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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Adoptive Emperors ▸ Marcus AureliusView Options:  |  |  |   

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

Marcus Aurelius was recognized by Hadrian as a fine and capable youth and betrothed to the daughter of Aelius. Antoninus Pius adopted him and in 145 A.D. he married Antoninus' daughter, Faustina II. In 161 A.D., he succeeded Antoninus as Augustus, immediately proclaiming Lucius Verus his co-emperor. Although known for his adherence to the philosophy of Stoicism and as a naturally peaceful man, Marcus' reign was disturbed by war with Parthia, plague and then a long, hard war along the Danube frontier. He died on March 17th, 180 A.D. and was deified by the senate soon after.


Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D.

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The crematorium depicted is probably that of Antoninus Pius but it may be the one built by Marcus Aurelius. Both were located in Rome's Campus Martius.
RS89843. Silver denarius, RIC III 596b (S), RSC II 58, BMCRE IV 505, Szaivert MIR 18 187, SRCV II 5206, Choice VF, well centered, nice portrait, light toning, flow lines, edge crack, weight 3.240 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, posthumous, struck by Marcus Aurelius, 169 A.D.; obverse DIVVS VERVS, bare head right; reverse CONSECRATIO, pyramidal crematorium of four stories, bottom floor garlanded, door on the second floor, statue of emperor in facing quadriga on top; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 72 (2 Dec 2018), lot 520; scarce; $250.00 (€220.00)
 


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

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Hilaritas, the personification of rejoicing, is usually depicted as a matron, standing with a cornucopia in her left hand and a long palm frond on the ground in her right. Green branches were a sign of gladness and for special occasions, both public and private, it was the custom in ancient times to ornament streets, temples, gates, houses, and even entire cities, with branches and leaves of trees. This tradition carries on today in the form of wreaths and Christmas trees.
RS89844. Silver denarius, RIC III MA686, RSC II 111, BMCRE IV MA100, Hunter II 6, SRCV II 5254, Choice EF, well centered, nice portrait, flow lines, struck with a worn reverse die, small edge cracks, weight 3.138 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under Marcus Aurelius, 161 - 175 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair waived and drawn back into a coil a the back of neck; reverse HILARITAS, Hilaritas standing slightly left, head left, long grounded palm frond in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $250.00 (€220.00)
 


Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Arados, Phoenicia

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Ancient Arados, surrounded by massive walls on an island about 800 m long by 500 m wide, about 50 km north of Tripolis, was an important trading city with an artificial harbor on the east side toward the mainland. A walled island provides great security, but the lack of water on Arados was a serious challenge. Strabo recounts that Phoenicians collected rainwater and channeled it into cisterns, and that they shipped containers of fresh water from the mainland. Perhaps the most resourceful solution came from the fortuitous discovery—probably by sponge and coral divers—of an undersea freshwater spring, not far from the island in the channel between Arwad and the mainland. This spring, says Strabo, was exploited as a last resort when war or other crises interrupted water supplies from the mainland: "...into this spring the people let down from the water-fetching boat an inverted, wide-mouthed funnel made of lead, the upper part of which contracts into a stem with a moderate-sized hole through it; and round this stem they fasten a leathern tube (unless I should call it bellows), which receives the water that is forced up from the spring through the funnel. Now the first water that is forced up is sea-water, but the boatmen wait for the flow of pure and potable water and catch all that is needed in vessels prepared for the purpose and carry it to the city."Arados
RP89763. Bronze AE 24, RPC IV online T6746 (16 spec.); SNG Hunterian II 3258; BMC Phoenicia p. 48, 379; Rouvier III p. 257, 410, VF, struck on a thick, heavy flan, minor edge porosity , weight 11.959 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 180o, Arados (Arwad, Syria) mint, 162 - 163 A.D.; obverse ANTWNOC KAI OYHPOC CEBACTOI, confronted, laureate, draped, and bearded busts of Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus; reverse AKY E APA∆IWN, humped bull charging left, head turned facing, AKY (year 421 of the local era) above, E in right field, APA∆IΩN below; ex Leu Numismatik web auction 1 (25 Jun 2017), lot 830; ex European Collection formed before 2005; very rare; $200.00 (€176.00)
 


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

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In 170 A.D., Marcus Aurelius wrote in Sirmium (Pannonia) his first of 12 books of the Meditations in Koine Greek.
RX89766. Billon tetradrachm, BMC Alexandria p. 155, 1282; Dattari 3414; Emmett 2087.10; Geissen 2067 var. (head left) , VF, well centered, light toning, edge splits, weight 12.965 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria, Egypt mint, 29 Aug 169 - 28 Aug 170 A.D.; obverse M AVPHΛIOC ANTWNINOC CE, laureate head right; reverse L I (year 10) in laurel wreath; ex Naville Numismatics auction 32 (18 Jun 2017), lot 222; $150.00 (€132.00)
 


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There are no clear breaks to the copper core but the lamination defects are typical of a plated fouree.
RS89769. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. RIC III 424a, RSC II 451, BMCRE IV (A. Pius) 277, Hunter II 4, SRCV II 4786 (official, silver, Rome mint), VF, well centered, light toning, nice portrait of slightly unusual style, double strike, light marks, lamination defects, edge cracks, weight 2.982 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, as caesar, c. 140 - 144 A.D.; obverse AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG PII F COS, bare head right; reverse PIETAS AVG (to the piety of the Emperor), implements of the augurate and pontificate: secespita (knife), aspergillum (sprinkler), ewer (jug), lituus (augural staff), and simpulum (ladle); $150.00 (€132.00)
 


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

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Immediately after Hadrian's death, Antoninus requested Marcus annul his betrothal to Ceionia Fabia to marry his daughter, Faustina. Marcus consented. Faustina's betrothal to Ceionia's brother Lucius Commodus was also annulled.
RB89982. Bronze sestertius, BMCRE IV 1208, Cohen II 28, RIC III 1212 (S) var. (Aurelius draped), Hunter II 19 var. (same), SRCV II 4526 var. (same), VF/F, well centered, light marks, porosity, reverse rough with porosity, weight 29.178 g, maximum diameter 33.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 140 - 144 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P COS III, laureate head of Antoninus Pius right; reverse AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG P II F COS, bare head of Marcus Aurelius Caesar right, S•C (senatus consulto) below; big 34mm sestertius; scarce; $140.00 (€123.20)
 


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

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Edirne, historically known as Adrianople, Hadrianopolis in Latin, was founded by the Roman emperor Hadrian on the site of a previous Thracian settlement named Uskudama
RP89764. Bronze AE 26, RPC Online IV-1 T10606 (4 spec.), Jurukova Hadrianopolis 50, Varbanov II 3203 (R4), Moushmov 2516, gF, scratches, weight 9.378 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 180o, Hadrianopolis (Edirne, Turkey) mint, 161 - 180 A.D.; obverse ΦAVCTEINA CEBACTH, bare-headed and draped bust right; reverse A∆PIANOΠOΛEITΩN, river-god reclining left, cornucopia and reed in right hand, left arm resting on urn from which water flows; ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 36 (27 May 2017), lot 212; only one sale recorded on Coin Archives in the last two decades - and it was this coin; very rare; $135.00 (€118.80)
 


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Posthumous commemorative struck by Marcus Aurelius' son, Commodus.
RB91948. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC III C654 (S); BMCRE IV C385; Hunter p. 408, 14; SRCV II 5982; Szaivert MIR 481-6/10; Cohen III 89, aVF, dark patina, well centered, weak reverse strike, weight 23.965 g, maximum diameter 31.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, consecration issue, c. 180 A.D.; obverse DIVVS M ANTONINVS PIVS, bare head right; reverse CONSECRATIO, eagle standing right on globe, head turned left, wings open, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking globe; scarce; $125.00 (€110.00)
 


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The Roman–Parthian War of 161 - 166 was fought between the Roman and Parthian Empires over Armenia and Upper Mesopotamia. In 166, the Romans made successful campaigns into lower Mesopotamia and Media, and sacked Ctesiphon, the Parthian capital. The Romans were be victorious but the returning army brought back a pandemic known as the Antonine Plague. The plague significantly depopulated the entire Roman Empire.
SH91216. Silver denarius, RIC III 163, RSC II 878, BMCRE IV 406, Hunter II 33, SRCV II 4933, Choice VF, well centered, flow lines, light tone, small edge cracks, weight 3.209 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, summer - Dec 166 A.D.; obverse M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX, laureate head right; reverse TR P XX IMP IIII COS III, Victory standing slightly left, head right, palm frond vertical in right hand, shield inscribed VIC PAR set on palm tree in left hand; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 76 (7 Apr 2019), part of lot 942; $120.00 (€105.60)
 


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In 174, Faustina the Younger accompanied her husband, Marcus Aurelius, on various military campaigns. She was loved by the Roman soldiers and Aurelius gave her the title Mater Castrorum (Mother of the Camp).
RS91217. Silver denarius, RIC III 316, RSC II 341, Hunter II 66, BMCRE 613 var. (obv legend, noted), SRCV II -, Choice VF, well centered, attractive style, light toning, flow lines, die wear, small edge cracks, weight 3.412 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 174 - Autumn 175 A.D.; obverse M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXIX, laureate head right; reverse IMP VII COS III, Roma standing left, wearing helmet and military garb, Victory standing right offering wreath in Roma's extended right hand, inverted spear in left hand; ex Numismatik Naumann Auction 76, part of Lot 942 (2019); $120.00 (€105.60)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

ANTONINVSAVG
ANTONINVSAVGARMENIACVS
AVRELIVSCAESANTONAVGPIIF
AVRELIVSCAESARANTONINIAVGPIIFIL
AVRELIVSCAESARAVGPIIF
AVRELIVSCAESARAVGPIIFCOS
AVRELIVSCAESARAVGPIIFIL
AVRELIVSCAESARAVGPIIFCOS
AVRELIVSCAESAVGPIIF
AVRELIVSCAESAVGPIIFCOS
AVRELIVSCAESAVGPIIFCOSDES
DIVOMARCO
DIVOMARCOANTONINO
DIVVSMANTONINVSPIVS
IMPCAESMAVRELANTONINVSAVG
IMPCAESMAVRELANTONINVSAVGPM
IMPMANTONINVSAVG
IMPMANTONINVSAVGTRPXXV
IMPMAVRELANTONINVSAVG
MANTONINVSAVG
MANTONINVSAVGARMENIACVS
MANTONINVSAVGARMENPM
MANTONINVSAVGARMPARTHMAX
MANTONINVSAVGGERMSARM
MANTONINVSAVGGERMSARMATICVS
MANTONINVSAVGGERMSARMMAX
MANTONINVSAVGGERMSARMTRPXXXI
MANTONINVSAVGGERMSARMTRPXXXPP
MANTONINVSAVGGERMTRPXXIX
MANTONINVSAVGIMPII
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXX
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXXIII
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXXIIII
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXXV
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXXVI
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXXVII
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXXVIII
MANTONINVSAVGTRPXXIX
MAVRELANTONINVSAVG
MAVRELANTONINVSAVGARMENIACVSPM
MAVRELANTONINVSAVGARMPARTHMAX
MAVRELANTONINVSAVGTRPXXXIII
MAVRELIVSCAESARANTONINIAVGPIIF
MAVRELIVSCAESARAVGPIIF


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. III: De Marco Aurelio a Caracalla (Del 161 d.C. al 217 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 3: Marcus Aurelius to Clodius Albinus. (Paris, 1883).
Mattingly, H. & E. Sydenham. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. III: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. (London, 1930).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 4: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. (London, 1940).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet. II. Trajan to Commodus (London, 1971).
Szaivert, W. Die Münzprägung der Kaiser Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus un Commodus (161-192). (Wien, 1984).
Seaby, H. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Strack, P. Untersuchungen zur römischen Reichsprägung des zweiten Jahrhunderts, Teil III: Die Reichsprägung zur Zeit Antoninus Pius. (Stuttgart, 1937).
Toynbee, J. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Sunday, July 21, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Marcus Aurelius