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Roman Empire

Ruler: Antoninus Pius as Augustus
Reigned: Caesar 25th Feb-10th July 138 AD: Augustus 138-161 AD
Denomination: AE As
Mint: Rome/British mint?
Date of Issue: 155 AD
Obverse: Laureate head right. "ANTONINVS AVG. PIVS P.P. TR.P.XVIII"
Reverse: Britannia seated left on rocks in attitude of dejection, shield and vexillum in background. "BRITANNIA COS IIII" In exergue: " S C"
Reference: RIC 934, RCVM 4296
Weight: 10.4 gms
Diameter: 25 mm
Comment: The careless striking of this type and the fact that they almost never turn up outside of Britain may indicate that they were struck in the province, perhaps in the region of the northern frontier.

The personification of Britannia was re-introduced on the copper coinage of Charles II (1660-1685) and continued through to the present Queen, although the actual representation seems to be taken from coins of Constantine.

This example from 1953


  • Antoninus Pius was born Titus Aurelius Fulvus Bojonus Arrius Antoninus on 19th September 86 AD, at Lanuvium, 20 miles south of Rome.
  • His family came from Nemausus (Nimes) in southern Gaul
  • He followed the usual career of a son of a leading Roman family becoming quaestor and praetor, then consul in 120. In 135/6 he served as governor of the province of Asia, in Asia Minor.
  • When the emperor Hadrian was 62 years old he adopted Antoninus, marking him out as his successor. The adoption took place on 25th February 138.
  • At the same time Antoninus adopted his wife's nephew, Marcus Annius Verus (the future Marcus Aurelius), then 16, and the young Lucius Ceionius Commodus (the future Lucius Verus), son of that Lucius Ceionius Commodus who had been Hadrian's first choice as heir but had died two months earlier.
  • When Hadrian died on 10th July 138 the Antoninus became emperor unopposed.
  • His reign was largely benevolent and he was well liked.
  • Antoninus did not travel far, prefering to direct affairs from Rome, athough he did visit Britain.
  • He appointed his trusted general Lollius Urbicus, as governor of Britain in an attempt to conquer southern Scotland. In the event, he only partially succeeded, but a victory was proclaimed in 142. The actual result was a new turf-built wall the the north of the existing Hadrian's Wall.
  • There were wars and rebellions in Mauretania, Germany, Egypt, Judaea and Greece. Trouble also came from the Dacians and Alans who threatened the Danube provinces. Antoninus was often able to solve these problems with diplomacy.
  • Antoninus died a natural death on 7th March 161.

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