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    Description

    Striking Sabina Aureus

    Sabina, wife of Hadrian (Augusta, AD 128-136/7). AV aureus (20mm, 7.01 gm, 6h). Rome, AD 129. SABINA AVGVSTA, draped bust of Sabina right, wearing stephane, hair in long, single plait down neck / VES-TA, Vesta seated left, veiled, holding Palladium in right hand and scepter in left. RIC (Hadrian) 397a. BMCRE (Hadrian) 950. Calicó 1436a. Rare! An engaging portrait of this enigmatic empress, in exemplary condition. NGC Choice AU ★ 5/5 - 5/5.

    Vibia Sabina was the daughter of Matidia, the favorite niece of the emperor Trajan. Sabina married the 24-year-old Hadrian in AD 100, marking him out as the likely successor to the throne. Hadrian and Sabina's 36-year marriage remained childless and the union appears to have been coldly cordial at best. Sabina was not formally named Augusta, or Empress, until AD 128, perhaps to coincide with Hadrian receiving the title of Pater Patriae from the Senate. She accompanied Hadrian on many of his famous travels. Although Hadrian engaged in affairs with both sexes, he frowned on Sabina's extramarital friendships. In AD 122 he dismissed two courtiers for being overly familiar with her; one of these was the historian Suetonius. Sabina's close friend, the poetess Julia Balbilla, accompanied the royal couple to Egypt in AD 130, where she recorded their presence by inscribing five stanzas on the Colossi of Memnon in Thebes. Both Sabina and Balbilla were thus probably present when Hadrian's boy lover, Antinous, drowned in the Nile, plunging the emperor into extravagant grief. The tragedy seemed to kill Hadrian's wanderlust, and he and Sabina returned to their lavish villa in Tivoli. Sabina died late in AD 136 or early the following year, probably of natural causes (although there were inevitable rumors of poisoning), and Hadrian ordered her deification.



    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
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