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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Adoptive Emperors| ▸ |Antoninus Pius||View Options:  |  |  |   

Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

Titus Aurelius Fulvius Boionius Arrius Antoninus was born around 86 A.D. to a distinguished family. After a typical senatorial career, he made a name for himself as proconsul of Asia. He was adopted as Emperor Hadrian's heir in February 138 A.D. and succeeded soon after. His reign was long and peaceful, a Golden Age of tranquility and prosperity. He died in 161 A.D., leaving Marcus Aurelius as his successor.


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In 146, Marcus Aurelius received the imperium proconsular and Faustina the Younger was given the title Augusta.
SH73156. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE IV 1669, RIC III 767a, Strack III 974, Cohen II 320, Hill UCR 709, SRCV II 4168, VF, nice green patina, nice portrait, light scratches, tight flan, weight 22.051 g, maximum diameter 31.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 146 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG - PIVS P P TR P, laureate head right; reverse Antoninus in slow quadriga left, eagle-tipped scepter in left, reins in right, COS IIII / S C in two lines in exergue; $380.00 (€334.40)
 


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Antoninus Pius' funeral ceremonies were described as elaborate but, despite the pyre depicted on this coin, according to his Historia Augusta biography, Antoninus' body (and not his ashes) was buried in Hadrian's mausoleum. After a seven-day interval (justitium) Marcus and Lucius nominated their father for deification. In contrast to their behavior during Antoninus' campaign to deify Hadrian, the senate did not oppose the emperors' wishes. A flamen, or cultic priest, was appointed to minister the cult of the deified Antoninus, now Divus Antoninus. A column was dedicated to Antoninus on the Campus Martius, and the temple he had built in the Forum in 141 to his deified wife Faustina was rededicated to the deified Faustina and the deified Antoninus. It survives as the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda.San Lorenzo in Miranda
RS88419. Silver denarius, RIC III MA438; MIR 18 27-27/12; BMCRE IV p. 394, 60; RSC II 164a; SRCV II 5193, Choice VF, excellent portrait, well centered, light toning, flow lines, small edge cracks, weight 3.304 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, posthumous, emission 2, 161 A.D.; obverse DIVVS ANTONINVS, bare-headed bust right, slight drapery on left shoulder; reverse CONSECRATIO, ornate funeral pyre of four tiers with quadriga on top; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


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Immediately after Hadrian's death, Antoninus requested Marcus annul his betrothal to Ceionia Fabia to marry his daughter, Faustina. Marcus consented. Faustina's betrothal to Ceionia's brother Lucius Commodus was also annulled.
RB89982. Bronze sestertius, BMCRE IV 1208, Cohen II 28, RIC III 1212 (S) var. (Aurelius draped), Hunter II 19 var. (same), SRCV II 4526 var. (same), VF/F, well centered, light marks, porosity, reverse rough with porosity, weight 29.178 g, maximum diameter 33.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 140 - 144 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P COS III, laureate head of Antoninus Pius right; reverse AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG P II F COS, bare head of Marcus Aurelius Caesar right, S•C (senatus consulto) below; big 34mm sestertius; scarce; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


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Vesta was originally a household spirit. Later she was personified as the goddess of the hearth and given the stature of her Greek equivalent, Hestia. In the temple of Vesta her flame was kept alive by Vestal Virgins.
RS88002. Silver denarius, RIC III 229a, RSC II 198, BMCRE III 806 corr. (simpulum vice patera), Hunter II 93, Strack 268, cf. SRCV II 4065 (TR P XVI), Choice EF, mint luster, flow lines, die wear, light tone, areas of slight porosity, edge splits, weight 3.234 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 153 - 154 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XVII, laureate head right; reverse COS IIII, Vesta standing left, simpulum in right hand, palladium in left in left hand and arm; $125.00 (€110.00)
 


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The reverse announces that Antoninus Pius has completed vows (prayers and sacrifices) to ask the gods for 30 years of rule. In a religious context, votum, plural vota, is a vow or promise made to a deity. The word comes from the past participle of voveo, vovere; as the result of the verbal action, a vow, or promise. The votum is an aspect of the contractual nature of Roman religion and sacrifice, a bargaining expressed by "do ut des" (I give that you might give).
RS89452. Silver denarius, RIC III 294b(a), RSC II 1126a, BMCRE IV 956, Strack 342, Hunter II -, SRCV II -, Choice VF, nice portrait, excellent centering, flow lines, some mild porosity, edge cracks, weight 2.985 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 158 - 159 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XXII (Antoninus Augustus, father of the county, holder of tribune power 22 years), laureate head right; reverse VOTA SVSCEPTA DEC III (vows (prayers) made for the 30th anniversary of rule), Antoninus standing left, togate and veiled, sacrificing from right hand over tripod on left, COS IIII (consul 4 times) in exergue; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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RS73963. Silver tetradrachm, Dattari 2141/2143; Milne 1927; Geissen 1562; Curtis 571/572; Kampmann 35.384; Emmett 1358/11; BMC Alexandria -, F, inscriptions partially unstruck and off flan, weight 14.284 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 147 - 28 Aug 148 A.D.; obverse ANTWNEINOC CEB EYCEB (clockwise from upper right), laureate head right; reverse L EY∆EKATOY (year 11), Apollo Didymaios (Milesios) standing facing, laureate, nude, small stag in extended right hand, bow in left at side; scarce; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Coela, Thracian Chersonesos

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Coela in Chersonesos Thraciae (on the Gallipoli peninsula) issued gold and silver coins under Alexander the Great and from the early 2nd century A.D. struck Roman provincial and colonial coins.
RP84057. Bronze AE 17, SNG Cop 872 (same dies), Varbanov 2888 (R6) var. (legends, grain above prow), SNG Tüb -, SNG Hunterian -, SNG Dreer -, BMC Thrace -, Lindgren -, VF, nice green patina, tight flan cutting off much of the legends, marks, weight 4.166 g, maximum diameter 17.2 mm, die axis 135o, Coela mint, Aug 138 - 7 Mar 161 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES - ANTONINVS (or similar), laureate head right; reverse AEL MVNI COELANI (or similar), war galley prow left; very rare; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


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The column of Antoninus Pius was red granite, 14.75 meters (48.4 ft) high and 1.9 meters (6 ft 3 in) in diameter with no decorating reliefs unlike the columns of Trajan and Marcus Aurelius. Prior to the 18th century the base was buried, but part of the column projected above the ground. In 1703 the rest of the column and the base were excavated. The column, lying on the ground covered by sheds, was damaged by fire in 1759. Repairs were unsuccessful and pieces from it were used in 1789 to restore the obelisk of Augustus. The white Italian marble base was restored in 1706-08. It is now in the Vatican Museums in the courtyard outside the entrance to the Vatican Pinacoteca. Base of the Column of Antoninus Pius
RB91326. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III MA1269, BMCRE IV MA880, Hunter II 24, Cohen II 354, SRCV II 5199, MIR 18 MA46-6/10, F, well centered, dark patina, scattered small encrustations, weight 24.132 g, maximum diameter 32.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, struck under M. Aurelius & Lucius Verus, c. 162; obverse DIVVS ANTONINVS, bare head right; reverse DIVO PIO, column set on large base within balustrade, surmounted by statue of Divus Antoninus Pius standing left on a Corinthian capital, eagle in right hand, vertical scepter in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking column; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


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Two days before his death, Antoninus was at his ancestral estate at Lorium, in Etruria, about twelve miles (19 km) from Rome. He ate Alpine cheese at dinner quite greedily. In the night he vomited; he had a fever the next day. The day after that, 7 March 161, he summoned the imperial council, and passed the state and his daughter to Marcus. The emperor gave the keynote to his life in the last word that he uttered when the tribune of the night-watch came to ask the password - "aequanimitas" (equanimity). He then turned over, as if going to sleep, and died. His death closed out the longest reign since Augustus (surpassing Tiberius by a couple of months).
RS91218. Silver denarius, RIC III MA429; MIR 18 23-4/10; RSC II 154; BMCRE IV p. 392, 41; Hunter II 2; SRCV II 5190, VF, nice portrait, light toning, strong flow lines, reverse died wear, small edge cracks, weight 2.761 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, 161 A.D.; obverse DIVVS ANTONINVS, bare head right; reverse CONSECRATIO, eagle standing right on bar, wings open, head turned back left; ex Numismatik Naumann Auction 76, part of Lot 942 (2019); $110.00 (€96.80)
 


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A caduceus is a wand entwined at one end by two serpents, each of whose bodies folds again in the form of two half-circles, whilst the head passes above the wand. It was an attribute peculiar to Mercury. Prudence is generally supposed to be represented by these two serpents, and the wings which are sometimes added to the Caduceus, are the symbols of diligence, both needful qualities in the pursuit of trade and commerce, which Mercury patronized. It was also the symbol of peace and concord, which that deity is related to have received from Apollo in return for the lyre.
RS91220. Silver denarius, RIC III 136, RSC II 344, BMCRE IV 530, Hunter II 139, Strack III 166, SRCV II 4078, F, well centered, light tone, light marks, edge cracks, weight 3.169 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 145 - 161 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P, laureate head right; reverse COS IIII, clasped hands holding stalks of grain and caduceus; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 76 (7 Apr 2019), part of lot 942; $110.00 (€96.80)
 




  



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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

ANTONINVSAVGPIVS
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSCOS
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPP
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPCOSIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPCOSIIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPIMPII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRP
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXI
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXIIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXV
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXVI
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXVII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXVIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXVIIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXX
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXI
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXIIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPCOSII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPCOSIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPCOSIIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXI
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXIIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXV
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXVI
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXVII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXVIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXIX
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXX
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXI
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXIII
ANTONINVSAVGPIVSPPTRPXXIIII
ANTONINVSAVGPPTRIXX
ANTONINVSFXII
ANTONINVSFXVI
ANTONINVSFXVII
ANTONINVSFXXII
IMPANTONINVSAVGCOS
IMPANTONINVSAVGVSTVS
IMPCAESAELANTONINVSAVG
IMPCAESAELIVSANTONINVSAVG
IMPCAESTAELANTONINVSAVGPIVSPP
IMPCAESTAELHADRANTONINVSAVGPIVSPP
IMPCAESTAELHADRIANTONINVSAVGPIVS
IMPCAESTAELHADRIANTONINVSAVGPIVSPP
IMPTAELCAESANTONINVS
IMPTAELCAESANTONINVSAVG
IMPTAELCAESARHADRANTONINVS
IMPTAELCAESHADRANTONINVS
IMPTAELCAESHADRIANTONINVS
IMPTAELIVSCAESARANTONINVS


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 2: Nerva to Antoninus Pius. (Paris, 1883).
Mattingly, H. & E. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. II: Vespasian to Hadrian. (London, 1926). (Caesar under Hadrian)
Mattingly, H. & E. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. III: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. (London, 1930).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 4: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. (London, 1940).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Seaby, H. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Strack, P. Untersuchungen zur römischen Reichsprägung des zweiten Jahrhunderts, Teil III: Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit Antoninus Pius. (Stuttgart, 1937).
Toynbee, J. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Thursday, August 22, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Antoninus Pius