.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL, bare-headed and draped bust right.
    Rev: CONCORDIA S C, Concordia seated left, holding flower and resting elbow on cornucopiae set on globe under chair.
    Refs: RIC 1393; BMC p. 380†; Cohen 58; RCV 4724; Strack 1315.

    Demonstrating that the appearance of a particular hairstyle is non-linear and may be in use at the same time as other hairstyles, two unique denarii bear portraits of the empress with the type 3 hairstyle and the Concordia seated reverse type.

    Faustina Jr CONCORDIA seated denarius left-facing bust type 3 hairstyle NAC.jpg
    Unique denarius featuring a left-facing bust with Beckmann’s type 3 hairstyle, the shorter obverse legend, and the CONCORDIA seated reverse type. Numismatica Ars Classica Auction 98, lot 1209, 12 December 2016.

    Faustina Jr CONCORDIA seated denarius right-facing bust type 3 hairstyle CNG.jpg
    Unique denarius featuring a right-facing bust with Beckmann’s type 3 hairstyle, the shorter obverse legend, and the CONCORDIA seated reverse type. CNG coin shop item 762279.

    According to Curtis Clay, about Autumn AD 154, the empress is depicted with a new hairstyle, Beckmann's type 5, which she wears for half a dozen years on her silver and bronze issues (the aurei feature some hairstyles not found on the other denominations). Again, though, I want to caution the reader that these are approximations and there were almost certainly periods when the various legends or various hairstyles overlapped and were in simultaneous production.

    Faustina Jr CONCORDIA seated denarius type 5 hairstyle.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.33 g, 17.1 mm, 1 h.
    Rome, autumn 154-early 155.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL, bare-headed and draped bust right.
    Rev: CONCORDIA, Concordia seated left, holding flower and resting elbow on cornucopiae set on globe under chair.
    Refs: RIC 502a(3); BMCRE 1088; Cohen 54; RCV 4704; Strack 506; CRE 168.

    Faustina Jr CONCORDIA seated denarius left-facing bust.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman AR denarius, 2.95 g, 17.1 mm, 1 h.
    Rome, autumn 154-early 155.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL, bare-headed and draped bust left.
    Rev: CONCORDIA, Concordia seated left, holding flower and resting elbow on cornucopiae set on globe under chair.
    Refs: RIC 502b; BMCRE 1086 n.; Cohen 55; RCV –; Strack 506; CRE 171.

    In conclusion, though the Concordia reverse type seems to have been initially struck to commemorate the birth of Lucilla, the use of this reverse type with each of the later obverse legends suggests it was in production over a period lasting perhaps five or six years. Its theme, therefore, likely refers to the ongoing concord and marital harmony between Faustina and Marcus during the early 150s. The personification of Concordia is not limited to this reverse type, but is a recurring theme on the coinage of the empress throughout her life.

    ~~~

    Notes

    1. Beckmann, Martin, Faustina the Younger: Coinage, Portraits, and Public Image, A.N.S. Numismatic Studies 43, American Numismatic Society, New York, 2021, p. 37.

    2. Beckmann, op. cit., p. 42.

    3. Strack, Paul L., Untersuchungen zur Römischen Reichsprägung des Zweiten Jahrhunderts, vol. 3, Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit des Antoninus Pius. Stuttgart 1937.

    4. Mattingly, Harold, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, vol. 4, Antoninus Pius to Commodus. London, 1940, reprinted with alterations 1968, pp. xliv, lxxvi-lxvii; 158 ff.

    5. Curtis L. Clay, personal communication, 13 September, 2021.

    6. Contra Beckmann (op. cit., p. 46), who writes, "There is a single denarius with that portrait and a reverse of Concordia seated …" I illustrate here a second denarius with that portrait but left-facing, and a third with a reverse of Concordia standing.

    7. Beckmann, op. cit., pp. 44, 80-81.

    8. Beckmann, op. cit., pp. 41, 44.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2021
  4. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @Roman Collector......Very interesting write up thanks...
    Here's my example of RIC#502a(3)....??..Is this correct?
    Short obverse legend, Concordia seated...154-156 AD.
    FAU BLACK.png
     
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That is indeed RIC 502a(3). And a very attractive example, too.
     
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  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    One more thing, @Spaniard, I like how one can see an equinoctial cross (the celestial equator intersecting with the ecliptic) quite well on the globe under Concordia's chair on your example.

    123456.png
     
  7. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Thanks RC....I bought this coin many years ago primarily because I just fell for the portrait....But since then I have realised just how nice and interesting the reverse is too, due to the threads you've posted so thanks..;)
     
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  8. Orfew

    Orfew Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus Supporter

    A very interesting write up. Thanks for the great read
     
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  9. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Interesting analysis, RC. Looks like the Concordia design is more for the middle stage Faustina II coins. I sometimes wonder what the dove design on the reverse represents. Peace and harmony, perhaps?
     
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  10. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Another terrific installment of Faustina Friday.

    I have three worn Concordia's, one of which is slightly unusual, per an earlier post via @Roman Collector. After all this information in these posts, I am going to have to re-do all my Faustina attributions! (That is not a complaint :))

    Faustina II Concordia Den. Oct 2013 (0).jpg
    Faustina II Denarius
    (154-156 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL, draped bust right / CONCORDIA, Concordia seated left, holding flower and resting left arm on cornucopiae set on globe below seat.
    RIC 502a; RSC 54; Sear 4704.
    (3.00 grams / 17 mm)
    eBay Oct. 2013
    Faustina II - Den CONCORDIA seat July 2019 (0u).jpg
    Faustina II Denarius
    (154-156 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    FAVSTINA AVG PII AVG FIL, draped bust right / CONCORDIA, Concordia seated left, holding flower and resting left arm on cornucopiae set on globe below seat.
    RIC 502Aa (var.; see note)
    (3.02 grams / 17 mm)
    eBay July 2019
    Note:
    Reverse legend is continuous on this specimen:
    "The British Museum has four examples (two of the five shown in the link have a different obverse legend & one is unpictured), BMC4, pp. 164-65. None of them have an unbroken reverse legend..."
    Roman Collector on Coin Talk re: this coin. July 21, 2019


    Faustina II - Denarius Concord Feb 19 (0).jpg
    Faustina II Denarius
    (145-161 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed bust draped right / AVGVSTI PII FIL, Concordia draped standing left holding patera and cornucopia.
    RIC 496; Sear 4701; RSC 21.
    (3.24 grams / 15 mm)
    eBay Feb. 2019
     
  11. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you for the kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    There are two possible interpretations of the dove and they are not incompatible. In fact, I think both meanings were meant to be conveyed.

    The first is that the dove was associated with Venus. Servius comments on a passage of the Aeneid (6.190-211) that the dove is sacred to Venus because of its numerous offspring and mating, so this may be an allusion to the birth of Lucilla.

    The second is that doves had association with harmonious marriage. Pliny writes (HN 10.52.104) that doves (columba) "possess the greatest modesty (pudicitia), and adultery is unknown to either sex; they do not violate the faith of wedlock, and they keep house in company. [...] Both partners have equal affection for their offspring." (Translation by H. Rackham, who translates columba as "pigeon"; taxonomically, doves are classified with pigeons.)

    The dove signifies both fertility and marital harmony.

    I am so glad you find my weekly essays useful! And keep posting those Faustinas!

     
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