Annia Cornificia Faustina Minor

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Statue of Annia Cornificia Faustina Minor (Archaeological Museum in Ostia antica)

Annia Cornificia Faustina Minor (Minor Latin for the younger, 160–212) was a daughter of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius and his wife, Faustina the Younger. She was sister to Lucilla and Commodus. Her maternal grandparents were Antoninus Pius and Faustina the Elder, and her paternal grandparents were Domitia Lucilla and praetor Marcus Annius Verus. She was named in honor of her late paternal aunt Annia Cornificia Faustina.

Life[edit]

Cornificia Faustina was born and raised in Rome and later married the African Roman politician Marcus Petronius Sura Mamertinus, who served as consul in 182. Sometime after 173, she bore him a son called Petronius Antoninus. It's possible that she and her family were at the winter camp where Marcus Aurelius died in early 180.

Her brother Commodus succeeded her father as emperor and, sometime between 190 and 192, he ordered the deaths of her husband, her son, her brother-in-law and her sister-in-law’s family. Cornificia survived the political executions of Commodus and later married Lucius Didius Marinus, a powerful Roman noble of equestrian rank who served as Procurator in various provinces. He later became a tax collector and tribune of the first Praetorian cohort.

During the brief reign of Pertinax (193), she was involved in an affair with the emperor. In 212, when she was in her fifties, Caracalla ordered her death, thus eliminating the last surviving child of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina the Younger. Historian Cassius Dio recorded the manner of her death:

"Her last words were 'My poor, unhappy soul, trapped in an unworthy body, go forth, be free, show them that you are the daughter of Marcus Aurelius!' Then she took off her ornaments, composed herself, opened her veins, and died."

Nerva–Antonine family tree[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Septimius Severus: the African emperor, By Anthony Richard Birley Edition: 2 – 1999
  • Roman social history: a sourcebook By Tim G. Parkin, Arthur John Pomeroy 2007
  • A commentary on the Letters of M. Cornelius Fronto, By Michael Petrus Josephus van den Hout, Marcus Cornelius Fronto 1999
  • From Tiberius to the Antonines: a history of the Roman Empire AD 14-192, by Albino Garzetti, 1974.
  • Stefan Priwitzer, Faustina minor - Ehefrau eines Idealkaisers und Mutter eines Tyrannen quellenkritische Untersuchungen zum dynastischen Potential, zur Darstellung und zu Handlungsspielraeumen von Kaiserfrauen im Prinzipat (Bonn: Dr. Rudolf Habelt, 2008) (Tuebinger althistorische Studien, 6).

External links[edit]