AE As. 11.23g, 26.5mm
MINTED: Rome mint, AD 143-144
REF: RIC III 732a
OBVERSE: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P COS III, laureate head right.
REVERSE: IMPERATOR II S C, winged Victory, draped, flying right, holding trophy pointing upwards to right in both hands.
Good Fine/Fine. Dark brown surfaces; moderately rough but clear portrait and devices.
A rare and fascinating type, struck as part of a series celebrating the 900th anniversary of the founding of Rome, the reverse depicting one of the city's founding myths. Rhea Silvia was a vestal virgin, daughter of Numitor, the erstwhile King of Alba Longa, and a descendant of Aeneas. The war god Mars came upon her while she was asleep, raped her, and from their union, she bore the twins Romulus and Remus. Romulus would later go on to found the city of Rome.
Ex E.E. Clain-Stefanelli Collection
Elvira Eliza Clain-Stefanelli (1914-2001) was born in Romania, and during World War II, she and her husband Vladimir were sent by the Gestapo to Buchenwald concentration camp. They survived their 3-year imprisonment and when the war was over, moved to Italy, where they worked in the numismatic trade. In 1951, they moved to the United States, where their knowledge and passion for numismatics led to them becoming curators of National Numismatics Collection at the Smithsonian. Together, they were also authors of numerous important reference works and curated an excellent personal collection of coins.
Antoninus Pius ruled for 23 years and is counted amongst the 'Five Good Emperors' of Rome during the 2nd century AD. Even though he was not the first (or even second) choice of his predecessor Hadrian to succeed him, the 52-year old Pius was widely respected by his colleagues in the Senate and as emperor would become very popular with the people.
His reign was a time of peace and prosperity for the empire, and he was himself an intelligent, moderate, and fair-minded ruler. Pius enacted laws that protected slaves and exercised clemency against those who spoke or plotted against him. He also avoided heavily taxing the people, and carefully managed the state finances. His death of natural causes in 160 at the age of 75 was cause for great mourning amongst the people.
ANTONINUS PIUS . AD 138-161 . AE As . Mars & Rhea Silvia . *Rare & Interesting*
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