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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Types ▸ Family & ChildrenView Options:  |  |  | 

Family and Children on Ancient Coins

Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D.

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Vitellius' children, portrayed on this denarius, thought to have been named Vitellius Germanicus and Vitellia, were born to his second wife, Galeria Fundana. When Vitellius was made emperor by the senate, his son, who was about six years old, was sent to Lugdunum to meet him upon his arrival from Germany. The boy may have perished with his father, others say he was executed in 70, on orders of the praetorian prefect Licinius Mucianus. Vespasian arranged an excellent marriage for Vitellius' daughter and provided her with a wedding gown and dowry. Vitellius had another son, Petronianus, by his first wife. He died long before Vitellius became emperor. It was widely believed that Vitellius had poisoned him.
SH86480. Silver denarius, RIC I 103, RSC II 2, BMCRE I 29, BnF III 62, Hunter I -, SRCV I -, F, toned, tight flan, obverse slightly off center, scratches, weight 3.090 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, late Apr - 20 Dec 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVGVST TR P, laureate head right; reverse LIBERI IMP GERM AVG, confronted draped busts of Vitellius' son (on left) and daughter (thought to have been named Vitellius Germanicus and Vitellia); very rare; $720.00 (612.00)


Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius

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"Saeculi Felicitas" means happy times, referring to the empire's new heirs. The two infants are the twin sons of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina Junior, Commodus and Antoninus, born 31 August 161, at Lanuvium, near Rome. Antoninus died at age four. Commodus succeeded Marcus Aurelius as emperor.
RS85787. Silver denarius, RIC III MA712; RSC II 191; BMCRE IV MA139; Hunter II p. 352, 16; SRCV II 5260, Choice VF, well centered, light toning, light marks, edge cracks, weight 3.155 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under Marcus Aurelius, Sep 161 - 162 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, diademed and draped bust right; reverse SAECVLI FELICIT (era of good fortune), the twin infant boys Commodus and Antonius seated facing on a draped throne; $250.00 (212.50)


Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Julia Domna and her children as Terra and the Four Seasons! "The flatterers of Julia Domna pretended that all things were owing to her. The star-besprinkled globe represents the Roman world, which with her husband Septimius Severus she governed; and to the empire of which she destines her two sons, Caracalla and Geta, who, together with as many daughters, are the proof of her fecundity." -- Rasche, T. ii pl l p 932.
RS85789. Silver denarius, RIC IV S549 (R), RSC III 35, BMCRE V S21, Hunter III S22, SRCV II 6579, F, well centered, slightly rough with light even corrosion, edge cracks, weight 2.369 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, bun at back of head; reverse FECVNDITAS (fertility), Terra reclining left under a vine, nude to the waist, right hand set on globe spangled with stars, leaning on left arm on basket of fruits, in background four children representing the four seasons; rare; $200.00 (170.00)


Britannicus, Son of Claudius, b. 12 February 41 - d. 11 February 55 A.D.; Cyzicus, Mysia; His Sisters on Reverse

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Tiberius Claudius Britannicus was born in 41 A.D., the son of Claudius I and his third wife, Messalina. Although the natural heir to the empire, Britannicus was passed over in favor of Nero who then had him murdered a year after his fathers' death. Octavia was Britannicus' older sister and Claudia Antonia was his older half-sister, the only child of Claudius with his second wife, Aelia Paetina.
RP87092. Bronze AE 12, RPC I 2248 (9 spec.), BMC Mysia -, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Hunterian -, aVF, nice portraits, green patina, centered on a tight flan, light earthen encrustations, weight 1.579 g, maximum diameter 12.1 mm, die axis 0o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, before 43 A.D.; obverse NEOC ΓEPMANIKOC (N reversed), bare head of Britannicus right, K - Y (Kyzikos) across field; reverse AN OKTA, confronted, draped busts of Claudia Antonia and Octavia; ex Savoca Numismatik, blue auction 3 (25 Nov 2017), lot 622; $200.00 (170.00)


Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius

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Coins portraying Fecunditas usually advertise a birth in the imperial family. A naked child means it was a boy, female babies are depicted clothed. In their thirty years of marriage, Faustina bore Marcus Aurelius thirteen children. This coin was struck to announce the birth of Cornificia in 160 and depicts Faustina's four living children at that time (five had died, four more would be born later). The two children her arms are Fadilla (159 - 192) and Cornificia (160 - 212), the children standing at her feet are Galeria (147 - 165) and Lucilla (150 - 182). This coin must have struck before the twins Commodus and Antoninus were born 31 August 161.
RB82799. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III p. 345, MA1635; Cohen III 96; BMCRE IV p. 530, MA902; Hunter II p. 355, MA33; MIR 18 10-6a; SRCV II 5273, F, well centered, brown patina, porosity, light corrosion, edge crack, weight 20.537 g, maximum diameter 31.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, late 160 - 31 Aug 161 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse FECVND AVGVSTAE, Fecunditas standing left, cradling an infant in each arm (Fadilla and Cornificia), flanked by two girls (Galeria and Lucilla) standing at her feet; $150.00 (127.50)


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Cyzicus, Mysia, Poppaea or Statilia Messalina Reverse

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RPC I notes, "although certainty is not at the moment possible (because of the small size and relatively poor preservation of the coins), the portrait of Nero seems to be the "steps" portrait, introduced in 63. If so, the bust should be that of Poppaea (or possibly Statilia Messalina)." In 62 A.D., Nero divorced Octavia and married Poppaea. In the summer of 65, Nero and Poppaea quarreled. She was pregnant. In a fit of rage, Nero kicked her in the abdomen, killing her. Statilia Messalina was already Nero's mistress. After Poppaea's death, Nero forced Statilia's husband to commit suicide, so he could marry her. Statilia kept a low profile in public and survived the fall of his reign. After Nero's death, Otho promised to marry her, before his suicide in 69.
RP85905. Bronze AE 16, RPC I 2249 (3 spec.), BMC Mysia -, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Hunterian -, SNG Tbingen -, Lindgren -, aF, green patina, weight 3.390 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 0o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 63 - 65 A.D.; obverse NEPΩN (counterclockwise on right), bare head of Nero right, ΦY monogram behind; reverse K-Y-Z (K over Z in left field, Z appearing as I, Y in right field), draped bust of empress right; only one specimen on Coin Archives; extremely rare; $140.00 (119.00)


Lucilla, Augusta c. 164 - 182 A.D., Wife of Lucius Verus

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Although many coin references classify Fecunditas as a personification of fertility rather than as an actual deity, Fecunditas was recognized as a Roman divinity by Nero, who erected a statue to her. Tacitus notes that upon the birth of Claudia Neronis, the senate decreed the construction of a temple of Fertility to be built at Antium. Fecunditas is always portrayed as a female figure holding a child, or children and often a scepter, cornucopia, palm branch or caduceus. Sometimes the children are depicted standing at her feet. Coins portraying her usually advertise the fertility of the imperial family.
RB87541. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 1736, BMCRE IV 1197, Cohen III 21, Hunter II 48, MIR 18 29, SRCV II 5499, Fair, centered, edge cracks, weight 20.312 g, maximum diameter 32.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 166 - 169 A.D.; obverse LVCILLA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair elaborately waived and knotted in chignon low at back; reverse FECVNDITAS, Fecunditas (fertility) seated right, nursing child, one boy behind and one before her, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; nice family reverse at a low budget price; scarce; $50.00 (42.50)


Gallic Empire, Postumus, Summer 260 - Spring 269 A.D.

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Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RS64673. Silver antoninianus, RSC IV 230a, RIC V-2 320, Schulzki AGK 58, Elmer 395, Hunter IV 73, Cunetio 2428 (16 spec.), SRCV III 10969, VF, reverse slightly off center on a tight flan, porous, edge a little ragged with small flan cracks, weight 3.588 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 266 A.D.; obverse IMP C POSTVMVS P F AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PIETAS AVG (to the piety of the Emperor), Pietas standing left, holding a child in each arm, two more children standing flanking at her feet.; $36.00 (30.60)







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Family & Children