Cornelia Supera, Augusta, 253. Antoninianus (Silver, 22 mm, 3.16 g, 6 h), Rome. C CORNEL SVPERA AVG Diademed and draped bust of Cornelia Supera set to right on crescent. Rev. VESTA Vesta, veiled, standing front, head to left, holding patera in her right hand and transverse scepter in her left. Cohen 5. Hunter 1. RIC 30. Extremely rare. An exceptionally attractive piece, very well struck and with a particularly sensitive portrait. Minor edge split, otherwise, nearly extremely fine.
We know almost nothing about the lives and accomplishments of many emperors and would-be emperors of the 3rd century, aside from their coins and/or scant literary references. Even less is usually known about their wives. Such is the case with Cornelia Supera, the wife of Aemilian, who ruled for a mere three months in 253. Most likely, Cornelia joined her husband as he defeated Trebonianus Gallus in Italy, but soon afterwards, the tide turned against the imperial couple when Valerian claimed the purple at the Rhine frontier and headed towards Rome with a considerable force. Aemilian’s men, believing the situation hopeless, turned on their commander and killed him at Spoletium. It is unclear whether Cornelia Supera shared her husband’s fate or if Valerian spared her; her coins, after all, are the only testament to her existence.