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521728. SOLD $195

Lucilla. Augusta, AD 164-182. Æ As (25mm, 11.40 g, 12h). Rome mint. Struck under Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, AD 161-162. Draped bust right, hair arranged in parallel cornrows and gathered in chignon at nape of neck / Vesta standing left, sacrificing with simpulum over lighted altar and holding palladium. RIC III 1780 (Aurelius); MIR 18, 21-6a. Struck on an elongated flan with flattened sides, two-tone brown patina. VF. A delightful portrait.

Ex Phil Peck Collection.

The second of six daughters born to Marcus Aurelius and Faustina Junior, Lucilla grew up as an imperial Roman princess, with the strange mix of power and helplessness such a position entailed. In AD 161, at the age of 12, she was betrothed to Lucius Verus, her father's co-emperor. The marriage took place three years later in Ephesus, while Lucius was on campaign against the Parthians in the East. Although Lucius had a wandering eye and Lucilla was no model of fidelity, the marriage endured until his sudden death to a stroke in AD 169. Much against her wishes, her father then married her off to a distinguished elderly senator, Tiberius Claudius Pompienus. Although her husband was one of the most powerful men in Rome, Lucilla was no longer Augusta, a situation she found intolerable. The death of Marcus and the accession of her brother Commodus in AD 180 made matters worse, since she frequently quarreled with him and envied his wife, Crispina, the new Augusta. In AD 182, she entered into a plot with one of her lovers to do away with Commodus. Alas, this failed spectacularly. When Lucilla's role in the plot was exposed, she was arrested and exiled to the island of Capri. Her death, either by starvation or execution, came shortly thereafter.