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528370

Antonia, Model of Matronly Virtue

528370.

Antonia Minor. Augusta, AD 37 and 41. Æ Dupondius (26.5mm, 14.21 g, 7h). Rome mint. Struck under Claudius, AD 41-42. Bareheaded and draped bust right, wearing hair in long plait at back / Claudius, veiled and togate, standing left, holding simpulum in right hand and resting left on his side. RIC I 92 (Claudius); BMCRE 166-7 (Claudius); BN 143-51 (Claudius). Dark brown patina with red-brown highlights. Good VF.


Ex Fritz Reusing Collection.

Antonia was the daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia, sister of Augustus, and was raised in the household of her illustrious uncle. In 16 BC she was married to Nero Claudius Drusus, the stepson of Augustus, to whom she bore the great general Germanicus and his brother, future emperor Claudius. Her reputation as a model of matronly virtues kept her afloat, and alive, during the turbulent reigns of the early Julio-Claudian emperors. It was her testimony against her own daughter, Livilla, that saved Tiberius from the conspiracy of his ambitious Praetorian Prefect, Sejanus. Her “reward” was to oversee the execution of Livilla by starvation. Antonia was vocal in her criticism of Caligula’s debauchery; his reaction was to force her to commit suicide at the age of 73 in AD 37. Antonia was never fond of her surviving son, Claudius, but after he became emperor in AD 41, he nevertheless honored her with the posthumous title of Augusta and the striking of coins in gold, silver and bronze coins bearing her image.