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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numism  |  Reading For the Advanced Collector  |  Topic: The temple of the deified Hadrian and Sabina on sestertii of Antoninus Pius 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: The temple of the deified Hadrian and Sabina on sestertii of Antoninus Pius  (Read 6351 times)
curtislclay
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« on: July 25, 2010, 05:04:55 pm »

This temple appears in three variants on rare sestertii of Antoninus' fourteenth tribunician year, 151-2 AD.

1. Legend TR POT XIIII / COS IIII in two lines in exergue, S - C in field, Temple of eight Corinthian columns without cult statues, the temple flanked by a palm tree on each side. Strack 1057 cites this coin from Modena. Cohen 955 cites a specimen from the famous Dupré Collection, and that same Dupré coin was no. 2856 in Rollin & Feuardent's stock catalogue of the 1880s, graded TB or VF, which means EF in today's grading. Since then this Dupré coin has apparently disappeared, not resurfacing, as far as I know, in any of the innumerable illustrated sale catalogues published between the 1890s and today. Possibly the Modena museum acquired the Dupré specimen, but this seems unlikely; more probably it is still in private hands but just hasn't resurfaced in the sale literature. I have never seen an actual specimen or an illustration of this variety.

2. Main legend in two lines in exergue as on 1, same temple with the palm trees on each side but now with two seated cult images in the center between the columns. Strack 1056, Paris only, illustrated on pl. XIII, see scan by my wife Susan Headley below; Cohen 954, BMC p. 309. Recently I acquired what may be only the second known specimen of this sestertius, from the same dies, see Susan's scan below. The last two strokes of the date TR POT XIIII are weak on the Paris specimen, even weaker, though still faintly visible, on mine.

3. The same temple, with the palm trees and the cult statues, but now with legend PIETAS / S C in two lines in exergue, TR POT XIIII - COS IIII around. Less rare than variants 1-2, but still rare. Strack 1061 cites specimens in Berlin, Paris, and Vienna, illustrating the Berlin specimen on pl. XIII (see scan below). BMC 1869-70 has two worn specimens from the same pair of dies, the rev. of 1869 being illustrated on pl. 45.17, and coming from a different rev. die than the Berlin specimen illustrated by Strack. I had a decent specimen of this coin in my first collection, purchased from Boutin in Paris if I recall correctly, which should now be in Oxford. This coin is not represented, however, in Berk photofile, CoinArchives Pro, or Wildwinds.
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Curtis Clay
curtislclay
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2010, 07:29:40 pm »

This temple on the rare sestertii of 151-2 has sometimes been misidentified as the temple of Divus Augustus and Diva Livia, because a very similar eight-columned temple of Corinthian order, with two seated cult statues between the columns and statues on bases before the outer columns of the temple, also appeared on coins of Antoninus eight and nine years later, in 159-60 (TR P XXII-XXIII), now with the explicit legend TEMPLVM DIV AVG REST COS IIII (S - C) or AEDE DIVI AVG REST COS IIII (S - C); see image from CoinArchives below. That legend means, of course, "Antoninus restored the Temple (or Shrine) of the Divine Augustus", so the temple shown on these coins is without doubt that of Divus Augustus.

Eckhel in the 1790s, however, already realized that the temple on the earlier sestertii of 151-2 was probably instead that of Divus Hadrian and Diva Sabina, and this identification was argued at length and persuasively by Strack (1937), pp. 144-6. The main arguments are:

1. Since Antoninus, as the coins prove, restored the Temple of Divus Augustus in 159, there was no reason for him to show the same temple on his sestertii eight years earlier.

2. On the coins of 159-60, the legend explicitly states that the temple shown is that of Divus Augustus, which Antoninus had restored; but on the sestertii of 151-2 the only descriptive legend was PIETAS. Now Antoninus' restoration of the Temple of Divus Augustus could be called an act of Pietas or Duty, but he exhibited that virtue much more strongly by deifying and building a temple for his adoptive father Hadrian! The Senate hated Hadrian and had resisted Antoninus' wish to consecrate Hadrian after his death in July 138; but when Antoninus insisted, the Senate reluctantly complied, consecrated Hadrian, and voted Antoninus the name Pius, because he was so insistent on honoring his adoptive father. PIVS was from then on a constant element in Antoninus' name on the coins, and it has become part of his modern name too, Antoninus Pius. PIVS meant that he had consecrated Hadrian; therefore PIETAS was the appropriate legend on his sestertii showing the Temple of Hadrian in 151-2.

3. On his coins of 138-early 139, Antoninus added Hadrian's names Aelius and Hadrianus to his own, to honor his father and since those names were now his too because of the adoption. But in the course of 139 Antoninus dropped these names of Hadrian from his coins, because, we may assume, the circumstances of his accession were now fading into the past, and in order not to irritate the Senate unduly.

These names of Hadrian only returned one more time to Antoninus' coins, namely from sometime in the course of his fourteenth until sometime in the course of his fifteenth tribunician year. In these years Antoninus' numismatic titulature changed from

ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XIIII / COS IIII to

IMP CAES T AEL ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P / TR POT XIIII COS IIII, adding IMP CAES T AEL (very briefly, these coins are very rare) to

IMP CAES T AEL HADR ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P / TR POT XIIII (or XV) COS IIII, adding HADR too, the titles of the PIETAS sestertii, and finally back to

ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XV / COS IIII, omitting IMP CAES T and Hadrian's names as earlier.

It is hard to resist Strack's conclusion that the PIETAS Temple sestertii explain this reemergence of Hadrian's names in Antoninus' numismatic titulature: in 151/2 Antoninus completed and dedicated his Temple of Divus Hadrian, and he therefore once again added Hadrian's names to his own on the coins.

4. Finally, there are small differences between the temple shown on the coins in 151-2 and that shown in 159-60, confirming that they were in fact different temples.

a. The Temple of Augustus has two small altars (?) on the steps of the temple, which are missing from the steps of Hadrian's temple.

b. In Hadrian's temple, only the statue on the left, Hadrian himself, holds a scepter, in his left hand. In the temple of Augustus, both Augustus and Livia hold scepters, and in their right hands not their left.

c. The Temple of Augustus never shows the mysterious palm trees of the Temple of Hadrian; perhaps, I suppose, a reference to Hadrian's suppression of the Jewish revolt, or, more likely, festive decoration for the dedication of the temple, indicating victory more generally. A marvelous bronze medallion of Philip I-II and Otacilia Severa shows that for Philip's Millennial Games of 248, the obelisk on the spina of the Circus Maximus was transformed into a palm tree!

In conclusion, the PIETAS sestertii of 151-2 pretty certainly depict the Temple of Divus Hadrian, and teach us two facts that were otherwise unknown: that Antoninus completed and dedicated his Temple of Divus Hadrian in 151-2, and that that temple also included the statue of Diva Sabina, and was clearly the center of her cult too. Sabina had died and been consecrated a year or two before Hadrian.

Similarly, the coins of 159-60 prove that Antoninus must have restored the Temple of Divus Augustus in 159, and that Augustus' temple also included a statue of Diva Livia and must have been the center of her cult in addition to Augustus' cult, two facts that, again, are otherwise unattested!
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2010, 08:46:43 pm »

Looking up the Temple of Hadrian in Richardson's New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, I was interested to learn that considerable remains of this temple, including eleven of the original fifteen columns making up one of its sides, have survived until today and are now incorporated into Rome's stock exchange, near the Column of Marcus Aurelius! See the image of these columns below from Wikipedia.

The basis for the identification of this temple as Hadrian's is apparently

1. That the Notitia describing Rome's buildings by region lists the Temple of Hadrian in Regio IX, between the Column of Marcus Aurelius and the Baths of Severus Alexander and Agrippa.

2. That the podium of this temple was ornamented with figures of the provinces of the empire alternating with trophies of arms, a substantial number of which have also survived and are now in various museums. The provincial figures are appropriate for the great voyager Hadrian, who also showed them on his coins. The trophies celebrate military victory and remind us, perhaps, of the palm trees on the PIETAS Temple coins of Antoninus Pius!
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2010, 09:02:18 pm »

Thanks Curtis, very interesting.  Here is my photo of the Temple from last year.  The only thing left is the columns and the outer facade.  It's just down the street from the Pantheon.
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2010, 08:42:04 am »

Curtis,
Very interesting and well founded story; I'll make good note of it.
Jay, You have undoubtedly noticed that the whole podium of the temple is still intact and made visible just behind the wooden gates. A good two meters deep!

Frans
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ancientdave
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2010, 11:11:38 am »

Very interesting stuff here, thanks for sharing this info!
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2010, 10:26:14 pm »

I always enjoy Dr. Clay's insights and hope that I might gain a little of his knowledge through his posts.

I think it's a very interesting subject.  Dr. Clay, do you have any information or images of RCV 4547  a Sestertius of Divus Hadrian?  RCV mentions one was found in Coventina's Well.

Also, how long did Hadrian's temple continue in its original purpose?
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2010, 02:31:52 pm »

Although the monograph is focused on the reliefs of the Provinces, you will find what you are seeking about the history of the temple in Provinciae Fideles: Il fregio del tempio di Adriano in Campo MarzioMilan, Electa, 1999.  It is an official publication of the Soprintendenza Archelogica di Roma.  On the temple as such, the article, pp. 117, ff, is by Amanda Claridge, but the introductory chapter by Maria Capelli, who also edited the volume, is most informative on the history of the temple in its site.
Pat L.
Of course, the Province reliefs are extremely interesting, too.  As it happens, I got interested in the reliefs and in the temple separately before I learned that the Provinciae belong to the temple.
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curtislclay
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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2010, 12:29:37 pm »

Jay,

Thanks for the additional photo!

From the contrast to the the ant-like people and the windows and story height of the later building, one can appreciate how large such a temple was, and in addition to the temple there was a forecourt surrounded by a colonnade! No wonder that it took Antoninus thirteen years to construct the complex, and no wonder that the senators struggled mightily to prevent its erection in honor of an emperor they abhorred!

Cliff,

Cohen 1386 provides an accurate drawing of the sestertius of Divus Hadrian in Paris, which was the only specimen known to Strack 746.

Apart from the one in BM ex Coventina's Well, I think a couple of additional specimens of this sestertius appeared in auctions in the late 1990s, though I don't have the details immediately accessible. There are none in CoinArchives Pro.

Strack III, p. 26, considers that this sestertius might only have been struck in 151-2 when Hadrian's temple was dedicated, but until actual evidence for this idea can be advanced, I think it prudent to assume an issue date of 138.

Richardson doesn't say anything about the later history of Hadrian's temple.

I would be interested to read what the book Pat refers to has to say about the Antonine sestertius type and the remains which have been identified as Hadrian's temple; also a book Richardson cites, L. Cozza, Tempio di Adriano, Rome 1982.
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« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2010, 04:00:44 pm »

An analysis very interesting !
I did not know these coins.

 Smiley
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curtislclay
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« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2010, 06:38:59 pm »

If further proof were needed, Strack also points out that Antoninus commemorated his construction of a temple for his consecrated wife Faustina I with the legend PIETAS AVGVSTI on the coins.

Usually the legend is only PIETAS AVG (see below), but AVGVSTI also occurs (Strack 1246, BM 1457), so we can't expand AVG to AVGVSTAE and refer it to Faustina's sense of duty rather than Antoninus'!

So PIETAS was an entirely appropriate legend for the type showing the temple of Hadrian and Sabina.
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Curtis Clay
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