(101) Antoninus Pius - AE sestertius, A.D. 146-161, 27.16 g. (inv. 91.183).
Obverse: Draped bust of Faustina the Younger r.; FAVSTINA AVG(VSTA) PII AVG(VSTI) FIL(IA): Faustina Augusta, daughter of Pius Augustus.
Reverse: Venus standing l., holding apple in r. and scepter in l.; S(ENATVS)-C(ONSVLTO): by decree of the Senate; VENVS: Venus.
Provenance: Münzen und Medaillen, 1972.
Bibliography: H. Mattingly and E.A. Sydenham, The Roman Imperial Coinage III: Antoninus Pius to Commodus (London 1930) 1387.

Female members of the imperial family were often associated with major goddesses of the Roman Pantheon such as Juno, Ceres, and Venus. Venus in particular was identified with empresses. On this sestertius of Antoninus Pius in honor of his daughter Faustina the Younger, Venus holds an apple, the prize she was awarded when judged the most beautiful goddess in the Judgment of Paris. After Faustina's death and consecration, her husband, Marcus Aurelius, erected an altar to her before the temple of Venus.


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