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Gold aurei with portraits of the young Faustina II

Hair worn in a chignon fastened with pearls

  • Adorned with a pearl headband

    Adorned with a pearl headband

  • New style with stephane (chaplet)

    New style with stephane (chaplet)

 

Diameter: 18.000 mm ((range))
Weight: 7.220 g ((range))

CM BMC (Antoninus Pius) 1041;CM BMC (Antoninus Pius) 1058;CM BMC (Antoninus Pius) 1063

    Gold aurei with portraits of the young Faustina II

    Roman, mid-2nd century AD

    A dedicated follower of fashion

    Roman ladies of the imperial court were keen followers of fashion. Portraits would change frequently and some statues have even been found with detachable hair sections to accommodate this! Faustina II (about AD 132-176) was the daughter of the emperor Antoninus Pius (reigned AD 138-161) and also the wife of his successor, Marcus Aurelius (reigned AD 161-180). Faustina would have been about 15 years old when married in AD 147, and since her mother had died many years previously, she became in effect the First Lady of the Roman world, and the leader of feminine fashion for her generation. The coin die engravers of the period paid close attention to physical detail, and reflect numerous changes in style. Even a brief study of her coin portraits exemplifies the concern that was taken to convey the details of each look:

    1) Her hair is worn in a chignon fastened with pearls
    2) New style with stephane (chaplet)
    3) This style is adorned with a pearl headband.

    S. Walker, Greek and Roman portraits (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)

    D. Kleiner, Roman sculpture (New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1992)

    G. Giacosa, Women of the Caesars (Milan, Arte e Moneta, 1980)

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