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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Adoptive Emperors| ▸ |Marcus Aurelius||View 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 SALE |PRICE| $225.00
 


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 SALE |PRICE| $225.00
 


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 SALE |PRICE| $135.00
 


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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 SALE |PRICE| $135.00
 


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 SALE |PRICE| $126.00
 


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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 SALE |PRICE| $113.00
 


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

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Although many coin references classify Fecunditas as a personification of fertility rather than as an actual deity, Fecunditas was recognized as a Roman divinity by Nero, who erected a statue to her. Tacitus notes that upon the birth of Claudia Neronis, the senate decreed the construction of a temple of Fertility to be built at Antium. Fecunditas is always portrayed as a female figure holding a child, or children and often a scepter, cornucopia, palm branch or caduceus. Sometimes the children are depicted standing at her feet. Coins portraying her usually advertise the fertility of the imperial family.
RS91448. Silver denarius, RIC III MA676, RSC II 95, BMCRE IV MA89, MIR 18 10, SRCV II 5251, Choice F, excellent centering, good portrait, old collection toning, light marks, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.219 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under Marcus Aurelius, 161 - 175 A.D.; obverse FAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse FECVND AVGVSTAE, Fecunditas standing facing, head left, cradling an infant in each arm, flanked by two children standing at feet; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $110.00 SALE |PRICE| $99.00
 


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Although Ares was viewed by the Greeks primarily as destructive and destabilizing, worthy of contempt and revulsion, for the Romans, Mars was a father (pater) of the Roman people. 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.
RS89765. Silver denarius, RIC III 349, RSC II 926, BMCRE IV 664, Hunter II 69, SRCV II -, F, well centered, light toning, light marks, small darker spots, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.191 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, Dec 175 - Dec 176 A.D.; obverse M ANTONINVS AVG GERM SARM, laureate head right; reverse TR P XXX IMP VIII COS III, Mars advancing right, nude but for helmet and cloak tied on belt, transverse spear in right hand, trophy of arms in left hand over left shoulder; $100.00 SALE |PRICE| $90.00
 


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

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Two days before his death, Antoninus was at his ancestral estate at Lorium, in Etruria, about twelve miles (19 km) from Rome. He ate Alpine cheese at dinner quite greedily. In the night he vomited; he had a fever the next day. The day after that, 7 March 161, he summoned the imperial council, and passed the state and his daughter to Marcus. The emperor gave the keynote to his life in the last word that he uttered when the tribune of the night-watch came to ask the password - "aequanimitas" (equanimity). He then turned over, as if going to sleep, and died. His death closed out the longest reign since Augustus (surpassing Tiberius by a couple of months).
RS91219. Silver denarius, RIC III MA431; RSC II 156; MIR 18 24-4/10; BMCRE IV p. 393, 48; Hunter II 4; SRCV II 5192, aVF/F, well centered, light toning, flow lines, reverse die wear, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.395 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, posthumous, 161 A.D.; obverse DIVVS ANTONINVS, bare head right; reverse CONSECRATIO, eagle standing right on garlanded altar, wings open, head turned back left; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 76 (7 Apr 2019), part of lot 942; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00
 


Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, 7 March 161 - February 169 A.D., Laodicea ad Mare, Seleucia & Pieria, Syria

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Laodicea ad Mar was founded by Seleukos Nikator. The determined after an eagle snatched a piece of flesh from an altar where Seleukos was sacrificing. The exact site was indicated when he slew a boar following the eagle's flight.
RP85966. Bronze AE 25, RPC online IV 9261 (10 spec.), SNG Hunterian II 3206, SNG Fitzwilliam 5956, SNG Righetti 2108, Lindgren 2084, SNG Cop -, BMC Galatia -, aF, brown patina, tight flan, marks and scratches, porous, weight 10.679 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 161 - 169 A.D.; obverse AYTOKPATWP KAICAP ANTWNINOC, laureate head of Marcus Aurelius right, IOY low in right field; reverse AYOKPATΩP KAICAP OYHPOC, laureate of head of Lucius Verus right, ΛA low in right field; ex Alex G. Malloy; scarce; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00
 




  



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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, August 25, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Marcus Aurelius