Denarius of Faustina the Elder

(Lliria, València)

Family and relationships
Gender and social class
Gender stereotypes

In the Roman Empire, coins were one of the most effective means of political propaganda, the reason why imperial families showed such an obvious interest in controlling their production. Representing oneself on coins made it possible to convey an image and a specific message regarding the person who exercised power. Although in most cases, the figure depicted was that of the emperor, during the Late Empire, their mothers, wives and daughters were well represented. This is the case of Faustina the Elder, wife of Antoninus Pius, shown on this silver denarius from the Llíria Hoard (1st–3rd century AD) associated with the symbols of authority: the throne, the crown and the sceptre. It is a clear demonstration of the role women performed as the visible face of imperial power, although official history has often consigned them to the margins.