Roman Empresses

Roman Empresses

With Octavia, the sister of the first emperor Augustus, begins the series of mintmistresses of Rome. As the first female Roman, she received the privilege of coinage with her portrait - as a gift from her brother to her wedding with Marc Antony. A series of cistophores from Ephesus in Asia Minor shows the bust of the bride on the reverse. Agrippina Minor, the wife of Claudius and the mother of Nero, was the first to have unrestricted coinage and coined aureii and denarii not only with their name and portrait, but also with her title: Augusta. Most empresses of the early Imperial era, however, coined bronze coins.

The Augustae of the 2nd and early 3rd cent. turn out to be self- and power-conscious coin mistresses compared to their predecessors. Thus, Faustina Minor, the wife of Marcus Aurelius, already had the right to mint coins when her husband was not even an emperor. And the ladies of the Severan dynasty - especially Iulia Domna, Iulia Soaemias and Iulia Maesa - left behind a rich coinage, which announces the imperial authority and the elite sense of ethos of their minting mistresses. And that although at least Soemias and Maesa were never empresses in the narrower sense (meaning wives of emperors).

In late antiquity, fewer coins are made with a portrait of the noble ladies, probably because they were not of noble origin. They did "only" reach the throne by the military skill of their spouses. The women of the soldier emperors - like Salonina, the wife of Gallienus - appear mostly on antoniniani with their portrait in a crescent moon. After Constantine the Great regains control of the Roman Empire, the women of the imperial family, like Helena, the mother of Constantine, or Aelia Flacilla, the wife of Theodosius I, appear mostly on the small bronze folles. But their portraits also adorn the front of the new currency: the golden solidus.

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Product no.: 255653

Roman Empire, Theodora, +335, AE Follis (335)

Obv.Drap. bust with diadem r.

Rev.Pietas standing r. holding child in her arms

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Product no.: 334332

Roman Empire, Helena, +330, AE Follis

Obv. Drap. bust r.

Rev. Stg. Securitas l., holding branch

95.00 *

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