AR denarius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, AD 161 - 180


Marcus Annius Verus was adopted by Antoninus Pius and became known as Marcus Aelius Aurelius Antoninus. In AD 161, at the age of forty, Marcus Aurelius succeeded Antoninus Pius as emperor and appointed Lucius Verus as his co-ruler. For the first time in Roman history two emperors ruled jointly. Together with Lucius Verus, Marcus Aurelius fought successful campaigns against the Parthians.
Aurelius spent the greater part of his reign on the frontier. While on campaign Aurelius wrote twelve books of a philosophical nature, his famous Meditations. Aurelius' reign also witnessed a plague that devastated Italy. After the death of Verus in AD 169 Aurelius was left as sole emperor. His involvement with the Germanic war lasted until AD 180. While on campaign he became ill and died in March the same year on the northern frontier. Marcus Aurelius was renowned for his statesmanship; his religious tolerance and successful building enterprises in Rome. He was succeeded by his eldest son Commodus.

Obv. Laureate Marcus Aurelius right, M ANTONINVS AVG ARMENIACVS. A sharp and prominent nose, receding chin and flowing beard distinguish Marcus Aurelius from coin portraits of Lucius Verus.
Rev. Annona standing left, carries a cornucopia in her left hand and holds grain-ears over a modius with her right hand.

AE dupondius, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, AD 161 - 180


This dupondius was struck in AD 166 to celebrate the defeat of Parthia and the victories of Verus in the East. The obverse depicts Aurelius with his long narrow head and long beard, distinguishing him from depictions of Verus (identified by a curly beard and curly hair).

Obv. Marcus Aurelius right, M AVREL ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX - (Marcus AVREL[ius] ANTONINVS AVG[ustus] ARM[eniacus - restorer of Armenia] PARTH[icus] MAX[imus]).

Rev. TR POT (tribunician power) XX (for the twentieth time) IMP IIII (imperator for the fourth time) COS III (consul for the third time).
Victoria standing, attaching shield on trunk of palm tree, inscribed
VIC PAR (VICtoria PARthica - in celebration of the Parthian victory).

Faustina Minor


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