New Faustina II Sestertius - FECVND AVGVSTAE

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Julius Germanicus, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    The coins of the younger Faustina might survive in higher numbers than those of any other Roman lady. Nevertheless they can be quite handsome and interesting (compared to, let´s say, those of Fausta), so I think she deserves a little writeup :) .

    Annia Galeria Faustina the Younger, the only daughter of Emperor Antoninus Pius and Faustina the Elder who had not died young, was betrothed to her cousin Marcus Aurelius in 138 AD at the age of eight. In 147, two years after her wedding, the first of her thirteen children, most of whom died prematurely, was born. Faustina was declared Augusta after the birth of her first child even though her husband was only Caesar at the time, and thus received the right to mint coins. Here is my new arrival:

    FAVSTINA AVGVSTA - bust of Faustina minor right, wearing paludamentum, hair in Chignon adorned with pearls
    FECVND AVGVSTAE, S-C across fields - Fecunditas holding child on each arm, two more children standing right and left, steadying themselves at her tunic
    Sestertius, Rome AD 160-161.
    25.15g / 32mm / 12h
    RIC 1635, BMCRE 902, Cohen 96, MIR 10, Sear 5273, Banti 56 (30 specimens)


    On the obverse of this Sestertius we see a representation of Faustina the younger in her fifth portrait type type which was introduced in 152 AD and repeated until the year 161, the year Antoninus Pius died and Marcus Aurelius became Roman Emperor, although at that time there were already two other types of portraits in use, but mainly in sculptures.

    Faustina here is, according to my catalogue of the Museo des Prado in Madrid, „a graceful young woman with a round, soft face, big eyes and a small mouth. Her hair is parted and run in uniform curls to hair bun at the nape of her neck. The compact hair cap is slightly wavy on the surface, only on the ears, of which no more than the earlobes are visible, it is more curly. The topknot consists of a short, thick braid that goes out from the neck and is put together in the form of a simple, right-aligned loop.“

    It could be shown that the historical occasion for the emergence of the nine portraits types of Faustina minor was the birth of the imperial descendants - she commemorated the joyful occasion with coins that depict her portrait on the obverse with a new hairstyle, while on the reverse, the newborn child or children - twice it was twins – are shown in the arms of a goddess or personification, accompanied by their still living older siblings.


    On the reverse of this Sestertius, we see two children in the arms of the personified Fecunditas Augustae, accompanied by two older children.

    The smallest child pictured, in the left arm of Fecunditas, who might well be depicted as the Empress herself, must be her daughter Cornificia, born in 160.
    In the right arm we can see, a little bigger, Fadilla, born the year before.
    On the bottom we see Faustina´s only two other surviving children at the time, 11 year old Lucilla on the left, and 12 year old Galeria Faustina, a little taller than her sister, on the right.

    After the death of Antoninus Pius a year or so after this coin was minted, 12 year old Lucilla was betrothed to her father´s co-emperor, the 31 year old Lucius Verus. Her sisters would be married to Senators.

    Marcus Aurelius survived his wife for four years. Faustina minor died in the spring of 176 at the age of about 46 years on an Orient journey in Halala, a small town on the Taurus Mountains, which was renamed Faustinopolis in her honor.

    Her daughter Lucilla would be executed after her participation in a plot against her brother Commodus in 182 aD. The other girls seen on the reverse of this coin would be eliminated by Caracalla.

    I am happy for Faustina that the grim fates of her daughters were not imaginable when she proudly presented her little girls to the public on this medallic coin which looks quite modern for it´s time - it´s obverse design could very well have inspired celators of the last two centuries.

    Let´s see your coins of Faustina II or any representations of the happy arrival of imperial offspring!
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That's lovely! There are two sestertii featuring Fecunditas on the coins of Faustina II. Here are the examples from my collection. My humbler example:

    Faustina Jr FECVND AVGVSTAE Sestertius.jpg

    And this one with Fecunditas holding a single child and the reverse legend FECVNDITAS:

    Faustina Jr FECVNDITAS Sestertius.jpg

    And this one with the TEMPOR FELIC reverse depicts the empress and SIX rug rats -- two in her arms and FOUR at her feet!

    Faustina Jr TEMPOR FELIC Sestertius.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2018
  4. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    great Faustina portrait Julius

  5. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES!

    Pretty coin!

    Here's my FII sestertius. I didn't know that had so many children that didn't survive, and didn't know the grim fate of her surviving younger children.

    Here's my sestertius of her...

  6. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    I have a few coins of Faustina II with her children, including the ever-popular "babies high-living on a pulvinar" type:
    Faustina Junior babies.jpg
    Faustina Junior Fecunditas.jpg
    Faustina Junior sestertius.jpg
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