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AVGVSTA (Augusta)

Latin: Empress (usually the wife, sometimes the daughter of the emperor). It was also an epithet applied to colonies settled under the direction of Augustus.

Augusta was the female equivalent of Augustus, and had similar origins as an obscure descriptor with vaguely religious overtones. It was bestowed on some women of the Imperial dynasties, as an indicator of worldly power and influence and a status near to divinity. There was no qualification with higher prestige. The title or honorific was shared by state goddesses associated with the Imperial regime's generosity and provision, such as Ceres, Bona Dea, Juno, Minerva, and Ops, and by local or minor goddesses around the empire. Other personifications perceived as essentially female and given the title Augusta include Pax (peace) and Victoria (victory).

The first woman to receive the honorific Augusta was Livia Drusilla, by the last will of her husband Augustus. From his death (14 AD) she was known as Julia Augusta, until her own death in AD 29.

The Roman Augustae (Empresses)

A list of Roman women on coins, and their lifespans (if known) and the years they were Augustae (if known):

Fulvia -- Died 40 BC.  Third wife of Marc Antony.

Octavia -- Died 11 BC.  Fourth wife of Marc Antony.

Cleopatra VII -- 69-30 BC.  Queen of Egypt, 51-30 BC.

Julia -- 39 BC-14 AD.  Daughter of Augustus.

Livia -- 58 BC-AD 29.  Wife of Augustus, mother of Tiberius. Augusta, 14-29 AD.

Livilla -- c. 13 BC-AD 31.  Wife of Drusus.

Antonia -- 36 BC-AD 37.  Daughter of Marc Antony and Octavia, wife of Nero Claudius Drusus, mother of Claudius.  Augusta, 37 and 41 AD.

Agrippina Senior -- 14 BC-AD 33.  Wife of Germanicus, mother of Caligula.
Caesonia -- Died AD 41.  Wife of Caligula.

Drusilla Minor -- AD 39-41.  Daughter of  Caligula.

Drusilla -- AD 16-38.  Sister of Caligula.

Julia Livilla -- AD 17/18-42.  Sister of Caligula.

Claudia Antonia -- AD 27-66.  Daughter of Claudius.

Valeria Messalina -- AD 25-48.  Third wife of Claudius.  Augusta, AD 41-48.

Agrippina the Younger -- AD 15-59.  Sister of Caligula, wife of Claudius, mother of Nero.  Augusta, AD 50-59.

Claudia Octavia -- AD 40(?)-62.  Daughter of Claudius and Valeria Messalina, first wife of Nero.  Augusta, AD 54-62.

Poppaea Sabina -- AD 31-65.  Second wife of Nero.  Augusta, AD 62-65.

Claudia Neronis --Lived 4 months. Daughter of Nero and Poppaea.  Augusta, AD 63.

Statilia Messalina -- Lifespan unknown.  Third wife of Nero.  Augusta, AD 66-68.

Vitellia -- Lifespan unknown.  Daughter of Vitellius.

Domitilla the Elder -- Died before AD 69.  First wife of Vespasian, mother of Titus and Domitian.

Domitilla the Younger -- Died before AD 69.  Daughter of Vespasian.  Augusta Posthumously.

Julia Titi -- AD 64/65-90/91.  Daughter of Titus, lived for a time with her uncle Domitian as his wife.  Augusta, c. 79-90/91.

Domitia -- c. AD 50-55-c. 140.  Wife of Domitian.  Augusta, AD 82-96.

Plotina -- c. AD 70-122(?).  Wife of Trajan, Augusta, c. AD 105-122(?).

Marciana -- Sister of Trajan, Augusta, c. AD 105-112/4(?).

Matidia -- c. AD 68-119. Daughter of Marciana.  Augusta, AD 112/4(?)-119.

Sabina -- Died AD 136. Wife of Hadrian.  Augusta, AD 128(?)-136.

Faustina Senior -- AD 98/105-140/1.  Wife of Antoninus Pius.  Augusta AD 138-140/1.

Faustina Junior -- Died 175/6. Wife of Marcus Aurelius. Augusta, AD 147-175/6.

Lucilla -- AD 148/9-182/3. Wife of Lucius Verus, sister of Commodus. Augusta, AD 164-182/3 AD.

Crispina -- Died AD 182/3. Wife of Commodus. Augusta, AD 177-182/3.

Titiana -- Lifespan unknown. Wife of Pertinax. Augusta, AD 193.

Manilia Scantilla -- Lifespan unknown. Wife of Didius Julianus, Augusta, AD 193.

Didia Clara -- Born AD 153. Daughter of Didius Julianus, Augusta, AD 193.

Julia Domna -- c. AD 170-217. Wife of Septimius Severus, Augusta, AD 193-217.

Plautilla -- Wife of Caracalla, killed 211.

Julia Maesa -- Died AD 224/5. Sister of Julia Domna, grandmother of Elagabalus and Severus Alexander.  Augusta, AD 218-224/5.

Julia Soaemias -- Died AD 222. Mother of Elagabalus. Augusta AD 218-222.

Julia Paula -- Lifespan unknown. First wife of Elagabalus. Augusta, AD 219-220.

Aquilia Severa -- Lifespan unknown. Second and fourth wife of Elagabalus. Augusta, AD 220-221 & 221-222.

Annia Faustina -- Born c.AD 175 or c. 185. Third wife of Elagabalus. Augusta, AD 221.

Julia Mamaea -- Died AD 235. Mother of Severus Alexander. Augusta, AD 222-235.

Orbiana -- Lifespan unknown. Third wife of Severus Alexander. Augusta, AD 225-227.

Paulina -- Died c. AD 235 or before. Wife of Maximinus I.

Tranquillina -- Wife of Gordian III, married him 241 AD.

Otacilia Severa -- Died AD 249(?). Wife of Philip I. Augusta, AD 244-49.

Herennia Etruscilla -- Lifespan unknown. Wife of Trajan Decius. Augusta, AD 249-253(?).

Cornelia Supera -- Lifespan unknown. Wife of Aemelian. Augusta, AD 253.

Mariniana -- Died c. AD 253(?). Wife of Valerian I.

Salonina -- Died AD 268. Wife of Gallienus. Augusta, AD 254-268.

Dryantilla -- Died AD 260/261(?). Wife of Regalianus. Augusta, AD 260.

Severina -- Lifespan unknown. Wife of Aurelian. Augusta, AD 274-275.

Magnia Urbica -- Died AD 285(?). Wife of Carinus. Augusta, AD 283-285.

Zenobia -- Born c. AD 241(?). Queen of Palmyra, captured and brought to Rome by Aurelian. Queen, AD 267-270/1. Augusta, AD 270/1-272.

Galeria Valeria -- Died AD 315. Daughter of Diocletian, wife of Galerius. Augusta, AD 293(?)-311.
Helena -- c. AD 248/50-c. 328/330. First (?) wife of Constantius I, mother of Constantine the Great. Augusta, AD 324-328/30.

Theodora -- Lifespan unknown. Second wife of Constantius I. Augusta, Posthumously(?).

Constantia -- c. AD 295(?)-c. 330. Wife of Licinius I. Augusta, AD 313-324.

Fausta -- Died AD 326. Wife of Constantine I (the Great) daughter of Maximian. Augusta, AD 324-326.

The Western Roman Empire AD 364-480

Gallia Plaucidia -- AD 388/90-450. Daughter of Theodosius the Great. Augusta, AD 421-450.

Honoria -- AD 417/8-454. Sister of Valentinian III. Augusta, AD 426(?)-450(?).

Licinia Eudoxia -- AD 422/3-c. 490. Daughter of Theodosius II, wife of Valentinian III. Augusta, AD 439-c. 490.

Aelia Euphemia -- Lifespan unknown. Wife of Anthemius. Augusta, AD 467-472(?).

Alypia -- Lifespan unknown. Daughter of Anthemius and Aelia Euphemia. Augusta(?), AD 467(?)-472(?).

The Eastern Roman Empire AD 364-491.

Aelia Flaccilla -- Died 386/8 AD. Wife of Theodosius I (the Great). Augusta, AD 379-386/8.

Aelia Eudoxia -- Died 404 AD. Wife of Arcadius. Augusta, AD 400-404.

Aelia Pulcheria -- AD 399-453. Sister of Theodosius II. Augusta, AD 414-453.

Aelia Eudocia -- Died AD 460. Wife of Theodosius II. Augusta, AD 423-460.

Aelia Verina -- Died 484 AD. wife of Leo I. Augusta, AD 457-484.

Aelia Ariadne -- Died AD 515. Wife of Zeno. Augusta, AD 474(?)-515.

Aelia Zenonis -- Died AD 477. Wife of Basiliscus. Augusta, AD 475-476.


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AVGVSTA. -- This epithet is of frequent occurrence on Roman coins of the Imperial series. It was a title decreed to the wives of Emperors; the quality of Augusta, as regarded by the first empresses, being indeed the only distinctive appellation, which served (as it were) to consecrate their rank. These princesses, however, though declared Augustae were not on that account less subject to the laws which governed private individuals. Nor does it seem that they were admitted to the privilege of having their title and effigy borne on coins, except by degrees and under certain restrictions. At the commencement, these honors were dedicated to them only on coins struck in the provinces. Afterwards, when their portraits were engraved on those actually minted at Rome, it was done under the personifications, or symbols, of certain divinities, or of certain deified virtues. But the custom, once introduced by Augustus, perpetuated itself; and almost all his successors caused or at least permitted, the likenesses of their wives (and occasionally other near relations, as well female as male), to be placed on a portion of their coinage. Accordingly, when not found on Roman coins, properly so called, they are usually seen on those of some provincial city of the empire.





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