About This Artwork

Roman, minted in Rome

Aureus (Coin) Portraying Empress Faustina the Younger, A.D. 161/75, issued by Marcus Aurelius

Diam. 2 cm; 7.08 g
"Empress Faustina"

Gift of Martin A. Ryerson, 1922.4877

Governing the People

The Good Emperors dedicated themselves to the well-being of the people, but as the back of their coins indicate, each ruler had his own understanding of what made good government.

Antoninus Pius, living up to his name, portrays himself practicing religious rites by making a sacrifice to the gods. His daughter the empress Faustina the Younger, was paired with an image of Juno who, as the wife of Jupiter, symbolized marriage and family and acted as the divine protector of children. Rome encouraged large families to populate its provinces and fill the army’s ranks. Faustina was the wife of Emperor Marcus Aurelius and mother of his thirteen children.

—Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

"Ruling Families: Imperial Dynasties of the
Early Roman Empire 31 B.C. - A.D. 235." Nov.
1997 - Nov. 2001, Gallery 155 (Coin Case)

Publication History

Karen B. Alexander, "From Plaster to Stone: Ancient Art at the Art Institute of Chicago," in Recasting the Past: Collecting and Presenting Antiquities at The Art Institute of Chicago, by Karen Manchester, (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale University Press, 2012), p. 29.

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