Faustina the Younger
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|Faustina the Younger|
|Empress consort of the Roman Empire|
|Tenure||7 March 161 – 175
(alongside Lucilla from 164–169)
|Issue||Annia Aurelia Galeria Faustina
Lucilla, Empress of Rome
Titus Aelius Antoninus
Titus Aelius Aurelius
Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus
Commodus, Emperor of Rome
Marcus Annius Verus Caesar
Vibia Aurelia Sabina
|Mother||Faustina the Elder|
|Born||16 February between 125 and 130
Rome, Roman Empire
|Died||175 (aged 45–50)
Halala, Cappadocia, Roman Empire
|Burial||Mausoleum of Hadrian, Rome|
Annia Galeria Faustina Minor (Minor is Latin for the Younger), Faustina Minor or Faustina the Younger (16 February between 125 and 130 – 175) was a daughter of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius and Roman Empress Faustina the Elder. She was a Roman Empress and wife to her maternal cousin Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Though Roman sources give a generally negative view of her character, she was held in high esteem by soldiers and her own husband and was given divine honours after her death.
Faustina, named after her mother, was her parents' fourth and youngest child and their second daughter; she was also their only child to survive to adulthood. She was born and raised in Rome.
Her great uncle, the Emperor Hadrian, had arranged with her father for Faustina to marry Lucius Verus. On February 25, 138, she and Verus were betrothed. Verus’ father was Hadrian’s first adopted son and his intended heir; however, when Verus’ father died, Hadrian chose Faustina’s father to be his second adopted son, and eventually, he became Hadrian’s successor. Faustina’s father ended the engagement between his daughter and Verus and arranged for Faustina's betrothal to her maternal cousin, Marcus Aurelius; Aurelius was also adopted by her father.
In April 145, Faustina and Marcus Aurelius were married, as had been planned since 138. Since Aurelius was, by adoption, Antoninus Pius' son, under Roman law he was marrying his sister; Antoninus would have had to formally release one or the other from his paternal authority (his patria potestas) for the ceremony to take place. Little is specifically known of the ceremony, but it is said to have been "noteworthy". Coins were issued with the heads of the couple, and Antoninus, as Pontifex Maximus, would have officiated. Marcus makes no apparent reference to the marriage in his surviving letters, and only sparing references to Faustina.
Reign as Empress
When Antoninus died on 7 March 161, Marcus and Lucius Verus ascended to the throne and became co-rulers. Faustina was given the title of Augusta and became Empress.
Unfortunately, not much has survived from the Roman sources regarding Faustina's life, but what is available does not give a good report. Cassius Dio and the Augustan History accuse Faustina of ordering deaths by poison and execution; she has also been accused of instigating the revolt of Avidius Cassius against her husband. The Augustan History mentions adultery with sailors, gladiators, and men of rank; however, Faustina and Aurelius seem to have been very close and mutually devoted.
Faustina accompanied her husband on various military campaigns and enjoyed the love and reverence of Roman soldiers. Aurelius gave her the title of Mater Castrorum or Mother of the Camp. She attempted to make her home out of an army camp. Between 170–175, she was in the north, and in 175, she accompanied Aurelius to the east.
Revolt of Avidius Cassius and death
That same year, 175, Aurelius's general Avidius Cassius was proclaimed Roman emperor after the erroneous news of Marcus's death; the sources indicate Cassius was encouraged by Marcus's wife Faustina, who was concerned about her husband's failing health, believing him to be on the verge of death, and felt the need for Cassius to act as a protector in this event, since her son Commodus, aged 13, was still young. She also wanted someone who would act as a counter-weight to the claims of Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus, who was in a strong position to take the office of Princeps in the event of Marcus’s death. The evidence, including Marcus's own Meditations, supports the idea that Marcus was indeed quite ill, but by the time Marcus recovered, Cassius was already fully acclaimed by the Egyptian legions of II Traiana Fortis and XXII Deiotariana (please check your source for XXII Deitoriana - the legion is last attested in AD119, and is presumed destroyed in the Jewish revolt of Simon Ben Kosiba; it no longer existed by AD145, when the legions were listed).
"After a dream of empire lasting three months and six days", Cassius was murdered by a centurion; his head was sent to Marcus Aurelius, who refused to see it and ordered it buried. Egypt recognized Marcus as emperor again by July 28, 175.
As would be expected, the events of Cassius' rebellion took their toll on Faustina, who died in the winter of 175, after an accident, at the military camp in Halala (a city in the Taurus Mountains in Cappadocia).
Aurelius grieved much for his wife and buried her in the Mausoleum of Hadrian in Rome. She was deified: her statue was placed in the Temple of Venus in Rome and a temple was dedicated to her in her honor. Halala’s name was changed to Faustinopolis and Aurelius opened charity schools for orphan girls called Puellae Faustinianae or 'Girls of Faustina'. The Baths of Faustina in Miletus are named after her.
In their thirty years of marriage, Faustina bore Marcus Aurelius thirteen children:
- Annia Aurelia Galeria Faustina (147 – after 165)
- Gemellus Lucillae (died around 150), twin brother of Lucilla
- Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla (148/50–182), twin sister of Gemellus, married her father's co-ruler Lucius Verus
- Titus Aelius Antoninus (born after 150, died before 7 March 161)
- Titus Aelius Aurelius (born after 150, died before 7 March 161)
- Hadrianus (152–157)
- Domitia Faustina (born after 150, died before 7 March 161)
- Annia Aurelia Fadilla (159–after 211)
- Annia Cornificia Faustina Minor (160 – after 211)
- Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus (161–165), twin brother of Commodus
- Lucius Aurelius Commodus Antoninus (Commodus) (161–192), twin brother of Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, later emperor
- Marcus Annius Verus Caesar (162–169)
- Vibia Aurelia Sabina (170 – died before 217)
Nerva–Antonine family tree
- (1) = 1st spouse
- (2) = 2nd spouse (not shown)
- (3) = 3rd spouse
- Darker purple indicates Emperor of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty; lighter purple indicates designated imperial heir of said dynasty who never reigned
- dashed lines indicate adoption; dotted lines indicate love affairs/unmarried relationships
- small caps = posthumously deified (Augusti, Augustae, or other)
- Birley, Marcus Aurelius, 90–91.
- HA Antoninus Pius 10.2, qtd. and tr. Birley, Marcus Aurelius, 91.
- Birley, Marcus Unko Aurelius, 91.
- Birley 2001, p. 184.
- Canduci 2010, p. 44.
- Smith 1870, p. 441.
- Birley 2001, p. 185.
- Birley 2001, p. 189.
- "Life of Marcus Aurelius", Historia Augusta, 26.4–9, retrieved 31 March 2014
- Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Julius Capitolinus, Marcus Antoninis xix.1–9, xxvi.4–5, 7–9, xxix.1–3
- Priwitzer, Stefan, Faustina minor – Ehefrau eines Idealkaisers und Mutter eines Tyrannen quellenkritische Untersuchungen zum dynastischen Potential, zur Darstellung und zu Handlungsspielräumen von Kaiserfrauen im Prinzipat (Bonn: Dr. Rudolf Habelt, 2008) (Tübinger althistorische Studien, 6).
- (French) Minaud, Gérard, Les vies de 12 femmes d’empereur romain - Devoirs, Intrigues & Voluptés , Paris, L’Harmattan, 2012, ch. 8, La vie de Faustine, femme de Marc-Aurèle, p. 189-210.
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|Wikisource has the text of a 1920 Encyclopedia Americana article about Faustina the Younger.|
Annia Galeria Faustina Maior
|Empress of Rome
with Lucilla (164–169)