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A silver denarius of the deified empress Faustina Senior with a reverse showing her temple Coin Type: Silver denarius of Diva Faustina Senior, 139-141 CE
Mint and Date: Rome, after 141 CE.
Size and Weight: 17mm x 18mm, 3.19g
Draped bust right with elaborate hairstyle with pearls in hair.
Hexastyle temple of Diva Faustina containing seated statue of the deity, trellis-work fencing in the foreground at foot of steps.
Provenance: caesars_ghost (eBay), May 2008
Ref: RCV (2002) 4573 ; RIC III Antoninus Pius 343
BW Ref: 015 038 127
Click on the picture for a larger scale view of the coin

Note: The Dictionary of Roman Coins says: "AED. DIVI. FAVSTINAE - A temple of six columns, in which Faustina stands, or, as in others, is seated. Silver. To this may be joined the legend of another denarius of the same empress - viz. DEDICATIO AEDIS. The same building but no image within. This represents the aedes, or templum, with which, after her death, the elder Faustina was honoured by Antoninus Pius, According to Capitolinus, it was situated in the via sacra, and was at first dedicated to Faustina alone. But, after the decease of the husband, religious rites were paid therein to him also. This temple, the ruins of which at Rome are still extant, bespeaks its original appropriation, for on its frontal the following dedication is still legible, viz., DIVO ANTONINO ET DIVAE FAVSTINAE. EX S. C. The same edifice is likewise represented on other coins of the same empress, inscribed AETERNITAS, or PIETAS. - Eckhel, vii. p. 39. - See TEMOLVM DIVI. AVG. REST. engraved in Caylus, No. 493."

After Antoninus Pius' death, this temple was rededicated to Divus Antoninus and Diva Faustina. Sear says: "The shell of this building still survives in the Roman Forum, enclosing the church of S. Lorenzo in Miranda."

RIC III says: "The 'dedication of the temple' must clearly be [of later date than the first consecration issue]. The temple is hexastyle and stands on a podium of five steps; between the columns a sort of trellis-work is shown and in the centre there is sometimes seen a seated statue of Faustina. On the roof, in the centre is Faustina (?) in a facing quadriga, at the corners Victories holding globes above their heads. In the pediment is Faustina standing left, holding out her hand to a child, while on her right are seen a modius and a snake (?)."

Clearly, much of this detail is not visible on this example. The description in RIC III is probably from the gold version of this type. Here, the quadriga is just four strokes of the engraving tool. The Victories as acroteria can just about be made out, but they are not holding globes. The pediment is not as described. The seated statue is there, but only two steps are visible.

RIC does not mention that the columns can be seen to be of the Corinthian order. It also does not mention the two statues in front of the outer columns, standing on globes and holding out what appear to be sceptres. Could these be supposed to represent Aeternitas?

The content of this page was last updated on 20 May 2008