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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Adoptive Emperors| ▸ |Antoninus Pius||View 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.


Antiocheia, Pisidia, 138 - 161 A.D.

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Paul of Tarsus gave his first sermon to the Gentiles (Acts 13:13-52) at Antiochia in Pisidia, and visited the city once on each of his missionary journeys, helping to make Antioch a center of early Christianity in Anatolia. Antioch in Pisidia is also known as Antiochia Caesareia and Antiochia in Phrygia.
RP89331. Bronze AE 14, RPC Online IV.3 T7350 (10 spec.); Krzyzanowska pl. IV, table 8, VII/- (cf. 7-9); BMC Lycia p. 176, 1; SNGvA 4916, VF, green patina, earthen deposits, cleaning scratches. , weight 1.401 g, maximum diameter 13.5 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch in Pisidia (Yalvac, Turkey) mint, c. 138 - 161 A.D.; obverse ANTIO-C-H, bare-headed, draped bust of Hermes (resemble young Marcus Aurelius as caesar) left, caduceus behind; reverse CO-LONI, cock walking right; ex CNG e-auction 400 (28 Jun 17), lot 528; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


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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 sacred flame was kept alive by Vestal Virgins. In 394, by order of the Christian emperor Theodosius I in his campaign to eliminate pagan practices in Rome, the fire of Vesta was extinguished.
RS92969. 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), VF, attractive toning, flow lines, light marks, obverse die breaks 11:00 - 1:00, revers die worn, ragged edge splits, weight 3.269 g, maximum diameter 17.7 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; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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Faustina II was the daughter, wife, and mother of emperors and empresses. When she gave birth to the first of many children she was given the title of Augusta, which for a time made her superior in rank to her husband. She was a devoted wife and mother and accompanied her husband on all his military campaigns.
RS93045. Silver denarius, RIC III AP495a, RSC II 15, BMCRE IV AP1099, SRCV II 4700, VF, nice portrait, flow lines, mild die wear, victorolia unstruck (filled die), weight 3.190 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, struck under Antoninus Pius, 157 - 161 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right with head bare, hair waved and coiled on back of head; reverse AVGVSTI PII FIL (daughter of the pius emperor), Venus standing left, Victory in right hand, resting left hand on shield set on helmet on the ground; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


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

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Kayseri, Turkey was originally named Mazaca. It was renamed Eusebia by Ariarathes V Eusebes, King of Cappadocia, 163 - 130 B.C. The last king of Cappadocia, King Archelaus, renamed it "Caesarea in Cappadocia" to honor Caesar Augustus upon his death in 14 A.D. Muslim Arabs slightly modified the name into Kaisariyah, which became Kayseri when the Seljuk Turks took control, c. 1080 A.D.
RS93138. Silver drachm, RPC IV Online T6928 (8 spec.), Metcalf Cappadocia 120a, Sydenham Caesarea 299, BMC Galatia -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, aVF, toned, flow lines, reverse legend weak, bumps, scratches, edge cracks, weight 2.441 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, 139 A.D.; obverse AVTOKP ANTWNEINOC CEBACTOC, bare head right; reverse VΠATOC B (Cos. 2), Mt. Argaios surmounted by statue of Helios standing facing, nude, globe in right hand, long scepter in left hand; $80.00 (€70.40)
 


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Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian. He was the father of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. In early Rome, he was second in importance only to Jupiter, and the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began and ended the season for military campaigning and farming.
RB91586. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 778; Cohen II 751; BMCRE IV p. 275, 1705; Hunter II -, SRCV II -, VF, attractive style, well centered, porosity, light corrosion, weight 23.607 g, maximum diameter 30.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 145 - 161 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P COS IIII, laureate head right; reverse Mars advancing right, nude but for helmet and cloak tied in belt around waist, transverse spear in right hand, trophy of captured arms in left hand over left shoulder, S - C (senatus consulto) divided across field below center; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


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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.San Lorenzo in Miranda
RB91328. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III p. 315, 1266; Hunter II 22; BMCRE IV 872; Cohen II 165, SRCV -, F, light corrosion, weight 23.451 g, maximum diameter 31.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, posthumous commemorative, 161 AD; obverse DIVVS ANTONINVS, bare head right; reverse CONSECRATIO, Funeral pyre of four tiers topped with quadriga, the lowest tier hung with wreaths, the two center tiers with figures with niches, the top tier hung with draperies and flanked by torches, S - C (senatus consulto) at sides; $100.00 (€88.00)
 


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Immediately after Hadrian's death, Antoninus requested Marcus annul his betrothal to Ceionia Fabia to marry his daughter, Faustina. Marcus consented. Faustina's betrothal to Ceionia's brother Lucius Commodus was also annulled.
RB89982. Bronze sestertius, BMCRE IV 1208, Cohen II 28, RIC III 1212 (S) var. (Aurelius draped), Hunter II 19 var. (same), SRCV II 4526 var. (same), VF/F, well centered, light marks, porosity, reverse rough with porosity, weight 29.178 g, maximum diameter 33.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 140 - 144 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P COS III, laureate head of Antoninus Pius right; reverse AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG P II F COS, bare head of Marcus Aurelius Caesar right, S•C (senatus consulto) below; big 34mm sestertius; scarce; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


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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. Base of the Column of Antoninus Pius
RB91326. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III MA1269, BMCRE IV MA880, Hunter II 24, Cohen II 354, SRCV II 5199, MIR 18 MA46-6/10, F, well centered, dark patina, scattered small encrustations, weight 24.132 g, maximum diameter 32.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, struck under M. Aurelius & Lucius Verus, c. 162; obverse DIVVS ANTONINVS, bare head right; reverse DIVO PIO, column set on large base within balustrade, surmounted by statue of Divus Antoninus Pius standing left on a Corinthian capital, eagle in right hand, vertical scepter in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking column; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


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Two days before his death, Antoninus was at his ancestral estate at Lorium, in Etruria, about twelve miles (19 km) from Rome. He ate Alpine cheese at dinner quite greedily. In the night he vomited; he had a fever the next day. The day after that, 7 March 161, he summoned the imperial council, and passed the state and his daughter to Marcus. The emperor gave the keynote to his life in the last word that he uttered when the tribune of the night-watch came to ask the password - "aequanimitas" (equanimity). He then turned over, as if going to sleep, and died. His death closed out the longest reign since Augustus (surpassing Tiberius by a couple of months).
RS91218. Silver denarius, RIC III MA429; MIR 18 23-4/10; RSC II 154; BMCRE IV p. 392, 41; Hunter II 2; SRCV II 5190, VF, nice portrait, light toning, strong flow lines, reverse died wear, small edge cracks, weight 2.761 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, 161 A.D.; obverse DIVVS ANTONINVS, bare head right; reverse CONSECRATIO, eagle standing right on bar, wings open, head turned back left; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 76 (7 Apr 2019), part of lot 942; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


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Two days before his death, Antoninus was at his ancestral estate at Lorium, in Etruria, about twelve miles (19 km) from Rome. He ate Alpine cheese at dinner quite greedily. In the night he vomited; he had a fever the next day. The day after that, 7 March 161, he summoned the imperial council, and passed the state and his daughter to Marcus. The emperor gave the keynote to his life in the last word that he uttered when the tribune of the night-watch came to ask the password - "aequanimitas" (equanimity). He then turned over, as if going to sleep, and died. His death closed out the longest reign since Augustus (surpassing Tiberius by a couple of months).
RS91219. Silver denarius, RIC III MA431; RSC II 156; Szaivert MIR 18 24-4/10; BMCRE IV p. 393, 48; Hunter II 4; SRCV II 5192, aVF/F, well centered, light toning, flow lines, reverse die wear, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.395 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, 161 A.D.; obverse DIVVS ANTONINVS, bare head right; reverse CONSECRATIO, eagle standing right on garlanded altar, wings open, head turned back left; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 76 (7 Apr 2019), part of lot 942; $90.00 (€79.20)
 




  






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 Friday, November 15, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Antoninus Pius