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Empress of Rome: Faustina the Younger

January 3, 2010

Faustina the Younger, Empress of Rome, wife of Marcus Aurelius

Faustina the Younger (130-175 AD) was the daughter of the emperor Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina the Elder. She was married to Marcus Aurelius in A. D. 145 before he became a Roman emperor.

There is not a great deal of primary source material on her life, but the evidence that exists suggests that the couple were very close. They were blessed with an abundance of children, amongst whom were the future emperor Commodus and the future empress Lucilla.

Faustina accompanied her emperor husband during his numerous campaigns in the field, attempting to make a home out of an army camp.

 She was loved and revered by the Roman soldiers, who called her Matri Castrorum, or, “Mother of the Camp”. The years spent on military campaigns at the side of her husband began to take their toll.

Faustina the Younger died at the village of Halala in faraway Cappadocia in A. D. 176.

She was only forty six years old and had bore 13 children in the 30 years of marriage to Marcus Aurelius.

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’.  (Source: Jay’s Roman History)

To be like the rock that the waves keep crashing over.

It stands unmoved and the raging of the sea falls still around it.

~ Book Four, Meditations – Marcus Aurelius

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2 comments

  1. She sounds amazing!


  2. An incredible story and an incredible woman. I wish this side of history was more readily available. From my years spent studying costume history, most of what is known of the Greek and Roman culture is that women were very much controlled and hidden away. To read an alternate story like this shows that it wasn’t all subjugation and repression, but that woman played an important role as well and that there were powerful men who were secure enough in their power to let their women be strong, visibly so.



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