Antoninus Pius, 138-161. Medallion (Bronze, 40 mm, 56.02 g, 1 h), Rome, 160-161. ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XXIII Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Antoninus Pius to right. Rev. The Emperor, togate and holding a stylus in his right hand and a scroll in his left, standing left, inscribing a shield, held by Victory standing right on a pillar; to right, Fecunditas standing left, crowning the emperor with a wreath held in her right hand and holding an infant on her left arm; at her feet to right, another young child standing left; at the emperor's feet to left, two girls, standing to right or facing, their right hands raised. Cohen 1181. Gnecchi 110 and pl. 55, 5 (this piece cited). Extremely rare. An impressive piece with a dark green patina. Encrustations on the reverse, otherwise, good very fine.
From a European collection and from the collections of "J. Graham" (= Tinchant) J. Schulman 243, 8 June 1966, 2456 and the Trau family, Gilhofer & Ranschburg and Hess, 22 May 1935, 1486.
Antoninus Pius was probably the happiest, or luckiest, of all the Roman emperors: his reign was peaceful and the succession to the throne was guaranteed since he had two surviving designated heirs, Lucius Verus and Marcus Aurelius. In fact, the reverse of this medallion, struck during the last year of Pius's lifetime, celebrates that soon to be peaceful succession. While Pius is shown inscribing a shield held by Victory, he is also being crowned by a female personification standing behind him. Usually, one would expect Victory to be doing this, but here we have Fecunditas, who must symbolize the fact that at this time Marcus Aurelius and Faustina II had four surviving children, thus, assuring the succession into the next generation. They were, in fact, all daughters: Lucilla, Faustina, Fadilla and Cornificia. Commodus and his twin Antoninus were only born some five months after Pius's death.
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