(124) Carinus - AV aureus, A.D. 283-285, 5.38 g. (inv. 93.017).
Obverse: Diademed and draped bust of Magnia Urbica r.; MAGNIA VRBICA AVG(VSTA): Magnia Urbica Augusta.
Reverse: Venus standing r., holding apple in l., lifting mantle from shoulder with r.; VENERI VICTRICI: to Venus Victrix.
Provenance: Harlan Berk, 1990.
Bibliography: P.H. Webb, The Roman Imperial Coinage V.2 (London 1933) 340.

If little is known of the short-lived soldier-emperors of the third century, even less is known of their wives. In some cases not even their names are known, and in others the coinage of their husbands provides the only record of their existence. Magnia Urbica, wife of Carinus (see no. 123), who ruled from A.D. 283 to 285, is known only from coins, which tell us that she had received the title Augusta. If her portrait actually records her features, she was young (Carinus was in his early thirties when he became emperor) and beautiful. She wears an elaborate hairstyle characteristic of the period, with her hair softly waved backward, then braided, with the braid pinned on the top of her head by her diadem.

The reverse depicts Venus Victrix holding the apple which she won in the Judgment of Paris. Venus had been associated with Augustae since the first Augustus claimed descent from her, and Venus in the form of Victrix was especially appropriate for a fair young empress (see no. 101).


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