Jump to content

Faustina Friday – a Transitional Pietas Denarius of Faustina the Elder


Recommended Posts

Ready For The Weekend Dog GIF by Microsoft Cloud

Friday felicitations, fellow Faustina fanatics! I hope this weekend provides you with plenty of time to enjoy your collections. This week, I'm going to discuss a variety of the PIETAS AVG reverse type depicting Pietas standing left and dropping incense on a lighted altar with her right hand and holding an incense box (acerra) in her left. The variety in question bears the DIVA FAVSTINA obverse legend introduced in 145 CE upon the marriage of Faustina the Younger to Marcus Aurelius.[1] The type appears to have been issued only in the denarius denomination,[2] and is quite rare, perhaps struck from only two die pairs. Sadly, I do not own a specimen of this type and must illustrate it with an auction specimen. After an exhaustive search of online and print sources, I have been able to identify only four specimens of the coin, of which three are illustrated. The fourth is the specimen in the Nationalmuseum in Budapest, cited by Strack.[3]

FaustinaSrPIETASAVGaltardenariusDIVAFAVSTINAGM.jpg.21d6f51c2f717d06214402cfa10555f3.jpg

Gorny & Mosch Giessener Münzhandlung, Auction 181, lot 2210, 13 October 2009.


FaustinaSrPIETASAVGaltardenariusDIVAFAVSTINAMC.jpg.db5dca9455b5ad12e30b3e2a2013e78f.jpg

Macho & Chlapovič, Auction 2, lot 70, 28 April 2012.

FaustinaSrPIETASAVGaltardenariusDIVAFAVSTINATM.jpg.fd79c60905358b9ae363238db956edfc.jpg

Specimen illustrated without citation, Temeryazev and Makarenko no. 113, p. 48.[4]


A Transitional Type

I believe this coin was issued in 145 CE around the time of the marriage of Faustina the Younger to Marcus Aurelius in April of that year.[5] If so, it would represent a transitional type between the PIETAS AVG reverse types of 140-145 CE, which bear the DIVA AVG FAVSTINA obverse legend, and the AVGVSTA reverse type of 145-150 CE, which similarly depicts Pietas before an altar on its reverse and the DIVA FAVSTINA obverse legend.

I have previously discussed the PIETAS AVG reverse type and its dating in detail here and I will not repeat the discussion in detail. Briefly, we know the type was first issued shortly after the death of Faustina the Elder in October 140 CE and it was issued as late as 145. Here is a specimen from my collection featuring the obverse legend DIVA AVG FAVSTINA, in use from 140-145 CE.


FaustinaSrPIETASAVGaltardenarius.jpg.c3883c6b568cde18ae947f8c04eb31cf.jpg

Faustina I, 138-140 CE.
Roman AR denarius, 3.29 g, 18.6 mm, 8 h.
Rome, 140-145 CE.
Obv: DIVA AVG FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: Pietas, veiled and draped, standing left, dropping incense on lighted altar with right hand and holding box in left hand.
Refs: RIC 394a; BMCRE 311-314; RSC/Cohen 234; Strack 428; RCV 4598; CRE 114.


Note that this reverse design depicts Pietas with her right hand lowered, dropping incense on the altar. This is identical to the reverse design on the Temeryazev and Makarenko plate coin illustrated above but with the earlier DIVA AVG FAVSTINA obverse legend.

Moreover, I have found a specimen of this type that is a reverse die match to the Temeryazev and Makarenko plate coin illustrated above.


FaustinaSrPIETASAVGaltardenariusLanz.jpg.2b793bf18e5e7683f218380711d5fe56.jpg

A denarius of the PIETAS AVG type depicting the usual DIVA AVG FAVSTINA obverse legend (RIC 394a) struck with the same reverse die as Temeryazev and Makarenko no. 113. Numismatik Lanz München, Auction 128, lot 462, 22 May 2006.


This die-linkage confirms the use of an older reverse die paired with a new DIVA FAVSTINA obverse die introduced in 145 CE. Beckmann describes an analogous situation with an old DIVA AVG FAVSTINA aureus obverse die paired with two different reverses bearing the title AVGVSTA. He deduces, “This shows that the legend modification did not result in a break in production, even though it was connected to a dramatic change in the types of the cold coinage.”[6]

The year 145 CE also marked the introduction of a Pietas reverse type with a slightly different design from the earlier PIETAS AVG type,[7] but with the AVGVSTA reverse legend. I illustrate this with a specimen from my own collection, below.


FaustinaSrAVGVSTAPietassacrificingandholdingboxofincensedenarius.jpg.9d4403d11e3a2286e2152f67ae71ac4f.jpg

Faustina I, 138-140 CE.
Roman AR denarius, 3.51 g, 18.3 mm, 6 h.
Rome, 145-150 CE.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: Pietas, veiled and draped, standing left, raising right hand over lighted altar and holding incense box in left hand.
Refs: RIC 373; BMCRE 449-51; Cohen 124; Strack 477; RCV 4589; CRE 112.


Note that this reverse design depicts Pietas with her right hand raised over the altar. This is identical to the reverse iconography on the Gorny & Mosch and Macho & Chlapovič coins illustrated above but with the later AVGVSTA reverse legend. In the case of the Gorny & Mosch and Macho & Chlapovič specimens, which were struck with the same die pair, I initially postulated that the die-engraver charged with adding the AVGVSTA reverse inscription to the updated Pietas reverse design engraved PIETAS AVG out of habit on a single anomalous reverse die before realizing his mistake.

But after formulating this hypothesis, Paul Dinsdale pointed out to me the existence of this specimen featuring the DIVA AVG FAVSTINA legend of 140-145 CE paired with the expected PIETAS AVG reverse legend but depicting Pietas in the later pose, with her right hand raised over the altar. The demonstrates that the depiction of Pietas with her right hand raised was in use before the AVGVSTA reverse legend was introduced and that a die-engraver’s error is not necessary to explain the type.


FaustinaSrPIETASAVGaltardenariusIbercoin.jpg.830b5cc9d20bd19d219cd568a9a45e3f.jpg

Pietas on this denarius of the DIVA AVG FAVSTINA/PIETAS AVG type is depicted with her right hand raised, like the iconography on the later AVGVSTA type. Ibercoin Online Auction 70, lot 366, 14 July 2022.


Therefore, this rare denarius pairing the DIVA FAVSTINA obverse inscription introduced in 145 CE with the earlier PIETAS AVG reverse inscription seems to have occurred through the ongoing use of preexisting PIETAS AVG reverse dies following the introduction of the DIVA FAVSTINA obverse legend intended to be paired with the new AVGVSTA reverse types. As such, these coins might be considered mules. I would love to see the Budapest specimen of this variety cited in Strack to see if it is a die-match to any of the three specimens illustrated above.

Do you have any thoughts about this elusive variety? As always, please post comments, coins, or anything you feel is relevant!

~~~

Notes


1. Beckmann, Martin. Diva Faustina: Coinage and Cult in Rome and the Provinces. American Numismatic Society, 2012, Die Chart 1 and pp. 55 ff.

2. The aureus of this type (RIC 395a), supposedly depicting Pietas dropping incense on a candelabrum-type altar, is doubtful. After an exhaustive search of online and print resources, I have been unable to confirm the existence of this coin. Moreover, RIC’s citation of the
"Schulman Cat., 1919" appears to be in error, which was later propagated in BMCRE. See Mattingly, Harold and Edward A. Sydenham (RIC). The Roman Imperial Coinage. III, Spink, 1930, p. 74 and Mattingly, Harold, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, vol. IV: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. Introduction, indexes and plates. London, BMP, 1968, p. 67. See this discussion here at Numis Forums.

3. Strack, Paul L., Untersuchungen zur Römischen Reichsprägung des Zweiten Jahrhunderts, vol. 3, Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit des Antoninus Pius. Stuttgart 1937, no. 462.

4. Temeryazev, S. A., and T. P. Makarenko (CRE). The Coinage of Roman Empresses. San Bernardino, CreateSpace, 2017.


5. Birley, Anthony R. Marcus Aurelius: A Biography. New York: Routledge, 1966, pp. 90-91.

6. Beckmann, op. cit., p. 55.

7. Beckmann, op. cit., p. 58.

  • Like 7
  • Clap 1
  • Cool 1
  • Heart Eyes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Roman Collector said:

Ready For The Weekend Dog GIF by Microsoft Cloud

Friday felicitations, fellow Faustina fanatics! I hope this weekend provides you with plenty of time to enjoy your collections. This week, I'm going to discuss a variety of the PIETAS AVG reverse type depicting Pietas standing left and dropping incense on a lighted altar with her right hand and holding an incense box (acerra) in her left. The variety in question bears the DIVA FAVSTINA obverse legend introduced in 145 CE upon the marriage of Faustina the Younger to Marcus Aurelius.[1] The type appears to have been issued only in the denarius denomination,[2] and is quite rare, perhaps struck from only two die pairs. Sadly, I do not own a specimen of this type and must illustrate it with an auction specimen. After an exhaustive search of online and print sources, I have been able to identify only four specimens of the coin, of which three are illustrated. The fourth is the specimen in the Nationalmuseum in Budapest, cited by Strack.[3]

FaustinaSrPIETASAVGaltardenariusDIVAFAVSTINAGM.jpg.21d6f51c2f717d06214402cfa10555f3.jpg

Gorny & Mosch Giessener Münzhandlung, Auction 181, lot 2210, 13 October 2009.


FaustinaSrPIETASAVGaltardenariusDIVAFAVSTINAMC.jpg.db5dca9455b5ad12e30b3e2a2013e78f.jpg

Macho & Chlapovič, Auction 2, lot 70, 28 April 2012.

FaustinaSrPIETASAVGaltardenariusDIVAFAVSTINATM.jpg.fd79c60905358b9ae363238db956edfc.jpg

Specimen illustrated without citation, Temeryazev and Makarenko no. 113, p. 48.[4]


A Transitional Type

I believe this coin was issued in 145 CE around the time of the marriage of Faustina the Younger to Marcus Aurelius in April of that year.[5] If so, it would represent a transitional type between the PIETAS AVG reverse types of 140-145 CE, which bear the DIVA AVG FAVSTINA obverse legend, and the AVGVSTA reverse type of 145-150 CE, which similarly depicts Pietas before an altar on its reverse and the DIVA FAVSTINA obverse legend.

I have previously discussed the PIETAS AVG reverse type and its dating in detail here and I will not repeat the discussion in detail. Briefly, we know the type was first issued shortly after the death of Faustina the Elder in October 140 CE and it was issued as late as 145. Here is a specimen from my collection featuring the obverse legend DIVA AVG FAVSTINA, in use from 140-145 CE.


FaustinaSrPIETASAVGaltardenarius.jpg.c3883c6b568cde18ae947f8c04eb31cf.jpg

Faustina I, 138-140 CE.
Roman AR denarius, 3.29 g, 18.6 mm, 8 h.
Rome, 140-145 CE.
Obv: DIVA AVG FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: Pietas, veiled and draped, standing left, dropping incense on lighted altar with right hand and holding box in left hand.
Refs: RIC 394a; BMCRE 311-314; RSC/Cohen 234; Strack 428; RCV 4598; CRE 114.


Note that this reverse design depicts Pietas with her right hand lowered, dropping incense on the altar. This is identical to the reverse design on the Temeryazev and Makarenko plate coin illustrated above but with the earlier DIVA AVG FAVSTINA obverse legend.

Moreover, I have found a specimen of this type that is a reverse die match to the Temeryazev and Makarenko plate coin illustrated above.


FaustinaSrPIETASAVGaltardenariusLanz.jpg.2b793bf18e5e7683f218380711d5fe56.jpg

A denarius of the PIETAS AVG type depicting the usual DIVA AVG FAVSTINA obverse legend (RIC 394a) struck with the same reverse die as Temeryazev and Makarenko no. 113. Numismatik Lanz München, Auction 128, lot 462, 22 May 2006.


This die-linkage confirms the use of an older reverse die paired with a new DIVA FAVSTINA obverse die introduced in 145 CE. Beckmann describes an analogous situation with an old DIVA AVG FAVSTINA aureus obverse die paired with two different reverses bearing the title AVGVSTA. He deduces, “This shows that the legend modification did not result in a break in production, even though it was connected to a dramatic change in the types of the cold coinage.”[6]

The year 145 CE also marked the introduction of a Pietas reverse type with a slightly different design from the earlier PIETAS AVG type,[7] but with the AVGVSTA reverse legend. I illustrate this with a specimen from my own collection, below.


FaustinaSrAVGVSTAPietassacrificingandholdingboxofincensedenarius.jpg.9d4403d11e3a2286e2152f67ae71ac4f.jpg

Faustina I, 138-140 CE.
Roman AR denarius, 3.51 g, 18.3 mm, 6 h.
Rome, 145-150 CE.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: Pietas, veiled and draped, standing left, raising right hand over lighted altar and holding incense box in left hand.
Refs: RIC 373; BMCRE 449-51; Cohen 124; Strack 477; RCV 4589; CRE 112.


Note that this reverse design depicts Pietas with her right hand raised over the altar. This is identical to the reverse iconography on the Gorny & Mosch and Macho & Chlapovič coins illustrated above but with the later AVGVSTA reverse legend. In the case of the Gorny & Mosch and Macho & Chlapovič specimens, which were struck with the same die pair, I initially postulated that the die-engraver charged with adding the AVGVSTA reverse inscription to the updated Pietas reverse design engraved PIETAS AVG out of habit on a single anomalous reverse die before realizing his mistake.

But after formulating this hypothesis, Paul Dinsdale pointed out to me the existence of this specimen featuring the DIVA AVG FAVSTINA legend of 140-145 CE paired with the expected PIETAS AVG reverse legend but depicting Pietas in the later pose, with her right hand raised over the altar. The demonstrates that the depiction of Pietas with her right hand raised was in use before the AVGVSTA reverse legend was introduced and that a die-engraver’s error is not necessary to explain the type.


FaustinaSrPIETASAVGaltardenariusIbercoin.jpg.830b5cc9d20bd19d219cd568a9a45e3f.jpg

Pietas on this denarius of the DIVA AVG FAVSTINA/PIETAS AVG type is depicted with her right hand raised, like the iconography on the later AVGVSTA type. Ibercoin Online Auction 70, lot 366, 14 July 2022.


Therefore, this rare denarius pairing the DIVA FAVSTINA obverse inscription introduced in 145 CE with the earlier PIETAS AVG reverse inscription seems to have occurred through the ongoing use of preexisting PIETAS AVG reverse dies following the introduction of the DIVA FAVSTINA obverse legend intended to be paired with the new AVGVSTA reverse types. As such, these coins might be considered mules. I would love to see the Budapest specimen of this variety cited in Strack to see if it is a die-match to any of the three specimens illustrated above.

Do you have any thoughts about this elusive variety? As always, please post comments, coins, or anything you feel is relevant!

~~~

Notes


1. Beckmann, Martin. Diva Faustina: Coinage and Cult in Rome and the Provinces. American Numismatic Society, 2012, Die Chart 1 and pp. 55 ff.

2. The aureus of this type (RIC 395a), supposedly depicting Pietas dropping incense on a candelabrum-type altar, is doubtful. After an exhaustive search of online and print resources, I have been unable to confirm the existence of this coin. Moreover, RIC’s citation of the
"Schulman Cat., 1919" appears to be in error, which was later propagated in BMCRE. See Mattingly, Harold and Edward A. Sydenham (RIC). The Roman Imperial Coinage. III, Spink, 1930, p. 74 and Mattingly, Harold, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, vol. IV: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. Introduction, indexes and plates. London, BMP, 1968, p. 67. See this discussion here at Numis Forums.

3. Strack, Paul L., Untersuchungen zur Römischen Reichsprägung des Zweiten Jahrhunderts, vol. 3, Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit des Antoninus Pius. Stuttgart 1937, no. 462.

4. Temeryazev, S. A., and T. P. Makarenko (CRE). The Coinage of Roman Empresses. San Bernardino, CreateSpace, 2017.


5. Birley, Anthony R. Marcus Aurelius: A Biography. New York: Routledge, 1966, pp. 90-91.

6. Beckmann, op. cit., p. 55.

7. Beckmann, op. cit., p. 58.

Thanks for the informative research ☺️.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...