Reproduction Sestertius of Agrippina Senior - Carpentum
Obverse: Draped bust of Agrippina Senior right, wearing hair in long plait at the back. Text around AGRIPPINA M F GERMANICI CAESARIS.
Reverse: Carpentum with six spokes in wheel drawn left by two mules, the cover supported by standing figure Caryatides on the four corners, and with ornamented side panels. Text SPQR above, and in two lines in left field MEMORIAE / AGRIPPINAE.
History: Agrippina Senior (sometime the Elder), one of the most tragically unfortunate women of Roman history, was born in 15 BC and was the wife of Germanicus and mother of Caligula and Agrippina Junior. She married Germanicus and accompanied her devoted husband on all his military campaigns. She was banished by Tiberius in 29 A.D. and died of starvation four years later.
Three issues of sestertii were struck in honour of Agrippina Senior, after her death. This is the first type, produced by her son Caligula, showing on its reverse a carpentum. The use of a carpentum was a great honour granted as a special privilege to females of the imperial family. Caligula instituted Circus games in her honour, at which her image would be paraded in a covered carriage.
There can be little doubt that the carpentum on this sestertius relates to the special practice initiated by Caligula. The inscription, SPQR MEMORIAE AGRIPPINAE, is itself dedicatory from the Senate and the Roman people to the memory of Agrippina.
Date: Rome mint. Struck under Gaius (Caligula), 37-41 AD