Faustina II with one child -- & with 2, 3, 4, & 6 children -- plus other empresses with children

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by DonnaML, Aug 9, 2021.

  1. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I recently received a new denarius of Faustina II, with a reverse depicting her (or, more precisely, Fecunditas representing her) holding one child. I decided to buy the coin primarily because I loved Faustina's portrait; the child is an added benefit.

    After buying this coin, I checked my other coins depicting the children of Faustina II and Marcus Aurelius, and realized that I now have coins showing, respectively, one, two, three, four, and six of their children. Plus, I have coins of Julia Domna depicting one and two children, coins of Julia Maesa and Plautilla with one child each, and a coin of Fausta with two children. (What can I say -- I like children! Had I been a Roman Empress, I would have issued lots of coins showing my son, at all ages.)

    Photos of these ten coins are below, with descriptions identifying the children where possible.

    I know that @Roman Collector is our leading authority -- and certainly one of the leading authorities, period -- on the coins of the two Faustinas, including the depiction and identities of Faustina II's children. In fact, he has a thread specifically on the subject of my new coin type; see https://www.cointalk.com/threads/fa...-and-the-birth-of-marcus-annius-verus.383270/. So my new coin should probably be properly placed at the end of that thread. But I decided that since I planned to go beyond my new coin, I didn't want to derail his thread by changing its subject. But he should, of course, feel free to correct my undoubted errors, or supplement this post in any way he wishes!

    1. Faustina II, one child (Marcus Annius Verus):

    Faustina II (wife of Marcus Aurelius & daughter of Antoninus Pius), AR Denarius, ca. 162/163 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. draped bust right with hair in chignon behind, wearing double strand of pearls, FAVSTINA AVGVSTA ./ Rev. Fecunditas (or Faustina as Fecunditas) standing facing, head right, holding long scepter in right hand and, with left hand and arm, infant with its arms raised towards its mother (representing Marcus Annius Verus, b. ca. 162 AD*), FECVNDITAS. RIC III MA 677, RSC II Faustina II 99c (Faustina with double strand of pearls)**, Sear RCV II 5252, BMCRE Marcus Aurelius 92 (var. with Faustina wearing single strand of pearls***). 18.46 mm., 3.54 g.

    Faustina II - FECVNDITAS - single infant (Annius Verus b. 162).jpg

    *See Dinsdale Ch. 4 p. 51 & n. 1 [Dinsdale, Paul H., The Imperial Coinage of the Middle Antonines: Marcus Aurelius with Lucius Verus and Commodus, Ch. 4, Faustina II - Undated, 158-176 (http://romanpaulus.x10host.com/Marcus/04 - Faustina II - Undated, 158-176 (med_res).pdf) at p. 51] ("This issue refers to the birth of M. Annius Verus in 162"). See also https://www.wikiwand.com/en/Marcus_Annius_Verus_Caesar : “Marcus Annius Verus Caesar (born 162 or 163 – 10 September 169) was the 12th of 13 children of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and Empress Faustina the Younger. Annius was made caesar on 12 October 166 AD [after the death in 165 of Commodus's twin Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus], alongside his brother Commodus, designating them co-heirs of the Roman Empire. Annius died on 10 September 169, at age seven, due to complications from a surgery to remove a tumor from under his ear. His death left Commodus as the sole heir. . . . He was given the name of Marcus Annius Verus because it was the original name of his father, Marcus Aurelius” -- as well as his grandfather and great-grandfather.

    ** The fourth of four listed varieties, along with Faustina II bareheaded, with a single strand of pearls, and with a stephane. (See RSC II at p. 223.)

    *** The British Museum, at least as of the date of BMCRE, does not appear to have an example of the variety with Faustina II wearing a double strand of pearls.

    2. Faustina II, two children (Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus and Commodus)

    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), each raising an arm towards the other, with hands touching [compass dot between them], SAECVLI FELICIT. RIC III [Marcus Aurelius] 712, RSC II 191 [variety without stars above boys’ heads], Sear RCV II 5260 (ill.), BMCRE 139, Dinsdale 005600(a) [Dinsdale, Paul H., The Imperial Coinage of the Middle Antonines: Marcus Aurelius with Lucius Verus and Commodus, Ch. 4, Faustina II - Undated, 158-176 (http://romanpaulus.x10host.com/Marcus/04 - Faustina II - Undated, 158-176 (med_res).pdf) at p. 57; photo at p. 62]. 17.5 mm., 3.39 g., 12h. [The two infant boys are Faustina II’s twin sons b. 31 Aug 161 AD: Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus (the older twin, d. 165 AD) and Commodus, the ninth and tenth children of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina II.]

    Faustina II with children - jpg version.jpg

    3. Faustina II (coin of Antoninus Pius), three children (Annia Faustina [a/k/a Faustina III], Lucilla, and Fadilla):

    Antoninus Pius Æ Dupondius, Rome, ca. 159- 160 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Radiate head right, ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XXIII / Rev. Pietas [representing Faustina II] standing left, holding globe in extended right hand and infant in left arm, two children standing at her feet, one on each side , each with one arm raised [probably representing the Emperor’s three granddaughters then living, namely Marcus Aurelius’s and Faustina II’s daughters Annia Faustina (a/k/a Faustina III), Lucilla, and Fadilla; issued before birth of Cornificia in Aug. 160], PIET-ATI - AVG COS IIII, S-C across fields. RIC III 1035, Sear RCV II 4280 (ill.), Cohen 625. 25.5 mm., 15.57 g. [Ex. Naville Numismatics, Auction 28, Jan. 22, 2017, Lot 611, previously in Italian collection (with old ticket in Italian in name of “Antonino Pio”).]

    sharpened Antoninus Pius Pietas RIC 1035 image from Naville 28, Lot 611.jpg

    4. Faustina II, four children (Annia Faustina [a/k/a Faustina III], Lucilla, Fadilla. and Cornificia):

    Faustina II [Junior) (wife of Marcus Aurelius & daughter of Antoninus Pius), AR Denarius, Rome Mint, Dec.160 AD. Obv. Draped bust right, hair in chignon behind, FAVSTINA AVGVSTA / Rev. Faustina as Fecunditas, standing front, head left, holding infant in each arm, two other young children standing beside her to left and right, holding onto her gown; FECVND AVGVSTAE. RIC III [Marcus Aurelius] 676, RSC II 95, Sear RCV II 5251, BMCRE 89, Dinsdale 005120 [Dinsdale, Paul H., The Imperial Coinage of the Middle Antonines: Marcus Aurelius with Lucius Verus and Commodus, Ch. 4, Faustina II - Undated, 158-176 (http://romanpaulus.x10host.com/Marcus/04 - Faustina II - Undated, 158-176 (med_res).pdf) at p. 54; photo at p. 60]. 17.0 mm., 3.29 g.*


    *See Foss, Roman Historical Coins, page 143, identifying the two standing children depicted on this coin as Annia Faustina [a/k/a Faustina III] (oldest child) and Lucilla (third oldest child), and identifying the two infants in Faustina’s arms as Fadilla (seventh child) and Cornificia (eighth child). The coin was probably issued to celebrate the birth of Cornificia, the then-youngest child, in August 160 AD.

    5. Faustina II, six children (Annia Faustina [a/k/a Faustina III], Lucilla, Fadilla, Cornificia, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, and Commodus):

    Faustina II (wife of Marcus Aurelius & daughter of Antoninus Pius), AE Sestertius, ca. 161 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Draped bust right, low chignon at back of head, FAVSTINA AVGVSTA / Rev. Felicitas (or Faustina as Fecunditas) standing left, between four girls (two standing at each side), holding two infants in her arms, each with a star over its head (representing the Dioscuri), TEMPOR FELIC [-IC almost entirely worn off], S - C across fields. RIC III 1673 (at p. 147), var. [no stars above infants’ heads]; BMCRE MA 949 var [same]; Cohen 222; Dinsdale 006760 & n. 1 [Dinsdale, Paul H., The Imperial Coinage of the Middle Antonines: Marcus Aurelius with Lucius Verus and Commodus, Ch. 4, Faustina II - Undated, 158-176 (http://romanpaulus.x10host.com/Marcus/04 - Faustina II - Undated, 158-176 (med_res).pdf) at p. 70] (“Minor rev. variation: sometimes each infant held in arms has star above head”). 31 mm., 24 gm. Purchased from Victor’s Imperial Coins, March 2021. Ex. CNG E-Auction 476, 9/09/2020, part of Lot 762; ex. BLS Collection.*

    Faustina II sestertius - Felicitas & six children.jpg
    *This variation of RIC III 1673 (with stars above the two infants’ heads) is unlisted in RIC or BMCRE, and appears to be mentioned only in the footnote to Dinsdale 006760. (RIC III 1677 does have stars above the infants’ heads, but is an as, not a sestertius.) Of the 14 other examples found on acsearch of RIC 1673 and 1674 (the same design as 1673 but with a diadem on Faustina’s head; see Sear RCV II 5284), only one other example (of RIC 1673) has the stars above the infants’ heads. See https://www.acsearch.info/image.html?id=6215913 (Numismatik Naumann, Auction 80, Lot 568, 4 Aug 2019).

    The four girls standing on either side of Felicitas on the reverse of this type have been identified as Marcus Aurelius’s and Faustina II’s daughters Annia Faustina (a/k/a Faustina III), Lucilla, Fadilla, and Cornificia -- the last of whom was born in 160 AD. The two infants held in her arms have been identified as Faustina II’s twin sons b. 31 Aug 161 AD: Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus (the older twin, d. 165 AD) and Commodus, the ninth and tenth children of the royal couple. See Foss, Roman Historical Coins.

    6. Julia Domna, one child (Harpocrates [Horus-as-child], representing ? [if anyone]):

    Julia Domna, AR Denarius ca. 201 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Draped bust right, hair waved vertically and fastened in large bun in back, IVLIA AVGVSTA / Rev. Isis, wearing polos on head, draped, standing three-quarters right, head right, holding the nursing infant Horus in left arm against left breast, with her right hand holding a wreath or other ring-shaped object against her chest, her left foot against prow, right, and her left knee bent with Horus resting on it; to left of Isis, rudder rests against altar; SAECVLI FELICITAS. RIC IV-1 577 (p. 170), RSC III 174 (ill.), Sear RCV II 6606, BMCRE 166. 18x20 mm., 3.35 g., 6 h. Ex. A.K. Collection; ex. CNG Triton XX Auction, Jan. 10, 2017, part of Lot # 614, No. E027.

    New Julia Domna - Isis COMBINED.jpg

    7. Julia Domna, two children (Caracalla and Geta?)

    Julia Domna AR Denarius 208 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Draped bust right, IVLIA AVGVSTA/ Rev. Hilaritas standing left holding palm branch & cornucopiae, two small children [perhaps representing her already-grown children Caracalla and Geta?] at her feet, HILA-RITAS. RIC IV-1 557, RSC III 79, Sear RCV II 6587. 19.39 mm, 3.25 g.

    Julia Domna - Hilaritas.jpg

    8. Plautilla, one child (child b. 204 AD who died in infancy?)

    Plautilla (wife of Caracalla; issued under Septimius Severus), AR Denarius, ca. 204 AD. Obv. PLAVTILLA AVGVSTA, draped bust right / Rev. PIETAS AVGG, Pietas standing right holding scepter & child. RIC IV 367, RSC III 16. 20 mm., 3.4 g. [Shows Pietas (representing Plautilla) holding child, believed to have been issued to celebrate the 204 AD birth of a child who died in infancy.]

    9. Julia Maesa (an empress de facto if not de jure!) , one child (representing ?):

    Julia Maesa (grandmother of Elagabalus & Severus Alexander), AR Denarius, 218-22 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Draped bust right, IVLIA MAESA AVG / Rev. Fecunditas standing left holding cornucopiae, an unidentified small 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. AR Denarius - jpg.jpg
    10. Fausta, two children (Constantine II and Constantius II, or Constantius II and Constans):

    Fausta (wife of Constantine I and daughter of Maximian), Billon reduced Centenionalis, Alexandria Mint (First Officina) 326 AD. Obv. Draped bust right, FLAV MAX FAVSTA AVG / Rev. Veiled Fausta standing facing, head left, holding two small children [representing Constantine II Caesar and Constantius II Caesar?]* in her arms, SPES REIP-VBLICAE; in exergue, SMALA [Alexandria, First Officina]. RIC VII Alexandria 40 (p. 709), Sear RCV IV 16582. 19 mm., 2.92 g. Ex. Dr. Frank Sternberg Collection, Sternberg I, Zurich, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 1973, part of Lot 524 (catalogue p. 61).

    Fausta jpg version - RIC VII 40, Sear RCV IV 16582.jpg

    * Sear argues (see Sear RCV V at p. 77) that the two children depicted were Constantius II and Constans, asserting that Constantine II was not Fausta’s son. This is a minority view.

    Does anyone have an ancient coin showing five children? Or more than six children? If so, please post them. If not, please post any other coins you wish that show children, whether they're the same as or different from the types posted above.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
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  3. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @DonnaML......Wonderful new addition! Super detail.....Thoroughly enjoyed the write up too thanks...
    ANTONINUS PIUS. 138-161 AD. Æ Sestertius (33mm, 26.75 g.)
    Struck 159/160 AD.
    Obverse..ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XXIII, laureate head right
    Rev. PIETATI AVG COS IIII SC, Pietas standing left holding globe, Faustina Junior as Pietas standing left, between Faustina Minima, Lucilla & holding baby Fadilla......RIC III 1031
    ap sest.jpg
    I also created my own family tree a while back that you might find interesting?
    faustina immediate family-ccfopt (1).jpg
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  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    I love it! It's very fun watching Faustina's family grow.
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  5. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Wow on the family tree! Nice coin, too.
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  6. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter


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  7. happy_collector

    happy_collector Well-Known Member

    Great writeup, Donna. Your coin has very good style and detail. :)

    My Faustina II denarius with only one child.
  8. Everett Guy

    Everett Guy Well-Known Member

    Great detail on your coin Donna and the info has got me going back through all my Faustina and other empresses coins again to look at more details. I now pay more attention not only to things like how many children are on the reverse but things like #6 where it states on bottom left "Rudder rest against alter".....these small things (well big details) have changed the way my future collection will be grown. Is it a question or dispute. on if it is Horus (child) on the coin?
    P.s. on #6 do you know off hand the significance of the "Rudder resting against the alter"?
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2021
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  9. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    It is Horus, in his child aspect as Harpocrates (which simply means "Horus as child"). The question mark was as to whether Harpocrates also represents some real-life child. There's a rudder because Isis stands on a galley. Hence the reference to a prow.

    Trying to understand as many of those small details as possible is definitely part of the fun of collecting and studying ancient coins!
  10. Everett Guy

    Everett Guy Well-Known Member

    Ok, I got it now. So much info on these coins. Thanks for answering.
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  11. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Great new addition Donna, and great write-up as usual. I recently added the same Plautilla/Pietas type as yours:

    Plautilla, AR Denarius, (20mm., 3.43 g.), Draped bust of Plautilla to r. /Rev. Pietas standing r., holding sceptre and child. RIC Caracalla 367.
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  12. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Here's the proud grandpa bragging about Lucilla, Faustina III, Fadilla and Cornificia:

    Antoninus Pius PIETATI AVG COS IIII Fecunditas denarius.jpg
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  13. Alegandron

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

    Nice collection, @DonnaML .

    LOL, understood. I have 6 Daughters.

    Here is an Empress showing one Runt on the reverse...

    Roman Empire
    Herennia Etruscilla,
    249-251 CE
    AR Denarius,
    Obv: Head of Herennia Etruscilla right, crescent below "HER ETRVCILLA AVG"
    Rev: "FECVNDITAS AVG" Fecunditas standing left holding a cornucopiae and one hand out to a child at her feet.
    RSC 8
    Ex Hans Schulman April 1962
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  14. Everett Guy

    Everett Guy Well-Known Member

    I remember thinking the globes were apples at first coins collected...i might still be a newbie but I am learning everyday. About the stories the reverses tell and what the legends mean. Days of just collection silver coins with out reason is now full force hystory and numismatic courses for each coin. My big dream is to find a coin that hasnt been found or attributed. You never know. I medal detect central east Florida coast where surprizes are found daily.
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  15. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    Seems that according to Foss, Roman Historical Coins, the reference @DonnaML is citing, there are 10 children, while @Spaniard has 13 in the family tree:confused: not counting the 8 children who died in infancy, the tree then shows 5 children: 3 daughters and 2 boyso_O what am I missing?

    Only have one Faustina Minor with 3 children, which I guess would be Annia Faustina, Lucilla, and Fadilla:

    Æ Sestertius, Rome, ca. 161 - 164 AD struck under the authority of Marcus Aurelius
    33 mm, 26.54 g
    RIC III Marcus Aurelius 1649; Cohen 136;

    Ob.: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA Draped bust to right, hair elaborately waved and tied in a chignon, wearing circlet of pearls
    Rev.: IVNONI LVCINAE Juno standing frontally, holding a child in her left arm; on the floor to each side another child. S C across field

    upload_2021-8-10_0-11-58.png upload_2021-8-10_0-12-11.png
  16. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    I'm sure @Roman Collector can give you whatever the current scholarship has concluded is the total number of children. I vaguely recall that there's some disagreement as to whether it was 13 or 11, including all the ones who died in "infancy." (Which means they died as children, not necessarily as what we would consider infants other than in a legal sense!).
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  17. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

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  18. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    There's a recently-published book about Faustina II & her coins that @Roman Collector has. The author is Martin Beckmann.
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  19. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Interesting thread. Here is a Marcus Aurelius as Caesar with only one child. One of his and Faustina's? Baby Commodus?

    Marcus Aurelius - Sest. Pietas child July 2020 (0).jpg
    Marcus Aurelius Æ Sestertius
    (148-149 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    [AVRELI]VS CAESAR AVG [PII F], bare head right / [T]R POT III COS [II] S-C,
    [P]IE[TAS] in ex., Pietas standing left, holding sceptre & extending hand over child standing to left.
    RIC 1281A (Pius); Cohen 446.
    (18.18 grams / 30 x 29 mm)
    eBay July 2020
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  20. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Not Commodus; he and his twin were born more than a decade later!
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  21. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Lovely details on your coin. I don't have coins of the empress, or coins with small figures as children. Only a worn, dynastic issue of Iulia Domna and Caracalla:
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