(98) Antoninus Pius - AV aureus, after A.D. 141, 7.25 g. (inv. 91.173).
Obverse: Draped bust of Faustina the Elder r.; DIVA AVG(VSTA) FAVSTINA: Divine Faustina Augusta.
Reverse: Fortuna standing l., holding patera in r. and rudder on globe in l.; AETERNITAS: Aeternitas.
Provenance: L.S. Werner, 1960.
Bibliography: H. Mattingly and E.A. Sydenham, The Roman Imperial Coinage III: Antoninus Pius to Commodus (London 1930) 349a.

Annia Galeria Faustina (the Elder) married Antoninus Pius about A.D. 110. She bore him four children, two sons and two daughters, one of whom, Faustina the Younger, was destined to be the wife of her cousin and future emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Faustina the Elder received the title Augusta upon Antoninus' accession in A.D. 138. She died in A.D. 141. Antoninus, who was devoted to her, had her consecrated and honored her memory with an extensive series of coins, a temple, and a charity for poor orphan girls (see no. 99).

In her portraits Faustina wears her hair in many small braids gathered together and piled on top of her head in a bun. Her fleshy, matronly face may reflect her appearance at the time of her death. Although the legend on the reverse is Aeternitas or eternity, the figure has the attributes of Fortuna, and on other coins the same legend is accompanied by different figures. The legend must then refer to the undying memory of the empress and the various figures to her virtues. The usual attribute of Fortuna is the rudder with which she guides the world, represented by a globe.


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