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Search results - "goats"
19 viewsDenarius - 138 BC. - Rome mint
C. RENIVS - Gens Renia
Obv.:Helmeted head of Roma right, X behind
Rev.: Juno Caprotina in biga of goats right, C RENI below goats, ROMA in ex.
Crawf. 231/1, Sear RCV 108, Grueber I 885
24 viewsDenarius Serratus - 79 BC - Rome mint
Obv.: Head of Juno Sospita right, wearing goatskin, symbol behind (amphora with two handles and string)
Rev.:Gryphon dancing right, symbol below (ampulla), L PAPI in ex.
Gs. 3,8 mm. 18,28x19,64
Crawf. 384/1, Sear RCV 311, Grueber 2977

1 commentsMaxentius
0009 - Denarius Papia 79 BC107 viewsObv/Head of Juno Sospita r., wearing goatskin, symbol behind.
Rev/Gryphon dancing r., symbol below, L PAPI in ex.

Ag, 19.9mm, 3.82g
Moneyer: L. Papius.
Mint: Rome.
RRC 384/1 [dies o/r: 211/211] - Syd. 773 - Calicó 1057 - RCV 311 - RSC Papia 1 - Cohen Papia 1
ex-Numismática Saetabis
1 commentsdafnis
221-179 BC - Philip V - Sear 1394 - Two Goats Reverse108 viewsKing: Philip V of Macedonia (r. 221-179 BC)
Date: 221-179 BC
Size: AE19
Condition: Mediocre

Obverse: Diademed head of Artemis Tauropoulos right

Reverse: AMΦIΠΩΛITΩN above and beneath two goats contending.

Amphipolis, Thrace (Macedonia)
Sear 1394; Lindgren II 934; BMC 36; SNG Cop. 62; ANS 116
4.83g; 19.9mm; 15°
3336 CILICIA, Aegeae. Hadrian. Tridrachm 117-18 AD Athena standing24 viewsReference.
RPC III, 3336; SNG Levante 1715; SNG France 2327; Prieur 714

Issue Year 164 (ΔΞΡ)

Laureate head of Hadrian, r., with drapery on l. shoulder

Athena standing l., holding in r. hand patera over goat, r. head turned back, l. hand resting on shield; behind, spear

8.99 gr
25 mm

The kneeling goat on the coin is a play on words as the city name sounds like the Greek word for goats.
5315 EGYPT, Alexandria. Hadrian Tetradrachm 121-22 AD Dikaiosyne standing11 viewsReference.
Emmett 833.06; RPC III, 5315; Dattari 1357; Goats 826; Kampmann / Ganschow 32,183.

Issue L Ϛ = year 6

Laureate head of Hadrian, r., drapery on l. shoulder; to r crescent.

Rev. L Ϛ
Dikaiosyne standing left, holding scales and cornucopiae.

12.90 gr
22 mm

Fritz Rudolf Künker eLive Auction 41 lot 174
Nero AE Sestertius.jpg
706a, Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.73 views6, Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D. AE setertius, Date: 66 AD; RIC I 516, 36.71 mm; 25.5 grams; aVF. Obverse: IMP NERO CAESAR AVG PONT MAX TR POT PP, Laureate bust right; Reverse: S C, ROMA, Roma seated left, exceptional portrait and full obverse legends. Ex Ancient Imports.

NERO (54-68 A.D.)

It is difficult for the modern student of history to realize just how popular Nero actually was, at least at the beginning of his reign. Rome looked upon her new Emperor with hope. He was the student of Seneca, and he had a sensitive nature. He loved art, music, literature, and theatre. He was also devoted to horses and horse racing—a devotion shared by many of his subjects. The plebs loved their new Emperor. As Professor of Classics Judith P. Hallett (University of Maryland, College Park) says, “It is not clear to me that Nero ever changed or that Nero ever grew-up, and that was both his strength and his weakness. Nero was an extraordinarily popular Emperor: he was like Elvis” (The Roman Empire in the First Century, III. Dir. Margaret Koval and Lyn Goldfarb. 2001. DVD. PBS/Warner Bros. 2003).

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
The five Julio-Claudian emperors are very different one from the other. Augustus dominates in prestige and achievement from the enormous impact he had upon the Roman state and his long service to Rome, during which he attained unrivaled auctoritas. Tiberius was clearly the only possible successor when Augustus died in AD 14, but, upon his death twenty-three years later, the next three were a peculiar mix of viciousness, arrogance, and inexperience. Gaius, better known as Caligula, is generally styled a monster, whose brief tenure did Rome no service. His successor Claudius, his uncle, was a capable man who served Rome well, but was condemned for being subject to his wives and freedmen. The last of the dynasty, Nero, reigned more than three times as long as Gaius, and the damage for which he was responsible to the state was correspondingly greater. An emperor who is well described by statements such as these, "But above all he was carried away by a craze for popularity and he was jealous of all who in any way stirred the feeling of the mob." and "What an artist the world is losing!" and who is above all remembered for crimes against his mother and the Christians was indeed a sad falling-off from the levels of Augustus and Tiberius. Few will argue that Nero does not rank as one of the worst emperors of all.

The prime sources for Nero's life and reign are Tacitus' Annales 12-16, Suetonius' Life of Nero, and Dio Cassius' Roman History 61-63, written in the early third century. Additional valuable material comes from inscriptions, coinage, papyri, and archaeology.

Early Life
He was born on December 15, 37, at Antium, the son of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbusand Agrippina. Domitius was a member of an ancient noble family, consul in 32; Agrippina was the daughter of the popular Germanicus, who had died in 19, and Agrippina, daughter of Agrippa, Augustus' closest associate, and Julia, the emperor's daughter, and thus in direct descent from the first princeps. When the child was born, his uncle Gaius had only recently become emperor. The relationship between mother and uncle was difficult, and Agrippina suffered occasional humiliation. But the family survived the short reign of the "crazy" emperor, and when he was assassinated, it chanced that Agrippina's uncle, Claudius, was the chosen of the praetorian guard, although there may have been a conspiracy to accomplish this.

Ahenobarbus had died in 40, so the son was now the responsibility of Agrippina alone. She lived as a private citizen for much of the decade, until the death of Messalina, the emperor's wife, in 48 made competition among several likely candidates to become the new empress inevitable. Although Roman law forbade marriage between uncle and niece, an eloquent speech in the senate by Lucius Vitellius, Claudius' closest advisor in the senatorial order, persuaded his audience that the public good required their union. The marriage took place in 49, and soon thereafter the philosopher Seneca [[PIR2 A617]] was recalled from exile to become the young Domitius' tutor, a relationship which endured for some dozen years.

His advance was thereafter rapid. He was adopted by Claudius the following year and took the name Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar or Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus, was preferred to Claudius' natural son, Britannicus, who was about three years younger, was betrothed to the emperor's daughter Octavia, and was, in the eyes of the people, the clear successor to the emperor. In 54, Claudius died, having eaten some poisoned mushrooms, responsibility for which was believed to be Agrippina's, and the young Nero, not yet seventeen years old, was hailed on October 13 as emperor by the praetorian guard.

The First Years of Rule
The first five years of Nero's rule are customarily called the quinquennium, a period of good government under the influence, not always coinciding, of three people, his mother, Seneca, and Sextus Afranius Burrus, the praetorian prefect. The latter two were allies in their "education" of the emperor. Seneca continued his philosophical and rhetorical training, Burrus was more involved in advising on the actualities of government. They often combined their influence against Agrippina, who, having made her son emperor, never let him forget the debt he owed his mother, until finally, and fatally, he moved against her.

Nero's betrothal to Octavia was a significant step in his ultimate accession to the throne, as it were, but she was too quiet, too shy, too modest for his taste. He was early attracted to Poppaea Sabina, the wife of Otho, and she continually goaded him to break from Octavia and to show himself an adult by opposing his mother. In his private life, Nero honed the musical and artistic tastes which were his chief interest, but, at this stage, they were kept private, at the instigation of Seneca and Burrus.

As the year 59 began, Nero had just celebrated his twenty-first birthday and now felt the need to employ the powers which he possessed as emperor as he wished, without the limits imposed by others. Poppaea's urgings had their effect, first of all, at the very onset of the year, with Nero's murder of his mother in the Bay of Naples.

Agrippina had tried desperately to retain her influence with her son, going so far as to have intercourse with him. But the break between them proved irrevocable, and Nero undertook various devices to eliminate his mother without the appearance of guilt on his part. The choice was a splendid vessel which would collapse while she was on board. As this happened, she swam ashore and, when her attendant, having cried out that she was Agrippina, was clubbed to death, Agrippina knew what was going on. She sent Nero a message that she was well; his response was to send a detachment of sailors to finish the job. When she was struck across the head, she bared her womb and said, "Strike here, Anicetus, strike here, for this bore Nero," and she was brutally murdered.

Nero was petrified with fear when he learned that the deed had been done, yet his popularity with the plebs of Rome was not impaired. This matricide, however, proved a turning point in his life and principate. It appeared that all shackles were now removed. The influence of Seneca and Burrus began to wane, and when Burrus died in 62, Seneca realized that his powers of persuasion were at an end and soon went into retirement. Britannicus had died as early as 55; now Octavia was to follow, and Nero became free to marry Poppaea. It may be that it had been Burrus rather than Agrippina who had continually urged that Nero's position depended in large part upon his marriage to Octavia. Burrus' successor as commander of the praetorian guard, although now with a colleague, was Ofonius Tigellinus, quite the opposite of Burrus in character and outlook. Tigellinus became Nero's "evil twin," urging and assisting in the performance of crimes and the satisfaction of lusts.

Administrative and Foreign Policy
With Seneca and Burrus in charge of administration at home, the first half-dozen years of Nero's principate ran smoothly. He himself devoted his attention to his artistic, literary, and physical bents, with music, poetry, and chariot racing to the fore. But his advisors were able to keep these performances and displays private, with small, select audiences on hand. Yet there was a gradual trend toward public performance, with the establishment of games. Further, he spent many nights roaming the city in disguise, with numerous companions, who terrorized the streets and attacked individuals. Those who dared to defend themselves often faced death afterward, because they had shown disrespect for the emperor. The die was being cast for the last phases of Nero's reign.

The Great Fire at Rome and The Punishment
of the Christians
The year 64 was the most significant of Nero's principate up to this point. His mother and wife were dead, as was Burrus, and Seneca, unable to maintain his influence over Nero without his colleague's support, had withdrawn into private life. The abysmal Tigellinus was now the foremost advisor of the still young emperor, a man whose origin was from the lowest levels of society and who can accurately be described as criminal in outlook and action. Yet Nero must have considered that he was happier than he had ever been in his life. Those who had constrained his enjoyment of his (seemingly) limitless power were gone, he was married to Poppaea, a woman with all advantages save for a bad character the empire was essentially at peace, and the people of Rome enjoyed a full measure of panem et circenses. But then occurred one of the greatest disasters that the city of Rome, in its long history, had ever endured.

The fire began in the southeastern angle of the Circus Maximus, spreading through the shops which clustered there, and raged for the better part of a week. There was brief success in controlling the blaze, but then it burst forth once more, so that many people claimed that the fires were deliberately set. After about a fortnight, the fire burned itself out, having consumed ten of the fourteen Augustan regions into which the city had been divided.

Nero was in Antium through much of the disaster, but his efforts at relief were substantial. Yet many believed that he had been responsible, so that he could perform his own work comparing the current fate of Rome to the downfall of Troy. All his efforts to assist the stricken city could not remove the suspicion that "the emperor had fiddled while Rome burned." He lost favor even among the plebs who had been enthusiastic supporters, particularly when his plans for the rebuilding of the city revealed that a very large part of the center was to become his new home.

As his popularity waned, Nero and Tigellinus realized that individuals were needed who could be charged with the disaster. It so happened that there was such a group ready at hand, Christians, who had made themselves unpopular because of their refusal to worship the emperor, their way of life, and their secret meetings. Further, at this time two of their most significant "teachers" were in Rome, Peter and Paul. They were ideal scapegoats, individuals whom most Romans loathed, and who had continually sung of the forthcoming end of the world.

Their destruction was planned with the utmost precision and cruelty, for the entertainment of the populace. The venue was Nero's circus near the Mons Vaticanus. Christians were exposed to wild animals and were set ablaze, smeared with pitch, to illuminate the night. The executions were so grisly that even the populace displayed sympathy for the victims. Separately, Peter was crucified upside down on the Vatican hill and Paul was beheaded along the Via Ostiensis. But Nero's attempt, and hope, to shift all suspicion of arson to others failed. His popularity even among the lower classes was irrevocably impaired.

[For a detailed and interesting discussion of Nero’s reign please see]

The End - Nero's Death and its Aftermath
Nero's and Tigellinus' response to the conspiracy was immediate and long-lasting. The senatorial order was decimated, as one leading member after another was put to death or compelled to commit suicide. The year 66 saw the suicides of perhaps the most distinguished victims of the "reign of terror," Caius Petronius and Thrasea Paetus. Petronius, long a favorite of Nero because of his aesthetic taste, had been an able public servant before he turned to a life of ease and indolence. He was recognized as the arbiter elegantiae of Nero's circle, and may be the author of the Satyricon. At his death, he left for Nero a document which itemized many of the latter's crimes. Thrasea, a staunch Stoic who had been for some years an outspoken opponent of Nero's policies, committed suicide in the Socratic manner. This scene is the last episode in the surviving books of Tacitus' Annals.

In the year 68, revolt began in the provinces. . . the end of Nero's reign became inevitable. Galba claimed the throne and began his march from Spain. Nero panicked and was rapidly abandoned by his supporters. He finally committed suicide with assistance, on June 9, 68, and his body was tended and buried by three women who had been close to him in his younger days, chief of whom was Acte. His death scene is marked above all by the statement, "Qualis artifex pereo," (What an artist dies in me.) Even at the end he was more concerned with his private life than with the affairs of state.

The aftermath of Nero's death was cataclysmic. Galba was the first of four emperors who revealed the new secret of empire, that an emperor could be made elsewhere than in Rome. Civil war ensued, which was only ended by the victory of the fourth claimant, Vespasian, who established the brief dynasty of the Flavians. The dynasty of the Julio-Claudians was at an end.

Nero's popularity among the lower classes remained even after his death.

. . . .

It is not excessive to say that he was one of the worst of Rome's emperors in the first two centuries and more of the empire. Whatever talents he had, whatever good he may have done, all is overwhelmed by three events, the murder of his mother, the fire at Rome, and his savage treatment of the Christians.

Precisely these qualities are the reasons that he has remained so well known and has been the subject of many writers and opera composers in modern times. These works of fiction particularly merit mention: Henryk Sienkiewicz's Quo Vadis, one of the finest works of the 1907 Nobel Laureate in Literature, and John Hersey's The Conspiracy. Nero unquestionably will always be with us.

Copyright (C) 2006, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

1 commentsCleisthenes
AMPHIPOLIS43 viewsAMPHIPOLIS - (168 – 149 B.C.) AE 22. Amphipolis is a city founded by the Atheninians back in 436 B.C. on the river Strymon, very close to the Aegean Sea. Obv.: Head of Artemis Tauropolos right, bow & quiver at shoulder. Rev.: Two goats on their hind legs, contending, face to face. Legend in Greek: ΑΜΦΙΠΟΛΙΤΟΝ. 7.37 g. Ref.: D. Sear. Greek coins and their values, Vol. 1, p. 142, 1394
Amphipolis, Macedon ca. 168-149 BC.17 viewsAmphipolis, Macedonia, ca. 168-149 BC. Ae 21 to 23mm. Weight 6.93g. Obv: Head of Artemis right. Rev: ΑΜΦΙΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ, two goats standing on their hind legs, butting heads. Minted for Amphipolis in Macedon circa 168-149 BC. Amphipolis was founded by the Athenians in 436 BC to protect their mining interests in the north. The city surrendered to the Spartan general Brasidas in 424 BC. The city preserved its independence until 357, when it was captured by Philip II of Macedon. This piece was minted following the dissolution of the Macedonian monarchy and the establishment of four separate Macedonian republics in 168 BC. The obverse of this type depicts the diademed head of Artemis Tauropolis facing right, with bow and quiver at her shoulder. The reverse type features two goats on their hind legs, contending, face to face, with the Greek legend ΑΜΦΙΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ in the fields. Sear Greek 1394.ddwau
Amphipolis, Macedonia102 viewsBronze AE 21, S 1394, VF, Amphipolis mint, 6.847g, 21.2mm, 0o, obverse diademed head of Artemis Tauropolis right, bow and quiver at shoulder; reverse , two goats on their hind legs, contending, facing;
ex-Wallace Widtman collection .
ex-Forum Ancient Coins
Purchased 09/2007
1 commentsJohnny
Amphipolis, Macedonia, c. 168 - 149 B.C.62 viewsBronze AE 20, SGCV I 1394; (SNG Cop 62), weight 7.8 g, max. diameter 21.75 mm, Amphipolis mint, Roman rule, c. 168 - 149 B.C.; Obv. diademed head of Artemis Tauropolos right, bow and quiver at shoulder; Rev. ΑΜΦΙΠΟΛΙΤΩΝ, two goats on their hind legs, contending head to head. Green patina, very worn.

Artemis Tauropolos was an epithet for the goddess Artemis, variously interpreted as worshipped at Tauris, or pulled by a yoke of bulls, or hunting bull goddess. A statue of Artemis "Tauropolos" in her temple at Brauron in Attica was supposed to have been brought from the Taurians by Iphigenia. Tauropolia was a festival of Artemis in Athens. - Wikipedia
Steve E
Antoninus Pius AE Sestertius RIC III 60825 viewsObv: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS PP TR P COS III
laureate head right with slight drapery on left shoulder
Juno Sospita advancing right, wearing goatskin, preceded by
serpent on ground, brandishing spear and holding long shield
33mm 27gm
1 commentsOWL365
C RENIUS AR Denarius Cr231/1. Goat Biga16 viewsOBVERSE: Helmeted head of Roma right, X behind
REVERSE: Juno Capriotina in biga of goats right, C RENI below goats, ROMA in ex.
3.6g, 16mm

Struck at Rome 138 BC
C. Renius , Denarius13 viewsRRC. 231/1
138 b.c.

Juno in Biga of Goats, w. Diadem, sceptre & reigns
Ex Gorny & Mosch, Auction 232, Lot 240 - Ex Varesi, April 1990.
C. Renius - AR denarius11 viewsRome
²144 BC
¹138 BC
head of Roma right wearing winged helmet
Juno Caprotina in biga of goats right holding whip, scepter and reins
¹Crawford 231/1, SRCV I 108, Sydenham 432, RSC I Renia 1
²Mark Passehl - Roman moneyer & coin type chronology, 150 – 50 BC
ex London Coin Galleries

Reverse refers to Lanuvium where moneyer's family came from and where the sanctuary of Juno was situated.
C. Renius – Renia-159 viewsROMAN REPUBLIC C Renius, 138 BC, AR Denarius (3.84 gm) Helmeted head of Roma right "X" behind. Juno Caprotina in a biga of goats right "C RENI" below "ROMA" in exergue. Renia 1, Crawford 231/1, RCV 108, Syd 4321 commentsBud Stewart
C. Renius, Crawford 231/153 viewsC. Renius, gens Renia
AR - denarius, 3.92g, 15.33mm
Rome, 138 BC
obv. Head of Roma,wearing decorated and winged Attic helmet, r.
X behind
rev. Juno Caprotina in goats biga galopping r., holding reigns and sceptre in l. hand
and whip in r. hand.
beneath C.REN[I]
in ex. ROMA
Crawford 231/1; Sydenham 432; Renia 1
VF, toned, small, struck on small flan

For more informations please look at the thread 'Mythological interesting coins'!
Cr 231/1 AR Denarius C. Renius8 views138 BCE Rome mint
o: Helmeted head of Roma right, X behind
r: Juno (Caprotina?) in biga of goats right, C. RENI below goats, ROMA in exergue.
Renia 1. 3.73 gm 18.00 mm
What can one say about a type that prominently features goats pulling a cart? Apparently a great deal if you are one of the great Republican numismatists and historians, who have a wide variety of explanations for why one of the more serious goddesses is being pulled around in a goat chariot on a fairly common coin. Crawford spends half a page saying why his predecessors are wrong to say the reverse depicts "Juno Caprotina" or other variations on the type. However, all he concludes is that it has something to do with Juno and and something to do with a goat, but not apparently "Juno of the Goat". This is one of those explanations in Crawford that leave something to be desired, such as clarity.

However, clarity is not a problem with this coin, which is nearly perfect except for the awkward chip in the flan from separation from the strip. I feel that the worker who separated the coins really tried to get the best out of this one.
Elagabalus from Panias61 viewsElagabalus --AE25, Caesaria Panias. R: Pan standing with three goats, all sharing a common head. cf. Meshorer, Ya'akov, Coins of Caesarea Panias, in Israel Numismatic Journal 8, 1984-85, page 57 no. 59 (Julia Soaemias). Thanks to David Hendin and Pat Lawrence for assistance on attribution!featherz
2 goats.JPG
Every petting zoo needs a few goats255 viewsThis one is already in my gallery
Bronze AE 21, S 1394, VF, Amphipolis mint, 6.847g, 21.2mm, 0o, obverse diademed head of Artemis Tauropolis right, bow and quiver at shoulder; reverse , two goats on their hind legs, contending, facing;
ex-Wallace Widtman collection .
ex-Forum Ancient Coins
Purchased 09/2007
1 commentsJohnny
GALLIENUS AE antoninianus - 267-268 AD (sole reign)49 viewsobv: GALLIENVS AVG (radiate head right)
rev: IOVI CONS AVG (goat standing right), Stigma in ex.
ref: RIC Vi 207, RSC 341
mint: Rome
2.53gms, 20mm

In this coin the goat is a personification of Amalthea, a nymph who nursed the infant Jupiter with goats milk. Interesting O letter on the reverse, perhaps IAVI (sic!)
2 commentsberserker
Greek, Macedonian Kingdom, Philip V (221-179 B.C.), SNG Cop 1250, AE-21, Pella mint, Two goats kneeling right,212 viewsPhilip V., Macedonia, Kings, (221-179 B.C.), SNG Cop 1250, AE-21, Pella mint, Two goats kneeling right,
avers:- Head of young Herakles right, clad in lion's skin.
revers:-Two goats kneeling right side by side, BA above, Φ below.
exerg: -/-//--, diameter: 21 mm, weight: g, axes: h,
mint: Macedonia, Kings, Philippos V., Pella mint, date: 221-179 B.C., ref: SNG Cop 1250,
1 commentsquadrans
Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D., Aegeae, Cilicia mint90 viewsSilver tetradrachm, (Prieur 720), (SNG Paris 2331), Aegeae mint, weight 13.48g, max. diameter 26.6mm, 132 - 133 A.D.; Obv. AΥTOKΡ KAIΣ TΡAIA AΔΡIANO ΣEB Π Π (mostly off flan), laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; Rev. ETOΥΣ •ΘOΡ(year 179=132/3 A.D)• (AIΓEAIΩN mostly off flan), eagle standing facing on harpe, wings spread, head turned right, recumbent goat r. in ex.

Background info. courtesy Forvm Ancient Coins

Aegeae issued tetradrachms only during the reigns of Hadrian and Caracalla. The issues were probably related to visits of these emperors to the town or to its famous sanctuary of Asclepius. -- The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms and Their Fractions from 57 BC to AD 253 by Michel and Karin Prieur

The recumbent goat was the symbol for the city of Aegeae. It was a pun on AIGEAIWN (of the city of Aegeae) and AIGEIWN (of the goats). -- The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms and Their Fractions from 57 BC to AD 253 by Michel and Karin Prieur

2 commentsSteve E
Juno (Sospita)222 views* AR Denarius Procilia 1, moneyer L. Procili F.
* Rome 80 BC
* Obv: Laur. head of Jupiter. To l.: S•C.
* Rev: Cult statue of Juno Sospita, stg. r., wearring goatskin and holding shield in l.hand, and hurling spear with r.hand; before snake, behind: L•PROCILI / F downwards.
* 18,5 mm
* Crawford 379/1.
KINGS OF MACEDON--PHILIP V47 views221 - 179 BC
20.5 mm 8.13 g
O: Head of young Heracles in lionskin headdress right
R: Two goats recumbent, side by side. BA above. F beneath; grain ear below r
1 commentslaney
AE 16 mm 5.40 g
O: Draped bust of Pan right; at shoulder, logobolon
R: Two goats recumbent right; above, monogram/PEL; all within wreath
L Papius Denarius Serratus, 79 BC49 viewsHead of Juno Sospita right, wearing goatskin, symbol behind
Gryphon dancing right, symbol below, ex. L PAPI
Syd 773, Cr384/1, Papia 1
This coin has been identified as a cast fake that has emerged in the last year.
L. Procilius L.f. - AR serratus denarius10 views²Sardinia
¹²80 BC
head of Juno Sospita right wearing goat skin
Juno Sospita in biga right holding spear, reins and shield; snake below
¹Crawford 379/2, SRCV I 307, Sydenham 772, RSC I Procilia 2
²Mark Passehl - Roman moneyer & coin type chronology, 150 – 50 BC
ex Gitbud and Naumann

Juno Sospita offered protection to women, accompanying them throughout their lives from birth to death. She was often called upon by infertile women to aid in conception. Juno Sospita had a two temples at Rome, but her most famous temple was at Lanuvium. Her statue there, as described by Cicero and as depicted on coinage, wore a goatskin coat with a goat-horned headdress. Her attribute, the serpent, inhabited a grotto near her temple, and was fed annually by a young girl, who, if a virgin, escaped unharmed, but if not, was destroyed.
MACEDON, AMPHIPOLIS17 viewsca 168 - 149 BC
AE 21 mm, 5.89 g
O: Diademed head of Artemis Tauropolos right, bow and quiver at shoulder;
R: AMΦIΠOΛITΩN surrounding two goats on their hind legs, contending head to head
Amphipolis mint; cf SNG Cop 62, SGCV I 1394
1 commentslaney
MACEDON, AMPHIPOLIS AE195 viewsOBVERSE: Laureate head of Zeus left
REVERSE: Two rampant goats
Struck at Amphipolis 187-168 BC
6.6g, 19mm
Macedonia Thessalonica14 viewsMacedonia,Thessalonica, AE19.

Obverse.Head of Zeus right

Reverse. QESSALONIKEWN, two goats butting heads
Macedonian Warrior
Macedonia, Amphipolis17 viewsMacedonia, Amphipolis. After 168 B.C.

Artemis / Two goats head butting. BMC 39
Macedonia, Amphipolis17 viewsMacedonia, Amphipolis, AE22.

Obverse.Head of Artemis right

Reverse.AMFIPOLITWN, two goats standing on their hind legs, butting heads
1 commentsMacedonian Warrior
Macedonia, Amphipolis, (c.187-31 B.C.), AE-20, Sear #1394, AMΦIΠOLITΩN, two goats, #184 viewsMacedonia, Amphipolis, (c.187-31 B.C.), AE-20, Sear #1394, AMΦIΠOLITΩN, two goats, #1
avers:- Diademed head of Artemis Tauropolis facing right, with bow and quiver at her shoulder.
revers:- Two goats on their hind legs, contending, face to face, with the Greek legend AMΦIΠOLIT-ΩN, in the fields.
exerg: -/-//--, diameter: 19-20mm, weight: 6,13g, axes: 0h,
mint: Macedonia, Amphipolis, date: c.187-31 B.C., ref: Sear #1394,
1 commentsquadrans
Macedonia, Amphipolis, (c.187-31 B.C.), AE-20, Sear #1394, AMΦIΠOLITΩN, two goats, #266 viewsMacedonia, Amphipolis, (c.187-31 B.C.), AE-20, Sear #1394, AMΦIΠOLITΩN, two goats, #2
avers:- Diademed head of Artemis Tauropolis facing right, with bow and quiver at her shoulder.
revers:- Two goats on their hind legs, contending, face to face, with the Greek legend AMΦIΠOLIT-ΩN, in the fields.
exerg: -/-//--, diameter: 18,5-21,5mm, weight: 8,02g, axes: 0h,
mint: Macedonia, Amphipolis, date: c.187-31 B.C., ref: Sear #1394,
Macedonia, Kings, 032 Philip V., (221-179 B.C.), SNG Cop 1250, AE-21, Pella mint, Two goats kneeling right, #1146 viewsMacedonia, Kings, 032 Philip V., (221-179 B.C.), SNG Cop 1250, AE-21, Pella mint, Two goats kneeling right, #1
avers: Head of young Herakles right, clad in lion's skin.
reverse: Two goats kneeling right side by side, BA above, Φ below.
exergue: -/-//--, diameter: 21 mm, weight: g, axes: h,
mint: Macedonia, Kings, Philip V., Pella mint, date: 221-179 B.C., ref: SNG Cop 1250,
Macedonia, Kings, 032 Philip V., (221-179 B.C.), SNG Cop 1250, AE-21, Pella mint, Two goats kneeling right, #2141 viewsMacedonia, Kings, 032 Philip V., (221-179 B.C.), SNG Cop 1250, AE-21, Pella mint, Two goats kneeling right, #2
avers: Head of young Herakles right, clad in lion's skin.
reverse: Two goats kneeling right side by side, BA above, Φ below.
exergue: -/-//--, diameter: 21 mm, weight: g, axes: h,
mint: Macedonia, Kings, Philip V., Pella mint, date: 221-179 B.C., ref: SNG Cop 1250,
Macedonia, Philip V. 221-179 BC.13 viewsAE20.
Head of Herakles, right, wearing lionskin.
Two goats kneeling. BA above.
Macedonia, Philip V. 221-179 BC.19 viewsAE20
Head of Herakles right, wearing lionskin.
Two goats kneeling. BA above.
Macedonian Kingdom: Philip V (221-179 BCE) Æ Unit (SNG Alpha Bank 1090-1; Touratsoglou, Macedonia 14; SNG München 1163; SNG Cop. 1250-1251)19 viewsObv: Head of youthful Herakles to right, wearing lion skin
Rev: BA Φ; Two goats kneeling to right, corn of ear below
Mn. Fonteius C.f. - AR denarius6 viewsRome
¹²85 BC
laureate head of Vejovis right, thunderbold below
Cupid seated on goat right, caps of the Dioscuri above, thyrsus of Bacchus in exergue, all within laurel wreath
¹Crawford 353/1a, RSC I Fonteia 9, Sydenham 724, BMCRR 2476, SRCV I 271
²Mark Passehl - Roman moneyer & coin type chronology, 150 – 50 BC
ex Gitbud and Naumann

Reverse probably depicts sculpture which stood near the temple of Vejovis on Capitol.
In spring, goats were sacrificed to Vejovis to avert plagues.
Philip V. 221-179 B.C.10 viewsKINGS OF MACEDON. Philip V. 221-179 B.C. Ae 20.3mm. 7.93g. Obv: Head of Herakles right, wearing lion's skin headdress. Rev: B A above, Φ - below, (monograms left and right), two goats kneeling right.ddwau
Philip V; Heracles/ two goats13 viewsKings of Macedon, Philip V, 220-179 BC, 21mm, 6.95g. Obv Head of young Heracles right, rev. Two goats seated side by side. BA/F above and beneath. Sear GCVII: 6797. ex areich, photo credit areich1 commentsPodiceps
Renia 1 - Biga of goats37 views138 B.C.
Silver Denarius
3.74 gm, 17.5 mm
Obv: X - Roma head right, helmeted.
Rev: C. RENI - Juno riding in biga of goats right.
Rome mint: 138 BC
SEAR RCV I (2000), #108, page 94 - RRC 231/1
1 commentsJaimelai
Renius, Roma, biga of goats, denar35 viewsDenarius, 138 BC, 3.36g. Cr-231/1, Syd-432, Renia 1. Obv: Head of Roma r., X behind head; Rx: Juno Caprotina in biga of goats r., C.RENI below goats, ROMA in exergue. . Areas of wear on obverse. Small chip out of coin on right edge, but does not detract from coins overall beauty. Good silver. Almost complete images in both sides. Nicely centered. Fine/aVF

ex HJB
1 commentsareich
Republic L Papius Denarius Serratus.65 viewsL Papius Denarius Serratus. 79 BC, Head of Juno Sospita right, wearing goatskin, symbol behind / Gryphon dancing right, symbol below, L PAPI in ex.

Sear5 311, Syd 773, Cr384/1.

2 commentsTanit
Roman Republic Denarius C. Renius21 views138 B.C C. Renius, 3.49g, 17mm
Rome Mint
Obverse: Helmeted head of Roma right (X= 10 asses) behind
Reverse: Juno in a biga of goats right, C.RENI below, ROMA in ex
ROMAN REPUBLIC, L. Procilius, AR Serrate Denarius - Crawford 379/216 viewsRome, The Republic.
L. Procilius, 80 BCE.
AR Serrate Denarius (3.77g; 20mm).
Rome mint.

Obverse: Head of Juno Sospita, wearing goatskin, facing right; S.C. behind.

Rev: Juno Sospita, holding shield and spear, in biga galloping right; snake below horses; L. PROCILI F in exergue.

References: Crawford 379/2; Sydenham 772; BMCRR 3150; Procilia 2.

Provenance: Ex Student and Mentor Collection [NAC 83 (20 May 2015) Lot 339]; privately purchased in 1968.

The letters S.C. on the obverse indicate that this coinage was a special issue, by decree of the Roman Senate, for an unknown purpose. Like the coins of Papius and Roscius Fabatus, the images of Juno Sospita on this coin suggests that Procilius was native of Lanuvium which was home of a cult to Juno Sospita. The snake on the reverse, alludes to the snake in the grotto of Juno Sospita’s Lanuvium temple. Each year, a girl was sent to the grotto to feed the sacred snake, and only a virtuous girl would survive the ordeal.

The reason for serrating the edge of certain Roman Republic denarius issues remains uncertain. Some moneyers issued both serrate and plain edged coins. The practice ended with the serrate issue by Roscius Fabatus in 59 BCE. Possible reasons for the serrations include:
• Proof that the coins were not plated.
• Confounding forgers.
• Making the coins look painful to swallow (reducing theft by mint workers).
• Artistic preference.

1 commentsCarausius
RPC-1936-Vespasian99 viewsAR Tetradrachm, 13.41g
Antioch mint, 69 AD
Obv : AYTOKPAT KAIΣA OYEΣΠAΣIANOY; Bust of Vespasian, laureate, r., with aegis
Rev : ETOYΣ NEOY IEPOY A; Eagle standing r., on thunderbolt; in r. field, palm branch
RPC 1936 (2 spec.).
Ex CNG E418, 11 April 2018, lot 403.

According to Tacitus, Vespasian immediately struck gold and silver coins at Antioch after being proclaimed emperor by the legions in the East (Hist. II, 82). This coin dated regnal year one at Antioch ( July - September 69) must have been one of the first coins to bear Vespasian's portrait. The style is indeed early, similar to the year ten Syrian tetradrachms coined for Nero. Although traditionally attributed to Antioch, the style is strongly Alexandrian. It almost certainly was struck at Alexandria for circulation in Syria along side a parallel Antiochene issue. The goatskin aegis seen here is rare for Vespasian and exclusively appears on these early Alexandrian style tetradrachms. The eagle standing on thunderbolt is also unique to this issue for Vespasian. Only one obverse die is known for this year one type.

Attractive example with good toning.

7 commentsDavid Atherton
Sagalassos - AE 1313 viewsc. 1st century BC
laureate head of Zeus
two confronting goats standing on their hind legs, with forelegs on column
BMC Pisidia p. 241, 7; SGCV II 5469 var, SNGvA 5156 var
2,57g 13,5-12,5mm
Sagalassos, Pisidia, c. 1st Century B.C. AE 13mm18 viewsSagalassos, Pisidia, c. 1st Century B.C.
Obv. Laureate head of Zeus right.
Rev. Reverse two confronted goats standing on their hind legs, forelegs on cornucopia in center; CAΓA in exergue.
Lee S
Sagalassos; Zeus/ Two goats confronted12 viewsSagalassos, Pisidia; First century B.C. - first century A.D. AE 13.5mm, 2.19g; Head of Zeus laureate r. / ΣΑΓΑ, Two goats (rams) confronted, standing on hind legs. Aulock 5157; Copenhagen 194; France 3, 1736. Ex Gerhard RohdePodiceps
Thessalonica - AE 216 views187-31 BC
laureate head of Zeus right
two goats butting heads
SNG Cop 350. Moushmov 6595.
Thessalonica, Macedonia, AE19. Zeus/Goats butting heads46 viewsThessalonica, Macedonia, AE19. Head of Zeus right / QESSALONIKEWN, two goats butting heads. SNG Cop 350. Moushmov 6595 ancientone
Thessaly, Kierion SNG Cop. 3546 viewsAE 15, Trihemiobol(?)
struck 400-344 BC
obv. (anepigraphic)
Head of Poseidon, with taenia, r.
rev. [KIERI] - EIW[N] (?)
Nymph Arne sitting r., head l., playing with astragali
SNG Copenhagen 35
vera rare, good F

Astragali are boneknuckles from sheep or goats and used like dices in acient times.
For more information look at the thread 'Coins of mythological interest'
Thrace, Thraco-Macedonian Tribes, Mygdones or Krestones, (cc. 490-485 B.C.), SNG ANS 60-4 (Aigai), AR Diobol (or 1/8 Stater?), Quadripartite incuse square, Rare! #149 viewsThrace, Thraco-Macedonian Tribes, Mygdones or Krestones, (cc. 490-485 B.C.), SNG ANS 60-4 (Aigai), AR Diobol (or 1/8 Stater?), Quadripartite incuse square, Rare! #1
avers: Goat kneeling right, head left, 3 pellets around.
reverse: Quadripartite incuse square.
exergue: -/-//--, diameter: 11,3-12,6mm, weight: 0,93g, axes: 1h,
mint: Thrace, Thraco-Macedonian Tribes, Mygdones or Krestones, date: cc. 490-485 B.C.,
ref: Lorber, Goats issue 15; Topalov -; HPM pl. III, 14; SNG ANS 60-4 (Aigai),
1 commentsquadrans
THRACO-MACEDONIAN TRIBES, The Mygdones or Krestones. Circa 480-470 BC.96 viewsAR Diobol (1.0 gm).

THRACO-MACEDONIAN TRIBES, The Mygdones or Krestones. Circa 480-470 BC. AR Diobol (1.0 gm). Goat kneeling right, head reverted; solid rosette above, pellet to right / Quadripartite incuse square. Lorber, Goats, Issue 6; AMNG III 14 (Aigai); HPM pl. III, 16; Traité pl. XLIX, 8; SNG ANS -.
2 commentsDino
Troas, Alexandreia, Caracalla, Lindgren 33169 viewsCaracalla AD 198-217
AE22, 6.1g
bust, draped and cuirassed, laureate, r.
rev. GEN CO - L - AVG TRO
Genius standing facing, head l., holding cornucopiae in l. arm and statue of Apollo
in his outstretched r. hand.
Lindgren & Kovacs 331; Bellinger -
about VF
added to

The statue is obviously a cult statue of APOLLO SMINTHEUS. This god was warshipped mainly in Alexandria/Troas. Its meaning is Apollo from Sminthia or Apollo the mouse-exterminator.
"Hear me,..., O god of the silver bow, that protects Chryse and holy Cilla and rulest Tenedos with thy might, hear me oh thou of Sminthe. If I have ever decked your temple with garlands, or burned your thigh-bones in fat of bulls or goats, grant my prayer, and let your arrows avenge these my tears upon the Danans."
(Iliad, I, 37-42, Samuel Butler)

For more information look at the thread 'Coins of mythological interest'
1 commentsJochen
VI - Gallienus Antoninianus - Goat facing rigjt - IOVI CONS AUG - 6th Officina in exergue.44 views~
Ancient Roman Empire
Emperor Gallienus ( 253 - 268 AD ) AR/BI Antoninianus.
Struck 267 - 268 AD. 6th Officinae.
"Jupiter, Conserver of the Emperor"
obv: GALLIENUS AUG - Radiate bust right, cuirassed. Seen from the Front.
rev: IOVI CONS AUG - Goat walking right.
Greek Numeral '6' below, in exergue.

Weight: 4.2 Grams
Size: 24 mm - 25 mm

** GREAT Extra Large photos, click on photograph for fullsize.**

6 commentsrexesq
[905a] Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.137 viewsMARCUS AURELIUS AE [b[Sestertius. RIC 1222. 30mm, 24.5g. Struck at Rome, 177 AD. Obverse: M ANTONINUS AVG GERM SARM TR P XXXI, laureate head right; Reverse: LIBERALITAS AVG VII IMP VIIII COS III P P, Liberalitas standing left holding coin counter & cornucopia, SC in fields. Nice portrait. Ex Incitatus. Photo courtesy of Incitatus.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161-180)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
The Vita of the emperor in the collection known as the Historia Augusta identifies him in its heading as Marcus Antoninus Philosophus, "Marcus Antoninus the Philosopher." Toward the end of the work, the following is reported about him, sententia Platonis semper in ore illius fuit, florere civitates si aut philosophi imperarent aut imperantes philosopharentur (27.7), "Plato's judgment was always on his lips, that states flourished if philosophers ruled or rulers were philosophers." It is this quality of Marcus' character which has made him a unique figure in Roman history, since he was the first emperor whose life was molded by, and devoted to, philosophy (Julian was the second and last). His reign was long and troubled, and in some ways showed the weaknesses of empire which ultimately led to the "Decline and Fall," yet his personal reputation, indeed his sanctity, have never failed of admirers. Contributing to his fame and reputation is a slender volume of Stoic philosophy which served as a kind of diary while he was involved in military campaigns, the Meditations, a book which can be described as an aureus libellus, a little golden book.

The sources for understanding Marcus and his reign are varied but generally disappointing. There is no major historian. The chief literary sources are the biography in the Historia Augusta, as well as those of Hadrian, Antoninus, Verus, and Avidius Cassius. Debate about this collection of imperial biographies has been heated and contentious for more than a century. In all likelihood, it is the work of a single author writing in the last years of the fourth-century. The information offered ranges from the precisely accurate to the wildly imaginative.

Cassius Dio, who wrote in the decade of the 230s, produced a long history of the empire which has survived, for our period, only in an abbreviated version. Fourth century historians, such as Aurelius Victor and Eutropius, occasionally furnish bits of information. Marcus' teacher, Fronto, a distinguished orator and rhetorician, is extremely useful. Papyri, inscriptions, coins, legal writings, and some of the church writers, such as Tertullian, Eusebius, and Orosius, are very important. Archaeology and art history, with their interpretation of monuments, make the history of Marcus' principate literally visible and offer important clues for understanding the context of his actions.

Early Life
He was born M. Annius Verus on April 26, 121, the scion of a distinguished family of Spanish origin (PIR2 A697). His father was Annius Verus (PIR2 A696), his mother Domitia Lucilla (PIR2 D183). His grandfather held his second consulate in that year and went on to reach a third in 126, a rare distinction in the entire history of the principate, and also served Hadrian as city prefect. The youth's education embraced both rhetoric and philosophy; his manner was serious, his intellectual pursuits deep and devoted, so that the emperor Hadrian took an interest in him and called him "Verissimus," "Most truthful," by punning on his name. He received public honors from an early age and seems to have long been in Hadrian's mind as a potential successor. When Hadrian's first choice as successor, L. Ceionius Commodus, died before his adoptive father, the second choice proved more fruitful. The distinguished senator T. Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus, from Cisalpine Gaul, did succeed Hadrian, whose arrangements for the succession planned for the next generation as well. He required Antoninus to adopt the young Verus, now to be known as M. Aelius Aurelius Verus, as well as Commodus' son, henceforth known as L. Aelius Aurelius Commodus (PIR2 C606). The former was a bit more than seventeen years old, the latter was eight.

Career under Antoninus Pius
The long tenure of Antoninus Pius proved one of the most peaceful and prosperous in Roman history. The emperor himself was disinclined to military undertakings and never left Italy during his reign. Disturbances to the pax Romana occurred on the fringes of empire. Responses were decisive and successful, with legates in charge in the provinces. As a consequence, neither Caesar gained military experience nor was shown to the armies, a failing which later could have proved decisive and disastrous. Marcus rose steadily through the cursus honorum, holding consulates in 140 and 145, combining magistracies with priesthoods. He received the tribunicia potestas in 147, and perhaps also imperium proconsulare. Yet he never neglected the artes liberals. His closest contacts were with Fronto (c.95-c.160), the distinguished rhetorician and orator. His acquaintance included many other distinguished thinkers, such as Herodes Atticus (c.95-177), the Athenian millionaire and sophist, and Aelius Aristides (117-c.181), two of whose great speeches have survived and which reveal much of the mood and beliefs of the age. Yet it was Epictetus (c.50-c.120) who had the greatest philosophical impact and made him a firm Stoic. In the year 161 Marcus celebrated his fortieth birthday, a figure of noble appearance and unblemished character. He was leading a life which gave him as much honor and glory as he could have desired, probably much more than his private nature enjoyed, yet his life, and that of the empire, was soon to change. The emperor died on March 7, but not before clearly indicating to magistrates and senate alike his desire that Marcus succeed him by having the statue of Fortuna, which had been in his bedroom, transferred to Marcus. There was no opposition, no contrary voice, to his succession. He immediately chose his brother as co-emperor, as Hadrian had planned. From the beginning of the year they were joint consuls and held office for the entire year. Their official titulature was now Imperator Caesar M. Aurelius Antoninus Augustus and Imperator Caesar L. Aurelius Verus Augustus. The military qualities adumbrated by the word Imperator were soon much in demand, for the empire was under pressure in the year 161 in Britain, in Raetia, and in the east, where Parthia once again posed a significant danger.

The Parthian War (161-166)
The incursion in northern Britain and the difficulties along the Danube were soon satisfactorily managed by legates. The danger in the East was of a different magnitude. Tensions between Rome and Parthia had intensified in the last years of Antoninus' reign over control of Armenia, the vast buffer state which had often aroused enmity between the two powers, since each wished to be able to impose a king favorable to its interests. With Antoninus' death and the uncertainty attendant upon a new emperor (in this case two, a dyarchy, for the first time in Rome's history), the Parthian monarch, Vologaeses III, struck rapidly, placed his own candidate upon the Armenian throne, and inflicted severe setbacks upon the Roman forces sent to oppose him. Marcus decided to send his colleague Lucius Verus, whose imperial prestige would underscore the seriousness of the empire's response. Verus lacked military experience and was sorely lacking in the attributes of leadership and command; further, he was notorious for being chiefly interested in amusements and luxury. But Marcus surrounded him with several of the best generals at the empire's disposal, chief among them Avidius Cassius (c.130-175) (PIR2 A1402). From 162 on, Rome's successes and conquests were extensive and decisive. Most of Parthia's significant cities and strongholds, such as Seleucia and Ctesiphon, were stormed and destroyed, and the army's movements eastward recalled the movements of Alexander the Great some five centuries earlier. By 166, Parthia had capitulated and a Roman nominee sat on the Armenian throne. The victory appeared to be the most decisive since Trajan's conquest of Dacia, but, when Verus returned to Italy with his triumphant army, there came also a devastating plague, which had enormous effect on all provinces.
As is the case with all ancient diseases, it is almost impossible to identify this one. In all likelihood, however, it was smallpox; how severe the toll was is debated. Clearly, it cast a pall over the triumph celebrated by the two emperors, who were honored with the titles Armeniacus and Parthicus. The last years of this decade were dominated by efforts to overcome the plague and provide succour to its victims. But already in 166, the German tribes smashed the Danubian limes, threatening the empire's stability and even existence, more than Parthia had ever done. The first campaigns were punctuated by the death of Verus in 169, leaving Marcus as sole emperor. And so began the most difficult period of his life.

The German Wars
Early in 169, the Marcomanni and Quadi crossed the Danube, penetrated the intervening provinces, and entered Italy. The culmination of their onslaught was a siege of Aquileia. The effect upon the inhabitants of the peninsula was frightful. This was the first invasion of Italy since the late second century B.C., when the Cimbri and Teutones had been separately crushed by Marius. Perhaps more vivid in the collective imagination was the sack of Rome by the Gauls in 387, when the city was saved only by the payment of ransom.
The two emperors hastened north, after a rapid mobilization of forces, which included the drafting of slaves, since the manpower potential of the empire had been so impaired by the consequences of the plague and the losses and troop commitments in the East. Verus died while in the north; Marcus returned to Rome with the body and gave his brother full honors. He then turned north again and began his counterattacks against the barbarians. He did not know it at the time, but he was destined to spend most of his remaining years on the northern frontier. The only interlude was caused by revolt in the east.

We have no record of Marcus' ultimate intentions in these campaigns, yet the various stages were clear. First and foremost, the enemy had to be driven out of Italy and then into their own territory beyond the Danube. He strove to isolate the tribes and then defeat them individually, so that the ultimate manpower superiority of the empire and its greater skill in warfare and logistics could more easily be brought to bear. It was a successful strategy, as one tribe after another suffered defeat and reestablished ties with Rome. But it was a time-consuming and expensive operation, requiring the recruitment of two new legions, II Italica and III Italica, the construction of many new camps, such as the legionary fortress at Regensburg, with success accruing year by year. He intended to create two new provinces, Marcomannia and Sarmatia, thereby eliminating the Hungarian Plain and the headwaters of the Elbe as staging areas for invasion.

This steady, slow progress was interrupted in 175 by the action of the distinguished general Avidius Cassius, governor of Syria, who claimed the empire for himself. Whether he responded to a rumor of Marcus' death or, as gossip had it, conspired with Marcus' wife, the emperor's response was quick and decisive. Leaving the northern wars, he traveled to the East, but Avidius was killed before Marcus arrived in the region. After spending time settling affairs and showing himself to some of the provinces, with particular attention shown to Athens, where he was initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries, as Hadrian and Verus had been. He returned to Italy and soon answered the call to duty once more on the northern frontier. He took with him as colleague his son Commodus, now merely sixteen years old but already long since marked out as his father's intended successor. The military campaigns proved successful, but in the spring of 180, when Marcus died, at least one more year of warfare was necessary for the attainment of the grand enterprise. Marcus recommended to Commodus continuation of the war, but the new emperor was eager to return to Rome and the ease and luxury of the imperial court and entered into a peace agreement. Never again was Rome to hold the upper hand in its dealings with the Germanic tribes beyond the now reestablished borders of the empire.

Administrative and Religious Policy
Marcus was a conscientious and careful administrator who devoted much attention to judicial matters. His appointments to major administrative positions were for the most part admirable. Difficult tasks were put in the charge of the most capable men; he was not afraid of comparison with his subordinates. Social mobility continued as it had been under his predecessors, with men from the provinces advancing into the upper echelons of the Roman aristocracy. Those of humble birth could make a good career; such a one was Pertinax (126-193), a gifted general, who in early 193 became emperor for a space of less than three months.

The judicial administration of Italy was put in the hands of iuridici, who represented the emperor and thus spoke with his authority. This was a practice which had been established by Hadrian but had been allowed to lapse by Antoninus. The centralization of government continued apace. The imperial finances were sorely stretched by the almost continuous wars. Trajan had brought great wealth, Decebalus' treasure, into the empire after his conquest of Dacia. No such profit awaited Marcus. When preparing for the northern wars, he auctioned off much of the imperial palace's valuables. In spite of the enormous expenses of war, Commodus found ample funds upon his accession as sole emperor for his expenditures and amusements.

Although Marcus was a devoted thinker and philosopher, he was deeply religious, at least outwardly. The state cult received full honor, and he recognized the validity of other people's beliefs, so that the variety of religions in the vast extent of the empire caused no difficulties for inhabitants or government, with one significant exception. The Christians were not hampered by any official policy; indeed the impact of the church spread enormously in the second century. Yet their availability as scapegoats for local crises made them subject to abuse or worse. There was violence against them in 167, and perhaps the worst stain on Marcus' principate stemmed from the pogrom of Christians in Lugdunum in southern France in 177. He did not cause it, nor, on the other hand, did he or his officials move to stop it. Indeed, Tertullian called him a friend of Christianity. Yet the events were a precursor of what would come in the century and a quarter which followed.

Building Programs and Monuments
Many of Marcus' predecessors transformed the face of the capital with their building programs, either by the vast range of their undertaking or by the extraordinary significance of individual monuments. Others did very little to leave a tangible mark. Marcus fell into the latter group. There is record of very few monuments for which he and his brother were responsible. Very early in their reign they honored the deceased Antoninus with a column in the Campus Martius, no longer in situ but largely surviving. The shaft, which seems not to have been sculpted, was used for the restoration of Augustus' obelisk, now in Piazza Montecitorio, in the eighteenth century. The base, which was sculpted on all four sides, is now on display in the Vatican Museum. The chief feature is the apotheosis of the emperor and his long deceased wife, the elder Faustina, as they are borne to heaven. Also presented on this relief are two eagles and personifications of the goddess Roma and of the Campus Martius, represented as a young male figure.

There were three arches which commemorated the military achievements of the two emperors. No trace has been found of an early monument to Verus. Two arches later honored Marcus, both of which have disappeared but have left significant sculptural remains. The eight rectangular reliefs preserved on the Arch of Constantine came from one arch. Similarly, the three reliefs displayed in the stairwell of the Conservatori Museum on the Capitoline Hill came from another. One relief has disappeared from the latter monument.

Certainly the best known monument of Marcus' principate is the column, which rises from Piazza Colonna. It is twin to Trajan's column in height and design, although the artistic craftsmanship of the reliefs which envelop the shaft is much inferior. The subject is Marcus' campaigns against the Marcomanni and Sarmati in the years 172-75. The most interesting panel represents the famous rainstorm, when the army, overwhelmed by drought, was suddenly saved by the divine intervention of rain. Although begun in the latter part of the decade, the column was not completed until 193, when Septimius Severus had become emperor.

The famous equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, which survived the centuries near San Giovanni in Laterano because the rider was identified as Constantine, no longer greets the visitor to the Capitoline, where Michelangelo had placed it in the sixteenth century. It was removed in the 1980s because pollution was destroying it. After careful treatment and restoration, it is now displayed within the museum, with a replica placed in the center of the piazza.

Although outside Rome, mention should be made of the monumental frieze commemorating Lucius Verus' victory over the Parthians in 165. It was an ornament of the city of Ephesus; the extensive sculptural remains are now in the Ephesus Museum in Vienna.

As part of Hadrian's plans for his succession, when Ceionius Commodus was his choice, Marcus was betrothed to the latter's daughter. But when Ceionius died and Antoninus became Hadrian's successor, that arrangement was nullified and Marcus was chosen for the Emperor's daughter, the younger Faustina (PIR2 A716). She had been born in 129, was hence eight years younger than he. They were married in 145; the marriage endured for thirty years. She bore him thirteen children, of whom several died young; the most important were a daughter, Lucilla, and a son Commodus. Lucilla was deployed for political purposes, married first to Lucius Verus in 164, when she was seventeen, and then, after his death, to Claudius Pompeianus Quintianus of Antioch, a much older man who was an important associate of her father /ii]PIR2 C973). Commodus became joint-emperor with his father in 177 and three years later ruled alone.

Faustina's reputation suffered much abuse. She was accused of employing poison and of murdering people, as well as being free with her favors with gladiators, sailors, and also men of rank, particularly Avidius Cassius. Yet Marcus trusted her implicitly and defended her vigorously. She accompanied him on several campaigns and was honored with the title mater castrorum. She was with him in camp at Halala in southern Cappadocia in the winter of 175 when she died in an accident. Marcus dedicated a temple to her honor and had the name of the city changed to Faustinopolis.

Death and Succession
In early 180, while Marcus and Commodus were fighting in the north, Marcus became ill. Which disease carried him off we do not know, but for some days Marcus took no food or drink, being now eager to die. He died on March 17, in the city of Vindobona, although one source reports that it was in Sirmium. His ashes were brought to Rome and placed in Hadrian's mausoleum. Commodus succeeded to all power without opposition, and soon withdrew from the war, thereby stymieing his father's designs and ambitions. It was a change of rulers that proved disastrous for people and empire. Dio called the succession a change from a golden kingdom to one of iron and rust.

Gibbon called Marcus "that philosophic monarch," a combination of adjective and noun which sets Marcus apart from all other Roman emperors. His renown has, in subsequent centuries, suffered little, although he was by no means a "perfect" person. He was perhaps too tolerant of other people's failings, he himself used opium. The abundance of children whom his wife bore him included, alas, a male who was to prove one of Rome's worst rulers. How much better it would have been if Marcus had had no son and had chosen a successor by adoption, so that the line of the five good emperors, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus, Marcus, could have been extended. It was not to be, and for that Marcus must accept some responsibility.

Yet he was a man of ability and a sense of duty who sacrificed his own delights and interests to the well-being of the state. He was capax imperii, he did his best, and history has been kind to him. As Hamlet said to Horatio, when awaiting the appearance of the ghost of his father,

"He was a man! Take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again." (I 2, 187-88)

His memory remains vivid and tactile because of the famous column, the equestrian statue, and his slender volume of thoughts, written in Greek, the Meditations, from which I choose two quotations with which to conclude:

"If mind is common to us, then also the reason, whereby we are reasoning beings, is common. If this be so, then also the reason which enjoins what is to be done or left undone is common. If this be so, law also is common; if this be so, we are citizens; if this be so, we are partakers in one constitution; if this be so, the Universe is a kind of Commonwealth." (4.4)

"At dawn of day, when you dislike being called, have this thought ready: 'I am called to man's labour; why then do I make a difficulty if I am going out to do what I was born to do and what I was brought into the world for?'" (5.1; both in Farquharson's translation)

Copyright (C) 2001, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
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