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Faustina Friday – AETERNITAS and Providentia Edition


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Friday felicitations, fellow Faustina Fanatics! Today we're taking a break from the coins of Faustina the Younger and we're going to explore one of the earliest posthumous issues of Faustina the Elder, who died in October, 140 CE.

The Fasti Ostienses for 140 CE records:


On October 23(?) Faustina Augusta died and on the same day was named diva by the Senate and a senatorial decree was made awarding her a state funeral. Games and circus-races were offered. [Some unknown number of days before] November 13 Faustina's state funeral was celebrated, gold and silver statues were set up(?), and a senatorial decree.[1]


Soon after, Antoninus Pius began issuing coinage in her honor, a practice he continued until the end of his reign. The early coins issued posthumously for the deified empress bear the obverse inscription DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA or DIVA AVG FAVSTINA. The coins under discussion today bear the reverse inscription AETERNITAS and a standing figure holding a globe and scepter who is typically identified as Providentia.[2]

Beckmann's die-linkage study of the aurei of Diva Faustina identifies the type as among the very first issued after her death,[3] making a date of AD 140-141 almost certain. The AETERNITAS inscription ("eternity") indicates the deified empress's "soul in the heavenly sphere."[4] Do not confuse the AETERNITAS types discussed here with the vast issue of AD 150 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the empress's death and consecration. These later types bear the DIVA FAVSTINA obverse inscription.[5]

The coins of this issue were issued in all metals and nearly every denomination.[6] The early posthumous issues of Faustina the Elder have distinct stylistic features on the obverse bust. Note the small size of the portrait relative to the flan, the ornaments sewn into the empress's hair in front of her chignon, and the tiny amount of drapery portrayed, without even the shoulders making an appearance on the portrait. In
this interesting video, Janet Stephens, an expert in ancient hairdressing techniques, shows you how Faustina's signature hairstyle was done and how these ornaments were added.

 

 

The obverse inscription reads DIVA AVG FAVSTINA on the denarii and most aurei, and DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA on rare aurei and all bronze denominations. The portrait of the empress may appear veiled, as one might expect for a funerary issue, or less commonly, bare headed. Providentia generally appears standing, facing left, holding a globe and scepter, although a rare sestertius depicts the mirror image: standing right, holding a scepter and globe.

I aim to be complete in my listing of the various varieties of these coins. I illustrate the various varieties as much as possible with coins from my own collection, but I supplement with museum specimens and auction listings for varieties lacking in my collection. These specimens are annotated accordingly. Let's get on with the show!

Aurei with obverse legend DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA


FaustinaSrAETERNITASProvidentiaaureusGillesTrier.jpg.ab53fe9419ce223c2ed50d9d39aba262.jpg

Rare, bare-headed bust variety (RIC 350b(a)). Illustration: Gilles 2369.[7] In addition, Calicó illustrates a different specimen of unknown provenance; Cohen cites the collection of Monsieur Rollin and Strack cites examples in Naples and Gotha.


FaustinaSrAETERNITASProvidentiaaureusANS.jpg.b50e9878215aa91be7e5b145124ab8cc.jpg

Veiled bust variety (RIC 350b(b)), A.N.S. collection, 1974.62.1.


Aurei with obverse legend DIVA AVG FAVSTINA

FaustinaSrAETERNITASProvidentiaaureusshortinscrbareheadedBMC.png.7fdaa88b77e8f74ac356cdb7b9651d21.png

Bare-headed bust variety (RIC 350a(a)), British Museum collection, BMCRE 286.

 

FaustinaSrAETERNITASProvidentiaaureusshortinscrveiledBMC.png.110cf7a6fec2000bd9b69a4401453c85.png

Veiled bust variety (RIC 350a(b)), British Museum collection, BMCRE 287.


Denarii (All have obverse legend DIVA AVG FAVSTINA)

FaustinaSrAETERNITASProvidentiaglobeandscepterdenarius.jpg.b428941a761942e0e07ffa7194262930.jpg

Faustina I, 138-140 CE.
Roman AR denarius, 3.30 g, 17.4 mm, 11 h.
Rome, 140-141 CE.
Obv: DIVA AVG FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: AETERNITAS, Providentia standing left, holding globe and scepter.
Refs: RIC 350a(a); BMCRE 288-90; Cohen 34; Strack 417; RCV –; CRE 119.


FaustinaSrAETERNITASProvidentiaglobeandscepterdenariusveiledbust.jpg.d6b91bab2a09a309cce4a6c39c8dd259.jpg

Faustina I, 138-140 CE.
Roman AR denarius, 3.26 g, 17.7 mm, 1 h.
Rome, 140-141 CE.
Obv: DIVA AVG FAVSTINA, veiled and draped bust, right.
Rev: AETERNITAS, Providentia standing left, holding globe and scepter.
Refs: RIC 350a(b); BMCRE 291; RSC 34a; Strack 417; RCV –; CRE 120.


Sestertii (All have obverse legend DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA) with Providentia facing left

FaustinaSrAETERNITASSCProvidentiaglobeandscepterSestertiusbare-headed.jpg.e99387a762f138bfa2c46782142a6ec0.jpg

Faustina I, 138-140 CE.
Roman orichalcum sestertius, 26.33 g, 33.1 mm, 5 h.
Rome, 140-141 CE.
Obv: DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: AETERNITAS S C, Providentia standing left, holding globe and scepter.
Refs: RIC 1108(a); BMCRE 1419-20; Cohen 37; Strack 1230; RCV 4609; Banti 17.


FaustinaSrAETERNITASSCProvidentiaglobeandscepterSestertiusveiledbust.jpg.19846488f177116a3b3dedc5150a1ec7.jpg

Faustina I, 138-140 CE.
Roman orichalcum sestertius, 26.91 g, 32.3 mm, 7 h.
Rome, 140-141 CE.
Obv: DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA •, veiled and draped bust, right.
Rev: AETERNITAS S C, Providentia standing left, holding globe and scepter.
Refs: RIC 1108(b); BMCRE 1421; Cohen --; Strack 1230; RCV –.


Sestertii (All have obverse legend DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA) with Providentia facing right

FaustinaSrAETERNITASSCProvidentiascepterandglobeSestertiusbareheadedbustBnF.JPG.355116abf457bab4c70d6c16ec6017c6.JPG

Rare sestertius with a veiled bust and featuring Providentia standing right, holding scepter and globe. Cohen (no. 39) cites this specimen with a bare-headed bust in the Bibliothèque Nationale De France. This is cited in RIC (no. 1109), Strack (no. 1231), Banti (no. 19) and Cayón (no. 24). I have been unable to find another specimen online after an exhaustive internet search and the BnF specimen may be unique. Photo by Roxane Gauthier-Dussart.[8]


FaustinaSrAETERNITASSCProvidentiascepterandglobeSestertiusveiledbustBMC1418.jpg.742cf1b1edf86f623ae5e37fda61091e.jpg

Rare sestertius with a veiled bust and featuring Providentia standing right, holding scepter and globe. British Museum specimen, BMCRE 1418.


Middle bronzes (All have obverse legend DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA)

FaustinaSrAETERNITASSCProvidentiaglobeandscepterdupondiusbareheadedbust.jpg.9212e90fd95b9e1eb76cdd7f8ed15cc2.jpg

Faustina I, 138-140 CE.
Roman orichalcum dupondius, 14.65 g, 27.3 mm, 5 h.
Rome, 140-141 CE.
Obv: DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: AETERNITAS S C, Providentia standing left, holding globe and scepter.
Refs: RIC 1163(a)(a); BMCRE 1458; RCV –; Cohen 38; Strack 1230.


FaustinaSrAETERNITASSCProvidentiaglobeandscepterAsveiledbust.jpg.74eb8a23c916e0ef3bedadafc46b478b.jpg

Faustina I, 138-140 CE.
Roman Æ as, 12.87 g, 26.4 mm, 6 h.
Rome, 140-141 CE.
Obv: DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA, veiled and draped bust, right.
Rev: AETERNITAS S C, Providentia standing left, holding globe and scepter.
Refs: RIC 1163(a)(b); BMCRE 1459; RCV 4635; Cohen –; Strack 1230.


I hope you have enjoyed this exploration of this early posthumous issue. Do you have any coins of this issue? Feel free to post anything you feel is relevant!

~~~

Notes

1. Fasti Ostienses (tablet O, lines 11-15), quoted and transl. by Martin Beckmann. The texts are damaged and both dating formulas are corrupted; therefore, the precise days cannot be recovered. See Beckmann, Martin. Diva Faustina: Coinage and Cult in Rome and the Provinces. American Numismatic Society, 2012, p.22.

2. So BMCRE, RIC, and CRE. On the other hand, Cohen identifies the figure as "Aeternitas or Providentia," whereas Strack and David Sear each identify the figure as Aeternitas. See: Mattingly, op. cit.; Mattingly, Harold and Edward A. Sydenham (RIC). The Roman Imperial Coinage. III, Spink, 1930; Temeryazev, S. A., and T. P. Makarenko (CRE). The Coinage of Roman Empresses. San Bernardino, CreateSpace, 2017; Cohen, Henry. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Tome II: de Nerva à Antonin (96 à 161 après J.-C.). Paris, 1882; Strack, Paul L., Untersuchungen zur Römischen Reichsprägung des Zweiten Jahrhunderts, vol. 3, Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit des Antoninus Pius. Stuttgart 1937; Sear, David R., Roman Coins and their Values, vol. 2, The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty, A.D. 96 -A.D. 235. London, 2002

3. Beckmann, Martin. Diva Faustina: Coinage and Cult in Rome and the Provinces. American Numismatic Society, 2012, Die Chart 1.

4. Mattingly, Harold, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, vol. IV: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. Introduction, indexes and plates. London, BMP, 1968, pp. lx-lxi.

5. Unfortunately, and confusingly, some of these later types (from the late 150s) anachronistically bear the earlier DIVA AVG FAVSTINA legend. They are easily identified, however, by portrait style and the fact that coins of the same reverse types were issued in parallel with the expected late DIVA FAVSTINA legend. I have previously discussed these late denarius types with early obverse legends
here and elsewhere.

6. They were not issued in the quinarius aureus or silver quinarius denominations, which were issued only very sporadically and with few reverse types in the Antonine period. All Antonine quinarii, whether silver or gold, are extremely rare and seldom come to market.

7. Gilles, Karl-Josef, Der Römische Goldmünzenschatz aus der Feldstraße in Trier. Trier Zeitschrift 34 (Rheinisches Landesmuseum Trier, 2013).


8. Gauthier-Dussart, Roxane, et al. "Entre Rome et Alexandrie: Le Monnayage d'antonin Le Pieux (138-161), Idéologie Du Règne et Adaptations Locales." l'Université de Montréal, 2017, pl. 89, no. 1487.

Edited by Roman Collector
New photo; attribution information for coin
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Here is my As from this series of coins. 

 

image.png.7e4eb6c086f7acf245c086e259b9ded8.png

27 mm 10.95 g. Faustina I died 141 AD. Rome, As Ӕ

DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA, bust of Faustina I, veiled, right / AETERNITAS S C, Providentia, draped, standing left, holding globe on extended right hand and vertical sceptre in left

RIC III Antoninus Pius 1163Ab (as)

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38 minutes ago, ambr0zie said:

Here is my As from this series of coins. 

 

image.png.7e4eb6c086f7acf245c086e259b9ded8.png

27 mm 10.95 g. Faustina I died 141 AD. Rome, As Ӕ

DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA, bust of Faustina I, veiled, right / AETERNITAS S C, Providentia, draped, standing left, holding globe on extended right hand and vertical sceptre in left

RIC III Antoninus Pius 1163Ab (as)

That's what I'm talking about!!

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Great FF post as always, @Roman Collector

I got this one early this year - veiled portraits of Faustina are favorites of mine:

FaustinaI-Den.veiledProvidAETJan2023(0).jpg.1e4a94f715c7ccb8d3a0070fc7c5ae7b.jpg

Faustina I   Denarius (c. 141 A.D.)   Rome Mint DIVA AVG FAVSTINA, veiled, draped bust r. / AETERNITAS, Providentia standing left, holding globe and scepter. RIC III Antoninus Pius 350a(b); BMCRE 291; Cohen RSC 34a. (3.47 grams / 17 x 16 mm) eBay Jan. 2023 (Can.)

Die-Match Characterstics: 

Obv: AVG - AV run together.

Rev: Globe next to E, long arm.

Die-Match Obv. & Rev.: Jesús Vico, S.A.; Subasta 157;  Lot 359; 26.11.2020

 Die-Match Reverse: American Numismatic Society Identifier: 1956.127.549 "Tell Kalak", Jordan, 1956

 Here are the die-matches - kind of interesting the ANS example is from Tell Kalak Jordan - I didn't think denarii circulated much in that part of the Empire:

FaustinaI-DenariusveiledProvidentiaAETERNITASRIC350Ab-MINE2023pic0COMP.jpg.0597d585a97d14ddf28de2674e637ee9.jpg

 

Here's another veiled type - this one also had some die-matches, including the @Roman CollectorCollection example.  I'm not worthy!!

FaustinaI-AsAETER...Providentiaw.GlobeveiledportraitRIC1163a-MINEpic00.jpg.31c9a258d89d024a9af2aaa5f8bd6e4c.jpg

Faustina I  Æ As (c. 140-141 A.D.)     Rome Mint DIVA AVGVSTA FAVSTINA, draped and veiled bust right / A[E]T[ERN]ITAS, S-C, Providentia standing left, holding globe on extended right hand and vertical sceptre in left.  RIC III Ant. Pius 1163ab (as); BMCRE 1459-1460. (9.18 grams / 25 x 24 mm) eBay Mar. 2023          

Die-Match Characteristics:  Obv: Small top-knot; elaborate drapery; GVS-TA FAV...break.

Die-Match Obverse: 

Roman Collector collection (see various CT & NF posts)

Gorny & Mosch Giessener Stuttgarter Münzauktionen, Auktion 1; Lot 452; 22.11.2010 

Classical Numismatic Group. Electronic Auction 108; Lot 157;  16.02.2005 (ex- Rudolf Berk)

Note: "These coins were among the first issued in honor of the Diva Faustina I following her death in late Oct./early Nov. of AD 140. They bear (a) veil worn by the deceased empress, emphasizing her deified status. The coins of this first issue emphasize her consecration with numerous CONSECRATIO reverse types, her Piety...and two AETERNITAS types, emphasizing the deified empress's  place among the stars." (RC CT)

FaustinaI-AsAETER...Providentiaw.GlobeveiledportraitRIC1163a-MINEpic00comp.jpg.2b455d8cdf90df8b056f7d62b2db5112.jpg 

Thanks again, RC.  

 

   

 

Edited by Marsyas Mike
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