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    Description

    Diva Faustina II, wife of Marcus Aurelius (died AD 175/6). Orichalcum sestertius (21.40 gm). Rome, AD 177. DIVA FAVSTINA PIA, draped bust of Faustina right / CONSECRATIO S C, large flaming altar. RIC (Marcus) 1706. An outstanding specimen, with a lovely portrait and an untouched deep green patina. Choice extremely fine.

    Faustina the Younger was royal through and through, being respectively the daughter, wife and mother of three Roman emperors-- Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Yet our biographical knowledge of her is scant, and most contemporary accounts of her character are unflattering. The historians Cassius Dio and Aurelius Victor charge her with flagrant adultery during the long military campaigns of her husband, Marcus Aurelius. She is accused of dallying with soldiers, dockworkers and gladiators, among others-- indeed a strong rumor took hold that Commodus was the product of a liaison with a famous gladiator. Balanced against these attacks is her husband's evident devotion to her. In his Meditations, Marcus thanks providence that he had been "blessed with a wife so obedient, so affectionate, so genuine." Faustina and Marcus also had at least 13 children during their 30-year marriage, the demands of which would seem to leave little time for outside dalliances. Marcus frequently took Faustina with him on his journeys and military campaigns, and she was even granted the unprecedented title "Mother of the Camp" (Matris Castrorum). During one such journey, Faustina took ill and died in mid AD 175 in small Cappadocian village, later named Faustinopolis in her honor. Marcus grieved deeply and ordered her deification. This magnificent sestertius, struck to mark the occasion, confirms that whatever the truth of her character, her beauty was undeniable.


    More Information: Faustina the Younger was royal through and through, being respectively the daughter, wife and mother of three Roman emperors-- Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Yet our biographical knowledge of her is scant, and most contemporary accounts of her character are unflattering. The historians Cassius Dio and Aurelius Victor charge her with flagrant adultery during the long military campaigns of her husband, Marcus Aurelius. She is accused of dallying with soldiers, dockworkers and gladiators, among others-- indeed a strong rumor took hold that Commodus was the product of a liaison with a famous gladiator. Balanced against these attacks is her husband's evident devotion to her. In his Meditations, Marcus thanks providence that he had been "blessed with a wife so obedient, so affectionate, so genuine." Faustina and Marcus also had at least 13 children during their 30-year marriage, the demands of which would seem to leave little time for outside dialliances. Marcus frequently took Faustina with him on his journeys and military campaigns, and she was even granted the unprecidented title "Mother of the Camp" (Matris Castrorum). During one such journey, Faustina took ill and died in mid AD 175 in small Cappadocian village, later named Faustinopolis in her honor. Marcus grieved deeply and ordered her deification. This magnificent sestertius, struck to mark the occasion, confirms that whatever the truth of her character, her beauty was undeniable.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2011
    2nd-3rd Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 319

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