Obverse: HER ETRVSCILLA AVG; Diademed and Draped Bust of the Empress Facing Right on a Crescent
Reverse: PVDICITIA AVG; Pudicitia Standing to the Left, Drawing a Veil from her Face and Holding a Sceptre
Herennia Etruscilla, full name Herennia Cupressenia Etruscilla, was the wife of the emperor Trajan Decius who ruled the Roman Empire from 249-251 A.D. She bore two sons, Herennius Etruscus and Hostilian, both of who became emperors during the reign of their father. Unfortunately, tragedy struck: Trajan Decius and Herennius Etruscus were both killed in battle with the Goths in June, 251 A.D. Hostilian died a few months later of the plague. However, little else is known about the life of Herennia Etruscilla. Historically, little writing survives from this era and this dearth of information is especially lacking in regards to women.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. This ancient coin is a memorial a powerful woman passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation that still appears as vibrant today as the day it was struck.