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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive Emperors ▸ Antoninus PiusView Options:  |  |  |   

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

Titus Aurelius Fulvius Boionius Arrius Antoninus was born around 86 A.D. to a distinguished family. After a typical senatorial career, he made a name for himself as proconsul of Asia. He was adopted as Emperor Hadrian's heir in February 138 A.D. and succeeded soon after. His reign was long and peaceful, a Golden Age of tranquility and prosperity. He died in 161 A.D., leaving Marcus Aurelius as his successor.


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In 146, Marcus Aurelius received the imperium proconsular and Faustina the Younger was given the title Augusta.
SH73156. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE IV 1669, RIC III 767a, Strack III 974, Cohen II 320, Hill UCR 709, SRCV II 4168, VF, nice green patina, nice portrait, light scratches, tight flan, weight 22.051 g, maximum diameter 31.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 146 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG - PIVS P P TR P, laureate head right; reverse Antoninus in slow quadriga left, eagle-tipped scepter in left, reins in right, COS IIII / S C in two lines in exergue; $380.00 (€334.40)
 


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Antoninus Pius' funeral ceremonies were described as elaborate but, despite the pyre depicted on this coin, according to his Historia Augusta biography, Antoninus' body (and not his ashes) was buried in Hadrian's mausoleum. After a seven-day interval (justitium) Marcus and Lucius nominated their father for deification. In contrast to their behavior during Antoninus' campaign to deify Hadrian, the senate did not oppose the emperors' wishes. A flamen, or cultic priest, was appointed to minister the cult of the deified Antoninus, now Divus Antoninus. A column was dedicated to Antoninus on the Campus Martius, and the temple he had built in the Forum in 141 to his deified wife Faustina was rededicated to the deified Faustina and the deified Antoninus. It survives as the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda.
RS88419. Silver denarius, RIC III MA438; MIR 18 27-27/12; BMCRE IV p. 394, 60; RSC II 164a; SRCV II 5193, Choice VF, excellent portrait, well centered, light toning, flow lines, small edge cracks, weight 3.304 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, posthumous, emission 2, 161 A.D.; obverse DIVVS ANTONINVS, bare-headed bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse CONSECRATIO, ornate funeral pyre of four tiers with quadriga on top; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


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Vesta was originally a household spirit. Later she was personified as the goddess of the hearth and given the stature of her Greek equivalent, Hestia. In the temple of Vesta her flame was kept alive by Vestal Virgins.
RS88002. Silver denarius, RIC III 229a, RSC II 198, BMCRE III 806 corr. (simpulum vice patera), Hunter II 93, Strack 268, cf. SRCV II 4065 (TR P XVI), Choice EF, mint luster, flow lines, die wear, light tone, areas of slight porosity, edge splits, weight 3.234 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 153 - 154 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XVII, laureate head right; reverse COS IIII, Vesta standing left, simpulum in right hand, palladium in left in left hand and arm; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


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The reverse announces that Antoninus Pius has completed vows (prayers and sacrifices) to ask the gods for 30 years of rule. In a religious context, votum, plural vota, is a vow or promise made to a deity. The word comes from the past participle of voveo, vovere; as the result of the verbal action, a vow, or promise. The votum is an aspect of the contractual nature of Roman religion and sacrifice, a bargaining expressed by "do ut des" (I give that you might give).
RS89452. Silver denarius, RIC III 294b(a), RSC II 1126a, BMCRE IV 956, Strack 342, Hunter II -, SRCV II -, Choice VF, nice portrait, excellent centering, flow lines, some mild porosity, edge cracks, weight 2.985 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 158 - 159 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XXII (Antoninus Augustus, father of the county, holder of tribune power 22 years), laureate head right; reverse VOTA SVSCEPTA DEC III (vows (prayers) made for the 30th anniversary of rule), Antoninus standing left, togate and veiled, sacrificing from right hand over tripod on left, COS IIII (consul 4 times) in exergue; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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RS73963. Silver tetradrachm, Dattari 2141/2143; Milne 1927; Geissen 1562; Curtis 571/572; Kampmann 35.384; Emmett 1358/11; BMC Alexandria -, F, inscriptions partially unstruck and off flan, weight 14.284 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 147 - 28 Aug 148 A.D.; obverse ANTWNEINOC CEB EYCEB (clockwise from upper right), laureate head right; reverse L EY∆EKATOY (year 11), Apollo Didymaios (Milesios) standing facing, laureate, nude, small stag in extended right hand, bow in left at side; scarce; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Coela, Thracian Chersonesos

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Coela in Chersonesos Thraciae (on the Gallipoli peninsula) issued gold and silver coins under Alexander the Great and from the early 2nd century A.D. struck Roman provincial and colonial coins.
RP84057. Bronze AE 17, SNG Cop 872 (same dies), Varbanov 2888 (R6) var. (legends, grain above prow), SNG Tüb -, SNG Hunterian -, SNG Dreer -, BMC Thrace -, Lindgren -, VF, nice green patina, tight flan cutting off much of the legends, marks, weight 4.166 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 135o, Coela mint, Aug 138 - 7 Mar 161 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES - ANTONINVS (or similar), laureate head right; reverse AEL MVNI COELANI (or similar), war galley prow left; very rare; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria

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Zeugma was founded by Seleucus I Nicator who almost certainly named the city Seleucia after himself. In 64 B.C. the city was conquered by Rome and renamed Zeugma, meaning "bridge of boats." On the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China, Zeugma had a pontoon bridge across the Euphrates, which was the long time border with the Persian Empire. The Legio IV Scythica was camped in Zeugma. The legion and the trade station brought great wealth to Zeugma until, in 256, Zeugma was fully destroyed by the Sassanid king, Shapur I. An earthquake then buried the city beneath rubble. The city never regained its earlier prosperity and, after Arab raids in the 5th and 6th centuries, it was abandoned again.
RY86830. Bronze AE 22, RPC Online IV 8532 (52 spec.); SNG Hunterian 2628 (same c/m); BMC Galatia p. 125, 8 (same); SNG Cop 28; countermark: Howgego 453 (32 pcs.), aF, c/m VF, tight flan, earthen deposits, corrosion, edge cracks , weight 10.192 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 0o, Zeugma (Belkis, Turkey) mint, 138 - 161 A.D.; obverse AYTO KAI TIT AIΛ A∆P ANTWNEINOC CEB EY (or similar), laureate head right, countermark: 5-pointed star in same shaped 5 mm punch; reverse ZEYΓMTEWN, tetrastyle temple, a rectangular walled and colonnaded peribolos before the temple containing sacred grove, crescent with horns up above, obscure officina letter upper left; ex Beast Coins; $95.00 (€83.60)
 


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Representations of elephants occur frequently on Roman coins. Romans used elephants in war, in triumphs, in funerals, and in the amphitheater. For Romans, the elephant was a symbol for Africa, for eternity, and for honor.
RB88970. Bronze as, RIC III 863 (S), Hunter II 280, Cohen II 564, BMCRE IV 1840 var. (walking right), SRCV II 4308 var. (same), aF, well centered, dark patina, porous, small edge split, weight 8.269 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 148 - Dec 149 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TRP XII, laureate head right; reverse MVNIFICENTIA AVG, elephant walking left, COS IIII / S C in two lines in exergue; ; rare; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


Roman Empire, Anonymous, Domitian to Antoninus Pius, c. 81 - 161 A.D.

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Quadrantes, like quinarii, were issued only occasionally, perhaps exclusively for imperial distributions. Suetonius reported that, from the roof of the Basilica Julia "Caligula threw coins among the people." Perhaps this small coin was thrown to the crowd by the emperor himself at a similar event.
RB87147. Bronze quadrans, RIC II p. 218, 25; King Quadrantes p. 71, 7, VF, thin flan, some striking weakness, very light corrosion/deposits, weight 0.954 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 81 - 161 A.D.; obverse diademed and draped bust of Venus right, no legend; reverse dove standing left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 40 (28 Oct 2017), 558; $70.00 (€61.60)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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The year 150 A.D. is the approximate date of completion of Ptolemy's Geography, the first atlas, as well as Almagest, Ptolemy's monumental work. The geocentric cosmology he proposed held sway for 1,400 years.
RX87439. Bronze drachm, Dattari-Savio 8340; Kampmann-Ganschow 35.432; Geissen 1598 var. (laureate); BMC Alexandria p. 120, 1034 var. (same); Emmett 1472/12; SNG Cop -, Fair, attractive for the grade, edge split, weight 23.633 g, maximum diameter 34.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 149 - 28 Aug 150 A.D.; obverse AVT K T AIΛ A∆P ANTWNINOC CEB EVC (or similar), bare-headed draped bust right; reverse L ∆W∆EKATOY (year 12), Athena standing half left, wearing helmet, chiton with diplois and aegis, holding Nike offering wreath in right hand, resting left hand on grounded shield behind, no spear, wearing aegis and chiton; big 34 mm bronze, ex Moneta Numismatic Services; $70.00 (€61.60)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

ANTONINVSAVGPIVS
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSCOS
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPP
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPCOSIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPCOSIIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPIMPII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRP
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXI
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXIIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXV
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXVI
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXVII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXVIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXVIIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXX
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXI
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXIIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPCOSII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPCOSIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPCOSIIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXI
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXIIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXV
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXVI
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXVII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXVIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXIX
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXX
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXI
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXIIII
ANTONINVSAVGPPTRIXX
ANTONINVSFXII
ANTONINVSFXVI
ANTONINVSFXVII
ANTONINVSFXXII
IMPANTONINVSAVGCOS
IMPANTONINVSAVGVSTVS
IMPCAESAELANTONINVSAVG
IMPCAESAELIVSANTONINVSAVG
IMPCAESTAELANTONINVSAVGPIVSPP
IMPCAESTAELHADRANTONINVSAVGPIVSPP
IMPCAESTAELHADRIANTONINVSAVGPIVS
IMPCAESTAELHADRIANTONINVSAVGPIVSPP
IMPTAELCAESANTONINVS
IMPTAELCAESANTONINVSAVG
IMPTAELCAESARHADRANTONINVS
IMPTAELCAESHADRANTONINVS
IMPTAELCAESHADRIANTONINVS
IMPTAELIVSCAESARANTONINVS


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 2: Nerva to Antoninus Pius. (Paris, 1883).
Mattingly, H. & E. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. II: Vespasian to Hadrian. (London, 1926). (Caesar under Hadrian)
Mattingly, H. & E. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. III: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. (London, 1930).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 4: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. (London, 1940).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Seaby, H. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Strack, P. Untersuchungen zur römischen Reichsprägung des zweiten Jahrhunderts, Teil III: Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit Antoninus Pius. (Stuttgart, 1937).
Toynbee, J. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Saturday, June 15, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Antoninus Pius