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Faustina the Elder: Wikis

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Roman imperial dynasties
Antonine Dynasty
Faustina02 pushkin.jpg
Vaticanian bust of Faustina Major.
Antoninus Pius
Children
   Natural - Faustina the Younger, also one other daughter and two sons, all died before 138
   Adoptive - Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus
Marcus Aurelius with Lucius Verus
Marcus Aurelius alone
Children
   Natural - 13, including Commodus and Lucilla
Commodus

Annia Galeria Faustina, more familiarly referred to as Faustina the Elder (Latin: Faustina Major; born September 21 about 100, died October or November 140[1] ), was a Roman Empress and wife of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius.

Faustina was the only known daughter of consul and prefect Marcus Annius Verus and Rupilia Faustina. Her brothers were consul Marcus Annius Libo and praetor Marcus Annius Verus. Her maternal aunts were Roman Empress Vibia Sabina and Matidia Minor. Her paternal grandfather had the same name as her father and her maternal grandparents were Salonina Matidia (niece of Roman Emperor Trajan) and suffect consul Lucius Scribonius Libo Rupilius Frugi Bonus. Faustina was born and raised in Rome.

As a private citizen, she married Antoninus Pius between 110 and 115. Faustina and Antoninus had a very happy marriage. Faustina bore Antoninus four children, two sons and two daughters. They were:

  • Marcus Aurelius Fulvius Antoninus (died before 138); his sepulchral inscription has been found at the Mausoleum of Hadrian in Rome.
  • Marcus Galerius Aurelius Antoninus (died before 138); his sepulchral inscription has been found at the Mausoleum of Hadrian in Rome. His name appears on a Greek Imperial coin.
  • Aurelia Fadilla (died in 135); she married Aelius Lamia Silvanus or Syllanus. She appears to have had no children with her husband and her sepulchral inscription has been found in Italy.
  • Annia Galeria Faustina Minor or Faustina the Younger (between 125-130-175), a future Roman Empress; she married her maternal cousin, future Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. She was the only child who survived to adulthood.

On July 10, 138, her uncle emperor Hadrian had died and her husband became the new emperor. Antoninus was Hadrian's adopted son and heir. Faustina became Roman Empress and the senate accorded her the title of Augusta. Faustina as an empress was well respected and this beautiful woman was renowned for her wisdom. The Augustan History impugned her character, criticizing her as having "excessive frankness" and "levity". However, this doesn’t appear to be the case with her character. Throughout her life, Faustina as a private citizen and an empress was involved in assisting with charities, assisting the poor and sponsoring and assisting in the education of Roman children, particularly of Roman girls.

Faustina on this coin celebrating Juno.

She can be viewed as one of the most moral, stable and respected empresses in the history of the Roman Empire. When Faustina died, Antoninus was in complete mourning for Faustina.

Antoninus did the following in memory of his loving wife:

  • Deified her as a goddess (her apotheosis was portrayed on an honorary column)
  • Had a temple built in the Roman Forum in her name, with priestesses in the temple.
  • Had various coins with her portrait struck in her honor. These coins were inscribed DIVA FAVSTINA ("Divine Faustina") and were elaborately decorated.
  • Founded a charity called Puellae Faustinianae or Girls of Faustina, which assisted orphaned girls.
  • Created a new alimenta (see Grain supply to the city of Rome).

In 2008, archaeologists digging at the ancient site of Sagalassos in Turkey discovered a colossal marble head which is believed to be that of Faustina.[2]

Nerva–Antonine family tree

  • (1) = 1st spouse
  • (2) = 2nd spouse (not shown)
  • (3) = 3rd spouse
  • SMALL CAPS = posthumously deified (Augusti, Augustae, or other)
  • dotted lines indicate adoption or (in the case of Hadrian and Antinous) lovers
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Marcia
 
TRAJANUS PATER
 
NERVA (r. 96-98)
 
Ulpia
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
MARCIANA
 
TRAJAN, adoptive son (r. 98-117)
 
PLOTINA
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aelius Afer
 
Paulina Major
 
 
 
 
 
 
Libo Rupilius Frugi (3)
 
 
MATIDIA
 
 
 
 
L. Vibius Sabinus (1)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rupilia Annia
 
M. Annius Verus
 
Rupilia Faustina
 
SABINA
 
HADRIAN, adoptive son (r. 117-138)
 
ANTINOUS
 
Paulina Minor
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Domitia Lucilla
 
M. Annius Verus
 
M. Annius Libo
 
FAUSTINA
 
ANTONINUS PIUS, adoptive son (r. 138-161)
 
Aelius, adoptive son
 
Julia Paulina
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cornificia
 
MARCUS AURELIUS, adoptive son (r. 161-180)
 
FAUSTINA Iunior
 
Aurelia Fadilla
 
two infant sons
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Salinator
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
VERUS, adoptive son (r. 161-169)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fadilla
 
Cornificia
 
COMMODUS (r. 177-192)
 
nine other children
 
Lucilla
 
 
 

Notes

  1. ^ Birley, Anthony. Marcus Aurelius, Routledge, p. 243. Routledge, 2000. ISBN 0415171253
  2. ^ BBC News, Head of Roman empress unearthed

Sources

Royal titles
Preceded by
Vibia Sabina
Empress of Rome
138-141
Succeeded by
Annia Galeria Faustina Minor

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