Gold Aureus of Faustina the Elder

28 Jul 2021  Wed

Ancient Roman coins are known for featuring a wide variety of female figures. Many of the women on the Roman coins were placed there because of a familial relationship to the ruler, but women certainly had a place in this most public of media nearly 2,000 years ago.

Shown above is a Gold Aureus Coin of Faustina the Elder. Annia Galeria Faustina the Elder, sometimes referred to as Faustina I was a Roman empress and wife of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius. As empress, Faustina was well respected and was renowned for her beauty and wisdom. After her death Antoninus ordered various coins with her portrait struck, inscribed DIVA FAVSTINA ("Divine Faustina") and elaborately decorated.

The Gold Aureus was struck circa A.D. 138 to 141 depicts on the obverse a draped bust of the empress with a complicated hairstyle and crowned by a wreath of hair. The reverse depicts a Veiled Juno with patera (a broad, shallow dish used for pouring libations) and sceptre, standing, facing to her right, with a peacock at her feet looking up at her.

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