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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive EmperorsView Options:  |  |  | 

Roman Coins of the Adoptive Emperors

Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.

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Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian. He was the father of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. In early Rome, he was second in importance only to Jupiter, and the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began and ended the season for military campaigning and farming.
RB84425. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III 992, BMCRE IV 1385, Szaivert MIR 18 206, Cohen II 127, SRCV II 4966, aF, nice portrait, well centered, weight 28.977 g, maximum diameter 32.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 171 A.D.; obverse M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXV, laureate head right; reverse COS III (consul 3 times), Mars advancing right, helmeted, nude but for cloak tied at waist and flying behind, spear in right hand, trophy across left shoulder in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking his knees; $130.00 (115.70)


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Chalcis ad Belum, Chalcidice, Syria

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The Chalcis ad Belum lie north of the modern Syrian village of Al-Iss near Al-Hadir, 25 km southwest of Aleppo on the west bank of the Queiq River (the ancient Belus River). Chalcis was distinguished from its namesake in Macedonia by its river. The river, but not the city, was named for the Semitic god Bel or Ba?al.
RY84646. Bronze AE 26, RPC Online 3461 (8 spec.), Butcher 4a; SNG Munchen 511, SNG Milan 3, BMC Galatia -; SNG Cop -, VF, green patina with red earthen highlighting, well centered on a tight flan, some flatness bust high point, weight 14.003 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 0o, Chalcis ad Belum (Qinnasrin, Syria) mint, 25 Jan 98 - 8/9 Aug 117 A.D.; obverse AYTOKP KAIC NEP TPAIANOC APICT CE ΓEPM ∆AK ΠAPΘ, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ΦΛ XAΛ/KI∆EWN in two lines, ∆ below, all within laurel wreath of eight bunches of leaves tied at the bottom; rare; $335.00 (298.15)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Philippopolis, Thrace

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It seems the Philippopolis mint allowed for many slight variations in legends and types. This variation is apparently unpublished, except Varbanov III 1073, with an unknown obverse legend, and RPC Online 7567 lists an example from the Plovdiv National Museum with an uncertain obverse legend variation. Perhaps one or both of those coins match this type, but photos are not available.
RP69759. Bronze assarion, cf. Varbanov III 1073 (R3, no obv. leg. listed), RPC Online 7567 var. (same, 6 spec., Plovdiv National Museum spec. possible obv. legend var.), aF, well centered, light corrosion, small encrustation above head, weight 4.348 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, Philippopolis (Plovdiv, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AYT KAI Λ AYPHΛI OYHPOC (or similar), laureate head right; reverse ΦIΛIΠΠOΠOΛEITΩN, Homonoia standing left, phiale in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, altar at feet on left; from the Butte College Foundation, ex-Lindgren; rare; $28.00 (24.92)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In 189 A.D., plague (possibly smallpox) killed as many as 2,000 people per day in Rome. Farmers were unable to harvest their crops and food shortages brought riots in the city. Part of Rome burned in 190. Commodus ordered the city to be rebuilt under the name Colonia Commodiana.
RX79588. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 2686 ff.; Curtis 852; Geissen 2252; Dattari 3889; SNG Cop 582; BMC Alexandria p. 175, 1404; Kampmann-Ganschow 41.124; Emmett 2558, F, dark patina, weight 10.856 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 189 - 28 Aug 190; obverse M A KOM ANTW CEB EYCEB, laureate head right; reverse bust of Selene left, large crescent on left, L Λ (year 30) on right; $70.00 (62.30)


Faustina Junior, Augusta 146 - Winter 175/176 A.D., Wife of Marcus Aurelius

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The origin and purpose of the bronze "limes" denarii is uncertain. They may have been a token currency used only along the borders of the Empire. They may have been illegal counterfeits with a now long gone thin silver wash.
BB83740. Bronze limes denarius, cf. RIC III MA739, RSC II 2, BMCRE IV M706; Szaivert MIR 50; SRCV II 5212 (solid silver, official, Rome mint), F, weight 2.419 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial mint, posthumous, 176 - 180 A.D.; obverse DIVA FAVSTINA PIA, draped bust right, hair waved and tied in a chignon at the back; reverse AETERNITAS, Aeternitas standing facing, head left, drawing out fold of veil from shoulder with right hand, lit torch in left hand; $28.00 (24.92)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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When the young heir Aelius suddenly died on 1 January 138 A.D., the aged Hadrian selected Antoninus, a distinguished senator, as the new heir. Since Antoninus was already 52-year-old, Hadrian also selected heirs for Antoninus himself: his 17-year-old nephew Marcus Aurelius and the 8-year-old son of the late Aelius, Lucius Verus.
RS84421. Silver denarius, RIC II H450, RSC II 1061, BMCRE IV H1010, Strack II H408, Hunter II -, SRCV II -, Choice VF, well centered and struck, die wear with strong flow lines, edge cracks, weight 3.290 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 25 Feb - 10 Jul 138 A.D.; obverse IMP T AEL CAES ANTONINVS, bare head right; reverse TRIB POT COS, Pietas standing left, veiled and draped, patera in extended right hand, double cornucopia in left hand; ; $125.00 (111.25)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D., Hierapolis, Cyrrhestica, Syria

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The modern name Manbij is very similar to the original Aramean name, Mnbg. It was part of the kingdom of Bit Adini before it was annexed by the Assyrians in 856 B.C. It fell to Alexander and later prospered under the Seleucids who made it the chief station between Antioch and Seleucia on the Tigris. It was refounded as Hieropolis by Eumenes II of Pergamon in 190 B.C. Crassus sacked the temple on his way to meet the Parthians in 53 B.C. In the 3rd century, the city was the capital of Euphratensis province and one of the great cities of Syria. It was, however, in a ruinous state when Julian gathered his troops there before marching to his defeat and death in Mesopotamia. Sassanid Emperor Khosrau I held it to ransom after Byzantine Emperor Justinian I had failed to defend it. The Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid restored it at the end of the 8th century, making it the capital of al-Awasim province. Afterward, the city became a point of contention between the Byzantines, Arabs, and Turks. The crusaders captured it from the Seljuks in the 12th century, but Ayyubid Sultan Saladin retook it in 1175. Manbij later became the headquarters of Hulagu and his Mongols, who destroyed it. The remains of ancient Manbij are extensive, but almost wholly of late date, as is to be expected in the case of a city which survived into Muslim times. The walls were built by the Arabs, and no ruins of the great temple survive.
RY78043. Bronze AE 22, RPC Online IV 6978 (4 spec.); BMC Arabia p. 132, 21 corr.; Lindgren-Kovacs 1919; SNG Cop -; SNG Mnchen -; SNG Hunterian -, aVF, attractive black patina with red earthen highlighting, tight flan, scratches, light corrosion, weight 8.775 g, maximum diameter 22.1 mm, die axis 0o, Hierapolis-Bambyce (Membij, Syria) mint, undated, Aug 138 - 7 Mar 161 A.D.; obverse [AYTO KAI TI AIΛ A∆PI] ANTWNEINOC CEB[...] (or similar - none known with full obverse legend), laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust left; reverse ΘEAC CYPI/AC IEPOΠO (to the Syrian goddess of Hierapolis) in two lines, E (control) below, all within laurel wreath, tied at the bottom, closed at the top with a pellet in annulet; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; extremely rare; $90.00 (80.10)


Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria

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BMC notes for this series the Greek number below S C indicates the mint issue, not the regnal year.
RY79855. Bronze AE 26, RPC Online 3591 (12 spec.); McAlee 487(i); BMC Galatia p. 184, 281; Wruck 189; Butcher CRS 206; SNG Cop 202, aVF, green patina with brassy high points, light corrosion, edge split and smaller edge cracks, weight 8.685 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 102 - 116 A.D.; obverse AYTOKP KAIC NEP TPAIANOC CEB ΓEPM ∆AK, laureate head right; reverse large S C (senatus consulto), Θ (control) below, all within laurel wreath of eight bunches of leaves tied at the bottom and closed with a pellet in annulet at the top; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $40.00 (35.60)


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Struck at Rome for Use in Syria

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The kithara (cithara) was an ancient stringed musical instrument resembling the lyre. The lyre was a simpler folk-instrument with two strings and tortoise shell body. The kithara had seven strings and a flat back. A symbol of Apollo, credited with inventing it, the Kithara's origins were likely Asiatic. The kithara was primarily used by professional musicians, called kitharodes. In modern Greek, the word kithara has come to mean "guitar."
RY76699. Orichalcum as, McAlee 546, RIC II 684 (S), BMCRE III 1354, Cohen II 442, Hunter II -, VF, attractive dark patina with red earthen highlighting, nice style, tight flan, weight 8.031 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 119 - 10 Jul 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVGVSTVS, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse COS III, kithara (lyre), S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across the field; $160.00 (142.40)


Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.

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When the young heir Aelius suddenly died on 1 January 138 A.D., the aged Hadrian selected Antoninus, a distinguished senator, as the new heir. Since Antoninus was already 52-year-old, Hadrian also selected heirs for Antoninus himself: his 17-year-old nephew Marcus Aurelius and the 8-year-old son of the late Aelius, Lucius Verus.
RS84422. Silver denarius, RIC II H448, RSC II 1057, BMCRE IV H1007, Strack II H411, SRCV II 4134, Hunter II -, VF, nice portrait, toned, reverse slightly off center, edge cracks, weight 3.334 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 25 Feb - 10 Jul 138 A.D.; obverse IMP T AEL CAES ANTONINVS, bare head right; reverse TRIB POT COS, Minerva standing left, Victory offering wreath in right hand, left hand resting on grounded round shield, spear rests against left arm; ; $150.00 (133.50)











Catalog current as of Monday, March 27, 2017.
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Adoptive Emperors