Roman Empire

Antoninus Pius, Emperor AD 138-161

RIC 199c; BMC 725; Calicó 1556, Superb Mint State

Rome, AD 153/4. ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XVII, laureate head of Antoninus Pius left. Reverse: COS IIII, emperor, togate, standing facing, head left, holding globe and scroll.

Ex NAC 105 (9 May 2018), 34; private treaty sale by Freeman & Sear, August 2008; Spink Taisei 41 (30 April 1992), 61; Sotheby’s with Roland Michel, Geneva (17 November 1989), 37

Antoninus Pius earned his cognomen “the Pious” from his eloquent petitioning of the Senate to deify his adoptive father Hadrian when they were more of a mind to ignore him as a dead mortal. He further pleased the Senate by undoing many of Hadrian’s policies. He did not spend his days traveling to the far reaches of the Empire, but instead remained in Italy, appointing the tasks of provincial administration to qualified individuals. His use of brief shows of force rather than great campaigns of conquest allowed him maintain the territorial integrity of the Empire and keep the frontiers in check. By avoiding extensive travel, large military operations, and cutting back excess expenditures the Emperor reportedly managed to leave 675 million denarii in the imperial coffers at his death in AD 161. Unlike in the case of Hadrian, there was no question at all about whether Antoninus Pius should be deified.