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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.
|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.|
|The column of Antoninus Pius was red granite, 14.75 meters (48.4 ft) high and 1.9 meters (6 ft 3 in) in diameter with no decorating reliefs unlike the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. Prior to the 18th century the base was buried, but part of the column projected above the ground. In 1703 the rest of the column and the base were excavated. The column, lying on the ground covered by sheds, was damaged by fire in 1759. Repairs were unsuccessful and pieces from it were used in 1789 to restore the obelisk of Augustus. The white Italian marble base was restored in 1706-08. It is now in the Vatican Museums in the courtyard outside the entrance to the Vatican Pinacoteca.|