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Antonia Gens









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Antonia gens-This family, says Vaillant, ranks amongst the noblest of those who derive their origin from the first senators of the ancient stock under the kings of Rome.  According to Plutarch, it pretended to a descent from Anton, or Anteon the son or companion of Hercules.  Such was the vanity of the Romans, that they ascribed the origin of their great men to their deities, or to the sons of their deities.  The most celebrated personage of the Antonia family was Marcus Antonius, the Triumvir.  Its surnames are Balbus and Naso.  The minting of the subjoined denarius is referred by Vaillant and Havercamp, whith whom Pigghius concurs, to Q. Antonius Balbus, who was Praetor in Sardinia, afterwards ejectedthence by Sulla and slain in the year of Rome 672 (BC 82). But Eckhel, pointing to the circumstance that the medal is serrated shows it to be likely to have been coined by a more ancient Q. Balbus, when he was Urban Praetor, although his name does not appear in the Roman annals.

See the article: Q. Antonius Balbus

Morel gives a hundred and thirty-eight varieties in the coins of the Antonia family.  This extraordinary number arises from the medals of M. Antonius, without his portrait being classed under that head.  The gold coins are rare in the highest degree.  The silver are from common to the lowest degree of rarity.

Antonia Augusta

Daughter of Marcus Antonius and of Octavia, married to Drusus Senior.  She was mother of Germanicus, Livilla, and the Emperor Claudius.  She was born in the year of Rome 715 or 716 (BC 39 or 38) and died in 791 (AD 38), being the second year of her grandson Caligula's reign, who according to Suetonius, was suspected to have caused her to be poisoned.  She is spoken of by historians as a sensible, amiable woman, of a handsome countenance and of graceful manners; a noble exemplar of conjugal fidelity, and of honourable widowhood; a character which remains unsullied by the vague allegations of those who malevolently imputed a want of proper feeling to one, whose tenderness as a wife had proved itself too sincere to be associated in the same breast with maternal insensiblility.

Her coins in gold and silver are very rare.  The subjoined cut is engraved from one of her denarii.

 
 
 
Laurelled head of Antonia
 
(To the constancy of the emperor-Claudius).
 
The second brass of Antonia are scarce.  One of these presents on one side the head of Antonia "with her hair twisted to the back of the neck, and a countenance expressive of sense and mildness," and with the legend ANTONIA AVGVSTA. The legend of the reverse is TI. CLAVDIVS AVG PM TR P IMP and the type figure clothed in a long robe, veiled, standing with a simpulum in the right hand.
 
Antonia was invested with the title of Augusta by her grandson (Gaius) Caligula, who also caused the dignity of a Vestal to be granted to her.  (See SACERDOS DIVI AVGVSTI).  But his filial attachment having been turned to hatred, no brass coins with her name and portraiture were struck uring her life-time, though the coin above described, and another, were afterwards dedicated to her memory by her son Claudius.-Antonia was called minor, to distinguish her from her eldest sister, whose name was likewise Antonia, and who was married to L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, the grandfather of Nero.