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Rome - The Republic

Moneyer: Faustus Cornelius Sulla
Held Office: 56 BC
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: Rome
Obverse: Draped bust of Diana right, wearing diadem, above crescent; behind lituus; before "FAVSTVS" downwards. Border of dots.
Reverse: Sulla seated left on raised seat; before him, Bocchus, king of Mauretania, kneels, offering an olive branch; behind, Jugurtha, king of Numidia, also kneeling, his hands tied behind him. "FELIX" downwards. Border of dots.
Reference: RRC 426/1; Sydenham 879; RSC Cornelia 59 RCVM 383
Weight: 3.8 gms
Diameter: 18.9 mm
Comment: Faustus Cornelius Sulla was the son of Lucius Cornelius Sulla. This remarkable reverse reproduces the device engraved on the dictator's signet ring which commemorated the pivotal event in his early career - the betrayal of Jugurtha by his father-in-law Bocchus at Sulla's instigation.


Faustus Cornelius Sulla (before 86 BC - 46 BC) was a Roman senator. Faustus was the only surviving son of the Dictator of Rome Lucius Cornelius Sulla and his fourth wife Caecilia Metella, and thus a member of one of the most ancient patrician families, the Cornelii. After his father's death in 78 BC, he and his twin sister Fausta were brought up by his guardian, his father's friend Lucullus.

Faustus married Pompeia, daughter of Pompey the Great. Faustus accompanied Pompey on his Asian campaigns, and was the first to climb over the walls of the Temple of Jerusalem when it was stormed by Pompey in 63 BC. After his return to Rome, he gave gladiatorial games to celebrate his father in 60 BC. At an unknown time before 57 BC, Faustus Sulla became augur. As moneyer in 56 BC, he issued coinage in honour of his father and his father-in-law. As owner of the central slopes of Mount Falernus, his name became synonymous with the most esteemed wine in ancient Rome, Faustian Falernian.

Faustus Sulla was Quaestor in 54 BC. The senate commissioned him to rebuild the Curia Hostilia in 52 BC which had been burned down after the riots which followed the murder of Clodius. After that the Curia was known as the Curia Cornelia.

His career as an advocate was cut short, however, by the Civil War between Pompey and Julius Caesar. He, as Lucullus' ward and Pompey's son-in-law, sided with the former. Faustus was at the Battle of Pharsalus in 48 BC, joining the leaders of his party in Africa subsequently. After the Battle of Thapsus, he tried to escape to Mauretania, but was caught and killed by Publius Sittius, a supporter of Caesar, in 46 BC.

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