Herennia Etruscilla bust styles and mints--it's confusing, indeed

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

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    Herennia Cupressenia Etruscilla was descended from an old Italian family. She was the wife of Trajan Decius and the mother of Herennius Etruscus and Hostilian. As such, she received the title of Augusta in late 249 AD. Not a great deal is known about her because of the paucity of primary sources for third century Roman history.

    After her husband and son were killed in the battle of Abrittus at the hands of the Goths under Kniva, the political tensions in Rome were great. Yet, Herennia was allowed to retain the title of Augusta by the new emperor Trebonianus Gallus. Hostilian, her youngest son, was also retained and raised to the rank of Augustus as co-emperor with Trebonianus Gallus. In addition, her daughter was married to Volusian, son of Trebonianus, to strengthen the political bond in hopes of creating a more stable government in Rome. Unfortunately, Hostilian died from the plague shortly thereafter and Herennia faded from history.

    Mattingly, based upon the numismatic evidence (RIC 4 iii, p. 113), suggests that her coins continued to be struck -- at least in Antioch -- into the reign of Trebonius Gallus.

    BUST TYPES

    Her portraits display two different hairstyles, each of which varies somewhat between the mint in Rome and the mint in Antioch: one characterized by smooth hair carried up the back of the head in a plait and one characterized by waves arranged horizontally in waves, similar to that of her predecessor, Otacilia Severa, the wife of Philip I. There is disagreement between experts on which of the two hairstyles is earlier. Mattingly (ibid, p. 109) states, "She has two varieties of coiffure, but their significance for dating has not yet been made clear. Probably, the one without ridges, but with a long plait carried up the back of the head, is the later." However, Sear (RCV iii, p. 213) states just the opposite: "These [two styles] appear to have chronological significance, that with the plait carried up the back of the head being the earlier." Using reverse types for dating isn't helpful, either, because some of the reverse types (notably the PVDICITIA AVG standing left and the PVDICITIA AVG seated left types) are known with each of the two coiffure types. The type with the wavy hair is called type a, whereas the type with the smooth hair carried over the back of the head in a plait is called type b by Sear (ibid); Temeryazev and Makarenko call these type 1 and type 2, respectively (p. 82).

    Although one might think that the wavy style would be earlier because that was the style of Tranquillina (wife of Gordian III) and of Otacilia Severa (wife of Philip I), who came before her and that was the fashion when Etruscilla became Augusta, I side with Sear here because the smooth hairstyle with the plait on the back of the head is the one on her earliest issue from Viminacium, which is dated to year 11 of that colony, AD 249/250. See example below. Moreover, the control marks (dots and numerals) on the obverse busts of the Antioch issues -- thought to be from the later issues of this mint -- appear to be used with the wavy hairstyle, consistent with the wavy hairstyle being the later one.

    Here are examples from my collection of both types:

    Etruscilla 1 PVDICITIA AVG seated antoninianus Rome.jpg
    Herennia Etruscilla, AD 249-253
    Roman AR Antoninianus; 4.30 g, 21.4 mm, 7 h
    Rome, AD 249-251
    Obv: HER ETRVSCILLA AVG, diademed and draped bust right on crescent, hair waved in horizontal ridges (Sear type a; Temeryazev and Makarenko type 1)
    Rev: PVDICITIA AVG, Pudicitia veiled, seated left, with scepter
    Refs: RIC 59b; RSC 19; RCV 9495 var (coiffure); CRE 545.

    Etruscilla 2 PVDICITIA AVG seated Antoninianus Rome.jpg
    Herennia Etruscilla, AD 249-253
    Roman AR Antoninianus; 4.28 g, 21.1 mm, 12 h
    Rome, AD 249-251
    Obv: HER ETRVSCILLA AVG, diademed and draped bust right on crescent, hair smooth and with a long plait carried up the back of the head (Sear type b; Temeryazev and Makarenko type 2)
    Rev: PVDICITIA AVG, Pudicitia veiled, seated left, with scepter
    Refs: RIC 59b; RSC 19; RCV 9495; CRE 546.

    These bronze issues with the PVDICITIA AVG SC seated reverse type also bear this coiffure:

    Etruscilla Pudicitia Sestertius.jpg
    Herennia Etruscilla, AD 249-253
    Roman Æ sestertius; 10.53 g, 28.1 mm, 1 h
    Rome, AD 250
    Obv: HERENNIA ETRVSCILLA AVG, diademed and draped bust right, hair smooth and with a long plait carried up the back of the head (Sear type b; Temeryazev and Makarenko type 2)
    Rev: PVDICITIA AVG SC, Pudicitia veiled, seated left, with scepter
    Refs: RIC 136b; Cohen 22; RCV 9505; Hunter 16.

    Etruscilla Pudicitia As.jpg
    Herennia Etruscilla, AD 249-253
    Roman Æ as; 8.16 g, 24.1 mm, 1 h
    Rome, AD 250
    Obv: HERENNIA ETRVSCILLA AVG, diademed and draped bust right, hair smooth and with a long plait carried up the back of the head (Sear type b; Temeryazev and Makarenko type 2)
    Rev: PVDICITIA AVG SC, Pudicitia veiled, seated left, with scepter
    Refs: RIC 136c; Cohen 23; RCV 9508; Hunter 22.

    This dated provincial from Viminaceum establishes this hairstyle as being early:

    Etruscilla Viminacium.jpg
    Herennia Etruscilla, AD 249-253
    Roman provincial Æ; 12.67 g, 27.45 mm, 7 h
    Moesia Superior, Viminacium, AD 249-250
    Obv: HER ETRVSCILLA AVG, diademed and draped bust, right
    Rev: P M S COL VIM, Moesia standing left between bull and lion; ANXI (year 11 = 249/50) in exergue
    Refs: SGI 4220 var.; BMC 3.18, 32 var.; Pick 136; Moushmov 48.

    MINTS

    Coins for this empress were struck at Rome, Antioch, and Milan. Of these, the ones from Rome are by far the most plentiful. Distinguishing them is generally uncomplicated.

    The only issue known to have been produced in Milan is an aureus with the FECVNDITAS AVG reverse type (RIC 61) and bearing the abbreviated obverse legend HER ETRVSC AVG. It is exceedingly rare. No silver or bronze issues are known from this mint.

    There are several reverse types of Antoniniani known only from Antioch: ADVENTVS AVG, AEQVITAS AVG, AEQVITAS AVGG, ROMAE AETERNAE AVG, SAECVLVM NOVVM, VBERITAS AVG, VERITAS AVG, AND VICTORIA AVG. Moreover, there are a variety of hybrid types from this mint which bear reverses of Philip I (SECVRIT ORBIS), Otacilia Severa (CONCORDIA AVGG), Decius (ABVNDANTIA AVG), and Herennius Etruscus (VICTORIA GERMANICA). All are uncommonly encountered. Here is an example from Antioch from my collection. It bears the smooth hairstyle with the long plait carried up the back of the head. The bust is different in style from the Rome mint example above, in the details of the coiffure. In particular, the plait is much less prominent:

    Etruscilla Aequitas jpeg.jpg
    Herennia Etruscilla, AD 249-253
    Roman AR Antoninianus; 4.10 g, 23.3 mm, 5 h
    Antioch, AD 250-251
    Obv: HER ETRVSCILLA AVG, diademed and draped bust right on crescent, hair smooth and with a long plait carried up the back of the head (Sear type b; Temeryazev and Makarenko type 2)
    Rev: AEQVITAS AVGG, Aequitas standing left, holding scales and cornucopiae
    Refs: RIC 64; RSC 3d; RCV 9491; CRE 540; Hunter p. xcix.

    Another feature of the coins from Antioch is the presence (on some, not all issues) of officina marks in the form of dots or numerals below the obverse bust, such as this VBERITAS AVG reverse type in my collection:

    Etruscilla VBERITAS AVG antoninianus Antioch.jpg
    Herennia Etruscilla, AD 249-253
    Roman AR Antoninianus; 4.18 g, 23.2 mm, 12 h
    Antioch, AD 250-251
    Obv: HER ETRVSCILLA AVG, diademed and draped bust right on crescent, hair with horizontal waves and with a long plait carried up the back of the head (Sear type a; Temeryazev and Makarenko type 1); •• below bust
    Rev: VBERITAS AVG, Uberitas standing left, holding marsupium (?) and cornucopiae
    Refs: RIC 68b; RCV 9499.


    These control marks, along with the way the hair is rendered on the back of the head above the neck and the way the hair has a pleat carried up to the top of the head, allows one to distinguish the PVDICITIA AVG seated issues of the Antioch mint from those produced in Rome:

    Etruscilla Pudicitia seated denarius Antioch CNG.jpg
    Antioch mint antoninianus from the CNG archives. Note the presence of two dots below the bust.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
    TIF, Valentinian, chrsmat71 and 9 others like this.
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  3. Youngcoin

    Youngcoin Everything Collector

    Well we all like out hair! Those of us that have it :D... really interesting write up indeed and amazing set of coins.


    Thanks,
    Jacob
     
    Roman Collector likes this.
  4. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Nice coins @Roman Collector and good information. I have difficulty on many coins distinguishing where a particular coin was issued, so I may have these wrong.
    HERENNIA ETRUSCILLA.jpg
    HERENNIA ETRUSCILLA
    AR Antoninianus
    OBVERSE: HER ETRVSCILLA AVG - Diademed, draped bust right on crescent.
    REVERSE: PVDICITIA AVG - Pudicitia, veiled, standing left, with right hand drawing veil from face and holding scepter
    Struck at Rome, 249-51 AD
    4.82g, 24.13mm
    RIC 58b
    HERENNIA ETRUSCILLA 1.jpg
    HERENNIA ETRUSCILLA
    AR Antoninianus
    OBVERSE: HER ETRVSCILLA AVG - Diademed, draped bust right on crescent.
    REVERSE: PVDICITIA AVG - Pudicitia, veiled, standing left, with right hand drawing veil from face and holding scepter
    Struck at Rome, 249-51 AD
    3.1g, 23mm
    RIC 58b
     
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Both correctly attributed to Rome.
     
    Youngcoin likes this.
  6. Mikey Zee

    Mikey Zee Delenda Est Carthago

    Lovely examples!! And an interesting write-up!!
     
    Roman Collector likes this.
  7. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Nices coins and interesting writeup, as usual with you RC

    [​IMG]
    Herennia Etruscilla, Antoninianus Rome mint, AD 250/251
    HER ETRVSCILLA AVG, diademed bust right, with hair ridged in waves
    PVDICITIA AVG, Pudicitia standing left holding transverse sceptre and drawing veil from her face
    3.78 gr, 21 mm
    Ref : RIV IV # 58b, Cohen # 17, RCV # 9494


    [​IMG]
    Herennia Etruscilla, Sestertius Rome mint, AD 250
    HERENNIA ETRVSCILLA AVG, diademed and draped bust right, hair ridged in waves
    PVDICITIA AVG, Pudicitia seated left, holding sceptre and drawing veil from face, S C at exergue
    16.17 gr
    Ref : RCV # 9505 var,

    Q
     
  8. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Cool! I like how you demonstrate that the wavy coiffure was also used on the PVDICITIA AVG SC sestertius of Rome (I only have the smooth coiffure one).
     
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  9. Alegandron

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

    Very nice Write-up @Roman Collector , and great coins!!!

    I only have one Estrusc...

    RI Herennia Etruscilla 249-251 BCE Ant crescent Fecunditas cornucopiae child RSC 8.JPG
    RI Herennia Etruscilla 249-251 BCE Ant crescent Fecunditas cornucopiae child RSC 8
     
  10. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Excellent survey of the Imperials. Thank you. I'll show an Alexandrian tet for no other reason than the legend includes an abbreviated Cupressenia. Am I correct this does not appear on any Imperial?
    ΕΡ ΚΟΥΠ ΑΙΤΡΟΥCΚΙΛΛΑ CΕ
    pa2495fd3453.jpg
     
  11. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    You are correct, @dougsmit . Cupressenia does not appear in the legend of any imperial issue.
     
  12. Gil-galad

    Gil-galad I AM SPARTACUS

    Herennia-Etruscilla-antoninianus-merged.jpg

    Roman Imperial, Herennia Etruscilla AR Antoninianus.

    OBV: HER ESTRVSCILLA AVG, Diademed & draped bust right on crescent.

    REV: PVDICITA AVG, Pudicitia Seated left holding sceptre & drawing veil from her face.

    REF: RIC 59b, RSC 19.

    Ex: David Murrey
     
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