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Faustina Friday – The AVGVSTA with Ceres Holding Grain Ears and Torch Type


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Friday felicitations, fellow Faustina fanatics!

Martin Beckmann’s Diva Faustina: Coinage and Cult in Rome and the Provinces[1] has greatly clarified the dating and arrangement of the Diva Faustina coinage. Beckmann identified an almost complete sequence of die-linkages for the aurei, supported by additional shorter, but corroborative, die-linkages among the sestertii. In addition, he discovered several mules with reverse die-linkages to dated coins of Antoninus or Aurelius Caesar, which connected certain issues to other dated events. These studies enabled Beckman to produce a comprehensive and reliable sequence of relative dating.

The coinage is divided into five main phases commencing with the deification and funeral of Faustina. The use of the DIVA FAVSTINA obverse inscription begins with the third phase of issues, from AD 145-147, issued in conjunction with the marriage of her daughter, Faustina II, to Marcus Aurelius. The AVGVSTA reverse types depicting Ceres holding a single torch belong to this third phase of issues.

There are a disproportionate number of coins depicting Ceres that were issued for Faustina and this is not coincidental. Andreas Alföldi argues that the connection between the empress and Ceres goes beyond mere concern over the grain supply or her devotion to the goddess.[2] It is more personal; Antoninus Pius was devoted to the sanctuary at Eleusis,[3] which had a temple where Faustina was worshiped as the new Demeter (Ceres) and had her own hierophant.[4] This article deals with only one coin type: the type bearing the AVGVSTA reverse legend and depicting Ceres standing left, holding corn ears in her right hand and a long torch in her left that were issued AD 145-147 as noted above.

Coins with this reverse design and legend were issued in the denarius, sestertius, and middle-bronze denominations. The bust may be right- or left-facing (denarius) and either veiled or bare-headed (denarius and middle bronze). On the denarii, Ceres holds only a long torch; on the bronze denominations, there is also a variety with a short torch, which I shall not discuss today. A new listing of known coin types is necessary because Cohen is in error in his description of a sestertius with a veiled bust on which Ceres bears the long torch.[5] This error is propagated by RIC.[6] All coins illustrated belong to my collection unless otherwise noted.

Let's see any Faustina coins you have depicting Ceres or anything you feel is relevant!


118614586_FaustinaSrAVGVSTACerescornearslongtorchdenarius.jpg.80d2d3eb6f0dd0d6befaba23f75983e6.jpg

Faustina I, AD 138-140.
Roman AR denarius, 2.69 g, 18.2 mm, 7 h.
Rome, AD 145-147.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: AVGVSTA, Ceres, veiled and draped, standing left, holding two corn-ears in right hand and torch in left hand.
Refs: RIC 360a; BMC 408-414; Cohen/RSC 78; RCV 4582; Strack 474; CRE 76.


26090576_FaustinaSrAVGVSTACerescornearslongtorchdenariusveiledleftbustNAC.jpg.6c9d785c49f13bfbb294fedadf424077.jpg

With left-facing, veiled bust (RIC 360d; BMCRE 415; Cohen –; RSC 78a), Numismatica Ars Classica NAC AG, Auction 100, lot 508, 29 May 2017.


17661872_FaustinaSrAVGVSTASCCeresgrainearsandlongtorchsestertius.jpg.43f4abb09df38b918ee9e9c00765bc42.jpg

Faustina I, AD 138-140.
Roman orichalcum sestertius, 25.59 g, 32.6 mm, 6 h.
Rome, AD 145-147.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: AVGVSTA S C, Ceres standing left, holding corn ears and long torch.
Refs: RIC 1116(a); BMCRE 1509-11; Cohen 79; RCV 4614
; Strack 1286.


2098920590_FaustinaSrAVGVSTASCCeresgrainearsandlongtorchMB.jpg.5657c19c0a6db1d914c8759c178046ad.jpg

Faustina I, AD 138-140.
Roman Æ as or dupondius; 12.09 g, 25.7 mm, 7 h
Rome, AD 145-147.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: AVGV STA SC, Ceres standing left, holding corn ears and long torch.
Refs: RIC 1169(a); BMCRE 1566; Cohen 80; RCV 4645; Strack 1286.


269794442_FaustinaSrAVGVSTASCCeresgrainearsandlongtorchMBveiledbust.jpg.cacd0ea7bdc243d2dda12fa534fef63c.jpg

Faustina I, AD 138-140.
Roman Æ as or dupondius; 10.51 g, 25.2 mm, 12 h.
Rome, AD 145-147.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, veiled and draped bust, right.
Rev: AVGV STA SC, Ceres standing left, holding corn ears and long torch.
Refs: RIC 1169(b); BMCRE –; Cohen 81(?); RCV –; Strack 1286 (BuVaNa).


As I note above, RIC 1116(b) uncritically cites Cohen 81, which describes a sestertius of this type with a veiled bust. The existence of this coin is doubtful. Cohen cites no source. Strack lists no examples. An exhaustive search of internet databases yields no sestertii of this type with a veiled bust. In contrast, the middle bronze of this type does exist with a veiled bust, as I have illustrated with the example from my own collection. The coin is extremely rare and Strack cites examples only in Budapest (Nationalmuseum), the Vatican, and Naples (Nationalmuseum). It is lacking from the collections of the British Museum, the BnF (Paris), Berlin and Vienna. Moreover, I am unable to find any other examples online at the major databases, such as acsearchinfo, Coinarchives, OCRE, WildWinds, and The Coin Project. I suspect that Cohen mistakenly described the middle bronze version of this coin (RIC 1169b) with the veiled bust type as a sestertius.

~~~

Notes:


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

2. Alföldi, Andreas. "Redeunt Saturnia Regna. VII : Frugifer-Triptolemos Im Ptolemaïsch -Römischen Herrscherkult." Chiron , vol. 9, 1979, pp. 552–606, specifically pp. 586-589.

3. Eleusis, in the outskirts of Athens, of Eleusian mysteries fame. These mysteries involved elaborate rituals devoted to the worship of Demeter (Ceres).

4. Mylonas, George E. Eleusis and the Eleusian Mysteries. Princeton University Press, 1961, pp 155, 179.

5. Cohen, Henry. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Tome III: de Marc Aurèle à Albin (161 à 197 après J.-C.). Paris, 1883, no. 81, p. 420.

6. Mattingly, Harold and Edward A. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage. III, Spink, 1930, no. 1116(b), p. 162.

 

Edited by Roman Collector
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Posted (edited)

Nice write up, AGAIN !

 

Did Beckmann mention the type RIC 361a which is usually described as Ceres raising hand and holding torch. I always wondered if Ceres is holding a little grain ear here after all ?

normal_Faustina_I_R674_fac.jpg.67fafb8e0e0f44e76cc3d30051f1a2fb.jpg

Faustina Senior
Denarius after 141
Obv.: DIVA FAVSTINA, bust right
Rev.: AVGVSTA, Ceres standing left, raising hand and holding torch
Ag, 3.43g, 17.4mm
Ref.: RIC 361a [C]

 

@omnius1: Your coin should be Vesta standing left, holding palladium and sceptre,

 

 

 

 

Edited by shanxi
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6 minutes ago, shanxi said:

Nice write up, AGAIN !

 

Did Beckmann mention the type RIC 361a which is usually described as Ceres raising hand and holding torch. I always wondered if Ceres is holding a little grain ear here after all ?

normal_Faustina_I_R674_fac.jpg.67fafb8e0e0f44e76cc3d30051f1a2fb.jpg

Faustina Senior
Denarius after 141
Obv.: DIVA FAVSTINA, bust right
Rev.: AVGVSTA, Ceres standing left, raising hand and holding torch
Ag, 3.43g, 17.4mm
Ref.: RIC 361a [C]

 

@omnius1: Your coin should be Vesta standing left, holding palladium and sceptre,

 

 

 

 

No, this reverse design is not mentioned by Beckmann at all, because his study was limited to all the aurei and some of the sestertii. I don't believe an aureus of this reverse type actually exists. This reverse design was not struck in bronze.

Pace Calicó p.330, 1766, who illustrates an "aureus" without provenance, and Cohen, who cites a specimen in the BnF, neither Strack nor Beckmann record any examples of an aureus with this reverse design. Moreover, you'll note that Cohen fails to mention a denarius of this reverse type, even though they clearly exist (you and I each have one and there are more than 100 at acsearchinfo). A comprehensive search of the various online databases fails to come up with any aurei of this reverse type. I suspect that Cohen (no. 101) mistakenly wrote OR instead of AR and this error was reproduced in RIC and Calico (Is his illustration the denarius in the BnF? Calico elsewhere mistakes denarii for aurei).

 

In regard to your other point, I don't think Ceres is holding a small grain ear. On the numerous other examples depicting Ceres, the grain ears are clearly rendered and are much larger. I think it represents what it appears to be -- a female deity raising her hand and holding a long torch. Here's my example of your coin. Looks like a hand to me.

 

812830862_FaustinaSrAVGVSTACeresstandingraisinghandandholdingtorchdenarius.jpg.3d7dc92f9a1a8a5ba98bbf63d4d65a43.jpg

It reminds me of the Supremes' "Stop in the Name of Love" video!

The Supremes - Stop! In The Name of Love [The Hollywood Palace - 1965] -  YouTube

 

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I know you clearly specified Ceres holding ears and torch. As checked, I don't have one to fulfill the entire condition 😐

My very first Faustina I coin came in my first purchases. It was a great pleasure to identify the coin, since I was a total noob.

image.png.3b2b28ab6b3cb57a4f2d7e1656f6f8e4.png

 Faustina I (100-140) – struck 141
Obverse: DIVA FAVSTINA, Bust of Faustina I, draped, right, hair elaborately waved in several loops round head and drawn up and coiled on top. Reverse: AVGVSTA. Ceres, veiled, draped, standing left, stretching out right hand and holding torch, nearly vertical, in left
https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/aeternitas_numismatics/2/product/faustina_i_senior_ar_denarius_ef_aeternitas__avgvsta_superb_portrait/447393/Default.aspx
RIC III 361a

Another coin I have with Ceres (but with the same unfulfilled condition) is this 1173a as.

image.png.54d1b56d0775bf068ba96ac50603feba.png

But I have 2 coins where Ceres has both the attributes - first this very beaten Claudius dupondius

image.png.3a92a30c57d60117a079d42dd946c4cd.png

 

and another Dupondius from Julia Titi.

image.png.b93bda4c434239a068b11a4edb06e381.png

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, Roman Collector said:

I don't think Ceres is holding a small grain ear.

Yes it could be, but what is the reason of Ceres raising the hand. This is a gesture for emperors who greet the people.

Ceres raising hand seems only to exist for Faustina I. On the type showed  and also on RIC 382a.

But again, is that really a hand? The hand on the roman coins can sometimes be quite large, but doesn't that look more like grain ears? Just my imagination. :classic_unsure:

https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=1592806

Edited by shanxi
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13 minutes ago, ambr0zie said:

I know you clearly specified Ceres holding ears and torch. As checked, I don't have one to fulfill the entire condition 😐

My very first Faustina I coin came in my first purchases. It was a great pleasure to identify the coin, since I was a total noob.

image.png.3b2b28ab6b3cb57a4f2d7e1656f6f8e4.png

 Faustina I (100-140) – struck 141
Obverse: DIVA FAVSTINA, Bust of Faustina I, draped, right, hair elaborately waved in several loops round head and drawn up and coiled on top. Reverse: AVGVSTA. Ceres, veiled, draped, standing left, stretching out right hand and holding torch, nearly vertical, in left
https://www.vcoins.com/en/stores/aeternitas_numismatics/2/product/faustina_i_senior_ar_denarius_ef_aeternitas__avgvsta_superb_portrait/447393/Default.aspx
RIC III 361a

Another coin I have with Ceres (but with the same unfulfilled condition) is this 1173a as.

image.png.54d1b56d0775bf068ba96ac50603feba.png

But I have 2 coins where Ceres has both the attributes - first this very beaten Claudius dupondius

image.png.3a92a30c57d60117a079d42dd946c4cd.png

 

and another Dupondius from Julia Titi.

image.png.b93bda4c434239a068b11a4edb06e381.png

I love 'em!!!

10 minutes ago, shanxi said:

Yes it could be, but what is the reason of Ceres raising the hand. This is a gesture for emperors who greet the people.

Ceres raising hand seems only to exist for Faustina I. On the type showed  and also on RIC 382a.

But again, is that really a hand? The hand on the roman coins can sometimes be quite large, but doesn't that look more like grain ears? Just my imagination. :classic_unsure:

https://www.acsearch.info/search.html?id=1592806

Yes, but that's a different reverse type (which comes with two different obverse legends). Her raised hand looks like a hand here on both of my examples.

Faustina Sr DIVA FAVSTINA CONSECRATIO Ceres Denarius.jpg

Faustina Senior, AD 138-140.
Roman AR denarius, 3.07 g, 18.6 mm, 5h.
Rome, c. AD 155-161.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: CONSECRATIO, Ceres (?) standing left, raising right hand and holding short torch in left.
Refs: RIC 382b; BMCRE 467-69; Cohen 165; Strack 452; RCV 4593; CRE 86.
Notes: Cohen erroneously describes the specimen in the BnF as having a veiled bust, though Strack describes the same specimen correctly. RIC cites Cohen’s description of the bust type uncritically, which is corrected in BMCRE.


Faustina Sr DIVA AVG FAVSTINA CONSECRATIO Ceres Denarius.jpg

Faustina Senior, AD 138-140.
Roman AR denarius, 3.06 g, 17.5 mm, 5h.
Rome, c. AD 155-161.
Obv: DIVA AVG FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: CONSECRATIO, Ceres (?) standing left, raising right hand and holding short torch in left.
Refs: RIC 382a; BMCRE 301; Cohen 166; Strack 424; RCV –; CRE 87.


Note other deities are depicted raising their hands.

[IMG]
Faustina I, AD 138-140.
Roman AR denarius, 3.22 g, 18.6 mm, 1 h.
Rome, AD 150 or later.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: AETERNITAS, Female figure (Aeternitas? Juno?) veiled and draped, standing facing, head left, raising right hand and holding scepter in left hand.
Refs: RIC 344; BMCRE 351; Cohen 26; Strack 448; RCV 4574; CRE 103.

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Posted (edited)

Are you Ceresous? Another amazing write up and grip of coins!

Here are my Ceres with grain ears:

Screenshot_20210325-094818_PicCollage-removebg-preview.png.f476d5b716e2ee7e7ee64167065c3f36.png

Otho

Denarius; Otho; 69 AD, Rome, Denarius, 1.8g. 18.5mm BM-9, Paris-24, C-11 (12 Fr.), RIC-20 note. Obv: [IMP OTH]O CAESAR AVG TR P Head bare r. Rx: PON[T] - MAX Ceres standing l. holding wheat ears and cornucopia. Rare second issue of reign, comprising five types all with reverse legend PONT MAX. Chipped otherwise VF. Gift from CT pal @orfew Feb 2021

share3880164165390698058.png.dac1249318da1fd8e3e08413c87edeba.png

Julia Titi
 

(Daughter of Titus)AE Dupondius Empress. 10.76 grams 27mm
Rome AD 279-80
Obv IVLIA IMP T AVG F AVGVSTA
Draped bust of Julia right hair in bun
Rv CERES AVGVST S C
Ceres standing left holding corn ears and long torch
Sear 2615 RIC Titus 177

Former: fvrisus.rvfvs

An extremely rare find in this denomination
Lovely emerald green patina
Julia was the daughter of Titus and later was forced to become the mistress of her uncle Domitian after he executed her husband in AD 84.
Julia was the first Augusta to have coinage issued in her own name in all 3 metals
Julia committed suicide in AD 89
and was deified by Domitian

share8865277916426552208.png.fb7bc46e3d9d6511a2ddc9de75239b53.png

SABINA

Dupondius, 136 CE 
Mint: Rome 
26.3  mm, 10,2 g.
Rarity : R1 
Obverse legend : SABINA AVGVSTA - HADRIANI AVG PP, Obverse: Diadémé bust and drape of Sabina on the right, hair raised, artistically capped.
Reverse: Veiled and draped Ceres, seated left on a basket, holding ears of corn in right hand and torch in left hand

 

This reminds me, has Orfew made his way over here or anyone heard from him???

Edited by Ryro
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Posted (edited)

Awesome TGIFF post, @Romancollector!

 

Your left facing (RIC 360D) and your Stop in the Name of Love denarii are particularly beautiful.

 

I too have a weakness for pretty faces and couldn’t resist this one.

image.jpeg.15c7737ee075c0ca28d7f5681caef465.jpeg

 

 

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Nice post for FF as always @Roman Collector 

I thought I'd have a few of this type, as I have quite a few Faustina I's with Ceres, but only the denarius with grain-ears and AVGVSTA reverse is in my collection:

1007579884_FaustinaI-Den.CerestorchRIC316Sep2017(0).jpg.df9b15889bead107738a7b3d2f6ee6c5.jpgFaustina I  Denarius 3rd Phase, part 2: wedding of Faustina II to M. Aurelius (c. 145-147 A.D.) Rome Mint DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust right / AVGV-STA, Ceres standing left, holding corn ears and long vertical torch.  RIC III Antoninus Pius 360a. (2.98 grams / 18 mm) eBay Sep. 2017

I have a spare too - heavier but more wear (3.11 grams):

1820711105_FaustinaI-Ceresstd_den.July2019(0).jpg.051a73d0af12ef77d42c609b402737b8.jpg

 

 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, gransuricata said:

What can you say about this one?

7 Sestercio DIVA FAUSTINA año 161 d.C. frontal.jpg

8 Sestercio DIVA FAUSTINA año 161 d.C. trasera.jpg

9 Sestercio DIVA FAUSTINA año 161 d.C. canto.jpg

The subject of this thread is Faustina the Elder. Your coin is a sestertius issued in honor of her daughter, Faustina the Younger.

It is a posthumous issue, bearing the fourth and final obverse legend used on Faustina II's posthumous coinage, DIVA FAVSTINA PIA, beginning sometime in AD 176, but it is probable that coins continued to be issued for Diva Faustina until the death of Aurelius in 180, and possibly into the early period of the reign of Commodus. The only bronze denomination bearing this obverse inscription is the sestertius; the middle bronze denomination was discontinued for Diva Faustina II after the DIVA AVG FAVSTINA obverse legend of early 176. There are no known bust varieties (veiled or left-facing, for example) of this coin.

The coin bears the reverse legend AETERNITAS S C and features Aeternitas standing facing, head left, holding a phoenix on globe in her right hand and leaning her left elbow on a column. A companion issue features the goddess enthroned facing left and holding a phoenix on globe and a scepter.

As is typical for late Antonine coinage, the engraving on this issue is typically crude in style and of low relief. The coins circulated well into the Severan period and are typically found well-worn, such as your example.

Your coin, sad to say, is low grade and has been harshly cleaned and completely stripped of patina. I hope you didn't pay very much for it; it's the stuff of dealers' pick-bins and group lots.

The specimen in my collection is not exactly museum-quality, either:

Faustina Jr AETERNITAS standing sestertius.jpg
Diva Faustina II, AD 147-175/6.
Roman orichalcum sestertius, 23.73 g, 30.8 mm, 1 h.
Rome, AD 176 or later.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA PIA, bare-headed and draped bust right.
Rev: Aeternitas standing facing, head left, holding phoenix on globe in right hand and leaning left elbow on column.
Refs: RIC 1693; BMCRE 1563-65; Cohen 7; RCV 5222; MIR 51; Banti 4.
 
Here's the companion issue.

202184709_FaustinaJrAETERNITASSCAeternitasseatedsestertius.thumb.jpg.bfcd2c7f70ce572e8fd32500b9bd12d3.jpg

Faustina II, AD 147-175.
Roman orichalcum sestertius, 24.85 g, 27.1 mm, 12 h.
Rome, early AD 176-180.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA PIA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: AETERNITAS S C, Aeternitas seated left, holding phoenix on globe and scepter.
Refs: RIC 1696; BMCRE 1566; Cohen 8; RCV 5223; MIR 52-6/10.

Edited by Roman Collector
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faustina.jpg.bf23d604737527498d1a33f9d862087d.jpg

Diva Faustina Senior. Died AD 140/1. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.14 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck under Antoninus Pius, circa AD 141-146. Draped bust right, wearing hair bound in pearls on top of her head / Pietas standing left, dropping incense on lighted and garlanded altar to left and holding acerrum (incense box). RIC III 394a (Pius); RSC 234. 

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