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Portrait of Antoninus Pius on a Copper As
Portrait of Antoninus Pius on a Copper As
Britannia Reverse
Britannia Reverse
Antoninus Pius
Aurelius Fulvius Boionius Arrius Antoninus Pius
AD 138 - 161
Antoninus Pius was born in 86 AD, the son of Aurelius Fulvius and Arria Fadilla. He served his first Consulship in 12 AD at the age of 33, and went on the govern the province of Asia, and is known to have filled this post in an exemplary manner. On the death of his brother Aelius, he was appointed as Caesar in 138. At the same time he was adopted by Hadrian, with the condition that he himself should adopt Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. Antoninus became emperor on the death of Hadrian later that year, having been virtually the ruler for the last month of Hadrian's reign. He was given the name Pius shortly after his accession, inter alia, as a recognition of his efforts to persuade the senate to grant divine honours to Hadrian.
The Antonine Wall in Britain was started during his reign, although it was later abandoned, and is not as well known as Hadrian's Wall.
The historians say little about the period of his reign from about 148 to its end, which may appear strange, but points to the conclusion that the empire was well and justly governed in this period, for it is always the times of maximum danger and uncertainty which are most comprehensively chronicled.
His wife was Faustina Senior, and their daughter Faustina Junior became the wife of Marcus Aurelius.
A number of his coins testify to significant achievements, and it is likely these were a realistic reflection of events, rather than unfounded propaganda.
Chinese history records that they received the first delegation from the Roman Empire under the reign of Antoninus, but it is more likely to have been under Marcus Aurelius, and the confusion would have been because of the similarity in their names, as he took the name Antoninus in honour of his sponsor.

Featured Coin
We show a copper As of Antoninus Pius, featuring Britannia on the reverse. The first depiction of Britannia on coins was made under the Emperor's predecessor Hadrian, but was carried on after his death. The tradition was revived in Britain under Charles II, and has carried on ever since.

Roman Emperors Portrait Gallery
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