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Faustina Friday – The Aeternitas Standing, Arranging Drapery on Shoulder and Holding Torch Issues


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Friday felicitations, fellow Faustina fanatics! I hope you have a great weekend! Today we're going to talk about one of the posthumous issues for Faustina the Younger. This one depicts Aeternitas standing, arranging the drapery on her shoulder with her right hand and holding a torch in her left. It was issued in the denarius and sestertius denominations. There are no variants known of the denarii, but the sestertii may feature the empress with either a bare-headed or veiled bust. Moreover, on the veiled bust type, the head of the figure on the reverse – Aeternitas – may face to the left or to the right. The bare-headed versions of the coins are the more frequently encountered in trade and those illustrated are from my own collection. The veiled bust varieties illustrated are specimens from the British Museum collection and are labeled accordingly.

1875739390_FaustinaJrAETERNITASstandingdenarius.jpg.94f09894bb1077cd34d4b31b96bea3f6.jpg

Faustina II, AD 147-175.
Roman AR denarius, 3.51 g, 19.0 mm, 6 h.
Rome, AD 176-180.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA PIA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: AETERNITAS, Aeternitas standing facing, head left, drawing out veil with right hand and holding long vertical torch in left hand.
Refs: RIC 739; BMCRE 706-707; RSC/Cohen 2; RCV 5212; MIR 50-4/10; CRE 155.
Notes: Ex-Harlan Berk.


1338073255_FaustinaJrAETERNITASSCstandingleftholdingtorchsestertiusbareheaded.jpg.d43100f6700167564ae45510c69814fd.jpg

Faustina II, AD 147-175.
Roman orichalcum sestertius, 20.85 g, 28.6 mm, 5 h.
Rome, AD 176-180.
Obv: DIVA FAVSTINA PIA, bare-headed and draped bust, right.
Rev: AETERNITAS, Aeternitas standing facing, head left, drawing out veil with right hand and holding long vertical torch in left hand.
Refs: RIC 1692; BMCRE 1558-59; Cohen 4; RCV –; MIR 50-6/10.


745704091_FaustinaJrAETERNITASSCstandingleftholdingtorchsestertiusveiledbustBMC.jpg.cd8921d1d4c3f89cb9da4224690d165b.jpg

Sestertius with the veiled bust type and Aeternitas standing facing, head left, RIC 1691, BMCRE 1560. British Museum specimen.


399948521_FaustinaJrAETERNITASSCstandingrightholdingtorchsestertiusveiledbustBMC.jpg.99ff6afc8569cae1267c37136beea1a6.jpg

Sestertius with the veiled bust type and Aeternitas standing facing, head right, RIC –, BMCRE 1562. British Museum specimen.


Dating the Issue

There were
four obverse legends used for the posthumous coinage of Faustina the Younger. Pace Mattingly[1] but consistent with Szaivert,[2] they certainly appeared in the following chronological order:

DIVAE FAVSTINAE PIAE
DIVAE FAVSTIN AVG MATR CASTROR
DIVA AVG FAVSTINA
DIVA FAVSTINA PIA

The order of the legends is established by the following observations. The earliest obverse legend must be that which appears on the coins of the MATRI CASTRORVM reverse type, which first appears on lifetime issues but then continues after her death. These coins feature the dative case DIVAE FAVSTINAE PIAE inscription on the obverse. I have discussed these coins in depth
previously here at NVMIS FORVMS. Faustina’s Mater Castrorum title is then moved to the obverse as DIVAE FAVSTIN AVG MATR CASTROR for the CONSECRATIO reverse types featuring Pietas, the empress's ustrinum, and an eagle flying left, carrying the deified empress to the celestial realm. These coins were issued after the MATER CASTRORVM reverse type because the ustrinum reverse design was also used with the later DIVA AVG FAVSTINA obverse legend and the Pietas sacrificing and eagle flying left designs were used with the still later DIVA FAVSTINA PIA obverse legend. Indeed, Coin Talk member Aestimare has performed a die-linkage study of the sestertii of the ustrinum reverse type and found two die reverse die linkages between dies with the FAVSTIN AVG MATR CASTROR and the DIVA AVG FAVSTINA obverse legends, demonstrating these obverse legends were used in rapid succession. The DIVA FAVSTINA PIA legend is the latest. It appears on a large and varied series of reverse types, which continued to be issued for a considerable period. It is probable that coins continued to be issued for Diva Faustina until the death of Aurelius in 180.[3]

A further chronological indication is provided by the use of the veiled portrait, which, at the beginning, is used exclusively on coins issued with the DIVAE FAVSTINAE PIAE legend. But, with the DIVAE FAVSTIN AVG MATR CASTROR legend, the bare-headed portrait is re-introduced, and by the final DIVA FAVSTINA PIA legend, it is dominant and the veiled head becomes scarce.

Although no formal die-linkage study has been done, we see the following trends: a very limited series of reverse types, some of which use two different obverse legends, followed by a large number of reverse types bearing the final DIVA FAVSTINA PIA obverse legend. Thus, it appears that the first three obverse legends were used in rapid succession, probably with some overlap, following the empress's death in November AD 175. This was then followed by numerous coin types with the fourth obverse legend, indicating a long period of production. I have accordingly dated the coins illustrated above to AD 176-180.

Let's see your posthumous coins of Faustina the Younger or anything you feel is relevant!

~~~

Notes

1. Mattingly’s suggested chronology is as follows: (a) DIVA AVG FAVSTINA, (b) DIVAE FAVSTIN AVG MATR CASTROR, (c) DIVAE FAVSTINAE PIAE, (d) DIVA FAVSTINA PIA. See 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. cxii.

2. Szaivert, Wolfgang, Die Münzprägung der Kaiser Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus und Commodus (161/192), Moneta Imperii Romani 18. Vienna, 1989, p. 231; Beckmann, op. cit., p. 231 (see “Phase 5”).

3. Szaivert, ibid.

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29 minutes ago, Roman Collector said:

There are no variants known of the denarii, but the sestertii may feature the empress with either a bare-headed or veiled bust.

Nice write up, as always, but have you overlooked this type ?

normal_Faustina_II_41.jpg.815a63aa5dfb39a6b21d6ac6a6c4a4de.jpg

Faustina II
AR-Denar, Rome mint, posthumous AD 176 - 181
Obv.: DIVA FAVSTINA PIA, draped and veiled bust right
Rev.: AETERNITAS, Aeternitas standing front, head left, arranging veil and holding torch.
Ag, 3.42g, 18mm
Ref.: RIC 738, Kamp. 38.87, CRE-I 156 [R]

 

 

Edited by shanxi
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Posted (edited)
44 minutes ago, shanxi said:

Nice write up, as always, but have you overlooked this type ?

normal_Faustina_II_41.jpg.815a63aa5dfb39a6b21d6ac6a6c4a4de.jpg

Faustina II
AR-Denar, Rome mint, posthumous AD 176 - 181
Obv.: DIVA FAVSTINA PIA, draped and veiled bust right
Rev.: AETERNITAS, Aeternitas standing front, head left, arranging veil and holding torch.
Ag, 3.42g, 18mm
Ref.: RIC 738, Kamp. 38.87, CRE-I 156 [R]

 

 

I apparently have!!

Doh.jpg.8cee978da07e70523fce8b237035d307.jpg

Edited by Roman Collector
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On 8/19/2022 at 4:47 AM, shanxi said:

the sestertii may feature the empress with either a bare-headed or veiled bust.

Would it be too much to ask the ancients for a Sestertii with a veiled head and bare bust???😘

Great stuff RC! Thanks for the enlightenment as always!

Here's her mama with AETERNITAS:

1607933748_Screenshot_20210825-135611_PicCollage-removebg-preview2.png.80ed25bb1c349c2ff0f2fa3023e3cc59.png

Screenshot_20210717-123502_PicCollage_2-removebg-preview.png.786b2e970ac4fbbcae3d48ccd2739e4e.png

Here's her dead as Dillinger:

Screenshot_20210109-114440_PicCollage-removebg-preview.png.4039f65747d31a51c7ae3caae375d267.png

AETERNITAS(ish)

2AA9B0B3-0F03-4A2A-A50B-889FBAF1F45B-3045-000004006B3560CA.jpg.23f85422e3004ac1cead35c50eb0b78d.jpg

And for anyone else upset by the lack of bare busts:

2025571_1625039758.l-removebg-preview.png.15f79383afec6cd3fbb7ea43a757b326.png

2064830_1626961536.l-removebg-preview.png.408c08e0a1f4bff07e63639a26b622eb.png

Edited by Ryro
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2 hours ago, Restitutor said:

Don’t have any Diva Faustina II yet but I do have an Aeternitas of Diva Faustina I. Do we know what the circles on the belly represent? 

9426AF56-C843-426A-BE64-C1FA1BE506BA.png.fd5382c818966a6e22c68a764b90401c.png

Many numismatists interpret the dots on Aeternitas' belly to be stars in the heavens.

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