Faustina The Younger
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Faustina The Younger [Faustina Junior or Faustina II]. Annia Faustina was the daughter of Antoninus Pius and Galeria Faustina [Faustina Senior or Faustina I]. The year of her birth is uncertain. By desire of Hadrain she was destined to be the wife of Lucius Verus, but after Hadrian's death, Antonine, on account of the extreme youth of Verus, gave her in marriage to Marcus Aurelius; the nuptials being consummated a few years later. That she was decorated with the title Augusta whilst her husband was merely a Caesar is a fact proved from coins. She died in AD 175 at the village of Halale, on the skirts of Mount Tanrus, whilst on her way to join her husband in Syria.
To the beauty of this woman the Anotnine mint bears a constant testimony in all the three metals, and perhaps in no example more strikingly than on the brass medallion whence the above portrait is copied. But her character was, by all historical accounts, unworthy of her father and her husband, whose virtues have been the theme of eulogy in every age. Faustina is accused of having led a life still more dissolute than that of her mother. It was even believed that the sudden death of L. Verus was due to her agency; and that she took a secret part in the conspiracy of Avidius Cassius against her husband. The most notorius instances of her licentiousness and criminality produced so little effect on the mind of Marcus Aurelius that, when urged, if unwilling to put her to death, that at least he would divorce her, his reply was, "If we dismiss the wife, let us also restore the dowry," ie the empire. This ill-judged forbearance (as Eckhel observes) "might perhaps be excused, had he not gone the length of publicly lamenting her death, and, polluted as she was with crime, enrolling her in the assembly of Roman deities." Faustina gave to her husband a great many children, among others Lucilla, married to Lucius Verus; Commodus and Antoninus, twins, the former destined to be emperor, and the latter dying at the age of four years; also Annius Verus, who died young (see VERUS ANXIUS).
Lampridius states that three of Faustina's daughters were living after the period when Commodus was assasinated, and Herodian has observed, speaking generally, that M. Aurelius had several daughters born to him. See D. N. Vet vii 76.
Her coins in gold and silver (certain examples of greatest rarity excepted) are common. Her bronze medallions are almost all of high rarity; large and middle brass for the most part common, rising in price only according to the workmanshipand type. On these she is styled FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, DIVA FAVSTINA PIA (with sometimes AVGVSTI PII FIL, or MATER CASTORUM on reverse).
Rarest Reverses of Faustina Junior:
Gold:- AVGSTI PII FILIA, the empress as Diana
- CONCORDIA (quinarius), a bird, which Eckhel desribes to be a dove, and Lenormant pronounces a pea hen, attribute of Juno
- FECVNDITATI AVGVSTAE
- FORTVNAE MVLIEBRI
- IVNO, the goddess seated, and two children
- MATRI CASTRORVM
- LAETITIAE PVNLICAE
- MATRI MAGNAE
- VERNERI GENETRICI
- VENRERI AVGVSTAE, Venus seated
- VENERI FELICI, a dove
- VENVS (quintarius), Venus standing, diademed, clothed, holding the sceptre and apple.
Silver:- CONSECRATIO, funeral pile, surmounted by a biga.
- CONSECRATIO, funeral pile, with MATRI CASTORVM on the side of the head
- IVNONI REGINAE, the empress seated as Juno, with peacock at her feet. Obv FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, bust of the empress
Brass Medallions:- AETERNITAS AVGVSTAS, woman holding a torch, seated on a stag (Engraved in Icon. Romaine, Lenormant)
- TELLVS STABILIS / VENVS FELIX
- Without legend, Forune seated
- Without do, six female figures
- Without do, Isis Pharia
- Cybele and Atys
Large Brass:- AETERNITAS, woman seated, carried by two others.
- CONSECRATIO, funeral pile
- Without legend, peacock carrying Faustina to the skies
- Without do, throne of Juno, sceptre and peacock
- MATRI CASTORVM, female standing before 3 standards
- PIETAS, Faustina as Piety, a young girl at her feet (Lenormant).
- SAECVLI FELICITAS, two children on a seat with a back
- SIDERIBVS RECEPTA, Diana ina biga / S P Q R, car drawn by two mules
- VENVS, female figure draped to the feet, with apple and sceptre
Middle Brass:- VENERI VICTRICI, Mars and Venus standing.
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