CUAM logo



CU Art Museum
CU Art Museum
© CU Art Museum, University of Colorado Boulder



Object Description
Title/Object Name
Ob: M(arcia) OTACIL(ia) SEVERA AVG(usta) | Re: IVNO CONSERVAT(rix) [Juno the Preserver]
3rd century
c. 246 - 248 CE
Portfolio / Series Title
The Empire in Decline
Diameter, 0.8661 In, 2.2 Cm, Dia: 2.3 at widest
Weight, 0.0116 Pounds, 5.269 Grams
Octacilia Severa Wife of Philip I Ob: Bust of Otacilia Severa, diademed, draped, right, on crescent. Re: Juno standing, veiled, holding patera (sacrificial bowl) and scepter.
Credit Line
Gift of Wilton Jaffee to the University of Colorado Classics Department (2003), Transfer, CU Art Museum, University of Colorado Boulder
xThe Third Century was marked by tumultuous reigns and short-lived successions between emperors. Philip I (“The Arab”) rose to power in 244 CE, after most likely murdering his predecessor, the teenage Gordian III. While he deified the youth, he most likely did so as a means of reducing suspicion on himself. Philip’s wife, Marcia Otacilia Severa, is relatively unknown other than her appearance on coins. She is featured on this antoninianus looking serene, with her hair elaborately styled in rigid waves, placed atop crescent. This moon imagery refers to the goddess Luna, suggesting that the empress is likewise reverable. The reverse portrait of the coin further ties Otacilia’s virtues of imperial femininity to the divine. Juno, wife of Jupiter, was the queen of the immortals, and goddess of women and marriage. Here she is portrayed as the “Preserver,” the mother figure of the Empire. In 249 her son and husband would be killed and overthrown. Her fate is unknown, though the entire family received damnatio memoriae – the damnation of memory – when Trajan Decius won Philip I’s place. As a result, many of Otacilia’s portraits, coins, and inscriptions were deliberately (and literally) defaced. KHK.
Object ID
RIC IV, 83, Part III, no. 127



University of Colorado Boulder Logo


Click "Share this Page" to create a linkable URL to share with others.

Argus v4.3.3.37 - CU ART MUSEUM