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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive Emperors ▸ SabinaView Options:  |  |  | 

Sabina, Augusta 128 - c. 136 A.D., Wife of Hadrian

Vibia Sabina was the wife of Emperor Hadrian, and a grand-niece of Trajan. They had an unhappy marriage and no children. Although she accompanied Hadrian on his many travels, he ignored her and had numerous affairs with both men and women. Sabina had an affair with Suetonius, Hadrian's secretary, in 119. Sabina is said to have remarked that she had taken steps to see she never had children by Hadrian because they would "harm the human race." She may have once aborted a child of theirs. Sabina died in 136 or 137 A.D., perhaps of natural causes or perhaps poisoned by Hadrian.


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Concordia Augusta ("Majestic Harmony") was honored for her role promoting understanding and marital harmony in the imperial household, but she did not serve Sabina well. Sabina is said to have remarked that she had taken steps to see she never had children by Hadrian because they would "harm the human race."
RS91015. Silver denarius, RIC II Hadrian 391, RSC II 24, BMCRE III Hadrian 932, Hunter II 13, SRCV II -, F, toned, bumps and scratches, weight 3.202 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 134 - 136 A.D.; obverse SABINA AVGVSTA, diademed and draped bust right, hair in a plait down back of her neck; reverse CONCORDIA AVG (harmony of the Emperor), Concordia seated left, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, cornucopia under seat; ex Eric J. Engstrom Collection; $75.00 (63.75)


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Pudicitia, modesty and chastity, was for Romans the highest regarded female virtue. For an unmarried girl, pudicitia meant virginity. For a wife, it meant faithfulness and devotion to her husband. Romans loved the story of Arria, an ultimate example of Roman pudicitia. When the emperor Claudius ordered her husband Paetus to end his own life, he hesitated. Arria took his dagger and stabbed herself to set an example, saying, "Paetus, it doesn?t hurt."
RB88865. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC II Hadrian 1036, Hunter II 35, Cohen II 82, BMCRE Hadrian III 1885, SRCV II 3942, weight 23.159 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, obverse SABINA AVGVSTA HADRAINI AVG P P, draped bust right, wearing wreath of grain, hair in long plait falling down back of neck and roll above wreath in front; reverse VESTA, Vesta seated left on high-backed throne, veiled and draped, feet on footstool, palladium in right hand, long transverse scepter in left, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $22.00 (18.70)


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Ceres' known mythology is indistinguishable from Demeter's. Her virgin daughter Proserpina (Persephone) was abducted by Hades to be his wife in the underworld. Ceres searched for her endlessly lighting her way through the earth with torches. While Ceres (Demeter) searched, she was preoccupied with her loss and her grief. The seasons halted; living things ceased their growth, then began to die. Some say that in her anger she laid a curse on the world that caused plants to wither and die, and the land to become desolate. Faced with the extinction of all life on earth, Zeus sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Proserpina back. However, because she had eaten while in the underworld, Hades had a claim on her. Therefore, it was decreed that she would spend four months each year in the underworld. During these months Ceres grieves for her daughter's absence, withdrawing her gifts from the world, creating winter. Proserpina's return brings the spring.
SH54918. Silver denarius, RSC II 69a (R); Strack II 859; BMCRE III p. 356, - (*ref. Moushmov pl. 2, 13); RIC II Hadrian 409 var. (modius at feet); Hunter II -; SRCV II -, VF, superb portrait, light toining, weight 3.119 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 128 A.D.; obverse SABINA AVGVSTA HADRIANI AVG P P, diademed and draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in a plaited coil on crown of head; reverse Ceres seated left on basket, two stalks of grain and poppy in right hand, lit torch in left hand, SC in exergue; extremely rare; SOLD







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

DIVAAVGSABINA
DIVAAVGVSTASABINA
SABINAAVGVSTA
SABINAAVGVSTAHADRIANIAVGPP


REFERENCES

Banti, A. and L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Blum, G. "Numismatique D'Antinoos" in JIAN 16. (Athens, 1914). pp. 33 - 70.
Calic, E.X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 2: Nerva to Antoninus Pius. (Paris, 1883).
Hill, P.V. The Dating and Arrangement of the Undated Coins of Rome, A.D. 98-148. (London, 1970).
Mattingly H. & E. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. II: Vespasian to Hadrian. (London, 1926).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 3: Nerva to Hadrian. (London, 1936).
Robinson, A.S. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Seaby, H.A. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Toynbee, J.M.C. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Thursday, April 18, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Sabina