Reproduction Sestertius of Faustina I - Carpentum
Obverse: Draped bust of Faustina I right, hair elaborately waved and coiled in bands across head and drawn up at back and piled in a round coil on top. Text around DIVA AVGVS-TA FAVSTINA (The divine and venerable Faustina).
Reverse: Statue of Faustina I seated on currus elephantorum (cart drawn by elephants) facing right, holding torch in left hand and corn-ears in right hand. Drawn right by two elephants with riders. Text above EX S C (Ex Senatus Consultum - By decree of the senate).
History: Faustina I also referred to as Faustina the Elder or Faustina Major was a Roman empress and wife of the Roman emperor Antoninus Pius, who she married between AD 110 and 115. Faustina died near Rome in 140. Antoninus was devastated at Faustina's death and took several steps to honour her memory, including the building of monuments, statues and coins with her portrait and elaborately decorated.
The divine Faustina I remained present to worshippers in a variety of other ways. Her image was brought out so she could preside over events in the Circus Maximus (chariot racing stadium). Sometime she was brought around in a carpentum or covered waggon, sometimes in a currus elephantorum or decorated cart drawn by a pair of elephants.
This coin was therefore struck under Antoninus Pius and is a posthumous issue. The obverse depicts the bust of Faustina I whilst the reverse depicts the statue of Faustina I as it would have been presented at the Circus Maximus.
Date: Rome mint, struck circa 141 AD