Roman Empire

Lucilla, Empress AD 164-182

RIC 779; BMC 347; Calicó 2216 (same dies), Superb Mint State

Rome, jointly under Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, 166-169. LVCILLA AVGVSTA, draped bust of Lucilla right. Reverse: PVDICITIA, Pudicitia standing facing, head left, drawing back her veil from face.

Ex DeBakey Collection (Nomos 17, 26 October 2018), 268; NAC 84 (20 May 2015), 1044

As a means of clearly marking Lucius Verus as his heir, Marcus Aurelius married him to his daughter Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla in AD 164. At this time Lucilla also received the title of Augusta and was recognized as the future empress. Unfortunately, Verus died in AD 169, causing Aurelius to prepare his son Commodus to be his successor. Lucilla was married off to Ti. Claudius Pompeianus Quintianus a powerful member of the Syrian elite, dashing her hopes of ever becoming empress. After the death of Aurelius, Commodus assumed the throne, but exhibited increasingly erratic behavior that alienated much of the Roman aristocracy. In AD 182, Lucilla took advantage of the situation and formulated a plot to have Commodus assassinated and herself and her husband raised to the imperial purple. The plot, which mostly involved relatives of Lucilla and Quintianus, was given away too soon through an outburst of dramatic dialogue before the dagger hit home and Commodus was able to call for his guards in time. All of the actors were arrested and punished. Lucilla was banished to the island of Capri where she was executed in AD 183.