Antonia was the younger daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia in 36 BC. In either 18 or 16 BC, she married Nero Claudius Drusus, to whom she bore three children: Germanicus, Livilla and Claudius. Although initially honored with the title of Augusta by her grandson, Caligula, she eventually fell out of favor with him, committing suicide in AD 37 possibly as a result. Her son Claudius reconfirmed the title on her posthumously in AD 41. RIC notes that the reverse of this type emphasizes Antonia “as the model for Claudius’ Constantia and also as the priestess of Divus Augustus, from whom imperial auctoritas ultimately flowed.”
Livy, Cicero, and other writers say that constantia, pietas and gravitas were the original three Roman virtues. Constantia looks like the English “constancy”. It is indeed the direct ancestor of our constance “the quality of having a resolute mind, purpose, or affection; steadfastness“, but constantia is closer in meaning to perseverance, that is to say constancy in the face of obstacles and difficulties. Combined with gravitas, one’s sense of personal worth and dignity, constantia helped a Roman present a calm attitude in the face of adversity. It was considered, like many Roman virtues, to be an essential virtue for a military person. The ability to keep a cool head in adversity in danger and to be able to keep doing what needs to be done as well is survival skills in war or disaster.
Laureate and draped bust of Antonia, hair tied in short queue at back of neck, right
Antonia as Constantia, standing facing, holding long torch in right hand, cornucopiae in left
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