Featured Peacocks and the deification of Roman empresses

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Roman Collector, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Well-Known Member

    Show your empress CONSECRATIO issues or anything you feel is relevant!

    One important aspect of Roman religion, particularly for the imperial family, was the concept of consecration, the process by which a deceased person became a divine being and was transported to the divine realm to join the pantheon of gods. The eagle of Zeus or the peacock of Juno carried the departed to the heavens.

    The inscription CONSECRATIO makes its first appearance in Roman numismatics on the coinage of Marciana, and thereafter became the standard employed for issues of the divae and divi for centuries. Interestingly, the earliest Roman consecration issues depict eagles, even for the women of the imperial family.

    Marciana CONSECRATIO denarius.jpg
    Marciana, Augusta, c. AD 105-112/4(?), sister of Trajan.
    Roman AR Denarius, 2.72 g, 19 mm.
    Rome Mint, AD 112.
    Obv: DIVA AVGVSTA MARCIANA, diademed and draped bust right.
    Rev: CONSECRATIO, eagle standing left, head right.
    Refs: RIC II 743 (Trajan); BMC 650 (Trajan); Hill 562; RSC 4; RCV 3328.

    Coins of similar designs, depicting an eagle and bearing the reverse legend CONSECRATIO were issued for Matidia (RIC 425-426), Sabina (RIC 420-421), and even this issue for Faustina I, issued immediately after her death in AD 140.

    Faustina Sr CONSECRATIO Eagle Denarius.jpg
    Faustina I, AD 138-141.

    Roman AR denarius, 2.84 g, 17.9 mm, 6 h.
    Rome, AD 140/41.
    Obv: DIVA AVG FAVSTINA, veiled and draped bust, right.
    Rev: CONSECRATIO, Eagle standing right, head left.
    Refs: RIC 387b; BMCRE 305 var.; Cohen 181; RCV --; CRE 95.

    In addition, a sestertius (RIC 1133) and middle bronzes (RIC 1188) were issued that year depicting the deified Faustina being carried to the heavens on the back of a flying eagle.

    But these are the last issues depicting the eagle of Zeus performing a role in the apotheosis of an empress. Thereafter, this role was assumed by the peacock of the goddess Juno, the wife of Zeus, such as on this denarius of Faustina I, issued in AD 150 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of her death.

    Faustina Sr CONSECRATIO Peacock Denarius.jpg
    Faustina I, AD 138-141.
    Roman AR Denarius, 3.10 g, 17.6 mm, 6 h.
    Rome, AD 147-161.
    Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
    Rev: CONSECRATIO, peacock walking right, head left.
    Refs: RIC 384; BMCRE 473; Cohen 175; RCV 4594.

    Coins issued posthumously for Faustina II have similar iconography. Borne aloft by the peacock of Juno, the Diva Faustina Pia passes into Aeternitas, where her deified parents, Antoninus Pius and Faustina I, already dwell.

    Diva Faustina II, AD 147-175/6.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 26.28 g, 32.2 mm, 12 h.
    Rome, AD 176 or later.
    Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA PIA, bare-headed and draped bust right.
    Rev: CONSECRATIO S C, Faustina, holding scepter, seated left on back of peacock flying upward to right.
    Refs: RIC 1702; BMCRE 1570-71; Cohen 69; RCV 5227; MIR 56.

    The peacock of Juno accompanies the inscription CONSECRATIO on this denarius in Faustina II's honor. Another denarius depicts the peacock facing with its tail spread in splendor (RIC 743), while another depicts the throne and scepter of Juno herself, with a peacock in the foreground (RIC 745).

    Faustina Jr, AD 161-175.
    Roman AR denarius, 3.60 g, 17.4 mm, 5 h.
    Rome, AD 176 or later.
    Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA PIA, bare-headed and draped bust right.
    Rev: CONSECRATIO, Peacock standing right, head left.
    Refs: RIC 744; BMCRE 716-17; RSC 71a; RCV 5215; MIR 58; CRE 202.

    Similar CONSECRATIO issues depicting a peacock with its tail in splendor were minted for Julia Domna (RIC 396), and Paulina (RIC 1). In addition, denarii issued for Diva Paulina reprise the motif of the empress being borne aloft on the back of the peacock of Juno, as on this denarius.

    Paulina CONSECRATIO denarius.jpg
    Paulina, wife of Maximinus Thrax.
    Roman AR Denarius, 3.30 g, 21.1 mm, 12 h.
    Rome mint, AD 235-238.
    Obv: DIVA PAVLINA, veiled and draped bust, right.
    Rev: CONSECRATIO, Paulina seated to left on peacock flying right.
    Refs: RIC 2; BMCRE 127; RCV 2369.

    The use of this iconography came to an end with the issues of Valerian for his deified wife, Mariniana. Antoniniani depict the peacock of Juno flying left or right, bearing the empress on its back, as well as standing facing, with its head facing left or right, or standing right.

    Mariniana Flying Peacock  Antoninianus.jpg
    Mariniana, died AD 253.
    Roman AR Antoninianus, 2.26 g, 22.2 mm 6 h.
    Rome, AD 253-254.
    Obv: DIVAE MARINIANAE, veiled and draped bust right, set on crescent.
    Rev: CONSECRATIO, Mariniana, raising hand and holding scepter, reclining left on peacock flying upward to the right.
    Refs: RIC 6; Göbl 220b; RSC 16; RCV 10070; CRE 558; Hunter 1.

    Mariniana Peacock Splendor Antoninianus.jpg
    Mariniana, died AD 253.
    Roman AR Antoninianus, 3.04 g, 23.5 mm, 5 h.
    Rome mint, AD 253-257.
    Obv: DIVAE MARINIANAE, veiled, draped bust r., on crescent.
    Rev: CONSECRATIO, peacock standing facing, head l., tail in splendor.
    Refs: RIC 3; Cohen 3; RCV 10067; Temeryazev & Makarenko 560; Eauze Hoard-1318 (23 spec.); Cunetio Hoard-646 (22 spec.).
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
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  3. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    Faustina II also has the tail in splendor variation.
  4. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Faustina 7.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right
    REVERSE: IVNONI REGINAE, throne, draped, sceptre rests against it; in front and below, a peacock left, with tail spread
    Struck at Rome, 140 AD
    2.8g, 17mm
    RIC 339a (Antoninus Pius), C 214
    Julia Mamaea 1.jpg
    JULIA MAMAEA AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, draped bust right
    REVERSE: IVNO CONSERVATRIX, Juno standing left, holding patera & scepter, peacock at feet left
    Struck at Rome, 222 AD
    3.3g, 20mm
    RIC 343
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  5. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the informative write-up!

    Here are two consecration issues for emperors. The one for Marcus Arelius shows the eagle of Jupiter, the male equivalent of Juno's peacock. The Claudius II coin has an altar instead.

    Rom – Marcus Aurelius, denar, postum, Adler (neu).png
    Marcus Aurelius (postumous), Roman Empire, denarius, 180 AD, Rome mint. Obv: DIVUS M ANTONINVS PIVS; head of Marcus Aurelius r. Rev: CONSECRATIO; eagle standing on globe r, head turned l. 19mm, 2.79g. Ref: RIC III Commodus 273.

    Rom – Claudius II Gothicus, Antoninian, Consecratio.png
    Claudius II Gothicus (postumous), Roman Empire, BI antoninian, 270 AD, Rome or Mediolanum mint. Obv: DIVO CLAVDIO; head of Claudius Gothicus, radiate, r. Obv: CONSECRATIO; altar. 23.5mm, 2.84g. Ref: RIC V Claudius Gothicus 261 or 262.
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  6. Alegandron

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

    Nice peacocks @Roman Collector ! Fun to see the width and depth of your coins of the Roman Empire period!

    My peacocks:

    RI Mariniana AR Ant 253-254 CE Crescent - On Peacock flying 21.2mm 3.1g RIC VII 6 Rome

    RI Paulina w Maximinus I D before CE 235 AE sestertius 30.77mm 19.66g 2nd emission of Maximinus I CE 236 Consecratio Peacock RIC IV 3
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  7. Alegandron

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

    Even though you are asking for Consecratio Empresses, beyond that I only have one other CONSECRATIO, and that is from an Emperor. This coin is just cool to me!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Roman Empire
    Carus. 282-283 CE
    Consecration Tetradrachm, struck 283-284.
    6.65 grams, 18mm x 4mm THICK!
    Sear 3.12406. Emmett 3995
    Sear Greek Imperial 4777
    flaming altar. Greek for "CONSECRATIO" (very unusual for Alexandria).
    Ex: Warren Esty
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  8. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Well-Known Member

    Cool! An ἀφιέρωσις inscription!
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  9. SeptimusT

    SeptimusT Well-Known Member

    I don't have any Roman coins with a peacock and I hadn't really thought about their relation to consecration. Very interesting! Here's a Samian ware fragment from the Netherlands depicting a peacock:

    IMG_0156 copy.png
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  10. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Great coins and write-up RC...I especially like your Diva Paulina. I don’t have anything with a peacock reverse (though now I think I’m going to have to add one soon), so I’ll just share my favorite CONSECRATIO issue.


    Claudius II Gothicus (Died 270). Antoninianus. Rome. (22mm, 2.92g), RIC 1275, DIVO CLAVDIO, Radiate bust right/ Rev. CONSECRATIO, Altar
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  11. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    I've got a couple:




    Claudius II:






    Constantine from an uncleaned hoard.
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  12. eparch

    eparch Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the write up. My Paulina :

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  13. Roerbakmix

    Roerbakmix Well-Known Member

    [1158] Antoninus Pius - Rome, Italy (AR denarius, 161 AD (under Marcus Aurelius)).jpg
    ROMAN IMPERIAL, Antoninus Pius. Denomination: AR denarius, minted: Rome, Italy; 161 AD (under Marcus Aurelius)
    Obv: DIVVS ANTONINVS: Head of Antoninus Pius, bare, drapery on left shoulder, right
    Rev: CONSECRATIO: Eagle standing right, head left, on altar decoraed with garland
    Weight: 3.74g; Ø:1.6mm
    Catalogue: RIC III 429. Provenance: Ex private collection; acq.: 04-2019

    Then, when Marcus Aurelius died, the roman empire took a shift towards crazyness, but not before Commodus deified Marcus Aurelius (though not in superb condition, this coin was found in the Netherlands):
    [1157] Marcus Aurelius - Rome, Italy (AR denarius, 180 AD (under Comodus)).jpg
    ROMAN IMPERIAL, Marcus Aurelius. Denomination: AR denarius, minted: Rome, Italy; 180 AD (under Comodus)
    Obv: DIVVS M ANTONINVS PIVS: Head of Divus Marcus Aurelius, bare, right
    Rev: CONSECRATIO: Eagle, standing right on bar, head left
    Weight: 3.86g; Ø:1.8mm. Catalogue: RIC III 264
    Provenance: Found near Tongeren (2017, Limburg, the Netherlands), ex private collection; acq.: 12-2018
  14. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    Hi, everyone. I've been reading in this forum for a while, but just joined yesterday and this is the first time I've posted anything. As a brief introduction, I should probably explain that I've been buying a few ancient coins here and there (on an extremely sporadic basis) since the 1980s, as a very ancillary sideline to my primary collecting activity, namely collecting Greek, Roman, and Egyptian antiquities. (I actually bought my first Roman coins, a few very worn 4th century bronzes, for a few pennies in the 1960s, when I was about 8 years old, at a coin store a few blocks from where I lived.)

    I also used to collect British coins and historical medals very actively for many years, but sold most of those a few years ago when I was no longer so interested in that area and had a need for some immediate cash. For the last couple of years, I've been buying ancient coins on a more frequent basis. My collection is still relatively tiny, though -- the total number I own is less than 100. Among them, I have two "Consecratio" coins of Roman empresses with peacocks on the reverse, one of Faustina Jr. and one of Mariniana. My apologies in advance for the extremely amateurish cell phone photos, and for not knowing how to combine the obverse and reverse photos of a coin into a single image.

    In the catalogue I keep of all my ancient coins -- which I always try to identify independently*, because the sellers' descriptions sometimes get the RIC or RSC numbers wrong -- the description of my first peacock coin is as follows: Diva Faustina II [Jr.] (wife of Marcus Aurelius & daughter of Antoninus Pius), AR Denarius, Rome mint. Obv. Draped bust right, DIVA FAV-STINA PIA / Rev. CONSECRATIO, peacock standing right. RIC III 744, RSC II 71. 19.18 mm., 3.23 g.:

    Diva Faustina II O2.jpg
    Diva Faustina II R3.jpg

    Here's my catalogue description of my second peacock Consecratio coin: Mariniana (wife of Valerian I), Silvered Billon Antoninianus. 254-258 AD, Viminacium Mint. Obv. DIVAE MARINIANAE, Veiled and draped bust right on crescent/ Rev. CONSECRATIO, Peacock standing, head right, tail in splendor. RSC IV 4, RIC V-1 4, Sear RCV III 10068. 21.5 mm., 3.9 g.

    Diva Mariniana O1.jpg

    Diva Mariniana R2.jpg

    I also have a Diva Faustina I Consecratio denarius (RIC III 382b, RSC II 165a, Sear RCV II 4593), but am not posting an image because the reverse has Ceres standing left holding a torch, rather than a peacock.

    However, I will post images of my Divus Antoninus Pius Consecratio denarius, because I like the image of a funeral pyre on the reverse: Divus Antoninus Pius AR Denarius; Obv. Bare-headed bust right, slight drapery, DIVVS ANTONINVS / Rev. Funeral pyre, CONSECRATIO. RIC III 438MA , RSC II 164a, Sear RCV II 5193, BMCRE 60 (MA).
    17.46 mm., 3.37 g.

    Divus Ant. Pius O3.jpg

    Divus Ant. Pius R1 (2).jpg

    Every time I look at the reverse, I can't help seeing a layer cake with candles rather than a funeral pyre!

    Donna ML

    * The sources I own for identifying Roman coins include the five volumes of Roman Silver Coins and the first four volumes of the Millenium edition of Sear's Roman Coins and their Values, plus a copy of ERIC II. I was also able to find free downloads of volumes I, IV-2, 5, 7, and 8 of RIC, and, for Republican coinage, both volumes of Crawford. I also use Wildwinds a lot.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
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  15. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    well welcome Donna...nice coins too..... ole RC is the Diva Faustina dude!..i've no peacocks but have a divus AP coin like yours i got last year for my silver '5(6)good emperors set.. looking forward to seeing more of your coins:)..(unable to upload pics at the moment)
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  16. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    Thank you! I will try to contribute when I can. I find the process of photographing my coins to be quite arduous; I probably had to take 4 or 5 photos of the obverse and reverse of each of the three coins before I got photos I thought were adequate enough to use. Are we allowed to post the sellers' photos of our coins, taken from the online descriptions posted before we bought them?
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  17. ominus1

    ominus1 Supporter! Supporter

    ..your pics are fine..! part of being a collector here is photography...it will get easier as ya go..:D...ah...now i can upload my '5(6) good' emperors in silver... Marcus Aurelius Lucius Verus ..the 6 good emp. silver complete 003.JPG Marcus Aurelius Lucius Verus ..the 6 good emp. silver complete 004.JPG
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  18. Valentinian

    Valentinian Well-Known Member

    @DonnaML , welcome! Your photos are good enough--better than many, actually. Often members post the seller's photos. I don't think anyone minds. We have had many discussions of coin photography (you can search CT for them) and we admit that sometimes (often) the seller's photo does not look just like the coin, so most of us want to take our own photos.

    Here is a post which explains one way to get both sides on one image.
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  19. DonnaML

    DonnaML Well-Known Member

    Thanks, Valentinian.
  20. Evan8

    Evan8 A Little Off Center

    I haven't post an ancient in awhile.

    Here is my Faustina Jr Sestertius. This one is pictured in Wildwinds.

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  21. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Well-Known Member

    Welcome, Donna! Those are some nice coins!
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