«The Fascination of Gold»

Roman Empire, Antoninus Pius for his Wife Annia Galeria Faustina Major, Aureus

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Roman Empire, Antoninus Pius for his Wife Annia Galeria Faustina Major, Aureus (obverse) Roman Empire, Antoninus Pius for his Wife Annia Galeria Faustina Major, Aureus (reverse)

The Spaniard Annia Galeria Faustina the Elder was the wife of Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161). She died at the age of only 36, three years after the proclamation of her husband as emperor. Immediately after her death, Antoninus Pius consecrated Faustina and thus made her a diva – a goddess. On the Forum Romanum, a temple was built in her honor, in which priestesses worshiped the new goddess. Moreover, Antoninus Pius issued aurei for Faustina; that they were minted after her death is shown by the legend "DIVA." The obverse of our aureus depicts Faustina wearing an elegant hairstyle plaited with strings of pearls. On the reverse we see Ceres, an old italic deity whom the Romans worshiped as goddess of earth, growth and maturation, and who as earth goddess had connections to the deceased as well.

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