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

Lucilla, Augusta c. 164 - 182 A.D., Wife of Lucius Verus

Lucilla was the daughter of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina II and was born in 149 A.D. She was married to the co-emperor Lucius Verus in 164 A.D and bore him several children. She was exiled then executed after being implicated in a conspiracy to assassinate her brother Commodus in 182 A.D.


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For Roman wives, piety often meant accepting neglect. It was not considered adultery for a Roman husband to have sex with slaves or unmarried women. The historian Spartianus wrote that after Lucilla complained, Lucius Verus reproached her: "Uxor enim dignitatis nomen est, non voluptatis" (Wife is the name of dignity, not bliss).
RB92463. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 1756, BMCRE IV 1161, Cohen III 54, Hunter II 27, SRCV II 5505, VF, nice portrait, flow lines, well centered on a squared flan, light bumps and scratches, weight 26.206 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 330o, Rome mint, 164 - 166 A.D.; obverse LVCILLAE AVG ANTONINI AVG F, draped bust right, hair waived and knotted in chignon low at back; reverse PIETAS, Pietas standing left, veiled, right hand extended over flaming altar at feet on left, incense box in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $500.00 (€440.00)
 


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Lucifer means lightbringer, from the Latin lux light and ferre to bear or bring. The word Lucifer is found in only one place in the Bible -- Isaiah 14:12 -- but only in the King James and related versions: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! The King James Version is based on the Vulgate, the Latin translation of Jerome. Jerome translated the Hebrew helel (bright or brilliant one) as lucifer, which was a reasonable Latin equivalent. And yet it is this lucifer, the bright one or lightbearer, that came to be understood by so many as the name for Satan, Lord of Darkness.
RS91445. Silver denarius, RIC III MA762; RSC II 14; BMCRE IV p. 427, 310; Hunter II p. 388, 2, Choice VF, toned, flow lines, edge cracks, weight 3.303 g, maximum diameter 17.91 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 166 - 169 A.D.; obverse LVCILLAE AVG ANTONINI AVG F, draped bust right, hair waived and knotted in chignon low at back; reverse DIANA LVCIFERA, Diana standing left, holding long torch with both hands, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across the lower half of the field; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $170.00 (€149.60)
 


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The story of Commodus and Lucilla in the movie Gladiator was not historically accurate but the characters were based, in part, on the real emperor and his sister. Lucilla did plot to assassinate her brother Commodus and the plot did fail. Commodus actually did fight as a gladiator. But Maximus, entirely fictional, was not there to save Lucilla. Commodus won every time. Lucilla was banished to Capri and executed a year later.
RB92462. Bronze as, RIC III 1766, Cohen III 75, BMCRE IV 1224, Hunter II 60, SRCV II 5524 var. (obv. leg.), VF, well centered, olive patina, legends weak, edge flaking, weight 10.336 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 210o, Rome mint, 164 - 166 A.D.; obverse LVCILLA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair elaborately waived and knotted in chignon low at back; reverse VENVS, Venus standing left, apple in extended right, long grounded scepter in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; from the Errett Bishop Collection, ex B. A. Seaby Numismatists (69, Great Portland Street, London, W.1.); scarce; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


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For Roman wives, piety often meant accepting neglect. It was not considered adultery for a Roman husband to have sex with slaves or unmarried women. The historian Spartianus wrote that after Lucilla complained, Lucius Verus reproached her: "Uxor enim dignitatis nomen est, non voluptatis" (Wife is the name of dignity, not bliss).
RB79813. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 1756, BMCRE IV 1161, Cohen III 54, Hunter II 27, SRCV II 5505, F, glossy dark sea-green patina, light corrosion on obverse, rough areas on reverse, squared tight flan, weight 19.430 g, maximum diameter 30.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 164 - 166 A.D.; obverse LVCILLAE AVG ANTONINI AVG F, draped bust right; reverse PIETAS, Pietas standing left, veiled, raising her right hand, perfume-box in left hand, flaming altar at feet on left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $110.00 (€96.80)
 


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Venus (Aphrodite) can be faulted for the Trojan War. Upset that she was not invited to a wedding, she went anyway and maliciously left a golden apple inscribed "For the fairest" on the banquet table. The goddesses, as Aphrodite expected, argued who was the rightful possessor of this prize. It was determined the most handsome mortal in the world, a noble Trojan youth named Paris, would decide. Each of the three finalists offered Paris a bribe. Hera promised he would rule the world. Athena said she would make him victorious in battle. Aphrodite guaranteed the love of the most beautiful woman in the world. This was Helen, who was married to the king of Sparta. Paris awarded the golden apple to Aphrodite. Aphrodite enabled Paris to elope with Helen, Helen of Troy. Helen's husband raised a Greek army to retrieve his wife, starting the Trojan War.
RS92464. Silver denarius, RIC III 784, BMCRE IV 322, RSC II 70, SRCV II 5491, Cohen 70, VF, toned, flow lines, mild die wear, slightly off center on a broad flan, edge cracks, weight 2.860 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 164 - 166 A.D.; obverse LVCILLA AVG ANTONINI AVG F, draped bust right, hair waived and knotted in chignon low at back; reverse VENVS, Venus standing left, apple in right, long scepter in left; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $110.00 (€96.80)
 







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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

LVCILLAAVGANTONINIAVGF
LVCILLAAVGVSTA
LVCILLAEAVGANTONINIAVGF
LVCILLAEAVGVSTAE


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).
Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. III: De Marco Aurelio a Caracalla (Del 161 d.C. al 217 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 3: Marcus Aurelius to Clodius Albinus. (Paris, 1883).
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.S. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Szaivert, W. Die Münzprägung der Kaiser Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus un Commodus (161-192). (Wien, 1984).
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 Tuesday, October 15, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Lucilla