Donated in 1930 by Dean Fred B. R. Hellems
Faustina was the niece of Emperor Hadrian, who died in 138 AD. She was also the wife of Hadrian’s adopted son and successor, Antoninus Pius, who had one of the most peaceful reigns of the entire span of the Roman Empire. Faustina herself contributed to the harmonious era, heading charitable initiatives such as the Puellae Faustinianae (“the Girls of Faustina”), which provided educational opportunities for underprivileged daughters of the poor, as well as the alimenta, a charitable program that provided grain to lower-class children. Faustina and Antoninus Pius are believed to have had a very happy marriage, and upon her death the emperor was devastated. To commemorate the divination of Faustina, he ordered coins be struck with her image and the legend “DIVA FAUSTINA” – an indication of the esteem in which he held her and her apotheosis to a goddess. Katie Keller 2013.