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Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius
The daughter, wife, and mother of emperors and empresses, Faustina II was born around 130 A.D. to Antoninus Pius and Faustina I. She was married to her cousin Marcus Aurelius in 145 A.D. In 146 A.D., she gave birth to the first of 14 children. To celebrate this occasion she was given the title of Augusta, which technically made her superior in rank to her husband. Faustina II was a devoted wife and mother and accompanied her husband on all his military campaigns. Her son Commodus went on to become emperor after his fathers' death, and her daughter Lucilla became Augusta when she married Lucius Verus. She died in the city of Halala in Anatolia in 175 A.D., plagued by baseless rumors about her infidelity. She was deified soon after and a grand temple was erected to her in the city where she died.
|The image on the reverse resembles sculptures of Artemis, the Lady of Ephesus, including one at the Ephesus Archaeological Museum and another at the Vatican. The Ionians worshiped Artemis as a mother goddess, akin to the Phrygian Cybele. Her cult image was adorned with multiple rounded breast like protuberances on her chest. They have been variously interpreted as accessory breasts, eggs, grapes, acorns, or even bull testes. Excavation at the site of the Artemision in 1987/8 found a multitude of tear-shaped amber beads that once adorned the ancient wooden xoanon.|