This coin is a new addition to my Numophylacium Faustinae. It was likely part of the large issue that commenced in AD 150 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Faustina's death and deification. This reverse type was issued only in the middle bronze denomination. Faustina I, AD 138-140. Roman Æ as, 10.36 g, 28.05 mm, 5 h. Rome, AD 150 or later. Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right. Rev: AETERNITAS S C, Aeternitas, seated left on starry globe, extending right hand and holding transverse sceptre in left hand. Refs: RIC 1159a; BMCRE 1551-54; Cohen 22; Strack 1266; RCV 4639. The coin depicts Aeternitas, the personification of eternity and stability. She is seated on a globe representing the celestial sphere. As such, the coin symbolizes the deified empress – Divine Faustina – residing in "the timeless sphere in which the gods dwell." This is parallel to the symbolism on other coins issued for this empress depicting Aeternitas standing, holding a globe and a starry mantle representing the heavens, which billows above her head, and which I have discussed previously. Many Roman coins depict globes. Often, however, it's not the Earth that's depicted, but a sphere, or orb, symbolizing the Cosmos. Michael Molnar explains in an interesting article in The Celator: The evidence that the orb depicted on so many coins was the cosmos and not the Earth is revealed first of all by stars and astronomical markings. Close inspection of the orbs sometimes shows not a smooth ball, but bands or hatch marks. On small orbs there appears a letter "X," but on larger orbs, it is recognized as crossed bands that represent the intersection of the all-important zodiac and the celestial equator. The system of circles that the Greeks marked on the celestial sphere is described in the Phaenomena of Aratus, Pliny's Natural History, and Manilius' Astronomica. The "X" is called the equinoctial cross which represents the spring and autumnal equinoxes (where the Sun crosses the celestial equator). It signified the belief in cosmic cycles of birth, death, and rebirth. (The Timaeus of Plato referred to this symbol as a celestial Greek letter "chi."). Although the stars are visible on my coin in hand, they don't photograph well, and I wish my coin better depicted the celestial sphere on which Aeternitas sits. This example in the British Museum clearly depicts the stars, the ecliptic, and celestial equator on its reverse. The similarity of the reverse figure is very similar to that of Italia on coins of Antoninus Pius, such as this sestertius in the British Museum. On this coin, the depiction of "Italia presiding on the cosmic orb signifies the greatness and immensity of her power." Similar symbolism is seen on coins on which the celestial sphere is offered by Sol or Jupiter to the emperor, emphasizing his role as cosmocrator – the ruler of the universe – such as on this billon follis of Constantine illustrated in an informative article by Reid Goldsborough. Post your coins depicting a celestial globe, Aeternitas, comments, or anything you feel is relevant! ~~~ Notes: 1. Mattingly, Harold, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, vol. IV: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. Introduction, indexes and plates. London, BMP, 1968, p. lxii. 2. Molnar, Michael R. "Symbolism of the Sphere." The Celator, vol. 12, no. 6, June 1998, pp. 6–8. Molnar may have learned this information from his first work cited: Otto J. Brendel Symbolism of the Sphere Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1977. 3. Technically, it's the intersection of the ecliptic and the celestial equator. The zodiac is a zone or belt about 16° in width containing the constellations of the zodiac and through which the orbits of the planets (except Pluto) pass. In the middle of this zone is an imaginary line called the ecliptic. The celestial equator is also known as the equinoctial. 4. Molnar, op. cit., p. 6. 5. Ibid. 6. Goldsborough, Reid. "An Exercise in Grading Constantine the Great Sol Bronzes." Constantine the Great Sol Bronzes, rg.ancients.info/constantine/Sol_other.html.