Roman Empire

Diva Faustina I, Empress Died AD 140/1

RIC 348; BMC 359; Calicó 1747, Superb Mint State

Rome, under Antoninus Pius. DIVA FAVSTINA, draped bust of Faustina I right. Reverse: AETE-R-NITAS, Fortuna standing facing, head left, holding globe and rudder.

Ex George W. La Borde Collection (NAC 91, 23 May 2016), 23; “An American Collector” [William H. Williams] Collection (NAC 31, 26 October 2005), 52

Faustina the Elder was the well-respected wife of Antoninus Pius when he succeeded Hadrian as emperor in AD 138. When she died only two years later, Antoninus Pius was devastated and went to great lengths to honor her memory. He had the Senate declare her a divinity and ordered the construction of a temple to the Diva Faustina in the Forum as well as a monumental column depicting her apotheosis. Her splendid funeral and her rise ascension to the gods was celebrated on the Roman imperial coinage and even spread to the provinces where she was also commemorated on coins as a new goddess. The CONSECRATIO issues struck in Rome seem to have been produced and distributed at the time of Faustina’s funeral, but the AETERNITAS issues are now thought to have been struck for a memorial celebration held on the ten-year anniversary of her death.