Faustina Friday – The TEMPOR FELIC Issues of Late 161

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Aug 6, 2021.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    TGIFF! Party down!! It's Faustina Friday!!! <--exclamation point inflation. Crazy, like the price of Philip I antoniniani in slabs at Heritage.

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    Early last month, I discussed an issue celebrating the birth of Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus and his twin brother, Commodus, in AD 161. That reverse type features the inscription SAECVLI FELICIT (sæculi felicitas or felicitati), meaning "the happiness of the age," and depicts the heir and his younger twin Commodus on a pulvinar, a couch dedicated to the gods.

    That installment of Faustina Friday told only half the story. In addition to the SAECVLI FELICIT issue, another large series of coins was issued in all metals to celebrate the twins' birth. These coins bear the nearly synonymous reverse inscription TEMPOR FELIC (temporum felicitas or felicitati), meaning "the happiness of the times."

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    The Latin word felicitas not only means happiness, but carries strong connotations of fruitfulness and fertility,[1] and the inscription may be well-translated as "the fruitfulness of the times," very appropriate for a coin commemorating an imperial birth. The coins depict a female figure, the identity of which nobody can agree on,[2] standing left, holding an infant in each arm while four other children stand at her feet, vying for their mother's attention. Although none of the reverse figures are explicitly identified, the symbolism of the design is clear: it represents the growing imperial family. Faustina had just given birth to twin boys and already had four living children, her daughters Lucilla, Faustina III, Fadilla, and Cornificia.

    We don't know for sure which of the two issues to commemorate the birth came first. Beckmann, in his die-linkage study of the aurei of Faustina II, found no die links whatsoever between the SAECVLI FELICIT and the TEMPOR FELIC issue. However, the TEMPOR FELIC issue forms the beginning of a long die chain in which several SALVTI AVGVSTAE ("for the health of the empress") reverse dies immediately follow.[3] Beckmann further notes, "it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this indicates a major crisis in the health of Faustina."[4] For this reason, I propose that the SAECVLI FELICIT/infants on pulvinar issue preceded the TEMPOR FELIC one, because the latter was quickly followed by the SALVTI AVGVSTAE issue. I wonder if the empress suffered obstetrical complications not otherwise attested in the scanty historical records of this era.

    The coins of the TEMPOR FELIC issue depict the empress either bare-headed (all metals), or wearing the stephane (AR and Æ), a crown worn only by goddesses and the empress. Some dies, such as used to strike @DonnaML's sestertius, depict the boys with a star above each of their heads, likening them to the Dioscuri. The symbolism would have been clear to the Roman people. By appearing on coins with the headgear of the gods and with the stars of the Dioscuri, the Empress and her boys should be considered the earthly equivalents of the gods.

    I illustrate below all coins issued with this reverse type. Unless otherwise noted (the aureus and the denarius with the stephaned bust), all those illustrated are from my own collection. Please post anything you feel is relevant!

    Faustina Jr TEMPOR FELIC aureus BMC.png
    Roman Ꜹ aureus, RIC 718 corr.[5]; BMCRE 155; Cohen 220. British Museum Collection.

    Faustina Jr TEMPOR FELIC Denarius.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.10 g, 17.7 mm, 5 h.
    Rome, AD 161.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: TEMPOR FELIC, female figure, standing left, holding an infant in each arm; at either side, two children standing.
    Refs: RIC 719; BMC 156-157; RSC 221; RCV 5263; CRE 179; MIR 31-4/10a.
    Note: The coin well illustrates the "all-round legends" as used December 160 - 163.

    Faustina Jr TEMPOR FELIC Denarius stephane BMC.png
    Denarius with stephaned bust, RIC —; BMCRE 158; RSC 221a. British Museum Collection.

    Faustina Jr TEMPOR FELIC S C Sestertius.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 23.99 g, 31.7 mm, 11 h.
    Rome, AD 161.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: TEMPOR FELIC S C, female figure, standing left, holding an infant in each arm; at either side, two children standing.
    Refs: RIC 1673; BMCRE 949-951; Cohen 222; RCV 5284 var. (no stephane); MIR 31-6/10a, b.
    Note: Sometimes each infant held in arms has a star above his head.


    Faustina Jr TEMPOR FELIC S C Sestertius stephane.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 22.64 g, 30.0 mm, 12 h.
    Rome, AD 161.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust, right, wearing stephane.
    Rev: TEMPOR FELIC S C, female figure, standing left, holding an infant in each arm; at either side, two children standing.
    Refs: RIC 1674; BMCRE 952-955; Cohen 224; RCV 5284; MIR 31-6/10b diad.
    Note: Sometimes each infant held in arms has a star above his head.


    Faustina Jr TEMPOR FELIC S C Dupondius.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman Æ as or dupondius, 11.55 g, 28.2 mm, 11 h.
    Rome, AD 161.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: TEMPOR FELIC S C, TEMPOR FELIC S C, female figure, standing left, holding an infant in each arm; at either side, two children standing.
    Refs: RIC 1675; BMCRE 996-997; Cohen 223; RCV 5304 var. (no stephane); MIR 31-7/10a, b.
    Note: Sometimes each infant held in arms has a star above his head.


    Faustina Jr TEMPOR FELIC S C MB diademed.jpg
    Faustina II, AD 147-175.
    Roman Æ as or dupondius, 12.56 g, 25.0 mm, 11 h.
    Rome, AD 161.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust, right, wearing stephane.
    Rev: TEMPOR FELIC S C, TEMPOR FELIC S C, female figure, standing left, holding an infant in each arm; at either side, two children standing.
    Refs: RIC 1676; BMCRE 998; Cohen 225; RCV 5304; MIR 31-7/10b diad.


    ~~~

    Notes

    1. A Latin Dictionary Founded on Andrews' edition of Freund's Latin dictionary: revised, enlarged, and in great part rewritten by Charlton T. Lewis, Ph.D. and. Charles Short, LL.D. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1879. Online version available at the Perseus Project; s.v. felicitas I.

    2. Sulzer describes the figure as "figura muliebris" (female figure; p. 182). Wiczay describes her as "mul." (mulier, meaning woman; p. 273). Cohen identifies the figure as "Faustine" (p. 154). Mattingly and Sydenham (RIC3, pp. 271, 347) name the figure as "Faustina." Mattingly, writing alone (BMCRE4), identifies her as "Felicitas" on the aureus and denarius (p. 405), "Felicitas (or Fecunditas (?))" on the sestertius (p. 536), and "Felicitas (?)" on the middle bronze (p. 542). Seaby (RSC2) identifies her as "Faustina" (p. 192). Sear hedges his bet, identifying the figure as "Felicitas (or Faustina as Fecunditas)" (pp. 345, 347, 348). Szaivert (MIR p. 169) names her "Fecunditas," as do Temeryazev & Makarenko (CRE p. 64).

    3. Beckmann, Martin, Faustina the Younger: Coinage, Portraits, and Public Image, A.N.S. Numismatic Studies 43, American Numismatic Society, New York, 2021, pp. 54, 59.

    4. Ibid., p. 59.

    5. RIC erroneously describes one child standing on each side.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
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  3. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Great Faustina Friday as always, @Roman Collector

    Here are my two, with and without stephane:

    Faustina II TEMPOR FELIC 2018.jpg
    Faustina II Æ Sestertius
    Rome Mint
    (161 A.D.)

    FAVSTINA AVGVSTA,bare-headed & draped bust right / TEMPOR FELIC S-C, Faustina standing, holding two infants, four children at feet.
    RIC 1673; Sear 5284 (var)
    (21.56 grams / 30 mm)
    eBay Jan. 2018

    Faustina II Æ Sestertius
    Rome Mint
    (161 A.D.)

    FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right with stephane / TEMPOR FELIC S-C,
    Faustina standing, holding two infants, four children at feet.
    RIC 1674; Sear 5284.
    (22.81 grams / 32 mm)
    eBay Jan. 2018
     
  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I love it! You gotta collect Faustina's hairdos and headgear!!
     
    Marsyas Mike likes this.
  5. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    My TEMPOR FELIC Sestertius... :)

    =Faustina Ses 6 kids.jpg
    Faustina II (wife of M. Aurelius) Æ Sestertius. Rome, AD 161-176.
    Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust to right, wearing stephane
    Rev: Fecunditas standing to left, with six children. S-C across fields.
    RIC III 1674 (Aurelius); BMC (Aurelius) 952. 27.57g, 32mm, 6h.
     
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