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Bust of Empress Faustina the Elder

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Bust of Empress Faustina the Elder
Bust of Empress Faustina the Elder

A marble bust of Faustina the Elder (Faustina Major) – the wife of Emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161 CE). The bust is in the Capitoline Museums in Rome. The Empress died in the early period of her husband’s rule – 140 CE.

The death of Faustina was a shock to Antoninus. The emperor decided to honor her: the senate recognized her as a deity, and on the Roman Forum the Temple of Faustina was erected. A lot of statues of gold and silver were created and coins with her image and words DIVA FAVSTINA were minted.

Also in her honor, the ruler has created a new charity organization Puellae Faustinianae (“Girls of Faustina”), whose main task was to support orphans and poor children throughout Italy. Support was mainly based on giving away food or education. In Rome, this type of activity was referred to as alimenta. Its origins should be seen under rule of Nerva, and the improvements and organization under Trajan.

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