MATRI CASTRORVM  "Mother of the Camps"

"Mother of the camps" was a title awarded to two imperial wives who accompanied their husbands on campaign. It is recorded on coins of Faustina Jr., wife of Marcus Aurelius, and on coins of Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus. (The similar legend MATER CASTORVM exists on an extremely rare medallions of Julia Mamaea, mother of Severus Alexander.) The types are scarce or rare.  


Faustina II
Sestertius, 31-30 mm. 22.02 grams.
FAVSTINA AVGVSTA

MATRI CASTRORVM
Empress standing left, holding patra over altar
three standards to left

Sear 5280 this coin

RIC 1659 (under Marcus Aurelius) "R" 

"Faustina was awarded the title of 'Mater Castrorum' (Mother of the camps) in AD 174 in recognition of her compassion for the soldiers in sharing the hardships of military life on active campaign." Sear II, page 346.

 

 

The reverse type continues for Faustina Jr. as DIVA after her death. 


Faustina II, wife of Marcus Aurelius
Denarius. 18 mm. 
Struck c 176 as DIVA
Faustina Jr. died at Halala in Cappadocia in the winter of 175-6 while accompanying Marcus on his travels. 

DIVA FAV-STINAE PIAE, veiled and draped bust right
MATRI CASTRORVM, empress seated left holding phoenix and scepter
two standards before

Sear II 5220. RIC Marcus 753 "Rare"

 

 

The only other empress to be awarded this title on coins was Julia Domna.


Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus (193-211)
d. 217
Struck 197 at Rome

IVLIA - AVGVSTA, draped bust right
MARTI - CASTRORVM, empress seated left holding eagle on globe
and scepter, two standards before

Sear II 6596. RIC 568. 

 

 
These denarii also appear with the empress standing. It makes a compact mini-theme collection because there are only two empresses and several types. 
 

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