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OTD 1885 years ago: The guy that was always away, Hadrian, adopts the guy who never leaves, Antoninus Pius


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That's right, on this day in 138 CE Hadrian's


second choice, as Lucius Aelius


died before attaining the purple, Antoninus Pius is adopted.



Thus setting up one of the most peaceful and quiet reigns, at least as far as the silent sources give us, in the annals of Roman history... and they made some pretty rad coins too!

The H bomb:





Hadrian (117-138). Macedon Koinon. Æ (22mm, 4.47g). Laureate head r. R/ Macedonian shield. Cf. RPC II 634. Fine
Ex London ancient coins LTD 2020

Malcom...I mean Lucius in the middle:


Antoninus Pius: Of course I'll start with my latest rare MSC of the man:


Antoninus Pius 
Bronze. 6,20 g. // 22 mm
Obv: ΚΑΙCAP ANTΩNЄINOC Laureate, paludamentum wearing and cuirassed bust of Antoninus Pius to right, seen from behind.
Rev.: KOINON MAKЄΔΟΝΩΝ around Macedonian shield.
nVF, AMNG III, 264b. RPC IV online 4267. Purhcased from Fitz Jan 2023



SPOILER ALERT... and the legacy would continue2208663_1632938753.l-removebg-preview.png.efe75483ded72a632540cf44870905c4.png

Let's see some of your favorites!

Edited by Ryro
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Great coins! I have a mirrored version (except mine has wings) of the reverse on your first coin.


Hadrian, Silver Denarius
Struck 134-138 AD, Rome mint, RIC II 345

OBVERSE: Laureate head of Hadrian, bearded, right. HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS P[ATER] P[ATRIAE] (Hadrian, the Revered One, Father of the Country). 

REVERSE: Goddess of victory, Victoria, draped, seated left on low chair, holding up wreath in right hand and palm in left. COS III (Consul for the 3rd time).

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Day 50 of every Roman emperor portrayed by memes-Antoninus ...

Pius has this reputation for doing nothing, because he didn't start wars and he didn't leave Italy. But the reputation of being a do-nothing is undeserved. Let's look at some of this underrated emperor's accomplishments.

  • He considered himself to be but a servant of the empire and the people.
  • Used public funds on improving roads and large infrastructure projects.
  • Brought free clean water to many cities by building countless aquaducts.
  • Had the most peaceful reign in the history of the Empire and never started a war.
  • Granted many protections to slaves and made the manumission process easier.
  • Created a charity in his late wife's name to care for orphan girls.
  • Reduced taxes and refused to use any imperial funds for personal use.
  • Under his reign, the Imperial treasury never went into debt.
  • Operated on the principle of "innocent until proven guilty."

He was a benevolent and dutiful man, well-deserving of the title "Pious." I have too many to post, but here are a variety of denominations and a couple of favorite provincials.

Antoninus Pius, AD 138 – 161.
Roman AR denarius, 3.15 g, 18.1 mm, 11 h.
Rome, December, AD 160 – March, AD 161.
Obv: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XXIIII, laureate head, right.
Rev: PIETATI AVG COS IIII, Faustina II (as Pietas) standing left, holding a child on each arm; at each side of her, a child standing looking towards her and raising hand.
Refs: RIC 313c; BMCRE 1013-14; Cohen 631; Strack 384; RCV 4098.

Antoninus Pius, AD 138-161.
Roman orichalcum sestertius, 24.27 g, 31.4 mm, 6 h.
Rome, AD 158/9.
Obv: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XXII, laureate head, right.
Rev: VOTA SVSCEPTA DEC III S C, Antoninus, veiled, standing l., sacrificing from patera over tripod-altar and holding roll by side; COS IIII in ex.
Refs: RIC 1010; BMCRE 2068-2069; Cohen 1124; Strack 1171; RCV 4262.

Antoninus Pius, AD 138 – 161.
Roman Æ as, 11.13 g, 27.0 mm, 12 h.
Rome, December, AD 142-143.
Obv: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P COS III, laureate head, right.
Rev: IMPERATOR II, Spes, advancing left, holding flower in right hand and lifting drapery of skirt with left hand.
Refs: RIC 730; BMCRE 1619; Cohen 444; Strack 938; RCV --.

Antoninus Pius, AD 138-161.
Roman provincial Æ 18.5 mm, 4.59 g, 12 h.
Bithynia, Nicaea, AD 138-161.
Obv: ΑVΤ ΚΑΙϹΑΡ ΑΝΤΩΝ[EΙΝΟϹ?], bare-head, right.
Rev: ΝΕΙΚΑΙΕΩΝ, Apis-bull standing, right, head surmounted by solar disk and wearing uraeus crown.
Refs: RPC IV.1, 10001,4 (this coin); Mionnet 5.89,455; RG I(3).413,118(2) pl. LXIX, 19.


Antoninus Pius, AD 138-161.
Roman provincial billion tetradrachm, 11.60 g, 23.7 mm, 11 h.
Egypt, Alexandria, year 5, AD 141/2.
Obv: ΑVΤ Κ Τ ΑΙΛ ΑΔΡ ΑΝΤⲰΝΙΝΟϹ; laureate head of Antoninus Pius, right.
Rev: ΦΑVϹΤΙΝΑ ΘЄΑ,empress (Faustina I) as Eusebeia, veiled, standing left, dropping incense on lighted altar and holding long scepter; L-Є in lower fields.
Refs: RPC IV.4, 13464 (temporary); Dattari 2102; Milne 1686; SNG France 2205; Köln 1369; Emmett 1393.5.

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I don't think the Scots believe he was a peaceful man who did nothing. They still have a wall to prove it. The benefit of being emperor was that you didn't have to do the work yourself.

Antoninus Pius As, 154-155
Britain or Rome. Bronze, 8.63g. Laureate head right; ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XVIII. Britannia seated left on rock, resting head on hand; arms in background; BRITANNIA - COS IIII around; SC in exergue (RIC III, 934).

Edited by John Conduitt
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Ahh yes, if I ever had to live under the rule of a Roman Emperor it would be Mr Antoninus Pius...Sweet times!

I have a fair few of his coins, here's 4 from start to finish..


This early type was minted in 139AD when his Empress was still alive..

Antoninus Pius AD 138-161. Æ As (27.1mm, 8.14 g.)..Rome mint, struck AD 139.
Obv. Laureate head right.
Rev. Fortuna standing left, holding rudder and cornucopia.
RIC II 533c (scarce)
Nice VF, good portrait.
Green patina.
Scarce 139 AD emission, without globe and COS II rather than COS III.


Next a coin celebrating the marriage of his daughter to Marcus Aurelius  Caesar around 6 years later..


Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161) AR denarius, struck AD 145-161. Rome mint.
Ob..ANTONINVS AVG PIVS PP,(Antoninus Augustus Pius Father of the people) laureate head right
Rev..TR POT COS IIII,(Tribune of the people 4 times Consul) Liberalitas standing left, holding abacus and cornucopiae, LIB IIII across the fields.
RIC #155 type 1
This coin commemorates Pius' fourth largesse distributed to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Faustina II and Marcus Aurelius Caesar in spring 145 AD.


A big Sestertius showing some of the grandkids...


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


And alas his demise..


Divus Antoninus Pius. Died 161 AD. AR Denarius (3.21 gm, 18mm). Rome mint. Struck under Marcus Aurelius, 161 AD. Obv.: DIVVS ANTONINVS, bareheaded bust right, slight drapery.
Rev.: CONSECRATIO, funeral pyre of four tiers, decorated with garlands, surmounted by facing quadriga.
RIC 438 (Aurelius); MIR 18, 27/4-12 (Aurelius); RSC 164a. VF

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