Pompeia Plotina, born at Nemausus in about 70, married Trajan before he became emperor. She did not receive recognition on the coinage until 112, the year of family evocation for the emperor, Traianus Maior, Nerva, Marciana, and Matidia. Childless, she was admired for the simplicity, dignity, fidelity, and virtue that she mixed with her beauty. Although she refused the title Augusta in 100, she finally accepted it in 105. Plotina was present at the death of Trajan in Cilicia in 117 and facilitated the adoption of Hadrian as his successor. Hadrian, in turn, honored her on coins in 117-118, and consecrated her upon her death in 121.
Vesta is the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family in Roman religion. Vesta’s presence is symbolized by the sacred fire that burned at her hearth and temples. Her closest Greek equivalent is Hestia. The importance of Vesta to Roman religion is indicated by the prominence of the priesthood devoted to her, the Vestal Virgins, Rome’s only college of full-time priests.
There is not much known of her origin, except that she was at first only worshipped in Roman homes, a personal cult. Her cult eventually evolved to a state cult. One myth tells that her service was set up by king Numa Pompilius (715-673 BCE).
In her temple on the Palantine Hill, the sacred fire of the Roman state burned, which was maintained by the Vestal Virgins. At the start of the new Roman year, March 1, the fire was renewed. The sacred fire burned until 394 CE. Vesta’s temple was situated on the Forum Romanum and was built in the third century BCE. None of her temples, however, contained a statue of the goddess. Her festival is the Vestalia, which was observed from June 7-15. On the first day of this festival, the ‘penus Vestae’, the inner sanctum of the Vesta temple which was kept closed the entire year, was opened for women who came to bring offerings bare-footed. The temple was ritually cleansed on the last day.
Bust of Pompeia Plotina, diademed and draped, right; hair in long tail at back
PLOTINA AVG IMP TRAIANI
Vesta, draped and veiled, seated left, holding palladium and scepter
CAES AVG GERMA DAC COS VI PP
A perfect choice for Numismatists, Historians, Military Veterans, Collectors.