Post your coins depicting someone wearing the stephane, comments, or anything you feel is relevant! Though often referred to in the numismatic literature as a diadem, the a stephane is considered to be a specific subtype of diadem in the form of an upright, tiara-like headdress, standing free from the head. In Greek art, and in Roman copies of Greek works, goddesses are frequently depicted wearing the stephane, such as on such famous works as the Diana of Versailles, Ceres Ludovisi and Venus of Capua. Musée du Louvre Database Online reference number Ma 589. http://ancientrome.ru/art/artworken/img.htm?id=3523 Palazzo Altemps reference number 8596. http://www.theoi.com/Gallery/S10.19.html Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli reference number Naples 251. Archaeologists have found several stephanes dating to early Greek times, primarily in funerary contexts. However, the last known ancient stephanes are from the third century BC. After that, they vanish entirely from the archaeological record in Roman territory, despite the abundance of other types of jewelry that have been recovered, such as earrings, necklaces, and hairpins. This strongly suggests that to the Romans, the stephane served a symbolic function, not as mere jewelry. The stephane in Roman art appears limited to goddesses and royalty and it may never have been worn in the course of ordinary dress. Thus, the stephane had become a symbol that had strong associations with divinity and hereditary kingship. In this aspect, the stephane can be seen as the female equivalent of the laureate or radiate crown. This symbolic association of the empress with the goddesses of the pantheon seems to be the main function of the stephane on Roman coins; other possible purposes seem unlikely upon a close examination of the coinage. Several observations can be made: The stephane does not indicate deification, for it is depicted on coins of living and deceased (and deified) women alike. The use of the stephane was not restricted to wives, mothers or one particular kind of relative of the reigning emperor, for it may appear on coins depicting the emperor’s niece or grandmother, as in the case of Matidia or Julia Maesa. The stephane was not restricted to one emperor or dynastic house. From the time of Trajan onwards, the stephane had become a part of the standard repertoire of coin symbolism, judging from the high number of depictions from then on. The stephane was not limited to one denomination; all coins from aureus to as were apparently considered apt surfaces. Lastly, all the women depicted with the stephane have been granted the title of Augusta. The first stephane to appear on Roman coins is on goddesses like Roma, Venus, Vesta and personifications like Fortuna and Libertas in the first century BC, and this was continued through the early decades of the empire. BMCRR 391/3 BMCRE p. 307, 71 Although Roman women appear on coins from the time of Octavia, Roman imperial coinage does not depict any female members of the imperial household wearing a stephane until Marciana, the sister of the emperor Trajan. Charles B. Rose has argued that first century unease with conflating royalty and divinity is the reason the stephane does not appear on named numismatic portraits of imperial women from the mint of Rome until the reign of Trajan. Marciana, Augusta, c. AD 105-112/4. 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; BMC 650 (Trajan); Hill 562; RSC 4; RCV 3328. The stephane continued to be a feature of many numismatic portraits up through the reign of Aurelian, on coins issued for his wife, Severina. However, not all women of the imperial family were depicted wearing this headgear. For example, Lucilla, Crispina, Manlia Scantilla, Didia Clara, and Plautilla are never portrayed with the stephane. Why this may be is unknown. On coins of Faustina II in particular, the stephane appears to be but one of many choices a die engraver could make for any particular reverse type. Faustina may appear bare-headed, or wearing one or more strands of pearls about the head, a veil, or a stephane, such as on these denarii of the IVNO reverse type. Why this occurs for some reverse types and not others or its purpose are numismatic mysteries. Faustina II, AD 147-175. Roman AR denarius, 3.01 g, 19.6 mm, 1 h. Rome, AD 161-164. Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust of Faustina II, right, wearing stephane. Rev: IVNO, Juno standing left, holding patera and scepter; peacock at feet. Refs: RIC 688 var. (stephane); BMCRE 109; RSC 120b; RCV 5255 var. (stephane); CRE 189. Faustina II, AD 147-175. Roman AR denarius, 2.78 g, 18.2 mm, 11 h. Rome, AD 161-164. Obv: FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust of Faustina II, right, wearing single strand of pearls. Rev: IVNO, Juno standing left, holding patera and scepter; peacock at feet. Refs: RIC 688; BMCRE 107,108, 111; RSC 120a; RCV 5255; CRE 188. But on coins issued for other empresses, the stephane appears to be a fixed feature for any given reverse type. For some empresses, such as Julia Maesa or Julia Domna, the stephane is used on only a few issues. However, Julia Mamaea, with the exception of her first issues, is uniformly depicted wearing the stephane, as are the subsequent empresses Tranquillina, Otacilia Severa, and Herennia Etruscilla. Herennia Etruscilla, AD 249-251. Roman orichalcum sestertius, 14.04 gm, 28.3 mm. Rome, AD 250-251. Obv: HERENNIA ETRVSCILLA AVG, diademed and draped bust, right. Rev: FECVNDITAS AVG SC, Fecunditas standing left, right hand extended to child standing at her feet; holding cornucopiae. Refs: RIC 134a; Sear 9504; Cohen 9; Hunter 12. Notes 1. Hamelink, Anique. "Symbol or Jewellery? The Stephane and Its Wearer in the Roman World [1st-3rd Centuries AD]." Student Repository, 30 Jan. 2015, studenttheses.universiteitleiden.nl/handle/1887/31709. 2. Rose, CB, cited in Harvey, Tracene. The Visual Representation of Livia on the Coins of the Roman Empire. Library and Archives Canada = Bibliothèque Et Archives Canada, 2012.