Dec 5 2018

MARCUS AURELIUS as Caesar 147AD Rome Ancient Silver Roman Coin MINERVA i71734

MARCUS AURELIUS as Caesar 147AD Rome Ancient Silver Roman Coin MINERVA i71734

MARCUS AURELIUS as Caesar 147AD Rome Ancient Silver Roman Coin MINERVA i71734

MARCUS AURELIUS as Caesar 147AD Rome Ancient Silver Roman Coin MINERVA i71734

Item: i71734 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Caesar : 139-161 A. Silver Denarius 18mm (3.11 grams) Issued as Caesar. Rome mint, struck 147-148 A. Reference: BMC 636; Cohen 608; RIC 438b. AVRELIVS CAE-SAR AVG PII F, bare head of Marcus Aurelius to right. TR POT II COS II, helmeted Minerva standing front, head to right, holding spear with her right hand and resting her left hand on shield. Minerva (Etruscan : Menrfa , or Menrva) was the Roman goddess whom Hellenizing Romans from the second century BC onwards equated with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic, and the inventor of music. She is often depicted with an owl, her sacred creature and is, through this connection, a symbol of wisdom. This article focuses on Minerva in ancient Rome and in cultic practice. For information on Latin literary mythological accounts of Minerva, which were heavily influenced by Greek mythology, see Pallas Athena, where she is one of three virgin goddesses along with Artemis and Hestia, known by the Romans as Diana and Vesta. The name “Minerva” is imported from the Etruscans who called her Menrva. Extrapolating from her Roman nature, it is assumed that in Etruscan mythology, Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, war, art, schools and commerce. She was the Etruscan counterpart to Greek Athena. Like Athena, Minerva was born from the head of her father, Jupiter (Greek Zeus). By a process of folk etymology, the Romans could have confused the phones of her foreign name with those of the root men- in Latin words such as mens meaning “mind”, perhaps because one of her aspects as goddess pertained to the intellectual. The word mens has the Proto-Indo-European mn- stem, linked with memory as in Greek Mnemosyne and mnestis (: memory, remembrance, recollection). Menrva was part of a holy triad with Tinia and Uni, equivalent to the Roman Capitoline Triad of Jupiter-Juno-Minerva. Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter. As Minerva Medica , she was the goddess of medicine and doctors. As Minerva Achaea , she was worshipped at Luceria in Apulia where votive gifts and arms said to be those of Diomedes were preserved in her temple. In Fasti III, Ovid called her the goddess of a thousand works. Minerva was worshipped throughout Italy, though only in Rome did she take on the warlike character shared by Athena. Her worship was also taken out to the empire – in Britain, for example, she was conflated with the local wisdom goddess Sulis. The Romans celebrated her festival from March 19 to March 23 during the day which is called, in the neuter plural, Quinquatria, the fifth after the Ides of March, the nineteenth, an artisans’ holiday. A lesser version, the Minusculae Quinquatria, was held on the Ides of June, June 13, by the flute-players, who were particularly useful to religion. In 207 BC, a guild of poets and actors was formed to meet and make votive offerings at the temple of Minerva on the Aventine hill. Among others, its members included Livius Andronicus. The Aventine sanctuary of Minerva continued to be an important center of the arts for much of the middle Roman Republic. Minerva was worshipped on the Capitoline Hill as one of the Capitoline Triad along with Jupiter and Juno, at the Temple of Minerva Medica, and at the “Delubrum Minervae” a temple founded around 50 BC by Pompey on the site now occupied by the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva facing the present-day Piazza della Minerva. And heir of Hadrian. Father-in-law of Lucius Verus. Marcus Aurelius (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus ; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180 AD) was Emperor of Rome from 161 to 180. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus’ death in 169. Marcus Aurelius was the last of the so-called Five Good Emperors. He was a practitioner of Stoicism, and his untitled writing, commonly known as Meditations , is a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy, and is considered by many commentators to be one of the greatest works of philosophy. During his reign, the Roman Empire defeated a revitalized Parthian Empire in the East: Aurelius’ general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. In central Europe, Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars, although the threat of the Germanic peoples began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. A revolt in the East led by Avidius Cassius failed to gain momentum and was suppressed immediately. Persecution of Christians increased during his reign. Aurelius’ Meditations , written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity, a state of psychological stability and composure, in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration. His death in 180 is widely cited as the end of the Pax Romana and the increasing instability in the west that followed has traditionally been seen as the beginning of the eventual Fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Statue of Marcus Aurelius (detail) in the Musei Capitolini in Rome. The major sources depicting the life and rule of Marcus Aurelius are patchy and frequently unreliable. The most important group of sources, the biographies contained in the Historia Augusta , claim to be written by a group of authors at the turn of the 4th century AD, but are in fact written by a single author (referred to here as “the biographer”) from the later 4th century c. The later biographies and the biographies of subordinate emperors and usurpers are a tissue of lies and fiction, but the earlier biographies, derived primarily from now-lost earlier sources (Marius Maximus or Ignotus), are much more accurate. For Marcus’ life and rule, the biographies of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus and Lucius Verus are largely reliable, but those of Aelius Verus and Avidius Cassius are full of fiction. A body of correspondence between Marcus’ tutor Fronto and various Antonine officials survives in a series of patchy manuscripts, covering the period from c. Marcus’ own Meditations offer a window on his inner life, but are largely undateable, and make few specific references to worldly affairs. The main narrative source for the period is Cassius Dio, a Greek senator from Bithynian Nicaea who wrote a history of Rome from its founding to 229 in eighty books. Dio is vital for the military history of the period, but his senatorial prejudices and strong opposition to imperial expansion obscure his perspective. Some other literary sources provide specific detail: the writings of the physician Galen on the habits of the Antonine elite, the orations of Aelius Aristides on the temper of the times, and the constitutions preserved in the Digest and Codex Justinianus on Marcus’ legal work. Inscriptions and coin finds supplement the literary sources. Early life and career. Main article: Early life and career of Marcus Aurelius. Marcus’ family originated in Ucubi, a small town southeast of Córdoba in Iberian Baetica. The family rose to prominence in the late 1st century AD. Marcus’ great-grandfather Marcus Annius Verus (I) was a senator and (according to the Historia Augusta) ex-praetor; in 73-74, his grandfather, Marcus Annius Verus (II), was made a patrician. Verus’ elder son-Marcus Aurelius’ father-Marcus Annius Verus (III) married Domitia Lucilla. Statue of young Marcus Aurelius from a private collection housed in the San Antonio Museum of Art. Lucilla was the daughter of the patrician P. Calvisius Tullus Ruso and the elder Domitia Lucilla. The elder Domitia Lucilla had inherited a great fortune (described at length in one of Pliny’s letters) from her maternal grandfather and her paternal grandfather by adoption. The younger Lucilla would acquire much of her mother’s wealth, including a large brickworks on the outskirts of Rome-a profitable enterprise in an era when the city was experiencing a construction boom. A bust of Marcus Aurelius as a young boy (Capitoline Museum). Anthony Birley, Marcus’ modern biographer, writes of the bust: This is certainly a grave young man. Lucilla and Verus (III) had two children: a son, Marcus, born on 26 April 121 AD, and a daughter, Annia Cornificia Faustina, probably born in 122 or 123 AD. Verus (III) probably died in 124 AD, during his praetorship, when Marcus was only three years old. Though he can hardly have known him, Marcus Aurelius wrote in his Meditations that he had learned “modesty and manliness” from his memories of his father and from the man’s posthumous reputation. Lucilla did not remarry. Portrait of Emperor Marcus Aurelius – Palazzo Nuovo (Musei Capitolini). Marcus was in the care of “nurses”. Even so, Marcus credits his mother with teaching him “religious piety, simplicity in diet” and how to avoid “the ways of the rich”. In his letters, Marcus makes frequent and affectionate reference to her; he was grateful that, “although she was fated to die young, yet she spent her last years with me”. After his father’s death, Aurelius was raised by his paternal grandfather Marcus Annius Verus who, according to Roman Law, had always retained the “patria potestas” over his son and grandson. Technically this was not an adoption, since an adoption would be the legal creation of a new and different “patria potestas” (II). Another man, Lucius Catilius Severus, also participated in his upbringing. Severus is described as Marcus’ “maternal great-grandfather”; he is probably the stepfather of the elder Lucilla. Marcus was raised in his parents’ home on the Caelian Hill, a district he would affectionately refer to as “my Caelian”. It was an upscale region, with few public buildings but many aristocratic villas. Marcus’ grandfather owned his own palace beside the Lateran, where Marcus would spend much of his childhood. Marcus thanks his grandfather for teaching him “good character and avoidance of bad temper”. He was less fond of the mistress his grandfather took and lived with after the death of Rupilia Faustina, his wife. Marcus was grateful that he did not have to live with her longer than he did. Marcus was taught at home, in line with contemporary aristocratic trends; Marcus thanks Catilius Severus for encouraging him to avoid public schools. One of his teachers, Diognetus, a painting-master, proved particularly influential; he seems to have introduced Marcus to the philosophic way of life. In April 132, at the behest of Diognetus, Marcus took up the dress and habits of the philosopher: he studied while wearing a rough Greek cloak, and would sleep on the ground until his mother convinced him to sleep on a bed. A new set of tutors-Alexander of Cotiaeum, Trosius Aper and Tuticius Proculus-took over Marcus’ education in about 132 or 133. Little is known of the latter two (both teachers of Latin), but Alexander was a major littérateur, the leading Homeric scholar of his day. Marcus thanks Alexander for his training in literary styling. Alexander’s influence-an emphasis on matter over style, on careful wording, with the occasional Homeric quotation-has been detected in Marcus’ Meditations. Succession to Hadrian, 136-38. In late 136, Hadrian almost died from a haemorrhage. Convalescent in his villa at Tivoli, he selected Lucius Ceionius Commodus, Marcus’ intended father-in-law, as his successor and adopted him as his son. The selection was done invitis omnibus , “against the wishes of everyone”. While there will never be absolute certainty regarding his motives, it would appear that his goal was to eventually place the then-too-young Marcus on the throne. As part of his adoption, Commodus took the name Lucius Aelius Caesar. His health was so poor that during a ceremony to mark his becoming heir to the throne, he was too weak to lift a large shield on his own. The night before the speech, however, he grew ill, and died of a haemorrhage later in the day. On 24 January 138 AD, Hadrian selected Aurelius Antoninus as his new successor. After a few days’ consideration, Antoninus accepted. He was adopted on 25 February. As part of Hadrian’s terms, Antoninus adopted Marcus and Lucius Verus, the son of Lucius Aelius. By this scheme, Lucius Verus, who was already Hadrian’s adoptive grandson through his natural father, remained Hadrian’s adoptive grandson through his new father. The adoption of Marcus Aurelius was probably a suggestion of Antoninus himself, since Aurelius was the nephew of Antoninus’s wife and would be his favorite son. Aelius Aurelius Verus; Lucius became L. At Hadrian’s request, Antoninus’ daughter Faustina was betrothed to Lucius. He reportedly greeted the news that Hadrian had become his adoptive grandfather with sadness, instead of joy. Only with reluctance did he move from his mother’s house on the Caelian to Hadrian’s private home. At some time in 138 AD, Hadrian requested in the senate that Marcus be exempt from the law barring him from becoming quaestor before his twenty-fourth birthday. The senate complied, and Marcus served under Antoninus, consul for 139. Marcus’ adoption diverted him from the typical career path of his class. If not for his adoption, he probably would have become triumvir monetalis , a highly regarded post involving token administration of the state mint; after that, he could have served as tribune with a legion, becoming the legion’s nominal second-in-command. Marcus probably would have opted for travel and further education instead. As it was, Marcus was set apart from his fellow citizens. Nonetheless, his biographer attests that his character remained unaffected: He still showed the same respect to his relations as he had when he was an ordinary citizen, and he was as thrifty and careful of his possessions as he had been when he lived in a private household. Baiae, seaside resort and site of Hadrian’s last days. Marcus would holiday in the town with the imperial family in the summer of 143. Turner, The Bay of Baiae, with Apollo and Sybil , 1823. After a series of suicide attempts, all thwarted by Antoninus, Hadrian left for Baiae, a seaside resort on the Campanian coast. His condition did not improve, and he abandoned the diet prescribed by his doctors, indulging himself in food and drink. He sent for Antoninus, who was at his side when he died on 10 July 138. His remains were buried quietly at Puteoli. The succession to Antoninus was peaceful and stable: Antoninus kept Hadrian’s nominees in office and appeased the senate, respecting its privileges and commuting the death sentences of men charged in Hadrian’s last days. For his dutiful behavior, Antoninus was asked to accept the name “Pius”. Heir to Antoninus Pius, 138-45. Immediately after Hadrian’s death, Antoninus approached Marcus and requested that his marriage arrangements be amended: Marcus’ betrothal to Ceionia Fabia would be annulled, and he would be betrothed to Faustina, Antoninus’ daughter, instead. Faustina’s betrothal to Ceionia’s brother Lucius Commodus would also have to be annulled. Marcus consented to Antoninus’ proposal. Antoninus bolstered Marcus’ dignity: Marcus was made consul for 140 AD, with Antoninus as his colleague, and was appointed as a seviri , one of the knights’ six commanders, at the order’s annual parade on 15 July 139 AD. As the heir apparent, Marcus became princeps iuventutis , head of the equestrian order. He now took the name Caesar: Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar. Marcus would later caution himself against taking the name too seriously: “See that you do not turn into a Caesar; do not be dipped into the purple dye-for that can happen”. At the senate’s request, Marcus joined all the priestly colleges pontifices , augures , quindecimviri sacris faciundis , septemviri epulonum , etc. ; direct evidence for membership, however, is available only for the Arval Brethren. Antoninus demanded that Marcus take up residence in the House of Tiberius, the imperial palace on the Palatine. Antoninus also made him take up the habits of his new station, the aulicum fastigium or “pomp of the court”, against Marcus’ objections. Marcus would struggle to reconcile the life of the court with his philosophic yearnings. He told himself it was an attainable goal-”where life is possible, then it is possible to live the right life; life is possible in a palace, so it is possible to live the right life in a palace”-but he found it difficult nonetheless. He would criticize himself in the Meditations for “abusing court life” in front of company. As quaestor, Marcus would have had little real administrative work to do. He would read imperial letters to the senate when Antoninus was absent, and would do secretarial work for the senators. He was being “fitted for ruling the state”, in the words of his biographer. He was required to make a speech to the assembled senators as well, making oratorical training essential for the job. On 1 January 145 AD, Marcus was made consul a second time. He might have been unwell at this time: a letter from Fronto that might have been sent at this time urges Marcus to have plenty of sleep “so that you may come into the Senate with a good colour and read your speech with a strong voice”. Marcus was never particularly healthy or strong. The Roman historian Cassius Dio, writing of his later years, praised him for behaving dutifully in spite of his various illnesses. A bust of Faustina the Younger, Marcus’ wife (Louvre). In April 145 AD, Marcus married Faustina, as had been planned since 138 AD. Since Marcus was, by adoption, Antoninus Pius’ son, under Roman law he was marrying his sister; Antoninus would have had to formally release one or the other from his paternal authority (his patria potestas) for the ceremony to take place. Little is specifically known of the ceremony, but it is said to have been “noteworthy”. Coins were issued with the heads of the couple, and Antoninus, as Pontifex Maximus , would have officiated. Marcus makes no apparent reference to the marriage in his surviving letters, and only sparing references to Faustina. Fronto and further education, 136-61. After taking the toga virilis in 136 AD, Marcus probably began his training in oratory. He had three tutors in Greek, Aninus Macer, Caninius Celer, and Herodes Atticus, and one in Latin, Fronto. The latter two were the most esteemed orators of the day. Fronto and Atticus, however, probably did not become his tutors until his adoption by Antoninus in 138 AD. The preponderance of Greek tutors indicates the importance of the language to the aristocracy of Rome. This was the age of the Second Sophistic, a renaissance in Greek letters. Although educated in Rome, in his Meditations , Marcus would write his inmost thoughts in Greek. A bust of Herodes Atticus, from his villa at Kephissia (National Archaeological Museum of Athens). Herodes was controversial: an enormously rich Athenian (probably the richest man in the eastern half of the empire), he was quick to anger, and resented by his fellow-Athenians for his patronizing manner. Atticus was an inveterate opponent of Stoicism and philosophic pretensions. He thought the Stoics’ desire for a “lack of feeling” foolish: they would live a “sluggish, enervated life”, he said. Marcus would become a Stoic. He would not mention Herodes at all in his Meditations , in spite of the fact that they would come into contact many times over the following decades. Fronto was highly esteemed: in the self-consciously antiquarian world of Latin letters, he was thought of as second only to Cicero, perhaps even an alternative to him. He did not care much for Herodes, though Marcus was eventually to put the pair on speaking terms. Fronto exercised a complete mastery of Latin, capable of tracing expressions through the literature, producing obscure synonyms, and challenging minor improprieties in word choice. A significant amount of the correspondence between Fronto and Marcus has survived. The pair were very close. Farewell my Fronto, wherever you are, my most sweet love and delight. How is it between you and me? I love you and you are not here. Marcus spent time with Fronto’s wife and daughter, both named Cratia, and they enjoyed light conversation. He wrote Fronto a letter on his birthday, claiming to love him as he loved himself, and calling on the gods to ensure that every word he learned of literature, he would learn “from the lips of Fronto”. His prayers for Fronto’s health were more than conventional, because Fronto was frequently ill; at times, he seems to be an almost constant invalid, always suffering-about one-quarter of the surviving letters deal with the man’s sicknesses. Marcus asks that Fronto’s pain be inflicted on himself, “of my own accord with every kind of discomfort”. Fronto never became Marcus’ full-time teacher, and continued his career as an advocate. One notorious case brought him into conflict with Herodes. Marcus pleaded with Fronto, first with “advice”, then as a “favor”, not to attack Herodes; he had already asked Herodes to refrain from making the first blows. Fronto replied that he was surprised to discover Marcus counted Herodes as a friend (perhaps Herodes was not yet Marcus’ tutor), allowed that Marcus might be correct, but nonetheless affirmed his intent to win the case by any means necessary:… The charges are frightful and must be spoken of as frightful. Those in particular which refer to the beating and robbing I will describe in such a way that they savour of gall and bile. If I happen to call him an uneducated little Greek it will not mean war to the death. The outcome of the trial is unknown. By the age of twenty-five (between April 146 and April 147), Marcus had grown disaffected with his studies in jurisprudence, and showed some signs of general malaise. His master, he writes to Fronto, was an unpleasant blowhard, and had made “a hit at” him: It is easy to sit yawning next to a judge, he says, but to be a judge is noble work. Marcus had grown tired of his exercises, of taking positions in imaginary debates. When he criticized the insincerity of conventional language, Fronto took to defend it. In any case, Marcus’ formal education was now over. He had kept his teachers on good terms, following them devotedly. It “affected his health adversely”, his biographer writes, to have devoted so much effort to his studies. It was the only thing the biographer could find fault with in Marcus’ entire boyhood. Fronto had warned Marcus against the study of philosophy early on: it is better never to have touched the teaching of philosophy… Than to have tasted it superficially, with the edge of the lips, as the saying is. He disdained philosophy and philosophers, and looked down on Marcus’ sessions with Apollonius of Chalcedon and others in this circle. Fronto put an uncharitable interpretation of Marcus’ “conversion to philosophy”: “in the fashion of the young, tired of boring work”, Marcus had turned to philosophy to escape the constant exercises of oratorical training. Marcus kept in close touch with Fronto, but he would ignore his scruples. Apollonius may have introduced Marcus to Stoic philosophy, but Quintus Junius Rusticus would have the strongest influence on the boy. He was the man Fronto recognized as having “wooed Marcus away” from oratory. He was twenty years older than Marcus, older than Fronto. As the grandson of Arulenus Rusticus, one of the martyrs to the tyranny of Domitian r. 81-96, he was heir to the tradition of “Stoic opposition” to the “bad emperors” of the 1st century; the true successor of Seneca (as opposed to Fronto, the false one). Births and deaths, 147-160. On November 30, 147, Faustina gave birth to a girl, named Domitia Faustina. She was the first of at least thirteen children (including two sets of twins) that Faustina would bear over the next twenty-three years. The next day, 1 December, Antoninus Pius gave Marcus the tribunician power and the imperium -authority over the armies and provinces of the emperor. As tribune, Marcus had the right to bring one measure before the senate after the four Antoninus could introduce. His tribunican powers would be renewed, with Antoninus’, on 10 December 147. The Mausoleum of Hadrian, where the children of Marcus and Faustina were buried. The first mention of Domitia in Marcus’ letters reveals her as a sickly infant. If the gods are willing we seem to have a hope of recovery. The diarrhea has stopped, the little attacks of fever have been driven away. But the emaciation is still extreme and there is still quite a bit of coughing. ” He and Faustina, Marcus wrote, had been “pretty occupied with the girl’s care. Domitia would die in 151. In 149, Faustina gave birth again, to twin sons. Contemporary coinage commemorates the event, with crossed cornucopiae beneath portrait busts of the two small boys, and the legend temporum felicitas , “the happiness of the times”. They did not survive long. Before the end of the year, another family coin was issued: it shows only a tiny girl, Domitia Faustina, and one boy baby. Then another: the girl alone. The infants were buried in the Mausoleum of Hadrian, where their epitaphs survive. They were called Titus Aurelius Antoninus and Tiberius Aelius Aurelius. Marcus steadied himself: One man prays:’How I may not lose my little child’, but you must pray:’How I may not be afraid to lose him’. ” He quoted from the Iliad what he called the “briefest and most familiar saying… Enough to dispel sorrow and fear. Iliad 6.146. Another daughter was born on 7 March 150, Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla. At some time between 155 and 161, probably soon after 155, Marcus’ mother, Domitia Lucilla, died. Faustina probably had another daughter in 151, but the child, Annia Galeria Aurelia Faustina, might not have been born until 153. Another son, Tiberius Aelius Antoninus, was born in 152. A coin issue celebrates fecunditati Augustae , “the Augusta’s fertility”, depicting two girls and an infant. The boy did not survive long; on coins from 156, only the two girls were depicted. He might have died in 152, the same year as Marcus’ sister, Cornificia. By 28 March 158, however, when Marcus replied, the child was dead, Marcus thanked the temple synod, “even though this turned out otherwise”. The child’s name is unknown. In 159 and 160, Faustina gave birth to daughters: Fadilla, after one of Faustina’s dead sisters, and Cornificia, after Marcus’ dead sister. Antoninus Pius’ last years, 152-61. Antoninus Pius, Marcus’ adoptive father and predecessor as emperor (Glyptothek). Meanwhile, during the reign of his adoptive father, Antoninus, as a prince and future emperor, Marcus’ adoptive brother Lucius Verus received careful education from the famous “grammaticus” Marcus Cornelius Fronto. The young Verus was reported to have been an excellent student, fond of writing poetry and delivering speeches. Lucius started his political career as a quaestor in 153, two years before the legal age of 25 (Marcus held the office at 17). In 154, he was consul, nine years before the legal age of 32 (Marcus held the office at 18 and 23), and in 161 was consul again with Marcus Aurelius as his senior partner. Lucius had no other titles, except that of “son of Augustus”. Lucius had a markedly different personality from Marcus: he enjoyed sports of all kinds, but especially hunting and wrestling; he took obvious pleasure in the circus games and gladiatorial fights. He did not marry until 164. In 156, Antoninus Pius turned 70. He found it difficult to keep himself upright without stays. He started nibbling on dry bread to give him the strength to stay awake through his morning receptions. In 160, Marcus and Lucius were designated joint consuls for the following year. Perhaps Antoninus was already ill; in any case, he died before the year was out. Two days before his death, the biographer reports, Antoninus was at his ancestral estate at Lorium, in Etruria, about 19 kilometres (12 mi) 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. Main article: Emperorship of Marcus Aurelius. Accession of Marcus and Lucius, 161. Lucius Verus, Marcus’ co-emperor from 161 to Verus’ death in 169 (Metropolitan Museum of Art lent by Musée du Louvre). Busts of the co-emperors Marcus Aurelius (left) and Lucius Verus (right), British Museum. After the death of Antoninus Pius, Marcus was effectively sole ruler of the Empire. The formalities of the position would follow. The senate would soon grant him the name Augustus and the title imperator , and he would soon be formally elected as Pontifex Maximus , chief priest of the official cults. Marcus made some show of resistance: the biographer writes that he was “compelled” to take imperial power. This may have been a genuine horror imperii , “fear of imperial power”. Marcus, with his preference for the philosophic life, found the imperial office unappealing. His training as a Stoic, however, had made the choice clear. It was his duty. Although Marcus showed no personal affection for Hadrian (significantly, he does not thank him in the first book of his Meditations), he presumably believed it his duty to enact the man’s succession plans. Thus, although the senate planned to confirm Marcus alone, he refused to take office unless Lucius received equal powers. The senate accepted, granting Lucius the imperium , the tribunician power, and the name Augustus. Marcus became, in official titulature, Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; Lucius, forgoing his name Commodus and taking Marcus’ family name, Verus, became Imperator Caesar Lucius Aurelius Verus Augustus. It was the first time that Rome was ruled by two emperors. In spite of their nominal equality, Marcus held more auctoritas , or “authority”, than Lucius. He had been consul once more than Lucius, he had shared in Antoninus’ administration, and he alone was Pontifex Maximus. It would have been clear to the public which emperor was the more senior. Immediately after their senate confirmation, the emperors proceeded to the Castra Praetoria, the camp of the praetorian guard. Lucius addressed the assembled troops, which then acclaimed the pair as imperatores. Then, like every new emperor since Claudius, Lucius promised the troops a special donative. This donative, however, was twice the size of those past: 20,000 sesterces (5,000 denarii) per capita, with more to officers. In return for this bounty, equivalent to several years’ pay, the troops swore an oath to protect the emperors. Upon his accession he also devalued the Roman currency. He decreased the silver purity of the denarius from 83.5% to 79%-the silver weight dropping from 2.68 grams to 2.57 grams. However, Marcus would later revisit the issue of currency reform. Antoninus Pius’ funeral ceremonies were, in the words of the biographer, “elaborate”. If his funeral followed the pattern of past funerals, his body would have been incinerated on a pyre at the Campus Martius, while his spirit would rise to the gods’ home in the heavens. Marcus and Lucius nominated their father for deification. In contrast to their behavior during Antoninus’ campaign to deify Hadrian, the senate did not oppose the emperors’ wishes. A flamen , or cultic priest, was appointed to minister the cult of the deified Antoninus, now Divus Antoninus. Antoninus Pius’ remains were laid to rest in the Hadrian’s mausoleum, beside the remains of Marcus’ children and of Hadrian himself. The temple he had dedicated to his wife, Diva Faustina, became the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. It survives as the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda. In accordance with his will, Antoninus’ fortune passed on to Faustina. Marcus had little need of his wife’s fortune. Indeed, at his accession, Marcus transferred part of his mother’s estate to his nephew, Ummius Quadratus. Faustina was three months pregnant at her husband’s accession. During the pregnancy she dreamed of giving birth to two serpents, one fiercer than the other. On 31 August she gave birth at Lanuvium to twins: T. Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus. Aside from the fact that the twins shared Caligula’s birthday, the omens were favorable, and the astrologers drew positive horoscopes for the children. The births were celebrated on the imperial coinage. This marble portrait depicts Marcus Aurelius (reigned AD 161-180) The Walters Art Museum. Soon after the emperors’ accession, Marcus’ eleven-year-old daughter, Annia Lucilla, was betrothed to Lucius (in spite of the fact that he was, formally, her uncle). At the ceremonies commemorating the event, new provisions were made for the support of poor children, along the lines of earlier imperial foundations. Marcus and Lucius proved popular with the people of Rome, who strongly approved of their civiliter (“lacking pomp”) behavior. The emperors permitted free speech, evidenced by the fact that the comedy writer Marullus was able to criticize them without suffering retribution. At any other time, under any other emperor, he would have been executed. But it was a peaceful time, a forgiving time. And thus, as the biographer wrote, No one missed the lenient ways of Pius. Marcus replaced a number of the empire’s major officials. The ab epistulis Sextus Caecilius Crescens Volusianus, in charge of the imperial correspondence, was replaced with Titus Varius Clemens. Clemens was from the frontier province of Pannonia and had served in the war in Mauretania. Recently, he had served as procurator of five provinces. He was a man suited for a time of military crisis. Lucius Volusius Maecianus, Marcus’ former tutor, had been prefectural governor of Egypt at Marcus’ accession. Maecianus was recalled, made senator, and appointed prefect of the treasury (aerarium Saturni). He was made consul soon after. Fronto’s son-in-law, Aufidius Victorinus, was appointed governor of Upper Germany. He sent a note to the imperial freedman Charilas, asking if he could call on the emperors. Fronto would later explain that he had not dared to write the emperors directly. The tutor was immensely proud of his students. Reflecting on the speech he had written on taking his consulship in 143, when he had praised the young Marcus, Fronto was ebullient: There was then an outstanding natural ability in you; there is now perfected excellence. There was then a crop of growing corn; there is now a ripe, gathered harvest. What I was hoping for then, I have now. The hope has become a reality. Fronto called on Marcus alone; neither thought to invite Lucius. Tiber Island seen at a forty-year high-water mark of the Tiber, December 2008. Lucius was less esteemed by his tutor than his brother, as his interests were on a lower level. Lucius asked Fronto to adjudicate in a dispute he and his friend Calpurnius were having on the relative merits of two actors. Marcus told Fronto of his reading-Coelius and a little Cicero-and his family. His daughters were in Rome, with their great-great-aunt Matidia; Marcus thought the evening air of the country was too cold for them. He asked Fronto for some particularly eloquent reading matter, something of your own, or Cato, or Cicero, or Sallust or Gracchus-or some poet, for I need distraction, especially in this kind of way, by reading something that will uplift and diffuse my pressing anxieties. Marcus’ early reign proceeded smoothly. Marcus was able to give himself wholly to philosophy and the pursuit of popular affection. Soon, however, Marcus would find he had many anxieties. It would mean the end of the felicitas temporum (“happy times”) that the coinage of 161 had so glibly proclaimed. In the spring of 162, the Tiber overflowed its banks, flooding much of Rome. It drowned many animals, leaving the city in famine. Marcus and Lucius gave the crisis their personal attention. In other times of famine, the emperors are said to have provided for the Italian communities out of the Roman granaries. Fronto’s letters continued through Marcus’ early reign. He believed Marcus was “beginning to feel the wish to be eloquent once more, in spite of having for a time lost interest in eloquence”. Fronto would again remind his pupil of the tension between his role and his philosophic pretensions: Suppose, Caesar, that you can attain to the wisdom of Cleanthes and Zeno, yet, against your will, not the philosopher’s woolen cape. The early days of Marcus’ reign were the happiest of Fronto’s life: his pupil was beloved by the people of Rome, an excellent emperor, a fond pupil, and, perhaps most importantly, as eloquent as could be wished. Marcus had displayed rhetorical skill in his speech to the senate after an earthquake at Cyzicus. It had conveyed the drama of the disaster, and the senate had been awed: “not more suddenly or violently was the city stirred by the earthquake than the minds of your hearers by your speech”. Fronto was hugely pleased. War with Parthia, 161-66. Main article: Roman-Parthian War of 161-66 See also: Roman-Persian Wars Origins to Lucius’ dispatch, 161-62. On his deathbed, Antoninus Pius spoke of nothing but the state and the foreign kings who had wronged him. One of those kings, Vologases IV of Parthia, made his move in late summer or early autumn 161. Vologases entered the Kingdom of Armenia (then a Roman client state), expelled its king and installed his own-Pacorus, an Arsacid like himself. The governor of Cappadocia, the front-line in all Armenian conflicts, was Marcus Sedatius Severianus, a Gaul with much experience in military matters. Convinced by the prophet Alexander of Abonutichus that he could defeat the Parthians easily, and win glory for himself, Severianus led a legion (perhaps the IX Hispana) into Armenia, but was trapped by the great Parthian general Chosrhoes at Elegia, a town just beyond the Cappadocian frontiers, high up past the headwaters of the Euphrates. Severianus made some attempt to fight Chosrhoes, but soon realized the futility of his campaign, and committed suicide. His legion was massacred. The campaign had only lasted three days. Coin of Vologases IV, king of Parthia, from 152/53. There was threat of war on other frontiers as well-in Britain, and in Raetia and Upper Germany, where the Chatti of the Taunus mountains had recently crossed over the limes. Antoninus seems to have given him no military experience; the biographer writes that Marcus spent the whole of Antoninus’ twenty-three-year reign at his emperor’s side-and not in the provinces, where most previous emperors had spent their early careers. More bad news arrived: the Syrian governor’s army had been defeated by the Parthians, and retreated in disarray. Reinforcements were dispatched for the Parthian frontier. Julius Geminius Marcianus, an African senator commanding X Gemina at Vindobona (Vienna), left for Cappadocia with detachments from the Danubian legions. Three full legions were also sent east: I Minervia from Bonn in Upper Germany, II Adiutrix from Aquincum, and V Macedonica from Troesmis. The northern frontiers were strategically weakened; frontier governors were told to avoid conflict wherever possible. Annius Libo, Marcus’ first cousin, was sent to replace the Syrian governor. He was young-his first consulship was in 161, so he was probably in his early thirties-and, as a mere patrician, lacked military experience. Marcus had chosen a reliable man rather than a talented one. Marcus took a four-day public holiday at Alsium, a resort town on the coast of Etruria. He was too anxious to relax. Writing to Fronto, he declared that he would not speak about his holiday. Fronto replied ironically: What? Do I not know that you went to Alsium with the intention of devoting yourself to games, joking, and complete leisure for four whole days? He encouraged Marcus to rest, calling on the example of his predecessors (Antoninus had enjoyed exercise in the palaestra , fishing, and comedy), going so far as to write up a fable about the gods’ division of the day between morning and evening-Marcus had apparently been spending most of his evenings on judicial matters instead of at leisure. Marcus could not take Fronto’s advice. Marcus put on Fronto’s voice to chastise himself:’Much good has my advice done you’, you will say! ” He had rested, and would rest often, but “-this devotion to duty! Who knows better than you how demanding it is! Fronto sent Marcus a selection of reading material, and, to settle his unease over the course of the Parthian war, a long and considered letter, full of historical references. In modern editions of Fronto’s works, it is labeled De bello Parthico (On the Parthian War). There had been reverses in Rome’s past, Fronto writes, but, in the end, Romans had always prevailed over their enemies: “always and everywhere [Mars] has changed our troubles into successes and our terrors into triumphs”. Lucius at Antioch, 162-65. The dissolute Syrian army was said to spend more time in Antioch’s open-air taverns than with their units. Engraving by William Miller after a drawing by H. Warren from a sketch by Captain Byam Martin, R. Over the winter of 161-62, as more bad news arrived-a rebellion was brewing in Syria-it was decided that Lucius should direct the Parthian war in person. He was stronger and healthier than Marcus, the argument went, more suited to military activity. Lucius’ biographer suggests ulterior motives: to restrain Lucius’ debaucheries, to make him thrifty, to reform his morals by the terror of war, to realize that he was an emperor. Whatever the case, the senate gave its assent, and, in the summer of 162, Lucius left. Marcus would remain in Rome; the city “demanded the presence of an emperor”. Lucius spent most of the campaign in Antioch, though he wintered at Laodicea and summered at Daphne, a resort just outside Antioch. Critics declaimed Lucius’ luxurious lifestyle. He had taken to gambling, they said; he would “dice the whole night through”. He enjoyed the company of actors. Libo died early in the war; perhaps Lucius had murdered him. In the middle of the war, perhaps in autumn 163 or early 164, Lucius made a trip to Ephesus to be married to Marcus’ daughter Lucilla. Marcus moved up the date; perhaps he had already heard of Lucius’ mistress, the low-born and beautiful Panthea. Lucilla’s thirteenth birthday was in March 163; whatever the date of her marriage, she was not yet fifteen. Lucilla was accompanied by her mother Faustina and M. Vettulenus Civica Barbarus, the half-brother of Lucius’ father. Civica was made comes Augusti , “companion of the emperors”; perhaps Marcus wanted him to watch over Lucius, the job Libo had failed at. Marcus may have planned to accompany them all the way to Smyrna (the biographer says he told the senate he would); this did not happen. Counterattack and victory, 163-66. The Armenian capital Artaxata was captured in 163. At the end of the year, Verus took the title Armeniacus , despite having never seen combat; Marcus declined to accept the title until the following year. When Lucius was hailed as imperator again, however, Marcus did not hesitate to take the Imperator II with him. The Euphrates river near Raqqa, Syria. Occupied Armenia was reconstructed on Roman terms. In 164, a new capital, Kaine Polis (‘New City’), replaced Artaxata. A new king was installed: a Roman senator of consular rank and Arsacid descent, Gaius Julius Sohaemus. He may not even have been crowned in Armenia; the ceremony may have taken place in Antioch, or even Ephesus. Sohaemus was hailed on the imperial coinage of 164 under the legend Rex armeniis Datus: Lucius sat on a throne with his staff while Sohamenus stood before him, saluting the emperor. In 163, the Parthians intervened in Osroene, a Roman client in upper Mesopotamia centered on Edessa, and installed their own king on its throne. In response, Roman forces were moved downstream, to cross the Euphrates at a more southerly point. Before the end of 163, however, Roman forces had moved north to occupy Dausara and Nicephorium on the northern, Parthian bank. Soon after the conquest of the north bank of the Euphrates, other Roman forces moved on Osroene from Armenia, taking Anthemusia, a town southwest of Edessa. In 165, Roman forces moved on Mesopotamia. Edessa was re-occupied, and Mannus, the king deposed by the Parthians, was re-installed. The Parthians retreated to Nisibis, but this too was besieged and captured. The Parthian army dispersed in the Tigris. A second force, under Avidius Cassius and the III Gallica, moved down the Euphrates, and fought a major battle at Dura. By the end of the year, Cassius’ army had reached the twin metropolises of Mesopotamia: Seleucia on the right bank of the Tigris and Ctesiphon on the left. Ctesiphon was taken and its royal palace set to flame. The citizens of Seleucia, still largely Greek (the city had been commissioned and settled as a capital of the Seleucid Empire, one of Alexander the Great’s successor kingdoms), opened its gates to the invaders. The city got sacked nonetheless, leaving a black mark on Lucius’ reputation. Excuses were sought, or invented: the official version had it that the Seleucids broke faith first. Cassius’ army, although suffering from a shortage of supplies and the effects of a plague contracted in Seleucia, made it back to Roman territory safely. Lucius took the title Parthicus Maximus, and he and Marcus were hailed as imperatores again, earning the title’imp. Lucius took the title’Medicus’, and the emperors were again hailed as imperatores , becoming’imp. IV’ in imperial titulature. Marcus took the Parthicus Maximus now, after another tactful delay. Conclusion of the war and events at Rome, mid-160s-167. A bust of Marcus Aurelius, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Most of the credit for the war’s success must be ascribed to subordinate generals, the most prominent of which was C. Avidius Cassius, commander of III Gallica, one of the Syrian legions. Cassius was a young senator of low birth from the north Syrian town of Cyrrhus. His father, Heliodorus, had not been a senator, but was nonetheless a man of some standing: he had been Hadrian’s ab epistulis , followed the emperor on his travels, and was prefect of Egypt at the end of Hadrian’s reign. Cassius also, with no small sense of self-worth, claimed descent from the Seleucid kings. Cassius and his fellow commander in the war, Martius Verus, still probably in their mid-thirties, took the consulships for 166. After their consulships, they were made governors: Cassius, of Syria; Martius Verus, of Cappadocia. At Rome, Marcus was occupied with family matters. Matidia, his great-aunt, had died. However, her will was invalid under the lex Falcidia : Matidia had assigned more than three-quarters of her estate to non-relatives. This was because many of her clients were included in codicils to her will. Matidia had never confirmed the documents, but as she was dying, her clients had sealed them in with the original, making them valid. Fronto urged Marcus to push the family’s case, but Marcus demurred, saying his brother would make the final decision. On the return from the campaign, Lucius was awarded with a triumph; the parade was unusual because it included the two emperors, their sons and unmarried daughters as a big family celebration. Marcus Aurelius’ two sons, Commodus, five years old, and Annius Verus, three, were elevated to the status of Caesar for the occasion. The returning army carried with them a plague, afterwards known as the Antonine Plague, or the Plague of Galen, which spread through the Roman Empire between 165 and 180. The disease was a pandemic believed to be either of smallpox or measles, and may have claimed the lives of two Roman emperors-Lucius Verus, who died in 169, and Marcus Aurelius, whose family name, Antoninus, was given to the epidemic. The disease broke out again nine years later, according to the Roman historian Dio Cassius, and caused up to 2,000 deaths a day at Rome, one-quarter of those infected. Total deaths have been estimated at five million. A possible contact with Han China occurred in 166 when a Roman traveller visited the Han court, claiming to be an ambassador representing a certain Andun (Chinese:), ruler of Daqin, who can be identified either with Marcus Aurelius or his predecessor Antoninus Pius. In addition to Republican-era Roman glasswares found at Guangzhou along the South China Sea, Roman golden medallions made during the reign of Antoninus Pius and perhaps even Marcus Aurelius have been found at Óc Eo, Vietnam, then part of the Kingdom of Funan near the Chinese province of Jiaozhi (in northern Vietnam). This may have been the port city of Kattigara, described by Ptolemy c. 150 as being visited by a Greek sailor named Alexander and laying beyond the Golden Chersonese i. Roman coins from the reigns of Tiberius to Aurelian have been found in Xi’an, China (site of the Han capital Chang’an), although the far greater amount of Roman coins in India suggests the Roman maritime trade for purchasing Chinese silk was centered there, not in China or even the overland Silk Road running through Persia. Legal and administrative work, 161-80. Like many emperors, Marcus spent most of his time addressing matters of law such as petitions and hearing disputes; but unlike many of his predecessors, he was already proficient in imperial administration when he assumed power. Marcus took great care in the theory and practice of legislation. Professional jurists called him “an emperor most skilled in the law” and “a most prudent and conscientiously just emperor”. He shows marked interest in three areas of the law: the manumission of slaves, the guardianship of orphans and minors, and the choice of city councillors (decuriones). In 168 he revalued the denarius, increasing the silver purity from 79% to 82% – the actual silver weight increasing from 2.57 grams to 2.67 grams. However, two years later Marcus reverted to the previous values because of the military crises facing the empire. War with Germanic tribes 166-180. The Roman Empire during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. His annexation of lands of the Marcomanni and the Jazyges – perhaps to be provincially called Marcomannia and Sarmatia – was cut short in 175 by the revolt of Avidius Cassius and in 180 by his death. Bas-relief scenes depicting events of the Marcomannic Wars, from the (now destroyed) Arch of Marcus Aurelius in Rome, 176-180 AD, Capitoline Museums. Marcus Aurelius receiving the submission of the vanquished, with raised vexillum standards. Marcus Aurelius celebrating his triumph over Rome’s enemies in 176 AD, riding in a quadriga chariot. During the early 160s, Fronto’s son-in-law Victorinus was stationed as a legate in Germany. He was there with his wife and children (another child had stayed with Fronto and his wife in Rome). The condition on the northern frontier looked grave. A frontier post had been destroyed, and it looked like all the peoples of central and northern Europe were in turmoil. There was corruption among the officers: Victorinus had to ask for the resignation of a legionary legate who was taking bribes. Experienced governors had been replaced by friends and relatives of the imperial family. Dasumius Tullius Tuscus, a distant relative of Hadrian, was in Upper Pannonia, succeeding the experienced M. Lower Pannonia was under the obscure Ti. Servilius Fabianus Maximus was shuffled from Lower Moesia to Upper Moesia when Iallius Bassus had joined Lucius in Antioch. Lower Moesia was filled by Pontius Laelianus’ son. The Dacias were still divided in three, governed by a praetorian senator and two procurators. The peace could not hold long; Lower Pannonia did not even have a legion. Starting in the 160s, Germanic tribes and other nomadic people launched raids along the northern border, particularly into Gaul and across the Danube. This new impetus westwards was probably due to attacks from tribes further east. A first invasion of the Chatti in the province of Germania Superior was repulsed in 162. Far more dangerous was the invasion of 166, when the Marcomanni of Bohemia, clients of the Roman Empire since year 19, crossed the Danube together with the Lombards and other Germanic tribes. Soon thereafter, the Iranian Sarmatians attacked between the Danube and the Theiss rivers. Due to the situation in the East, only a punitive expedition could be launched in 167. Both Marcus and Verus led the troops. After the death of Verus (169), Marcus personally led the struggle against the Germanic tribes for most of his remaining life. The Romans suffered at least two serious defeats by the Quadi and Marcomanni, who would cross the Alps, ravage Opitergium (Oderzo) and besiege Aquileia, the main Roman city of north-east Italy. At the same time the Costoboci, coming from the Carpathian area, invaded Moesia, Macedonia and Greece. After a long struggle, Marcus Aurelius managed to push back the invaders. Numerous members of Germanic tribes settled in frontier regions like Dacia, Pannonia, Germany and Italy itself. This was not a new thing, but this time the numbers of settlers required the creation of two new frontier provinces on the left shore of the Danube, Sarmatia and Marcomannia, including today’s Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Some Germanic tribes who settled in Ravenna revolted and managed to seize possession of the city. For this reason, Marcus Aurelius decided not only against bringing more barbarians into Italy, but even banished those who had previously been brought there. The emperor’s plans were prevented by an usurpation in 175 of the governor of Syria, Avidius Cassius, which was prompted by false news of the death of Marcus after an illness. The rebellion quickly gathered support in the Eastern provinces, only Cappadocia and Bithynia did not side with the rebels. When it became clear that Marcus Aurelius was still alive, Cassius’ fortunes declined quickly and he was killed by his troops after only 100 days of power. Together with his wife Faustina, Marcus Aurelius toured the eastern provinces until 173. He visited Athens, declaring himself a protector of philosophy. After a triumph in Rome, the following year he marched again to the Danubian frontier. After a decisive victory in 178, the plan to annex Moravia and West Slovakia seemed poised for success but was abandoned after Marcus Aurelius again fell ill in 180. Death and succession 180. Bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius, piazza del Campidoglio in Rome. Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, Rome. Marcus Aurelius died on 17 March 180, in the city of Vindobona (modern Vienna). His campaigns against Germans and Sarmatians were also commemorated by a column and a temple built in Rome. He was succeeded by his son Commodus, whom he had named Caesar in 166 and with whom he had jointly ruled since 177. It was only the second time that a “non-adoptive” son was chosen as heir to the throne. The only other having been a century earlier when Vespasian was succeeded by his son Titus. Historians have criticized the decision, citing Commodus’ erratic behavior and lack of political and military acumen. At the end of his history of Marcus’ reign, Cassius Dio wrote an encomium to the emperor, and described the transition to Commodus in his own lifetime with sorrow. [Marcus] did not meet with the good fortune that he deserved, for he was not strong in body and was involved in a multitude of troubles throughout practically his entire reign. But for my part, I admire him all the more for this very reason, that amid unusual and extraordinary difficulties he both survived himself and preserved the empire. Just one thing prevented him from being completely happy, namely, that after rearing and educating his son in the best possible way he was vastly disappointed in him. This matter must be our next topic; for our history now descends from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust, as affairs did for the Romans of that day. Cassius Dio 71.36.3-4. Michael Grant, in The Climax of Rome (1968), writes of Commodus. The youth turned out to be very erratic, or at least so anti-traditional that disaster was inevitable. But whether or not Marcus ought to have known this to be so, the rejections of his son’s claims in favour of someone else would almost certainly have involved one of the civil wars which were to proliferate so disastrously around future successions. Castings of the busts of Antonius Pius (left), Marcus Aurelius (center), and Clodius Albinus (right), Pushkin Museum, Moscow. Marcus Aurelius acquired the reputation of a philosopher king within his lifetime, and the title would remain his after death; both Dio and the biographer call him “the philosopher”. Christians such as Justin Martyr, Athenagoras and Melito gave him the title, too. The last named went so far as to call Marcus Aurelius “more philanthropic and philosophic” than Antoninus Pius and Hadrian, and set him against the persecuting emperors Domitian and Nero to make the contrast bolder. “Alone of the emperors, ” wrote the historian Herodian, he gave proof of his learning not by mere words or knowledge of philosophical doctrines but by his blameless character and temperate way of life. Iain King concludes Marcus Aurelius’ legacy is tragic, because the emperor’s “Stoic philosophy – which is about self-restraint, duty, and respect for others – was so abjectly abandoned by the imperial line he anointed on his death”. In the 1964 movie The Fall of the Roman Empire he was portrayed by Alec Guinness and in the 2000 movie Gladiator by Richard Harris. Both movie plots posited that Marcus Aurelius was assassinated because he intended to pass down power to his adopted son, a Roman general, instead of his biological son, Commodus. In the first two centuries of the Christian era, it was local Roman officials who were largely responsible for persecution of Christians. In the second century, the emperors treated Christianity as a local problem to be dealt with by their subordinates. The number and severity of persecutions of Christians in various locations of the empire seemingly increased during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The extent to which Marcus Aurelius himself directed, encouraged, or was aware of these persecutions is unclear and much debated by historians. According to Gibbon, with the onset of the Germanic war, his treatment of the Christians degraded with increased persecutions uncharacteristic of the previous years of his reign and those of his predecessors. Bust of Faustina the Younger, Louvre, Paris. Aurelius married his first cousin Faustina the Younger in 145. During their 30-year marriage, Faustina bore 13 children. Only one son and four daughters outlived their father. Annia Aurelia Galeria Faustina (147-after 165). Gemellus Lucillae (died around 150), twin brother of Lucilla. Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla (148/50-182), twin sister of Gemellus, married her father’s co-ruler Lucius Verus. Titus Aelius Antoninus (born after 150, died before 7 March 161). Titus Aelius Aurelius (born after 150, died before 7 March 161). Domitia Faustina (born after 150, died before 7 March 161). Annia Aurelia Fadilla (159-after 211). Annia Cornificia Faustina Minor (160-after 211). Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus (161-165), twin brother of Commodus. Lucius Aurelius Commodus Antoninus (Commodus) (161-192), twin brother of Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, later emperor. Marcus Annius Verus Caesar (162-169). Vibia Aurelia Sabina (170-died before 217). While on campaign between 170 and 180, Aurelius wrote his Meditations in Greek as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. The original title of this work, if it had one, is unknown. “Meditations” as well as others, including “To Himself” were adopted later. He had a logical mind and his notes were representative of Stoic philosophy and spirituality. Meditations is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty. The book was a favourite of Frederick the Great, John Stuart Mill, Matthew Arnold, and Goethe. Modern figures such as Wen Jiabao, Bill Clinton, and James Mattis are admirers of the book. It is not known how far Marcus’ writings were circulated after his death. There are stray references in the ancient literature to the popularity of his precepts, and Julian the Apostate was well aware of Marcus’ reputation as a philosopher, though he does not specifically mention the Meditations. It survived in the scholarly traditions of the Eastern Church and the first surviving quotes of the book, as well as the first known reference of it by name (“Marcus’ writings to himself”) are from Arethas of Caesarea in the 10th century and in the Byzantine Suda (perhaps inserted by Arethas himself). It was first published in 1558 in Zurich by Wilhelm Xylander (ne Holzmann), from a manuscript reportedly lost shortly afterwards. The oldest surviving complete manuscript copy is in the Vatican library and dates to the 14th century. World-renowned expert numismatist, enthusiast, author and dealer in authentic ancient Greek, ancient Roman, ancient Byzantine, world coins & more. 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  • Composition: Silver
  • Ruler: Marcus Aurelius

Nov 18 2018

MARCUS AURELIUS Authentic Ancient 164AD Roman ARMENIAN VICTORY Coin NGC i73145

MARCUS AURELIUS Authentic Ancient 164AD Roman ARMENIAN VICTORY Coin NGC i73145

MARCUS AURELIUS Authentic Ancient 164AD Roman ARMENIAN VICTORY Coin NGC i73145

MARCUS AURELIUS Authentic Ancient 164AD Roman ARMENIAN VICTORY Coin NGC i73145

MARCUS AURELIUS Authentic Ancient 164AD Roman ARMENIAN VICTORY Coin NGC i73145

Item: i73145 Authentic Ancient Coin of. VICTORY over ARMENIA Silver Denarius 17mm Rome mint:, struck 164 A. Reference: RIC 82a, BMC 276, C 7d Certification: NGC Ancients. VF 4683157-014 ANTONINVS AVG ARMENIACVS, Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right. P M TR P XVIII IMP II COS III, Armenia seated left, in mournful attitude, vexillum and shield before, hand on bow behind; ARMEN in exergue. This coin celebrates Marcus Aurelius victory over Armenia, giving him the title of ARMENIACVS and showing the personification of Armenia on the reverse. And heir of Hadrian. Father-in-law of Lucius Verus. Marcus Aurelius (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus ; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180 AD) was Emperor of Rome from 161 to 180. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus’ death in 169. Marcus Aurelius was the last of the so-called Five Good Emperors. He was a practitioner of Stoicism, and his untitled writing, commonly known as Meditations , is a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy, and is considered by many commentators to be one of the greatest works of philosophy. During his reign, the Roman Empire defeated a revitalized Parthian Empire in the East: Aurelius’ general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. In central Europe, Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars, although the threat of the Germanic peoples began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. A revolt in the East led by Avidius Cassius failed to gain momentum and was suppressed immediately. Persecution of Christians increased during his reign. Aurelius’ Meditations , written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity, a state of psychological stability and composure, in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration. His death in 180 is widely cited as the end of the Pax Romana and the increasing instability in the west that followed has traditionally been seen as the beginning of the eventual Fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Statue of Marcus Aurelius (detail) in the Musei Capitolini in Rome. The major sources depicting the life and rule of Marcus Aurelius are patchy and frequently unreliable. The most important group of sources, the biographies contained in the Historia Augusta , claim to be written by a group of authors at the turn of the 4th century AD, but are in fact written by a single author (referred to here as “the biographer”) from the later 4th century c. The later biographies and the biographies of subordinate emperors and usurpers are a tissue of lies and fiction, but the earlier biographies, derived primarily from now-lost earlier sources (Marius Maximus or Ignotus), are much more accurate. For Marcus’ life and rule, the biographies of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus and Lucius Verus are largely reliable, but those of Aelius Verus and Avidius Cassius are full of fiction. A body of correspondence between Marcus’ tutor Fronto and various Antonine officials survives in a series of patchy manuscripts, covering the period from c. Marcus’ own Meditations offer a window on his inner life, but are largely undateable, and make few specific references to worldly affairs. The main narrative source for the period is Cassius Dio, a Greek senator from Bithynian Nicaea who wrote a history of Rome from its founding to 229 in eighty books. Dio is vital for the military history of the period, but his senatorial prejudices and strong opposition to imperial expansion obscure his perspective. Some other literary sources provide specific detail: the writings of the physician Galen on the habits of the Antonine elite, the orations of Aelius Aristides on the temper of the times, and the constitutions preserved in the Digest and Codex Justinianus on Marcus’ legal work. Inscriptions and coin finds supplement the literary sources. Early life and career. Main article: Early life and career of Marcus Aurelius. Marcus’ family originated in Ucubi, a small town southeast of Córdoba in Iberian Baetica. The family rose to prominence in the late 1st century AD. Marcus’ great-grandfather Marcus Annius Verus (I) was a senator and (according to the Historia Augusta) ex-praetor; in 73-74, his grandfather, Marcus Annius Verus (II), was made a patrician. Verus’ elder son-Marcus Aurelius’ father-Marcus Annius Verus (III) married Domitia Lucilla. Statue of young Marcus Aurelius from a private collection housed in the San Antonio Museum of Art. Lucilla was the daughter of the patrician P. Calvisius Tullus Ruso and the elder Domitia Lucilla. The elder Domitia Lucilla had inherited a great fortune (described at length in one of Pliny’s letters) from her maternal grandfather and her paternal grandfather by adoption. The younger Lucilla would acquire much of her mother’s wealth, including a large brickworks on the outskirts of Rome-a profitable enterprise in an era when the city was experiencing a construction boom. A bust of Marcus Aurelius as a young boy (Capitoline Museum). Anthony Birley, Marcus’ modern biographer, writes of the bust: This is certainly a grave young man. Lucilla and Verus (III) had two children: a son, Marcus, born on 26 April 121 AD, and a daughter, Annia Cornificia Faustina, probably born in 122 or 123 AD. Verus (III) probably died in 124 AD, during his praetorship, when Marcus was only three years old. Though he can hardly have known him, Marcus Aurelius wrote in his Meditations that he had learned “modesty and manliness” from his memories of his father and from the man’s posthumous reputation. Lucilla did not remarry. Portrait of Emperor Marcus Aurelius – Palazzo Nuovo (Musei Capitolini). Marcus was in the care of “nurses”. Even so, Marcus credits his mother with teaching him “religious piety, simplicity in diet” and how to avoid “the ways of the rich”. In his letters, Marcus makes frequent and affectionate reference to her; he was grateful that, “although she was fated to die young, yet she spent her last years with me”. After his father’s death, Aurelius was raised by his paternal grandfather Marcus Annius Verus who, according to Roman Law, had always retained the “patria potestas” over his son and grandson. Technically this was not an adoption, since an adoption would be the legal creation of a new and different “patria potestas” (II). Another man, Lucius Catilius Severus, also participated in his upbringing. Severus is described as Marcus’ “maternal great-grandfather”; he is probably the stepfather of the elder Lucilla. Marcus was raised in his parents’ home on the Caelian Hill, a district he would affectionately refer to as “my Caelian”. It was an upscale region, with few public buildings but many aristocratic villas. Marcus’ grandfather owned his own palace beside the Lateran, where Marcus would spend much of his childhood. Marcus thanks his grandfather for teaching him “good character and avoidance of bad temper”. He was less fond of the mistress his grandfather took and lived with after the death of Rupilia Faustina, his wife. Marcus was grateful that he did not have to live with her longer than he did. Marcus was taught at home, in line with contemporary aristocratic trends; Marcus thanks Catilius Severus for encouraging him to avoid public schools. One of his teachers, Diognetus, a painting-master, proved particularly influential; he seems to have introduced Marcus to the philosophic way of life. In April 132, at the behest of Diognetus, Marcus took up the dress and habits of the philosopher: he studied while wearing a rough Greek cloak, and would sleep on the ground until his mother convinced him to sleep on a bed. A new set of tutors-Alexander of Cotiaeum, Trosius Aper and Tuticius Proculus-took over Marcus’ education in about 132 or 133. Little is known of the latter two (both teachers of Latin), but Alexander was a major littérateur, the leading Homeric scholar of his day. Marcus thanks Alexander for his training in literary styling. Alexander’s influence-an emphasis on matter over style, on careful wording, with the occasional Homeric quotation-has been detected in Marcus’ Meditations. Succession to Hadrian, 136-38. In late 136, Hadrian almost died from a haemorrhage. Convalescent in his villa at Tivoli, he selected Lucius Ceionius Commodus, Marcus’ intended father-in-law, as his successor and adopted him as his son. The selection was done invitis omnibus , “against the wishes of everyone”. While there will never be absolute certainty regarding his motives, it would appear that his goal was to eventually place the then-too-young Marcus on the throne. As part of his adoption, Commodus took the name Lucius Aelius Caesar. His health was so poor that during a ceremony to mark his becoming heir to the throne, he was too weak to lift a large shield on his own. The night before the speech, however, he grew ill, and died of a haemorrhage later in the day. On 24 January 138 AD, Hadrian selected Aurelius Antoninus as his new successor. After a few days’ consideration, Antoninus accepted. He was adopted on 25 February. As part of Hadrian’s terms, Antoninus adopted Marcus and Lucius Verus, the son of Lucius Aelius. By this scheme, Lucius Verus, who was already Hadrian’s adoptive grandson through his natural father, remained Hadrian’s adoptive grandson through his new father. The adoption of Marcus Aurelius was probably a suggestion of Antoninus himself, since Aurelius was the nephew of Antoninus’s wife and would be his favorite son. Aelius Aurelius Verus; Lucius became L. At Hadrian’s request, Antoninus’ daughter Faustina was betrothed to Lucius. He reportedly greeted the news that Hadrian had become his adoptive grandfather with sadness, instead of joy. Only with reluctance did he move from his mother’s house on the Caelian to Hadrian’s private home. At some time in 138 AD, Hadrian requested in the senate that Marcus be exempt from the law barring him from becoming quaestor before his twenty-fourth birthday. The senate complied, and Marcus served under Antoninus, consul for 139. Marcus’ adoption diverted him from the typical career path of his class. If not for his adoption, he probably would have become triumvir monetalis , a highly regarded post involving token administration of the state mint; after that, he could have served as tribune with a legion, becoming the legion’s nominal second-in-command. Marcus probably would have opted for travel and further education instead. As it was, Marcus was set apart from his fellow citizens. Nonetheless, his biographer attests that his character remained unaffected: He still showed the same respect to his relations as he had when he was an ordinary citizen, and he was as thrifty and careful of his possessions as he had been when he lived in a private household. Baiae, seaside resort and site of Hadrian’s last days. Marcus would holiday in the town with the imperial family in the summer of 143. Turner, The Bay of Baiae, with Apollo and Sybil , 1823. After a series of suicide attempts, all thwarted by Antoninus, Hadrian left for Baiae, a seaside resort on the Campanian coast. His condition did not improve, and he abandoned the diet prescribed by his doctors, indulging himself in food and drink. He sent for Antoninus, who was at his side when he died on 10 July 138. His remains were buried quietly at Puteoli. The succession to Antoninus was peaceful and stable: Antoninus kept Hadrian’s nominees in office and appeased the senate, respecting its privileges and commuting the death sentences of men charged in Hadrian’s last days. For his dutiful behavior, Antoninus was asked to accept the name “Pius”. Heir to Antoninus Pius, 138-45. Immediately after Hadrian’s death, Antoninus approached Marcus and requested that his marriage arrangements be amended: Marcus’ betrothal to Ceionia Fabia would be annulled, and he would be betrothed to Faustina, Antoninus’ daughter, instead. Faustina’s betrothal to Ceionia’s brother Lucius Commodus would also have to be annulled. Marcus consented to Antoninus’ proposal. Antoninus bolstered Marcus’ dignity: Marcus was made consul for 140 AD, with Antoninus as his colleague, and was appointed as a seviri , one of the knights’ six commanders, at the order’s annual parade on 15 July 139 AD. As the heir apparent, Marcus became princeps iuventutis , head of the equestrian order. He now took the name Caesar: Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar. Marcus would later caution himself against taking the name too seriously: “See that you do not turn into a Caesar; do not be dipped into the purple dye-for that can happen”. At the senate’s request, Marcus joined all the priestly colleges pontifices , augures , quindecimviri sacris faciundis , septemviri epulonum , etc. ; direct evidence for membership, however, is available only for the Arval Brethren. Antoninus demanded that Marcus take up residence in the House of Tiberius, the imperial palace on the Palatine. Antoninus also made him take up the habits of his new station, the aulicum fastigium or “pomp of the court”, against Marcus’ objections. Marcus would struggle to reconcile the life of the court with his philosophic yearnings. He told himself it was an attainable goal-”where life is possible, then it is possible to live the right life; life is possible in a palace, so it is possible to live the right life in a palace”-but he found it difficult nonetheless. He would criticize himself in the Meditations for “abusing court life” in front of company. As quaestor, Marcus would have had little real administrative work to do. He would read imperial letters to the senate when Antoninus was absent, and would do secretarial work for the senators. He was being “fitted for ruling the state”, in the words of his biographer. He was required to make a speech to the assembled senators as well, making oratorical training essential for the job. On 1 January 145 AD, Marcus was made consul a second time. He might have been unwell at this time: a letter from Fronto that might have been sent at this time urges Marcus to have plenty of sleep “so that you may come into the Senate with a good colour and read your speech with a strong voice”. Marcus was never particularly healthy or strong. The Roman historian Cassius Dio, writing of his later years, praised him for behaving dutifully in spite of his various illnesses. A bust of Faustina the Younger, Marcus’ wife (Louvre). In April 145 AD, Marcus married Faustina, as had been planned since 138 AD. Since Marcus was, by adoption, Antoninus Pius’ son, under Roman law he was marrying his sister; Antoninus would have had to formally release one or the other from his paternal authority (his patria potestas) for the ceremony to take place. Little is specifically known of the ceremony, but it is said to have been “noteworthy”. Coins were issued with the heads of the couple, and Antoninus, as Pontifex Maximus , would have officiated. Marcus makes no apparent reference to the marriage in his surviving letters, and only sparing references to Faustina. Fronto and further education, 136-61. After taking the toga virilis in 136 AD, Marcus probably began his training in oratory. He had three tutors in Greek, Aninus Macer, Caninius Celer, and Herodes Atticus, and one in Latin, Fronto. The latter two were the most esteemed orators of the day. Fronto and Atticus, however, probably did not become his tutors until his adoption by Antoninus in 138 AD. The preponderance of Greek tutors indicates the importance of the language to the aristocracy of Rome. This was the age of the Second Sophistic, a renaissance in Greek letters. Although educated in Rome, in his Meditations , Marcus would write his inmost thoughts in Greek. A bust of Herodes Atticus, from his villa at Kephissia (National Archaeological Museum of Athens). Herodes was controversial: an enormously rich Athenian (probably the richest man in the eastern half of the empire), he was quick to anger, and resented by his fellow-Athenians for his patronizing manner. Atticus was an inveterate opponent of Stoicism and philosophic pretensions. He thought the Stoics’ desire for a “lack of feeling” foolish: they would live a “sluggish, enervated life”, he said. Marcus would become a Stoic. He would not mention Herodes at all in his Meditations , in spite of the fact that they would come into contact many times over the following decades. Fronto was highly esteemed: in the self-consciously antiquarian world of Latin letters, he was thought of as second only to Cicero, perhaps even an alternative to him. He did not care much for Herodes, though Marcus was eventually to put the pair on speaking terms. Fronto exercised a complete mastery of Latin, capable of tracing expressions through the literature, producing obscure synonyms, and challenging minor improprieties in word choice. A significant amount of the correspondence between Fronto and Marcus has survived. The pair were very close. Farewell my Fronto, wherever you are, my most sweet love and delight. How is it between you and me? I love you and you are not here. Marcus spent time with Fronto’s wife and daughter, both named Cratia, and they enjoyed light conversation. He wrote Fronto a letter on his birthday, claiming to love him as he loved himself, and calling on the gods to ensure that every word he learned of literature, he would learn “from the lips of Fronto”. His prayers for Fronto’s health were more than conventional, because Fronto was frequently ill; at times, he seems to be an almost constant invalid, always suffering-about one-quarter of the surviving letters deal with the man’s sicknesses. Marcus asks that Fronto’s pain be inflicted on himself, “of my own accord with every kind of discomfort”. Fronto never became Marcus’ full-time teacher, and continued his career as an advocate. One notorious case brought him into conflict with Herodes. Marcus pleaded with Fronto, first with “advice”, then as a “favor”, not to attack Herodes; he had already asked Herodes to refrain from making the first blows. Fronto replied that he was surprised to discover Marcus counted Herodes as a friend (perhaps Herodes was not yet Marcus’ tutor), allowed that Marcus might be correct, but nonetheless affirmed his intent to win the case by any means necessary:… The charges are frightful and must be spoken of as frightful. Those in particular which refer to the beating and robbing I will describe in such a way that they savour of gall and bile. If I happen to call him an uneducated little Greek it will not mean war to the death. The outcome of the trial is unknown. By the age of twenty-five (between April 146 and April 147), Marcus had grown disaffected with his studies in jurisprudence, and showed some signs of general malaise. His master, he writes to Fronto, was an unpleasant blowhard, and had made “a hit at” him: It is easy to sit yawning next to a judge, he says, but to be a judge is noble work. Marcus had grown tired of his exercises, of taking positions in imaginary debates. When he criticized the insincerity of conventional language, Fronto took to defend it. In any case, Marcus’ formal education was now over. He had kept his teachers on good terms, following them devotedly. It “affected his health adversely”, his biographer writes, to have devoted so much effort to his studies. It was the only thing the biographer could find fault with in Marcus’ entire boyhood. Fronto had warned Marcus against the study of philosophy early on: it is better never to have touched the teaching of philosophy… Than to have tasted it superficially, with the edge of the lips, as the saying is. He disdained philosophy and philosophers, and looked down on Marcus’ sessions with Apollonius of Chalcedon and others in this circle. Fronto put an uncharitable interpretation of Marcus’ “conversion to philosophy”: “in the fashion of the young, tired of boring work”, Marcus had turned to philosophy to escape the constant exercises of oratorical training. Marcus kept in close touch with Fronto, but he would ignore his scruples. Apollonius may have introduced Marcus to Stoic philosophy, but Quintus Junius Rusticus would have the strongest influence on the boy. He was the man Fronto recognized as having “wooed Marcus away” from oratory. He was twenty years older than Marcus, older than Fronto. As the grandson of Arulenus Rusticus, one of the martyrs to the tyranny of Domitian r. 81-96, he was heir to the tradition of “Stoic opposition” to the “bad emperors” of the 1st century; the true successor of Seneca (as opposed to Fronto, the false one). Births and deaths, 147-160. On November 30, 147, Faustina gave birth to a girl, named Domitia Faustina. She was the first of at least thirteen children (including two sets of twins) that Faustina would bear over the next twenty-three years. The next day, 1 December, Antoninus Pius gave Marcus the tribunician power and the imperium -authority over the armies and provinces of the emperor. As tribune, Marcus had the right to bring one measure before the senate after the four Antoninus could introduce. His tribunican powers would be renewed, with Antoninus’, on 10 December 147. The Mausoleum of Hadrian, where the children of Marcus and Faustina were buried. The first mention of Domitia in Marcus’ letters reveals her as a sickly infant. If the gods are willing we seem to have a hope of recovery. The diarrhea has stopped, the little attacks of fever have been driven away. But the emaciation is still extreme and there is still quite a bit of coughing. ” He and Faustina, Marcus wrote, had been “pretty occupied with the girl’s care. Domitia would die in 151. In 149, Faustina gave birth again, to twin sons. Contemporary coinage commemorates the event, with crossed cornucopiae beneath portrait busts of the two small boys, and the legend temporum felicitas , “the happiness of the times”. They did not survive long. Before the end of the year, another family coin was issued: it shows only a tiny girl, Domitia Faustina, and one boy baby. Then another: the girl alone. The infants were buried in the Mausoleum of Hadrian, where their epitaphs survive. They were called Titus Aurelius Antoninus and Tiberius Aelius Aurelius. Marcus steadied himself: One man prays:’How I may not lose my little child’, but you must pray:’How I may not be afraid to lose him’. ” He quoted from the Iliad what he called the “briefest and most familiar saying… Enough to dispel sorrow and fear. Iliad 6.146. Another daughter was born on 7 March 150, Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla. At some time between 155 and 161, probably soon after 155, Marcus’ mother, Domitia Lucilla, died. Faustina probably had another daughter in 151, but the child, Annia Galeria Aurelia Faustina, might not have been born until 153. Another son, Tiberius Aelius Antoninus, was born in 152. A coin issue celebrates fecunditati Augustae , “the Augusta’s fertility”, depicting two girls and an infant. The boy did not survive long; on coins from 156, only the two girls were depicted. He might have died in 152, the same year as Marcus’ sister, Cornificia. By 28 March 158, however, when Marcus replied, the child was dead, Marcus thanked the temple synod, “even though this turned out otherwise”. The child’s name is unknown. In 159 and 160, Faustina gave birth to daughters: Fadilla, after one of Faustina’s dead sisters, and Cornificia, after Marcus’ dead sister. Antoninus Pius’ last years, 152-61. Antoninus Pius, Marcus’ adoptive father and predecessor as emperor (Glyptothek). Meanwhile, during the reign of his adoptive father, Antoninus, as a prince and future emperor, Marcus’ adoptive brother Lucius Verus received careful education from the famous “grammaticus” Marcus Cornelius Fronto. The young Verus was reported to have been an excellent student, fond of writing poetry and delivering speeches. Lucius started his political career as a quaestor in 153, two years before the legal age of 25 (Marcus held the office at 17). In 154, he was consul, nine years before the legal age of 32 (Marcus held the office at 18 and 23), and in 161 was consul again with Marcus Aurelius as his senior partner. Lucius had no other titles, except that of “son of Augustus”. Lucius had a markedly different personality from Marcus: he enjoyed sports of all kinds, but especially hunting and wrestling; he took obvious pleasure in the circus games and gladiatorial fights. He did not marry until 164. In 156, Antoninus Pius turned 70. He found it difficult to keep himself upright without stays. He started nibbling on dry bread to give him the strength to stay awake through his morning receptions. In 160, Marcus and Lucius were designated joint consuls for the following year. Perhaps Antoninus was already ill; in any case, he died before the year was out. Two days before his death, the biographer reports, Antoninus was at his ancestral estate at Lorium, in Etruria, about 19 kilometres (12 mi) 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. Main article: Emperorship of Marcus Aurelius. Accession of Marcus and Lucius, 161. Lucius Verus, Marcus’ co-emperor from 161 to Verus’ death in 169 (Metropolitan Museum of Art lent by Musée du Louvre). Busts of the co-emperors Marcus Aurelius (left) and Lucius Verus (right), British Museum. After the death of Antoninus Pius, Marcus was effectively sole ruler of the Empire. The formalities of the position would follow. The senate would soon grant him the name Augustus and the title imperator , and he would soon be formally elected as Pontifex Maximus , chief priest of the official cults. Marcus made some show of resistance: the biographer writes that he was “compelled” to take imperial power. This may have been a genuine horror imperii , “fear of imperial power”. Marcus, with his preference for the philosophic life, found the imperial office unappealing. His training as a Stoic, however, had made the choice clear. It was his duty. Although Marcus showed no personal affection for Hadrian (significantly, he does not thank him in the first book of his Meditations), he presumably believed it his duty to enact the man’s succession plans. Thus, although the senate planned to confirm Marcus alone, he refused to take office unless Lucius received equal powers. The senate accepted, granting Lucius the imperium , the tribunician power, and the name Augustus. Marcus became, in official titulature, Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; Lucius, forgoing his name Commodus and taking Marcus’ family name, Verus, became Imperator Caesar Lucius Aurelius Verus Augustus. It was the first time that Rome was ruled by two emperors. In spite of their nominal equality, Marcus held more auctoritas , or “authority”, than Lucius. He had been consul once more than Lucius, he had shared in Antoninus’ administration, and he alone was Pontifex Maximus. It would have been clear to the public which emperor was the more senior. Immediately after their senate confirmation, the emperors proceeded to the Castra Praetoria, the camp of the praetorian guard. Lucius addressed the assembled troops, which then acclaimed the pair as imperatores. Then, like every new emperor since Claudius, Lucius promised the troops a special donative. This donative, however, was twice the size of those past: 20,000 sesterces (5,000 denarii) per capita, with more to officers. In return for this bounty, equivalent to several years’ pay, the troops swore an oath to protect the emperors. Upon his accession he also devalued the Roman currency. He decreased the silver purity of the denarius from 83.5% to 79%-the silver weight dropping from 2.68 grams to 2.57 grams. However, Marcus would later revisit the issue of currency reform. Antoninus Pius’ funeral ceremonies were, in the words of the biographer, “elaborate”. If his funeral followed the pattern of past funerals, his body would have been incinerated on a pyre at the Campus Martius, while his spirit would rise to the gods’ home in the heavens. Marcus and Lucius nominated their father for deification. In contrast to their behavior during Antoninus’ campaign to deify Hadrian, the senate did not oppose the emperors’ wishes. A flamen , or cultic priest, was appointed to minister the cult of the deified Antoninus, now Divus Antoninus. Antoninus Pius’ remains were laid to rest in the Hadrian’s mausoleum, beside the remains of Marcus’ children and of Hadrian himself. The temple he had dedicated to his wife, Diva Faustina, became the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. It survives as the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda. In accordance with his will, Antoninus’ fortune passed on to Faustina. Marcus had little need of his wife’s fortune. Indeed, at his accession, Marcus transferred part of his mother’s estate to his nephew, Ummius Quadratus. Faustina was three months pregnant at her husband’s accession. During the pregnancy she dreamed of giving birth to two serpents, one fiercer than the other. On 31 August she gave birth at Lanuvium to twins: T. Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus. Aside from the fact that the twins shared Caligula’s birthday, the omens were favorable, and the astrologers drew positive horoscopes for the children. The births were celebrated on the imperial coinage. This marble portrait depicts Marcus Aurelius (reigned AD 161-180) The Walters Art Museum. Soon after the emperors’ accession, Marcus’ eleven-year-old daughter, Annia Lucilla, was betrothed to Lucius (in spite of the fact that he was, formally, her uncle). At the ceremonies commemorating the event, new provisions were made for the support of poor children, along the lines of earlier imperial foundations. Marcus and Lucius proved popular with the people of Rome, who strongly approved of their civiliter (“lacking pomp”) behavior. The emperors permitted free speech, evidenced by the fact that the comedy writer Marullus was able to criticize them without suffering retribution. At any other time, under any other emperor, he would have been executed. But it was a peaceful time, a forgiving time. And thus, as the biographer wrote, No one missed the lenient ways of Pius. Marcus replaced a number of the empire’s major officials. The ab epistulis Sextus Caecilius Crescens Volusianus, in charge of the imperial correspondence, was replaced with Titus Varius Clemens. Clemens was from the frontier province of Pannonia and had served in the war in Mauretania. Recently, he had served as procurator of five provinces. He was a man suited for a time of military crisis. Lucius Volusius Maecianus, Marcus’ former tutor, had been prefectural governor of Egypt at Marcus’ accession. Maecianus was recalled, made senator, and appointed prefect of the treasury (aerarium Saturni). He was made consul soon after. Fronto’s son-in-law, Aufidius Victorinus, was appointed governor of Upper Germany. He sent a note to the imperial freedman Charilas, asking if he could call on the emperors. Fronto would later explain that he had not dared to write the emperors directly. The tutor was immensely proud of his students. Reflecting on the speech he had written on taking his consulship in 143, when he had praised the young Marcus, Fronto was ebullient: There was then an outstanding natural ability in you; there is now perfected excellence. There was then a crop of growing corn; there is now a ripe, gathered harvest. What I was hoping for then, I have now. The hope has become a reality. Fronto called on Marcus alone; neither thought to invite Lucius. Tiber Island seen at a forty-year high-water mark of the Tiber, December 2008. Lucius was less esteemed by his tutor than his brother, as his interests were on a lower level. Lucius asked Fronto to adjudicate in a dispute he and his friend Calpurnius were having on the relative merits of two actors. Marcus told Fronto of his reading-Coelius and a little Cicero-and his family. His daughters were in Rome, with their great-great-aunt Matidia; Marcus thought the evening air of the country was too cold for them. He asked Fronto for some particularly eloquent reading matter, something of your own, or Cato, or Cicero, or Sallust or Gracchus-or some poet, for I need distraction, especially in this kind of way, by reading something that will uplift and diffuse my pressing anxieties. Marcus’ early reign proceeded smoothly. Marcus was able to give himself wholly to philosophy and the pursuit of popular affection. Soon, however, Marcus would find he had many anxieties. It would mean the end of the felicitas temporum (“happy times”) that the coinage of 161 had so glibly proclaimed. In the spring of 162, the Tiber overflowed its banks, flooding much of Rome. It drowned many animals, leaving the city in famine. Marcus and Lucius gave the crisis their personal attention. In other times of famine, the emperors are said to have provided for the Italian communities out of the Roman granaries. Fronto’s letters continued through Marcus’ early reign. He believed Marcus was “beginning to feel the wish to be eloquent once more, in spite of having for a time lost interest in eloquence”. Fronto would again remind his pupil of the tension between his role and his philosophic pretensions: Suppose, Caesar, that you can attain to the wisdom of Cleanthes and Zeno, yet, against your will, not the philosopher’s woolen cape. The early days of Marcus’ reign were the happiest of Fronto’s life: his pupil was beloved by the people of Rome, an excellent emperor, a fond pupil, and, perhaps most importantly, as eloquent as could be wished. Marcus had displayed rhetorical skill in his speech to the senate after an earthquake at Cyzicus. It had conveyed the drama of the disaster, and the senate had been awed: “not more suddenly or violently was the city stirred by the earthquake than the minds of your hearers by your speech”. Fronto was hugely pleased. War with Parthia, 161-66. Main article: Roman-Parthian War of 161-66 See also: Roman-Persian Wars Origins to Lucius’ dispatch, 161-62. On his deathbed, Antoninus Pius spoke of nothing but the state and the foreign kings who had wronged him. One of those kings, Vologases IV of Parthia, made his move in late summer or early autumn 161. Vologases entered the Kingdom of Armenia (then a Roman client state), expelled its king and installed his own-Pacorus, an Arsacid like himself. The governor of Cappadocia, the front-line in all Armenian conflicts, was Marcus Sedatius Severianus, a Gaul with much experience in military matters. Convinced by the prophet Alexander of Abonutichus that he could defeat the Parthians easily, and win glory for himself, Severianus led a legion (perhaps the IX Hispana) into Armenia, but was trapped by the great Parthian general Chosrhoes at Elegia, a town just beyond the Cappadocian frontiers, high up past the headwaters of the Euphrates. Severianus made some attempt to fight Chosrhoes, but soon realized the futility of his campaign, and committed suicide. His legion was massacred. The campaign had only lasted three days. Coin of Vologases IV, king of Parthia, from 152/53. There was threat of war on other frontiers as well-in Britain, and in Raetia and Upper Germany, where the Chatti of the Taunus mountains had recently crossed over the limes. Antoninus seems to have given him no military experience; the biographer writes that Marcus spent the whole of Antoninus’ twenty-three-year reign at his emperor’s side-and not in the provinces, where most previous emperors had spent their early careers. More bad news arrived: the Syrian governor’s army had been defeated by the Parthians, and retreated in disarray. Reinforcements were dispatched for the Parthian frontier. Julius Geminius Marcianus, an African senator commanding X Gemina at Vindobona (Vienna), left for Cappadocia with detachments from the Danubian legions. Three full legions were also sent east: I Minervia from Bonn in Upper Germany, II Adiutrix from Aquincum, and V Macedonica from Troesmis. The northern frontiers were strategically weakened; frontier governors were told to avoid conflict wherever possible. Annius Libo, Marcus’ first cousin, was sent to replace the Syrian governor. He was young-his first consulship was in 161, so he was probably in his early thirties-and, as a mere patrician, lacked military experience. Marcus had chosen a reliable man rather than a talented one. Marcus took a four-day public holiday at Alsium, a resort town on the coast of Etruria. He was too anxious to relax. Writing to Fronto, he declared that he would not speak about his holiday. Fronto replied ironically: What? Do I not know that you went to Alsium with the intention of devoting yourself to games, joking, and complete leisure for four whole days? He encouraged Marcus to rest, calling on the example of his predecessors (Antoninus had enjoyed exercise in the palaestra , fishing, and comedy), going so far as to write up a fable about the gods’ division of the day between morning and evening-Marcus had apparently been spending most of his evenings on judicial matters instead of at leisure. Marcus could not take Fronto’s advice. Marcus put on Fronto’s voice to chastise himself:’Much good has my advice done you’, you will say! ” He had rested, and would rest often, but “-this devotion to duty! Who knows better than you how demanding it is! Fronto sent Marcus a selection of reading material, and, to settle his unease over the course of the Parthian war, a long and considered letter, full of historical references. In modern editions of Fronto’s works, it is labeled De bello Parthico (On the Parthian War). There had been reverses in Rome’s past, Fronto writes, but, in the end, Romans had always prevailed over their enemies: “always and everywhere [Mars] has changed our troubles into successes and our terrors into triumphs”. Lucius at Antioch, 162-65. The dissolute Syrian army was said to spend more time in Antioch’s open-air taverns than with their units. Engraving by William Miller after a drawing by H. Warren from a sketch by Captain Byam Martin, R. Over the winter of 161-62, as more bad news arrived-a rebellion was brewing in Syria-it was decided that Lucius should direct the Parthian war in person. He was stronger and healthier than Marcus, the argument went, more suited to military activity. Lucius’ biographer suggests ulterior motives: to restrain Lucius’ debaucheries, to make him thrifty, to reform his morals by the terror of war, to realize that he was an emperor. Whatever the case, the senate gave its assent, and, in the summer of 162, Lucius left. Marcus would remain in Rome; the city “demanded the presence of an emperor”. Lucius spent most of the campaign in Antioch, though he wintered at Laodicea and summered at Daphne, a resort just outside Antioch. Critics declaimed Lucius’ luxurious lifestyle. He had taken to gambling, they said; he would “dice the whole night through”. He enjoyed the company of actors. Libo died early in the war; perhaps Lucius had murdered him. In the middle of the war, perhaps in autumn 163 or early 164, Lucius made a trip to Ephesus to be married to Marcus’ daughter Lucilla. Marcus moved up the date; perhaps he had already heard of Lucius’ mistress, the low-born and beautiful Panthea. Lucilla’s thirteenth birthday was in March 163; whatever the date of her marriage, she was not yet fifteen. Lucilla was accompanied by her mother Faustina and M. Vettulenus Civica Barbarus, the half-brother of Lucius’ father. Civica was made comes Augusti , “companion of the emperors”; perhaps Marcus wanted him to watch over Lucius, the job Libo had failed at. Marcus may have planned to accompany them all the way to Smyrna (the biographer says he told the senate he would); this did not happen. Counterattack and victory, 163-66. The Armenian capital Artaxata was captured in 163. At the end of the year, Verus took the title Armeniacus , despite having never seen combat; Marcus declined to accept the title until the following year. When Lucius was hailed as imperator again, however, Marcus did not hesitate to take the Imperator II with him. The Euphrates river near Raqqa, Syria. Occupied Armenia was reconstructed on Roman terms. In 164, a new capital, Kaine Polis (‘New City’), replaced Artaxata. A new king was installed: a Roman senator of consular rank and Arsacid descent, Gaius Julius Sohaemus. He may not even have been crowned in Armenia; the ceremony may have taken place in Antioch, or even Ephesus. Sohaemus was hailed on the imperial coinage of 164 under the legend Rex armeniis Datus: Lucius sat on a throne with his staff while Sohamenus stood before him, saluting the emperor. In 163, the Parthians intervened in Osroene, a Roman client in upper Mesopotamia centered on Edessa, and installed their own king on its throne. In response, Roman forces were moved downstream, to cross the Euphrates at a more southerly point. Before the end of 163, however, Roman forces had moved north to occupy Dausara and Nicephorium on the northern, Parthian bank. Soon after the conquest of the north bank of the Euphrates, other Roman forces moved on Osroene from Armenia, taking Anthemusia, a town southwest of Edessa. In 165, Roman forces moved on Mesopotamia. Edessa was re-occupied, and Mannus, the king deposed by the Parthians, was re-installed. The Parthians retreated to Nisibis, but this too was besieged and captured. The Parthian army dispersed in the Tigris. A second force, under Avidius Cassius and the III Gallica, moved down the Euphrates, and fought a major battle at Dura. By the end of the year, Cassius’ army had reached the twin metropolises of Mesopotamia: Seleucia on the right bank of the Tigris and Ctesiphon on the left. Ctesiphon was taken and its royal palace set to flame. The citizens of Seleucia, still largely Greek (the city had been commissioned and settled as a capital of the Seleucid Empire, one of Alexander the Great’s successor kingdoms), opened its gates to the invaders. The city got sacked nonetheless, leaving a black mark on Lucius’ reputation. Excuses were sought, or invented: the official version had it that the Seleucids broke faith first. Cassius’ army, although suffering from a shortage of supplies and the effects of a plague contracted in Seleucia, made it back to Roman territory safely. Lucius took the title Parthicus Maximus, and he and Marcus were hailed as imperatores again, earning the title’imp. Lucius took the title’Medicus’, and the emperors were again hailed as imperatores , becoming’imp. IV’ in imperial titulature. Marcus took the Parthicus Maximus now, after another tactful delay. Conclusion of the war and events at Rome, mid-160s-167. A bust of Marcus Aurelius, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Most of the credit for the war’s success must be ascribed to subordinate generals, the most prominent of which was C. Avidius Cassius, commander of III Gallica, one of the Syrian legions. Cassius was a young senator of low birth from the north Syrian town of Cyrrhus. His father, Heliodorus, had not been a senator, but was nonetheless a man of some standing: he had been Hadrian’s ab epistulis , followed the emperor on his travels, and was prefect of Egypt at the end of Hadrian’s reign. Cassius also, with no small sense of self-worth, claimed descent from the Seleucid kings. Cassius and his fellow commander in the war, Martius Verus, still probably in their mid-thirties, took the consulships for 166. After their consulships, they were made governors: Cassius, of Syria; Martius Verus, of Cappadocia. At Rome, Marcus was occupied with family matters. Matidia, his great-aunt, had died. However, her will was invalid under the lex Falcidia : Matidia had assigned more than three-quarters of her estate to non-relatives. This was because many of her clients were included in codicils to her will. Matidia had never confirmed the documents, but as she was dying, her clients had sealed them in with the original, making them valid. Fronto urged Marcus to push the family’s case, but Marcus demurred, saying his brother would make the final decision. On the return from the campaign, Lucius was awarded with a triumph; the parade was unusual because it included the two emperors, their sons and unmarried daughters as a big family celebration. Marcus Aurelius’ two sons, Commodus, five years old, and Annius Verus, three, were elevated to the status of Caesar for the occasion. The returning army carried with them a plague, afterwards known as the Antonine Plague, or the Plague of Galen, which spread through the Roman Empire between 165 and 180. The disease was a pandemic believed to be either of smallpox or measles, and may have claimed the lives of two Roman emperors-Lucius Verus, who died in 169, and Marcus Aurelius, whose family name, Antoninus, was given to the epidemic. The disease broke out again nine years later, according to the Roman historian Dio Cassius, and caused up to 2,000 deaths a day at Rome, one-quarter of those infected. Total deaths have been estimated at five million. A possible contact with Han China occurred in 166 when a Roman traveller visited the Han court, claiming to be an ambassador representing a certain Andun (Chinese:), ruler of Daqin, who can be identified either with Marcus Aurelius or his predecessor Antoninus Pius. In addition to Republican-era Roman glasswares found at Guangzhou along the South China Sea, Roman golden medallions made during the reign of Antoninus Pius and perhaps even Marcus Aurelius have been found at Óc Eo, Vietnam, then part of the Kingdom of Funan near the Chinese province of Jiaozhi (in northern Vietnam). This may have been the port city of Kattigara, described by Ptolemy c. 150 as being visited by a Greek sailor named Alexander and laying beyond the Golden Chersonese i. Roman coins from the reigns of Tiberius to Aurelian have been found in Xi’an, China (site of the Han capital Chang’an), although the far greater amount of Roman coins in India suggests the Roman maritime trade for purchasing Chinese silk was centered there, not in China or even the overland Silk Road running through Persia. Legal and administrative work, 161-80. Like many emperors, Marcus spent most of his time addressing matters of law such as petitions and hearing disputes; but unlike many of his predecessors, he was already proficient in imperial administration when he assumed power. Marcus took great care in the theory and practice of legislation. Professional jurists called him “an emperor most skilled in the law” and “a most prudent and conscientiously just emperor”. He shows marked interest in three areas of the law: the manumission of slaves, the guardianship of orphans and minors, and the choice of city councillors (decuriones). In 168 he revalued the denarius, increasing the silver purity from 79% to 82% – the actual silver weight increasing from 2.57 grams to 2.67 grams. However, two years later Marcus reverted to the previous values because of the military crises facing the empire. War with Germanic tribes 166-180. The Roman Empire during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. His annexation of lands of the Marcomanni and the Jazyges – perhaps to be provincially called Marcomannia and Sarmatia – was cut short in 175 by the revolt of Avidius Cassius and in 180 by his death. Bas-relief scenes depicting events of the Marcomannic Wars, from the (now destroyed) Arch of Marcus Aurelius in Rome, 176-180 AD, Capitoline Museums. Marcus Aurelius receiving the submission of the vanquished, with raised vexillum standards. Marcus Aurelius celebrating his triumph over Rome’s enemies in 176 AD, riding in a quadriga chariot. During the early 160s, Fronto’s son-in-law Victorinus was stationed as a legate in Germany. He was there with his wife and children (another child had stayed with Fronto and his wife in Rome). The condition on the northern frontier looked grave. A frontier post had been destroyed, and it looked like all the peoples of central and northern Europe were in turmoil. There was corruption among the officers: Victorinus had to ask for the resignation of a legionary legate who was taking bribes. Experienced governors had been replaced by friends and relatives of the imperial family. Dasumius Tullius Tuscus, a distant relative of Hadrian, was in Upper Pannonia, succeeding the experienced M. Lower Pannonia was under the obscure Ti. Servilius Fabianus Maximus was shuffled from Lower Moesia to Upper Moesia when Iallius Bassus had joined Lucius in Antioch. Lower Moesia was filled by Pontius Laelianus’ son. The Dacias were still divided in three, governed by a praetorian senator and two procurators. The peace could not hold long; Lower Pannonia did not even have a legion. Starting in the 160s, Germanic tribes and other nomadic people launched raids along the northern border, particularly into Gaul and across the Danube. This new impetus westwards was probably due to attacks from tribes further east. A first invasion of the Chatti in the province of Germania Superior was repulsed in 162. Far more dangerous was the invasion of 166, when the Marcomanni of Bohemia, clients of the Roman Empire since year 19, crossed the Danube together with the Lombards and other Germanic tribes. Soon thereafter, the Iranian Sarmatians attacked between the Danube and the Theiss rivers. Due to the situation in the East, only a punitive expedition could be launched in 167. Both Marcus and Verus led the troops. After the death of Verus (169), Marcus personally led the struggle against the Germanic tribes for most of his remaining life. The Romans suffered at least two serious defeats by the Quadi and Marcomanni, who would cross the Alps, ravage Opitergium (Oderzo) and besiege Aquileia, the main Roman city of north-east Italy. At the same time the Costoboci, coming from the Carpathian area, invaded Moesia, Macedonia and Greece. After a long struggle, Marcus Aurelius managed to push back the invaders. Numerous members of Germanic tribes settled in frontier regions like Dacia, Pannonia, Germany and Italy itself. This was not a new thing, but this time the numbers of settlers required the creation of two new frontier provinces on the left shore of the Danube, Sarmatia and Marcomannia, including today’s Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Some Germanic tribes who settled in Ravenna revolted and managed to seize possession of the city. For this reason, Marcus Aurelius decided not only against bringing more barbarians into Italy, but even banished those who had previously been brought there. The emperor’s plans were prevented by an usurpation in 175 of the governor of Syria, Avidius Cassius, which was prompted by false news of the death of Marcus after an illness. The rebellion quickly gathered support in the Eastern provinces, only Cappadocia and Bithynia did not side with the rebels. When it became clear that Marcus Aurelius was still alive, Cassius’ fortunes declined quickly and he was killed by his troops after only 100 days of power. Together with his wife Faustina, Marcus Aurelius toured the eastern provinces until 173. He visited Athens, declaring himself a protector of philosophy. After a triumph in Rome, the following year he marched again to the Danubian frontier. After a decisive victory in 178, the plan to annex Moravia and West Slovakia seemed poised for success but was abandoned after Marcus Aurelius again fell ill in 180. Death and succession 180. Bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius, piazza del Campidoglio in Rome. Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, Rome. Marcus Aurelius died on 17 March 180, in the city of Vindobona (modern Vienna). His campaigns against Germans and Sarmatians were also commemorated by a column and a temple built in Rome. He was succeeded by his son Commodus, whom he had named Caesar in 166 and with whom he had jointly ruled since 177. It was only the second time that a “non-adoptive” son was chosen as heir to the throne. The only other having been a century earlier when Vespasian was succeeded by his son Titus. Historians have criticized the decision, citing Commodus’ erratic behavior and lack of political and military acumen. At the end of his history of Marcus’ reign, Cassius Dio wrote an encomium to the emperor, and described the transition to Commodus in his own lifetime with sorrow. [Marcus] did not meet with the good fortune that he deserved, for he was not strong in body and was involved in a multitude of troubles throughout practically his entire reign. But for my part, I admire him all the more for this very reason, that amid unusual and extraordinary difficulties he both survived himself and preserved the empire. Just one thing prevented him from being completely happy, namely, that after rearing and educating his son in the best possible way he was vastly disappointed in him. This matter must be our next topic; for our history now descends from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust, as affairs did for the Romans of that day. Cassius Dio 71.36.3-4. Michael Grant, in The Climax of Rome (1968), writes of Commodus. The youth turned out to be very erratic, or at least so anti-traditional that disaster was inevitable. But whether or not Marcus ought to have known this to be so, the rejections of his son’s claims in favour of someone else would almost certainly have involved one of the civil wars which were to proliferate so disastrously around future successions. Castings of the busts of Antonius Pius (left), Marcus Aurelius (center), and Clodius Albinus (right), Pushkin Museum, Moscow. Marcus Aurelius acquired the reputation of a philosopher king within his lifetime, and the title would remain his after death; both Dio and the biographer call him “the philosopher”. Christians such as Justin Martyr, Athenagoras and Melito gave him the title, too. The last named went so far as to call Marcus Aurelius “more philanthropic and philosophic” than Antoninus Pius and Hadrian, and set him against the persecuting emperors Domitian and Nero to make the contrast bolder. “Alone of the emperors, ” wrote the historian Herodian, he gave proof of his learning not by mere words or knowledge of philosophical doctrines but by his blameless character and temperate way of life. Iain King concludes Marcus Aurelius’ legacy is tragic, because the emperor’s “Stoic philosophy – which is about self-restraint, duty, and respect for others – was so abjectly abandoned by the imperial line he anointed on his death”. In the 1964 movie The Fall of the Roman Empire he was portrayed by Alec Guinness and in the 2000 movie Gladiator by Richard Harris. Both movie plots posited that Marcus Aurelius was assassinated because he intended to pass down power to his adopted son, a Roman general, instead of his biological son, Commodus. In the first two centuries of the Christian era, it was local Roman officials who were largely responsible for persecution of Christians. In the second century, the emperors treated Christianity as a local problem to be dealt with by their subordinates. The number and severity of persecutions of Christians in various locations of the empire seemingly increased during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The extent to which Marcus Aurelius himself directed, encouraged, or was aware of these persecutions is unclear and much debated by historians. According to Gibbon, with the onset of the Germanic war, his treatment of the Christians degraded with increased persecutions uncharacteristic of the previous years of his reign and those of his predecessors. Bust of Faustina the Younger, Louvre, Paris. Aurelius married his first cousin Faustina the Younger in 145. During their 30-year marriage, Faustina bore 13 children. Only one son and four daughters outlived their father. Annia Aurelia Galeria Faustina (147-after 165). Gemellus Lucillae (died around 150), twin brother of Lucilla. Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla (148/50-182), twin sister of Gemellus, married her father’s co-ruler Lucius Verus. Titus Aelius Antoninus (born after 150, died before 7 March 161). Titus Aelius Aurelius (born after 150, died before 7 March 161). Domitia Faustina (born after 150, died before 7 March 161). Annia Aurelia Fadilla (159-after 211). Annia Cornificia Faustina Minor (160-after 211). Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus (161-165), twin brother of Commodus. Lucius Aurelius Commodus Antoninus (Commodus) (161-192), twin brother of Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, later emperor. Marcus Annius Verus Caesar (162-169). Vibia Aurelia Sabina (170-died before 217). While on campaign between 170 and 180, Aurelius wrote his Meditations in Greek as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. The original title of this work, if it had one, is unknown. “Meditations” as well as others, including “To Himself” were adopted later. He had a logical mind and his notes were representative of Stoic philosophy and spirituality. Meditations is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty. The book was a favourite of Frederick the Great, John Stuart Mill, Matthew Arnold, and Goethe. Modern figures such as Wen Jiabao, Bill Clinton, and James Mattis are admirers of the book. It is not known how far Marcus’ writings were circulated after his death. There are stray references in the ancient literature to the popularity of his precepts, and Julian the Apostate was well aware of Marcus’ reputation as a philosopher, though he does not specifically mention the Meditations. It survived in the scholarly traditions of the Eastern Church and the first surviving quotes of the book, as well as the first known reference of it by name (“Marcus’ writings to himself”) are from Arethas of Caesarea in the 10th century and in the Byzantine Suda (perhaps inserted by Arethas himself). It was first published in 1558 in Zurich by Wilhelm Xylander (ne Holzmann), from a manuscript reportedly lost shortly afterwards. The oldest surviving complete manuscript copy is in the Vatican library and dates to the 14th century. World-renowned expert numismatist, enthusiast, author and dealer in authentic ancient Greek, ancient Roman, ancient Byzantine, world coins & more. Ilya Zlobin is an independent individual who has a passion for coin collecting, research and understanding the importance of the historical context and significance all coins and objects represent. Send me a message about this and I can update your invoice should you want this method. Getting your order to you, quickly and securely is a top priority and is taken seriously here. Great care is taken in packaging and mailing every item securely and quickly. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be very happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Additionally, the coin is inside it’s own protective coin flip (holder), with a 2×2 inch description of the coin matching the individual number on the COA. 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  • Ruler: Marcus Aurelius
  • Certification: NGC
  • Certification Number: 4683157-014
  • Grade: VF
  • Composition: Silver

Nov 12 2018

MARCUS AURELIUS Caesar Authentic Ancient 146AD Silver Roman Coin SPES NGC i71708

MARCUS AURELIUS Caesar Authentic Ancient 146AD Silver Roman Coin SPES NGC i71708

MARCUS AURELIUS Caesar Authentic Ancient 146AD Silver Roman Coin SPES NGC i71708

MARCUS AURELIUS Caesar Authentic Ancient 146AD Silver Roman Coin SPES NGC i71708

MARCUS AURELIUS Caesar Authentic Ancient 146AD Silver Roman Coin SPES NGC i71708

Item: i71708 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Silver Denarius 17mm (3.37 grams) Rome mint. Issued as Caesar under Antoninus Pius. Reference: RIC 437 [pius]; RSC 600 Certification: NGC Ancients. Ch XF Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5 4681155-013 AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG PII F, bare head right. TR POT COS II, Spes walking right, holding flower and hem of robe. In ancient Roman religion, Spes was the goddess of hope. Multiple temples to Spes are known, and inscriptions indicate that she received private devotion as well as state cult. During the Republic, a temple to “ancient Hope” (Spes vetus) was supposed to have been located near the Praenestine Gate. It was associated with events that occurred in the 5th century BC, but its existence as anything except perhaps a private shrine has been doubted. A well-documented temple of Spes was built by Aulus Atilius Calatinus along with Fides, as the result of vows (vota) made to these goddesses during the First Punic War. At Capua in 110 BC, a temple was built to the triad of Spes, Fides, and Fortuna. Spes was one of the divine personifications in the Imperial cult of the Virtues. Spes Augusta was Hope associated with the capacity of the emperor as Augustus to ensure blessed conditions. Like Salus (“Salvation, Security”), Ops (“Abundance, Prosperity”), and Victoria (“Victory”), Spes was a power that had to come from the gods, in contrast to divine powers that resided within the individual such as Mens (“Intelligence”), Virtus (“Virtue”), and Fides (“Faith, Fidelity, Trustworthiness”). The Greek counterpart of Spes was Elpis, who by contrast had no formal cult in Greece. The primary myth in which Elpis plays a role is the story of Pandora. The Greeks had ambivalent or even negative feelings about “hope”, and the concept was unimportant in the philosophical systems of the Stoicss and Epicureans. In Rick Riordan’s The Heroes of Olympus series, the Day of Hope (also known as the Feast of Spes), which falls on August 1, is chosen by the series main antagonist, the primordial goddess, Gaia, as the day of her awakening. This is done with the irony that the day when humanity would place their hope to their highest would be the day when they would lose all their hope forever. And heir of Hadrian. Father-in-law of Lucius Verus. Marcus Aurelius (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus ; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180 AD) was Emperor of Rome from 161 to 180. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus’ death in 169. Marcus Aurelius was the last of the so-called Five Good Emperors. He was a practitioner of Stoicism, and his untitled writing, commonly known as Meditations , is a significant source of the modern understanding of ancient Stoic philosophy, and is considered by many commentators to be one of the greatest works of philosophy. During his reign, the Roman Empire defeated a revitalized Parthian Empire in the East: Aurelius’ general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. In central Europe, Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars, although the threat of the Germanic peoples began to represent a troubling reality for the Empire. A revolt in the East led by Avidius Cassius failed to gain momentum and was suppressed immediately. Persecution of Christians increased during his reign. Aurelius’ Meditations , written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a philosophy of service and duty, describing how to find and preserve equanimity, a state of psychological stability and composure, in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration. His death in 180 is widely cited as the end of the Pax Romana and the increasing instability in the west that followed has traditionally been seen as the beginning of the eventual Fall of the Western Roman Empire. The Statue of Marcus Aurelius (detail) in the Musei Capitolini in Rome. The major sources depicting the life and rule of Marcus Aurelius are patchy and frequently unreliable. The most important group of sources, the biographies contained in the Historia Augusta , claim to be written by a group of authors at the turn of the 4th century AD, but are in fact written by a single author (referred to here as “the biographer”) from the later 4th century c. The later biographies and the biographies of subordinate emperors and usurpers are a tissue of lies and fiction, but the earlier biographies, derived primarily from now-lost earlier sources (Marius Maximus or Ignotus), are much more accurate. For Marcus’ life and rule, the biographies of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus and Lucius Verus are largely reliable, but those of Aelius Verus and Avidius Cassius are full of fiction. A body of correspondence between Marcus’ tutor Fronto and various Antonine officials survives in a series of patchy manuscripts, covering the period from c. Marcus’ own Meditations offer a window on his inner life, but are largely undateable, and make few specific references to worldly affairs. The main narrative source for the period is Cassius Dio, a Greek senator from Bithynian Nicaea who wrote a history of Rome from its founding to 229 in eighty books. Dio is vital for the military history of the period, but his senatorial prejudices and strong opposition to imperial expansion obscure his perspective. Some other literary sources provide specific detail: the writings of the physician Galen on the habits of the Antonine elite, the orations of Aelius Aristides on the temper of the times, and the constitutions preserved in the Digest and Codex Justinianus on Marcus’ legal work. Inscriptions and coin finds supplement the literary sources. Early life and career. Main article: Early life and career of Marcus Aurelius. Marcus’ family originated in Ucubi, a small town southeast of Córdoba in Iberian Baetica. The family rose to prominence in the late 1st century AD. Marcus’ great-grandfather Marcus Annius Verus (I) was a senator and (according to the Historia Augusta) ex-praetor; in 73-74, his grandfather, Marcus Annius Verus (II), was made a patrician. Verus’ elder son-Marcus Aurelius’ father-Marcus Annius Verus (III) married Domitia Lucilla. Statue of young Marcus Aurelius from a private collection housed in the San Antonio Museum of Art. Lucilla was the daughter of the patrician P. Calvisius Tullus Ruso and the elder Domitia Lucilla. The elder Domitia Lucilla had inherited a great fortune (described at length in one of Pliny’s letters) from her maternal grandfather and her paternal grandfather by adoption. The younger Lucilla would acquire much of her mother’s wealth, including a large brickworks on the outskirts of Rome-a profitable enterprise in an era when the city was experiencing a construction boom. A bust of Marcus Aurelius as a young boy (Capitoline Museum). Anthony Birley, Marcus’ modern biographer, writes of the bust: This is certainly a grave young man. Lucilla and Verus (III) had two children: a son, Marcus, born on 26 April 121 AD, and a daughter, Annia Cornificia Faustina, probably born in 122 or 123 AD. Verus (III) probably died in 124 AD, during his praetorship, when Marcus was only three years old. Though he can hardly have known him, Marcus Aurelius wrote in his Meditations that he had learned “modesty and manliness” from his memories of his father and from the man’s posthumous reputation. Lucilla did not remarry. Portrait of Emperor Marcus Aurelius – Palazzo Nuovo (Musei Capitolini). Marcus was in the care of “nurses”. Even so, Marcus credits his mother with teaching him “religious piety, simplicity in diet” and how to avoid “the ways of the rich”. In his letters, Marcus makes frequent and affectionate reference to her; he was grateful that, “although she was fated to die young, yet she spent her last years with me”. After his father’s death, Aurelius was raised by his paternal grandfather Marcus Annius Verus who, according to Roman Law, had always retained the “patria potestas” over his son and grandson. Technically this was not an adoption, since an adoption would be the legal creation of a new and different “patria potestas” (II). Another man, Lucius Catilius Severus, also participated in his upbringing. Severus is described as Marcus’ “maternal great-grandfather”; he is probably the stepfather of the elder Lucilla. Marcus was raised in his parents’ home on the Caelian Hill, a district he would affectionately refer to as “my Caelian”. It was an upscale region, with few public buildings but many aristocratic villas. Marcus’ grandfather owned his own palace beside the Lateran, where Marcus would spend much of his childhood. Marcus thanks his grandfather for teaching him “good character and avoidance of bad temper”. He was less fond of the mistress his grandfather took and lived with after the death of Rupilia Faustina, his wife. Marcus was grateful that he did not have to live with her longer than he did. Marcus was taught at home, in line with contemporary aristocratic trends; Marcus thanks Catilius Severus for encouraging him to avoid public schools. One of his teachers, Diognetus, a painting-master, proved particularly influential; he seems to have introduced Marcus to the philosophic way of life. In April 132, at the behest of Diognetus, Marcus took up the dress and habits of the philosopher: he studied while wearing a rough Greek cloak, and would sleep on the ground until his mother convinced him to sleep on a bed. A new set of tutors-Alexander of Cotiaeum, Trosius Aper and Tuticius Proculus-took over Marcus’ education in about 132 or 133. Little is known of the latter two (both teachers of Latin), but Alexander was a major littérateur, the leading Homeric scholar of his day. Marcus thanks Alexander for his training in literary styling. Alexander’s influence-an emphasis on matter over style, on careful wording, with the occasional Homeric quotation-has been detected in Marcus’ Meditations. Succession to Hadrian, 136-38. In late 136, Hadrian almost died from a haemorrhage. Convalescent in his villa at Tivoli, he selected Lucius Ceionius Commodus, Marcus’ intended father-in-law, as his successor and adopted him as his son. The selection was done invitis omnibus , “against the wishes of everyone”. While there will never be absolute certainty regarding his motives, it would appear that his goal was to eventually place the then-too-young Marcus on the throne. As part of his adoption, Commodus took the name Lucius Aelius Caesar. His health was so poor that during a ceremony to mark his becoming heir to the throne, he was too weak to lift a large shield on his own. The night before the speech, however, he grew ill, and died of a haemorrhage later in the day. On 24 January 138 AD, Hadrian selected Aurelius Antoninus as his new successor. After a few days’ consideration, Antoninus accepted. He was adopted on 25 February. As part of Hadrian’s terms, Antoninus adopted Marcus and Lucius Verus, the son of Lucius Aelius. By this scheme, Lucius Verus, who was already Hadrian’s adoptive grandson through his natural father, remained Hadrian’s adoptive grandson through his new father. The adoption of Marcus Aurelius was probably a suggestion of Antoninus himself, since Aurelius was the nephew of Antoninus’s wife and would be his favorite son. Aelius Aurelius Verus; Lucius became L. At Hadrian’s request, Antoninus’ daughter Faustina was betrothed to Lucius. He reportedly greeted the news that Hadrian had become his adoptive grandfather with sadness, instead of joy. Only with reluctance did he move from his mother’s house on the Caelian to Hadrian’s private home. At some time in 138 AD, Hadrian requested in the senate that Marcus be exempt from the law barring him from becoming quaestor before his twenty-fourth birthday. The senate complied, and Marcus served under Antoninus, consul for 139. Marcus’ adoption diverted him from the typical career path of his class. If not for his adoption, he probably would have become triumvir monetalis , a highly regarded post involving token administration of the state mint; after that, he could have served as tribune with a legion, becoming the legion’s nominal second-in-command. Marcus probably would have opted for travel and further education instead. As it was, Marcus was set apart from his fellow citizens. Nonetheless, his biographer attests that his character remained unaffected: He still showed the same respect to his relations as he had when he was an ordinary citizen, and he was as thrifty and careful of his possessions as he had been when he lived in a private household. Baiae, seaside resort and site of Hadrian’s last days. Marcus would holiday in the town with the imperial family in the summer of 143. Turner, The Bay of Baiae, with Apollo and Sybil , 1823. After a series of suicide attempts, all thwarted by Antoninus, Hadrian left for Baiae, a seaside resort on the Campanian coast. His condition did not improve, and he abandoned the diet prescribed by his doctors, indulging himself in food and drink. He sent for Antoninus, who was at his side when he died on 10 July 138. His remains were buried quietly at Puteoli. The succession to Antoninus was peaceful and stable: Antoninus kept Hadrian’s nominees in office and appeased the senate, respecting its privileges and commuting the death sentences of men charged in Hadrian’s last days. For his dutiful behavior, Antoninus was asked to accept the name “Pius”. Heir to Antoninus Pius, 138-45. Immediately after Hadrian’s death, Antoninus approached Marcus and requested that his marriage arrangements be amended: Marcus’ betrothal to Ceionia Fabia would be annulled, and he would be betrothed to Faustina, Antoninus’ daughter, instead. Faustina’s betrothal to Ceionia’s brother Lucius Commodus would also have to be annulled. Marcus consented to Antoninus’ proposal. Antoninus bolstered Marcus’ dignity: Marcus was made consul for 140 AD, with Antoninus as his colleague, and was appointed as a seviri , one of the knights’ six commanders, at the order’s annual parade on 15 July 139 AD. As the heir apparent, Marcus became princeps iuventutis , head of the equestrian order. He now took the name Caesar: Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus Caesar. Marcus would later caution himself against taking the name too seriously: “See that you do not turn into a Caesar; do not be dipped into the purple dye-for that can happen”. At the senate’s request, Marcus joined all the priestly colleges pontifices , augures , quindecimviri sacris faciundis , septemviri epulonum , etc. ; direct evidence for membership, however, is available only for the Arval Brethren. Antoninus demanded that Marcus take up residence in the House of Tiberius, the imperial palace on the Palatine. Antoninus also made him take up the habits of his new station, the aulicum fastigium or “pomp of the court”, against Marcus’ objections. Marcus would struggle to reconcile the life of the court with his philosophic yearnings. He told himself it was an attainable goal-”where life is possible, then it is possible to live the right life; life is possible in a palace, so it is possible to live the right life in a palace”-but he found it difficult nonetheless. He would criticize himself in the Meditations for “abusing court life” in front of company. As quaestor, Marcus would have had little real administrative work to do. He would read imperial letters to the senate when Antoninus was absent, and would do secretarial work for the senators. He was being “fitted for ruling the state”, in the words of his biographer. He was required to make a speech to the assembled senators as well, making oratorical training essential for the job. On 1 January 145 AD, Marcus was made consul a second time. He might have been unwell at this time: a letter from Fronto that might have been sent at this time urges Marcus to have plenty of sleep “so that you may come into the Senate with a good colour and read your speech with a strong voice”. Marcus was never particularly healthy or strong. The Roman historian Cassius Dio, writing of his later years, praised him for behaving dutifully in spite of his various illnesses. A bust of Faustina the Younger, Marcus’ wife (Louvre). In April 145 AD, Marcus married Faustina, as had been planned since 138 AD. Since Marcus was, by adoption, Antoninus Pius’ son, under Roman law he was marrying his sister; Antoninus would have had to formally release one or the other from his paternal authority (his patria potestas) for the ceremony to take place. Little is specifically known of the ceremony, but it is said to have been “noteworthy”. Coins were issued with the heads of the couple, and Antoninus, as Pontifex Maximus , would have officiated. Marcus makes no apparent reference to the marriage in his surviving letters, and only sparing references to Faustina. Fronto and further education, 136-61. After taking the toga virilis in 136 AD, Marcus probably began his training in oratory. He had three tutors in Greek, Aninus Macer, Caninius Celer, and Herodes Atticus, and one in Latin, Fronto. The latter two were the most esteemed orators of the day. Fronto and Atticus, however, probably did not become his tutors until his adoption by Antoninus in 138 AD. The preponderance of Greek tutors indicates the importance of the language to the aristocracy of Rome. This was the age of the Second Sophistic, a renaissance in Greek letters. Although educated in Rome, in his Meditations , Marcus would write his inmost thoughts in Greek. A bust of Herodes Atticus, from his villa at Kephissia (National Archaeological Museum of Athens). Herodes was controversial: an enormously rich Athenian (probably the richest man in the eastern half of the empire), he was quick to anger, and resented by his fellow-Athenians for his patronizing manner. Atticus was an inveterate opponent of Stoicism and philosophic pretensions. He thought the Stoics’ desire for a “lack of feeling” foolish: they would live a “sluggish, enervated life”, he said. Marcus would become a Stoic. He would not mention Herodes at all in his Meditations , in spite of the fact that they would come into contact many times over the following decades. Fronto was highly esteemed: in the self-consciously antiquarian world of Latin letters, he was thought of as second only to Cicero, perhaps even an alternative to him. He did not care much for Herodes, though Marcus was eventually to put the pair on speaking terms. Fronto exercised a complete mastery of Latin, capable of tracing expressions through the literature, producing obscure synonyms, and challenging minor improprieties in word choice. A significant amount of the correspondence between Fronto and Marcus has survived. The pair were very close. Farewell my Fronto, wherever you are, my most sweet love and delight. How is it between you and me? I love you and you are not here. Marcus spent time with Fronto’s wife and daughter, both named Cratia, and they enjoyed light conversation. He wrote Fronto a letter on his birthday, claiming to love him as he loved himself, and calling on the gods to ensure that every word he learned of literature, he would learn “from the lips of Fronto”. His prayers for Fronto’s health were more than conventional, because Fronto was frequently ill; at times, he seems to be an almost constant invalid, always suffering-about one-quarter of the surviving letters deal with the man’s sicknesses. Marcus asks that Fronto’s pain be inflicted on himself, “of my own accord with every kind of discomfort”. Fronto never became Marcus’ full-time teacher, and continued his career as an advocate. One notorious case brought him into conflict with Herodes. Marcus pleaded with Fronto, first with “advice”, then as a “favor”, not to attack Herodes; he had already asked Herodes to refrain from making the first blows. Fronto replied that he was surprised to discover Marcus counted Herodes as a friend (perhaps Herodes was not yet Marcus’ tutor), allowed that Marcus might be correct, but nonetheless affirmed his intent to win the case by any means necessary:… The charges are frightful and must be spoken of as frightful. Those in particular which refer to the beating and robbing I will describe in such a way that they savour of gall and bile. If I happen to call him an uneducated little Greek it will not mean war to the death. The outcome of the trial is unknown. By the age of twenty-five (between April 146 and April 147), Marcus had grown disaffected with his studies in jurisprudence, and showed some signs of general malaise. His master, he writes to Fronto, was an unpleasant blowhard, and had made “a hit at” him: It is easy to sit yawning next to a judge, he says, but to be a judge is noble work. Marcus had grown tired of his exercises, of taking positions in imaginary debates. When he criticized the insincerity of conventional language, Fronto took to defend it. In any case, Marcus’ formal education was now over. He had kept his teachers on good terms, following them devotedly. It “affected his health adversely”, his biographer writes, to have devoted so much effort to his studies. It was the only thing the biographer could find fault with in Marcus’ entire boyhood. Fronto had warned Marcus against the study of philosophy early on: it is better never to have touched the teaching of philosophy… Than to have tasted it superficially, with the edge of the lips, as the saying is. He disdained philosophy and philosophers, and looked down on Marcus’ sessions with Apollonius of Chalcedon and others in this circle. Fronto put an uncharitable interpretation of Marcus’ “conversion to philosophy”: “in the fashion of the young, tired of boring work”, Marcus had turned to philosophy to escape the constant exercises of oratorical training. Marcus kept in close touch with Fronto, but he would ignore his scruples. Apollonius may have introduced Marcus to Stoic philosophy, but Quintus Junius Rusticus would have the strongest influence on the boy. He was the man Fronto recognized as having “wooed Marcus away” from oratory. He was twenty years older than Marcus, older than Fronto. As the grandson of Arulenus Rusticus, one of the martyrs to the tyranny of Domitian r. 81-96, he was heir to the tradition of “Stoic opposition” to the “bad emperors” of the 1st century; the true successor of Seneca (as opposed to Fronto, the false one). Births and deaths, 147-160. On November 30, 147, Faustina gave birth to a girl, named Domitia Faustina. She was the first of at least thirteen children (including two sets of twins) that Faustina would bear over the next twenty-three years. The next day, 1 December, Antoninus Pius gave Marcus the tribunician power and the imperium -authority over the armies and provinces of the emperor. As tribune, Marcus had the right to bring one measure before the senate after the four Antoninus could introduce. His tribunican powers would be renewed, with Antoninus’, on 10 December 147. The Mausoleum of Hadrian, where the children of Marcus and Faustina were buried. The first mention of Domitia in Marcus’ letters reveals her as a sickly infant. If the gods are willing we seem to have a hope of recovery. The diarrhea has stopped, the little attacks of fever have been driven away. But the emaciation is still extreme and there is still quite a bit of coughing. ” He and Faustina, Marcus wrote, had been “pretty occupied with the girl’s care. Domitia would die in 151. In 149, Faustina gave birth again, to twin sons. Contemporary coinage commemorates the event, with crossed cornucopiae beneath portrait busts of the two small boys, and the legend temporum felicitas , “the happiness of the times”. They did not survive long. Before the end of the year, another family coin was issued: it shows only a tiny girl, Domitia Faustina, and one boy baby. Then another: the girl alone. The infants were buried in the Mausoleum of Hadrian, where their epitaphs survive. They were called Titus Aurelius Antoninus and Tiberius Aelius Aurelius. Marcus steadied himself: One man prays:’How I may not lose my little child’, but you must pray:’How I may not be afraid to lose him’. ” He quoted from the Iliad what he called the “briefest and most familiar saying… Enough to dispel sorrow and fear. Iliad 6.146. Another daughter was born on 7 March 150, Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla. At some time between 155 and 161, probably soon after 155, Marcus’ mother, Domitia Lucilla, died. Faustina probably had another daughter in 151, but the child, Annia Galeria Aurelia Faustina, might not have been born until 153. Another son, Tiberius Aelius Antoninus, was born in 152. A coin issue celebrates fecunditati Augustae , “the Augusta’s fertility”, depicting two girls and an infant. The boy did not survive long; on coins from 156, only the two girls were depicted. He might have died in 152, the same year as Marcus’ sister, Cornificia. By 28 March 158, however, when Marcus replied, the child was dead, Marcus thanked the temple synod, “even though this turned out otherwise”. The child’s name is unknown. In 159 and 160, Faustina gave birth to daughters: Fadilla, after one of Faustina’s dead sisters, and Cornificia, after Marcus’ dead sister. Antoninus Pius’ last years, 152-61. Antoninus Pius, Marcus’ adoptive father and predecessor as emperor (Glyptothek). Meanwhile, during the reign of his adoptive father, Antoninus, as a prince and future emperor, Marcus’ adoptive brother Lucius Verus received careful education from the famous “grammaticus” Marcus Cornelius Fronto. The young Verus was reported to have been an excellent student, fond of writing poetry and delivering speeches. Lucius started his political career as a quaestor in 153, two years before the legal age of 25 (Marcus held the office at 17). In 154, he was consul, nine years before the legal age of 32 (Marcus held the office at 18 and 23), and in 161 was consul again with Marcus Aurelius as his senior partner. Lucius had no other titles, except that of “son of Augustus”. Lucius had a markedly different personality from Marcus: he enjoyed sports of all kinds, but especially hunting and wrestling; he took obvious pleasure in the circus games and gladiatorial fights. He did not marry until 164. In 156, Antoninus Pius turned 70. He found it difficult to keep himself upright without stays. He started nibbling on dry bread to give him the strength to stay awake through his morning receptions. In 160, Marcus and Lucius were designated joint consuls for the following year. Perhaps Antoninus was already ill; in any case, he died before the year was out. Two days before his death, the biographer reports, Antoninus was at his ancestral estate at Lorium, in Etruria, about 19 kilometres (12 mi) 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. Main article: Emperorship of Marcus Aurelius. Accession of Marcus and Lucius, 161. Lucius Verus, Marcus’ co-emperor from 161 to Verus’ death in 169 (Metropolitan Museum of Art lent by Musée du Louvre). Busts of the co-emperors Marcus Aurelius (left) and Lucius Verus (right), British Museum. After the death of Antoninus Pius, Marcus was effectively sole ruler of the Empire. The formalities of the position would follow. The senate would soon grant him the name Augustus and the title imperator , and he would soon be formally elected as Pontifex Maximus , chief priest of the official cults. Marcus made some show of resistance: the biographer writes that he was “compelled” to take imperial power. This may have been a genuine horror imperii , “fear of imperial power”. Marcus, with his preference for the philosophic life, found the imperial office unappealing. His training as a Stoic, however, had made the choice clear. It was his duty. Although Marcus showed no personal affection for Hadrian (significantly, he does not thank him in the first book of his Meditations), he presumably believed it his duty to enact the man’s succession plans. Thus, although the senate planned to confirm Marcus alone, he refused to take office unless Lucius received equal powers. The senate accepted, granting Lucius the imperium , the tribunician power, and the name Augustus. Marcus became, in official titulature, Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; Lucius, forgoing his name Commodus and taking Marcus’ family name, Verus, became Imperator Caesar Lucius Aurelius Verus Augustus. It was the first time that Rome was ruled by two emperors. In spite of their nominal equality, Marcus held more auctoritas , or “authority”, than Lucius. He had been consul once more than Lucius, he had shared in Antoninus’ administration, and he alone was Pontifex Maximus. It would have been clear to the public which emperor was the more senior. Immediately after their senate confirmation, the emperors proceeded to the Castra Praetoria, the camp of the praetorian guard. Lucius addressed the assembled troops, which then acclaimed the pair as imperatores. Then, like every new emperor since Claudius, Lucius promised the troops a special donative. This donative, however, was twice the size of those past: 20,000 sesterces (5,000 denarii) per capita, with more to officers. In return for this bounty, equivalent to several years’ pay, the troops swore an oath to protect the emperors. Upon his accession he also devalued the Roman currency. He decreased the silver purity of the denarius from 83.5% to 79%-the silver weight dropping from 2.68 grams to 2.57 grams. However, Marcus would later revisit the issue of currency reform. Antoninus Pius’ funeral ceremonies were, in the words of the biographer, “elaborate”. If his funeral followed the pattern of past funerals, his body would have been incinerated on a pyre at the Campus Martius, while his spirit would rise to the gods’ home in the heavens. Marcus and Lucius nominated their father for deification. In contrast to their behavior during Antoninus’ campaign to deify Hadrian, the senate did not oppose the emperors’ wishes. A flamen , or cultic priest, was appointed to minister the cult of the deified Antoninus, now Divus Antoninus. Antoninus Pius’ remains were laid to rest in the Hadrian’s mausoleum, beside the remains of Marcus’ children and of Hadrian himself. The temple he had dedicated to his wife, Diva Faustina, became the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. It survives as the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda. In accordance with his will, Antoninus’ fortune passed on to Faustina. Marcus had little need of his wife’s fortune. Indeed, at his accession, Marcus transferred part of his mother’s estate to his nephew, Ummius Quadratus. Faustina was three months pregnant at her husband’s accession. During the pregnancy she dreamed of giving birth to two serpents, one fiercer than the other. On 31 August she gave birth at Lanuvium to twins: T. Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus. Aside from the fact that the twins shared Caligula’s birthday, the omens were favorable, and the astrologers drew positive horoscopes for the children. The births were celebrated on the imperial coinage. This marble portrait depicts Marcus Aurelius (reigned AD 161-180) The Walters Art Museum. Soon after the emperors’ accession, Marcus’ eleven-year-old daughter, Annia Lucilla, was betrothed to Lucius (in spite of the fact that he was, formally, her uncle). At the ceremonies commemorating the event, new provisions were made for the support of poor children, along the lines of earlier imperial foundations. Marcus and Lucius proved popular with the people of Rome, who strongly approved of their civiliter (“lacking pomp”) behavior. The emperors permitted free speech, evidenced by the fact that the comedy writer Marullus was able to criticize them without suffering retribution. At any other time, under any other emperor, he would have been executed. But it was a peaceful time, a forgiving time. And thus, as the biographer wrote, No one missed the lenient ways of Pius. Marcus replaced a number of the empire’s major officials. The ab epistulis Sextus Caecilius Crescens Volusianus, in charge of the imperial correspondence, was replaced with Titus Varius Clemens. Clemens was from the frontier province of Pannonia and had served in the war in Mauretania. Recently, he had served as procurator of five provinces. He was a man suited for a time of military crisis. Lucius Volusius Maecianus, Marcus’ former tutor, had been prefectural governor of Egypt at Marcus’ accession. Maecianus was recalled, made senator, and appointed prefect of the treasury (aerarium Saturni). He was made consul soon after. Fronto’s son-in-law, Aufidius Victorinus, was appointed governor of Upper Germany. He sent a note to the imperial freedman Charilas, asking if he could call on the emperors. Fronto would later explain that he had not dared to write the emperors directly. The tutor was immensely proud of his students. Reflecting on the speech he had written on taking his consulship in 143, when he had praised the young Marcus, Fronto was ebullient: There was then an outstanding natural ability in you; there is now perfected excellence. There was then a crop of growing corn; there is now a ripe, gathered harvest. What I was hoping for then, I have now. The hope has become a reality. Fronto called on Marcus alone; neither thought to invite Lucius. Tiber Island seen at a forty-year high-water mark of the Tiber, December 2008. Lucius was less esteemed by his tutor than his brother, as his interests were on a lower level. Lucius asked Fronto to adjudicate in a dispute he and his friend Calpurnius were having on the relative merits of two actors. Marcus told Fronto of his reading-Coelius and a little Cicero-and his family. His daughters were in Rome, with their great-great-aunt Matidia; Marcus thought the evening air of the country was too cold for them. He asked Fronto for some particularly eloquent reading matter, something of your own, or Cato, or Cicero, or Sallust or Gracchus-or some poet, for I need distraction, especially in this kind of way, by reading something that will uplift and diffuse my pressing anxieties. Marcus’ early reign proceeded smoothly. Marcus was able to give himself wholly to philosophy and the pursuit of popular affection. Soon, however, Marcus would find he had many anxieties. It would mean the end of the felicitas temporum (“happy times”) that the coinage of 161 had so glibly proclaimed. In the spring of 162, the Tiber overflowed its banks, flooding much of Rome. It drowned many animals, leaving the city in famine. Marcus and Lucius gave the crisis their personal attention. In other times of famine, the emperors are said to have provided for the Italian communities out of the Roman granaries. Fronto’s letters continued through Marcus’ early reign. He believed Marcus was “beginning to feel the wish to be eloquent once more, in spite of having for a time lost interest in eloquence”. Fronto would again remind his pupil of the tension between his role and his philosophic pretensions: Suppose, Caesar, that you can attain to the wisdom of Cleanthes and Zeno, yet, against your will, not the philosopher’s woolen cape. The early days of Marcus’ reign were the happiest of Fronto’s life: his pupil was beloved by the people of Rome, an excellent emperor, a fond pupil, and, perhaps most importantly, as eloquent as could be wished. Marcus had displayed rhetorical skill in his speech to the senate after an earthquake at Cyzicus. It had conveyed the drama of the disaster, and the senate had been awed: “not more suddenly or violently was the city stirred by the earthquake than the minds of your hearers by your speech”. Fronto was hugely pleased. War with Parthia, 161-66. Main article: Roman-Parthian War of 161-66 See also: Roman-Persian Wars Origins to Lucius’ dispatch, 161-62. On his deathbed, Antoninus Pius spoke of nothing but the state and the foreign kings who had wronged him. One of those kings, Vologases IV of Parthia, made his move in late summer or early autumn 161. Vologases entered the Kingdom of Armenia (then a Roman client state), expelled its king and installed his own-Pacorus, an Arsacid like himself. The governor of Cappadocia, the front-line in all Armenian conflicts, was Marcus Sedatius Severianus, a Gaul with much experience in military matters. Convinced by the prophet Alexander of Abonutichus that he could defeat the Parthians easily, and win glory for himself, Severianus led a legion (perhaps the IX Hispana) into Armenia, but was trapped by the great Parthian general Chosrhoes at Elegia, a town just beyond the Cappadocian frontiers, high up past the headwaters of the Euphrates. Severianus made some attempt to fight Chosrhoes, but soon realized the futility of his campaign, and committed suicide. His legion was massacred. The campaign had only lasted three days. Coin of Vologases IV, king of Parthia, from 152/53. There was threat of war on other frontiers as well-in Britain, and in Raetia and Upper Germany, where the Chatti of the Taunus mountains had recently crossed over the limes. Antoninus seems to have given him no military experience; the biographer writes that Marcus spent the whole of Antoninus’ twenty-three-year reign at his emperor’s side-and not in the provinces, where most previous emperors had spent their early careers. More bad news arrived: the Syrian governor’s army had been defeated by the Parthians, and retreated in disarray. Reinforcements were dispatched for the Parthian frontier. Julius Geminius Marcianus, an African senator commanding X Gemina at Vindobona (Vienna), left for Cappadocia with detachments from the Danubian legions. Three full legions were also sent east: I Minervia from Bonn in Upper Germany, II Adiutrix from Aquincum, and V Macedonica from Troesmis. The northern frontiers were strategically weakened; frontier governors were told to avoid conflict wherever possible. Annius Libo, Marcus’ first cousin, was sent to replace the Syrian governor. He was young-his first consulship was in 161, so he was probably in his early thirties-and, as a mere patrician, lacked military experience. Marcus had chosen a reliable man rather than a talented one. Marcus took a four-day public holiday at Alsium, a resort town on the coast of Etruria. He was too anxious to relax. Writing to Fronto, he declared that he would not speak about his holiday. Fronto replied ironically: What? Do I not know that you went to Alsium with the intention of devoting yourself to games, joking, and complete leisure for four whole days? He encouraged Marcus to rest, calling on the example of his predecessors (Antoninus had enjoyed exercise in the palaestra , fishing, and comedy), going so far as to write up a fable about the gods’ division of the day between morning and evening-Marcus had apparently been spending most of his evenings on judicial matters instead of at leisure. Marcus could not take Fronto’s advice. Marcus put on Fronto’s voice to chastise himself:’Much good has my advice done you’, you will say! ” He had rested, and would rest often, but “-this devotion to duty! Who knows better than you how demanding it is! Fronto sent Marcus a selection of reading material, and, to settle his unease over the course of the Parthian war, a long and considered letter, full of historical references. In modern editions of Fronto’s works, it is labeled De bello Parthico (On the Parthian War). There had been reverses in Rome’s past, Fronto writes, but, in the end, Romans had always prevailed over their enemies: “always and everywhere [Mars] has changed our troubles into successes and our terrors into triumphs”. Lucius at Antioch, 162-65. The dissolute Syrian army was said to spend more time in Antioch’s open-air taverns than with their units. Engraving by William Miller after a drawing by H. Warren from a sketch by Captain Byam Martin, R. Over the winter of 161-62, as more bad news arrived-a rebellion was brewing in Syria-it was decided that Lucius should direct the Parthian war in person. He was stronger and healthier than Marcus, the argument went, more suited to military activity. Lucius’ biographer suggests ulterior motives: to restrain Lucius’ debaucheries, to make him thrifty, to reform his morals by the terror of war, to realize that he was an emperor. Whatever the case, the senate gave its assent, and, in the summer of 162, Lucius left. Marcus would remain in Rome; the city “demanded the presence of an emperor”. Lucius spent most of the campaign in Antioch, though he wintered at Laodicea and summered at Daphne, a resort just outside Antioch. Critics declaimed Lucius’ luxurious lifestyle. He had taken to gambling, they said; he would “dice the whole night through”. He enjoyed the company of actors. Libo died early in the war; perhaps Lucius had murdered him. In the middle of the war, perhaps in autumn 163 or early 164, Lucius made a trip to Ephesus to be married to Marcus’ daughter Lucilla. Marcus moved up the date; perhaps he had already heard of Lucius’ mistress, the low-born and beautiful Panthea. Lucilla’s thirteenth birthday was in March 163; whatever the date of her marriage, she was not yet fifteen. Lucilla was accompanied by her mother Faustina and M. Vettulenus Civica Barbarus, the half-brother of Lucius’ father. Civica was made comes Augusti , “companion of the emperors”; perhaps Marcus wanted him to watch over Lucius, the job Libo had failed at. Marcus may have planned to accompany them all the way to Smyrna (the biographer says he told the senate he would); this did not happen. Counterattack and victory, 163-66. The Armenian capital Artaxata was captured in 163. At the end of the year, Verus took the title Armeniacus , despite having never seen combat; Marcus declined to accept the title until the following year. When Lucius was hailed as imperator again, however, Marcus did not hesitate to take the Imperator II with him. The Euphrates river near Raqqa, Syria. Occupied Armenia was reconstructed on Roman terms. In 164, a new capital, Kaine Polis (‘New City’), replaced Artaxata. A new king was installed: a Roman senator of consular rank and Arsacid descent, Gaius Julius Sohaemus. He may not even have been crowned in Armenia; the ceremony may have taken place in Antioch, or even Ephesus. Sohaemus was hailed on the imperial coinage of 164 under the legend Rex armeniis Datus: Lucius sat on a throne with his staff while Sohamenus stood before him, saluting the emperor. In 163, the Parthians intervened in Osroene, a Roman client in upper Mesopotamia centered on Edessa, and installed their own king on its throne. In response, Roman forces were moved downstream, to cross the Euphrates at a more southerly point. Before the end of 163, however, Roman forces had moved north to occupy Dausara and Nicephorium on the northern, Parthian bank. Soon after the conquest of the north bank of the Euphrates, other Roman forces moved on Osroene from Armenia, taking Anthemusia, a town southwest of Edessa. In 165, Roman forces moved on Mesopotamia. Edessa was re-occupied, and Mannus, the king deposed by the Parthians, was re-installed. The Parthians retreated to Nisibis, but this too was besieged and captured. The Parthian army dispersed in the Tigris. A second force, under Avidius Cassius and the III Gallica, moved down the Euphrates, and fought a major battle at Dura. By the end of the year, Cassius’ army had reached the twin metropolises of Mesopotamia: Seleucia on the right bank of the Tigris and Ctesiphon on the left. Ctesiphon was taken and its royal palace set to flame. The citizens of Seleucia, still largely Greek (the city had been commissioned and settled as a capital of the Seleucid Empire, one of Alexander the Great’s successor kingdoms), opened its gates to the invaders. The city got sacked nonetheless, leaving a black mark on Lucius’ reputation. Excuses were sought, or invented: the official version had it that the Seleucids broke faith first. Cassius’ army, although suffering from a shortage of supplies and the effects of a plague contracted in Seleucia, made it back to Roman territory safely. Lucius took the title Parthicus Maximus, and he and Marcus were hailed as imperatores again, earning the title’imp. Lucius took the title’Medicus’, and the emperors were again hailed as imperatores , becoming’imp. IV’ in imperial titulature. Marcus took the Parthicus Maximus now, after another tactful delay. Conclusion of the war and events at Rome, mid-160s-167. A bust of Marcus Aurelius, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Most of the credit for the war’s success must be ascribed to subordinate generals, the most prominent of which was C. Avidius Cassius, commander of III Gallica, one of the Syrian legions. Cassius was a young senator of low birth from the north Syrian town of Cyrrhus. His father, Heliodorus, had not been a senator, but was nonetheless a man of some standing: he had been Hadrian’s ab epistulis , followed the emperor on his travels, and was prefect of Egypt at the end of Hadrian’s reign. Cassius also, with no small sense of self-worth, claimed descent from the Seleucid kings. Cassius and his fellow commander in the war, Martius Verus, still probably in their mid-thirties, took the consulships for 166. After their consulships, they were made governors: Cassius, of Syria; Martius Verus, of Cappadocia. At Rome, Marcus was occupied with family matters. Matidia, his great-aunt, had died. However, her will was invalid under the lex Falcidia : Matidia had assigned more than three-quarters of her estate to non-relatives. This was because many of her clients were included in codicils to her will. Matidia had never confirmed the documents, but as she was dying, her clients had sealed them in with the original, making them valid. Fronto urged Marcus to push the family’s case, but Marcus demurred, saying his brother would make the final decision. On the return from the campaign, Lucius was awarded with a triumph; the parade was unusual because it included the two emperors, their sons and unmarried daughters as a big family celebration. Marcus Aurelius’ two sons, Commodus, five years old, and Annius Verus, three, were elevated to the status of Caesar for the occasion. The returning army carried with them a plague, afterwards known as the Antonine Plague, or the Plague of Galen, which spread through the Roman Empire between 165 and 180. The disease was a pandemic believed to be either of smallpox or measles, and may have claimed the lives of two Roman emperors-Lucius Verus, who died in 169, and Marcus Aurelius, whose family name, Antoninus, was given to the epidemic. The disease broke out again nine years later, according to the Roman historian Dio Cassius, and caused up to 2,000 deaths a day at Rome, one-quarter of those infected. Total deaths have been estimated at five million. A possible contact with Han China occurred in 166 when a Roman traveller visited the Han court, claiming to be an ambassador representing a certain Andun (Chinese:), ruler of Daqin, who can be identified either with Marcus Aurelius or his predecessor Antoninus Pius. In addition to Republican-era Roman glasswares found at Guangzhou along the South China Sea, Roman golden medallions made during the reign of Antoninus Pius and perhaps even Marcus Aurelius have been found at Óc Eo, Vietnam, then part of the Kingdom of Funan near the Chinese province of Jiaozhi (in northern Vietnam). This may have been the port city of Kattigara, described by Ptolemy c. 150 as being visited by a Greek sailor named Alexander and laying beyond the Golden Chersonese i. Roman coins from the reigns of Tiberius to Aurelian have been found in Xi’an, China (site of the Han capital Chang’an), although the far greater amount of Roman coins in India suggests the Roman maritime trade for purchasing Chinese silk was centered there, not in China or even the overland Silk Road running through Persia. Legal and administrative work, 161-80. Like many emperors, Marcus spent most of his time addressing matters of law such as petitions and hearing disputes; but unlike many of his predecessors, he was already proficient in imperial administration when he assumed power. Marcus took great care in the theory and practice of legislation. Professional jurists called him “an emperor most skilled in the law” and “a most prudent and conscientiously just emperor”. He shows marked interest in three areas of the law: the manumission of slaves, the guardianship of orphans and minors, and the choice of city councillors (decuriones). In 168 he revalued the denarius, increasing the silver purity from 79% to 82% – the actual silver weight increasing from 2.57 grams to 2.67 grams. However, two years later Marcus reverted to the previous values because of the military crises facing the empire. War with Germanic tribes 166-180. The Roman Empire during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. His annexation of lands of the Marcomanni and the Jazyges – perhaps to be provincially called Marcomannia and Sarmatia – was cut short in 175 by the revolt of Avidius Cassius and in 180 by his death. Bas-relief scenes depicting events of the Marcomannic Wars, from the (now destroyed) Arch of Marcus Aurelius in Rome, 176-180 AD, Capitoline Museums. Marcus Aurelius receiving the submission of the vanquished, with raised vexillum standards. Marcus Aurelius celebrating his triumph over Rome’s enemies in 176 AD, riding in a quadriga chariot. During the early 160s, Fronto’s son-in-law Victorinus was stationed as a legate in Germany. He was there with his wife and children (another child had stayed with Fronto and his wife in Rome). The condition on the northern frontier looked grave. A frontier post had been destroyed, and it looked like all the peoples of central and northern Europe were in turmoil. There was corruption among the officers: Victorinus had to ask for the resignation of a legionary legate who was taking bribes. Experienced governors had been replaced by friends and relatives of the imperial family. Dasumius Tullius Tuscus, a distant relative of Hadrian, was in Upper Pannonia, succeeding the experienced M. Lower Pannonia was under the obscure Ti. Servilius Fabianus Maximus was shuffled from Lower Moesia to Upper Moesia when Iallius Bassus had joined Lucius in Antioch. Lower Moesia was filled by Pontius Laelianus’ son. The Dacias were still divided in three, governed by a praetorian senator and two procurators. The peace could not hold long; Lower Pannonia did not even have a legion. Starting in the 160s, Germanic tribes and other nomadic people launched raids along the northern border, particularly into Gaul and across the Danube. This new impetus westwards was probably due to attacks from tribes further east. A first invasion of the Chatti in the province of Germania Superior was repulsed in 162. Far more dangerous was the invasion of 166, when the Marcomanni of Bohemia, clients of the Roman Empire since year 19, crossed the Danube together with the Lombards and other Germanic tribes. Soon thereafter, the Iranian Sarmatians attacked between the Danube and the Theiss rivers. Due to the situation in the East, only a punitive expedition could be launched in 167. Both Marcus and Verus led the troops. After the death of Verus (169), Marcus personally led the struggle against the Germanic tribes for most of his remaining life. The Romans suffered at least two serious defeats by the Quadi and Marcomanni, who would cross the Alps, ravage Opitergium (Oderzo) and besiege Aquileia, the main Roman city of north-east Italy. At the same time the Costoboci, coming from the Carpathian area, invaded Moesia, Macedonia and Greece. After a long struggle, Marcus Aurelius managed to push back the invaders. Numerous members of Germanic tribes settled in frontier regions like Dacia, Pannonia, Germany and Italy itself. This was not a new thing, but this time the numbers of settlers required the creation of two new frontier provinces on the left shore of the Danube, Sarmatia and Marcomannia, including today’s Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. Some Germanic tribes who settled in Ravenna revolted and managed to seize possession of the city. For this reason, Marcus Aurelius decided not only against bringing more barbarians into Italy, but even banished those who had previously been brought there. The emperor’s plans were prevented by an usurpation in 175 of the governor of Syria, Avidius Cassius, which was prompted by false news of the death of Marcus after an illness. The rebellion quickly gathered support in the Eastern provinces, only Cappadocia and Bithynia did not side with the rebels. When it became clear that Marcus Aurelius was still alive, Cassius’ fortunes declined quickly and he was killed by his troops after only 100 days of power. Together with his wife Faustina, Marcus Aurelius toured the eastern provinces until 173. He visited Athens, declaring himself a protector of philosophy. After a triumph in Rome, the following year he marched again to the Danubian frontier. After a decisive victory in 178, the plan to annex Moravia and West Slovakia seemed poised for success but was abandoned after Marcus Aurelius again fell ill in 180. Death and succession 180. Bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius, piazza del Campidoglio in Rome. Equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, Rome. Marcus Aurelius died on 17 March 180, in the city of Vindobona (modern Vienna). His campaigns against Germans and Sarmatians were also commemorated by a column and a temple built in Rome. He was succeeded by his son Commodus, whom he had named Caesar in 166 and with whom he had jointly ruled since 177. It was only the second time that a “non-adoptive” son was chosen as heir to the throne. The only other having been a century earlier when Vespasian was succeeded by his son Titus. Historians have criticized the decision, citing Commodus’ erratic behavior and lack of political and military acumen. At the end of his history of Marcus’ reign, Cassius Dio wrote an encomium to the emperor, and described the transition to Commodus in his own lifetime with sorrow. [Marcus] did not meet with the good fortune that he deserved, for he was not strong in body and was involved in a multitude of troubles throughout practically his entire reign. But for my part, I admire him all the more for this very reason, that amid unusual and extraordinary difficulties he both survived himself and preserved the empire. Just one thing prevented him from being completely happy, namely, that after rearing and educating his son in the best possible way he was vastly disappointed in him. This matter must be our next topic; for our history now descends from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust, as affairs did for the Romans of that day. Cassius Dio 71.36.3-4. Michael Grant, in The Climax of Rome (1968), writes of Commodus. The youth turned out to be very erratic, or at least so anti-traditional that disaster was inevitable. But whether or not Marcus ought to have known this to be so, the rejections of his son’s claims in favour of someone else would almost certainly have involved one of the civil wars which were to proliferate so disastrously around future successions. Castings of the busts of Antonius Pius (left), Marcus Aurelius (center), and Clodius Albinus (right), Pushkin Museum, Moscow. Marcus Aurelius acquired the reputation of a philosopher king within his lifetime, and the title would remain his after death; both Dio and the biographer call him “the philosopher”. Christians such as Justin Martyr, Athenagoras and Melito gave him the title, too. The last named went so far as to call Marcus Aurelius “more philanthropic and philosophic” than Antoninus Pius and Hadrian, and set him against the persecuting emperors Domitian and Nero to make the contrast bolder. “Alone of the emperors, ” wrote the historian Herodian, he gave proof of his learning not by mere words or knowledge of philosophical doctrines but by his blameless character and temperate way of life. Iain King concludes Marcus Aurelius’ legacy is tragic, because the emperor’s “Stoic philosophy – which is about self-restraint, duty, and respect for others – was so abjectly abandoned by the imperial line he anointed on his death”. In the 1964 movie The Fall of the Roman Empire he was portrayed by Alec Guinness and in the 2000 movie Gladiator by Richard Harris. Both movie plots posited that Marcus Aurelius was assassinated because he intended to pass down power to his adopted son, a Roman general, instead of his biological son, Commodus. In the first two centuries of the Christian era, it was local Roman officials who were largely responsible for persecution of Christians. In the second century, the emperors treated Christianity as a local problem to be dealt with by their subordinates. The number and severity of persecutions of Christians in various locations of the empire seemingly increased during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. The extent to which Marcus Aurelius himself directed, encouraged, or was aware of these persecutions is unclear and much debated by historians. According to Gibbon, with the onset of the Germanic war, his treatment of the Christians degraded with increased persecutions uncharacteristic of the previous years of his reign and those of his predecessors. Bust of Faustina the Younger, Louvre, Paris. Aurelius married his first cousin Faustina the Younger in 145. During their 30-year marriage, Faustina bore 13 children. Only one son and four daughters outlived their father. Annia Aurelia Galeria Faustina (147-after 165). Gemellus Lucillae (died around 150), twin brother of Lucilla. Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla (148/50-182), twin sister of Gemellus, married her father’s co-ruler Lucius Verus. Titus Aelius Antoninus (born after 150, died before 7 March 161). Titus Aelius Aurelius (born after 150, died before 7 March 161). Domitia Faustina (born after 150, died before 7 March 161). Annia Aurelia Fadilla (159-after 211). Annia Cornificia Faustina Minor (160-after 211). Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus (161-165), twin brother of Commodus. Lucius Aurelius Commodus Antoninus (Commodus) (161-192), twin brother of Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, later emperor. Marcus Annius Verus Caesar (162-169). Vibia Aurelia Sabina (170-died before 217). While on campaign between 170 and 180, Aurelius wrote his Meditations in Greek as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. The original title of this work, if it had one, is unknown. “Meditations” as well as others, including “To Himself” were adopted later. He had a logical mind and his notes were representative of Stoic philosophy and spirituality. Meditations is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty. The book was a favourite of Frederick the Great, John Stuart Mill, Matthew Arnold, and Goethe. Modern figures such as Wen Jiabao, Bill Clinton, and James Mattis are admirers of the book. It is not known how far Marcus’ writings were circulated after his death. There are stray references in the ancient literature to the popularity of his precepts, and Julian the Apostate was well aware of Marcus’ reputation as a philosopher, though he does not specifically mention the Meditations. It survived in the scholarly traditions of the Eastern Church and the first surviving quotes of the book, as well as the first known reference of it by name (“Marcus’ writings to himself”) are from Arethas of Caesarea in the 10th century and in the Byzantine Suda (perhaps inserted by Arethas himself). It was first published in 1558 in Zurich by Wilhelm Xylander (ne Holzmann), from a manuscript reportedly lost shortly afterwards. The oldest surviving complete manuscript copy is in the Vatican library and dates to the 14th century. World-renowned expert numismatist, enthusiast, author and dealer in authentic ancient Greek, ancient Roman, ancient Byzantine, world coins & more. Ilya Zlobin is an independent individual who has a passion for coin collecting, research and understanding the importance of the historical context and significance all coins and objects represent. Send me a message about this and I can update your invoice should you want this method. Getting your order to you, quickly and securely is a top priority and is taken seriously here. Great care is taken in packaging and mailing every item securely and quickly. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be very happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Additionally, the coin is inside it’s own protective coin flip (holder), with a 2×2 inch description of the coin matching the individual number on the COA. 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  • Certification Number: 4681155-013
  • Certification: NGC
  • Grade: Ch XF
  • Composition: Silver
  • Ruler: Marcus Aurelius
  • Denomination: Denarius

Nov 11 2018

COMMODUS son of Marcus Aurelius Silver Ancient Roman Coin Possibly Unpubl i63382

COMMODUS son of Marcus Aurelius Silver Ancient Roman Coin Possibly Unpubl i63382

COMMODUS son of Marcus Aurelius Silver Ancient Roman Coin Possibly Unpubl i63382

COMMODUS son of Marcus Aurelius Silver Ancient Roman Coin Possibly Unpubl i63382

Item: i63382 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Silver Denarius 18mm (2.99 grams) Struck circa 177-192 A. Reference: Possibly Unpublished Laureate head right. Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm. In ancient Roman religion, Victoria or Victory was the personified goddess of victory. She is the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Nike, and was associated with Bellona. She was adapted from the Sabine agricultural goddess Vacuna and had a temple on the Palatine Hill. The goddess Vica Pota was also sometimes identified with Victoria. Unlike the Greek Nike , the goddess Victoria (Latin for “victory”) was a major part of Roman society. Multiple temples were erected in her honor. When her statue was removed in 382 CE by Emperor Gratianus there was much anger in Rome. She was normally worshiped by triumphant generals returning from war. Also unlike the Greek Nike, who was known for success in athletic games such as chariot races, Victoria was a symbol of victory over death and determined who would be successful during war. Victoria appears widely on Roman coins, jewelry, architecture, and other arts. She is often seen with or in a chariot, as in the late 18th-century sculpture representing Victory in a quadriga on the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany; “Il Vittoriano” in Rome has two. Winged figures, very often in pairs, representing victory and referred to as “victories”, were common in Roman official iconography, typically hovering high in a composition, and often filling spaces in spandrels or other gaps in architecture. These represent the spirit of victory rather than the goddess herself. They continued to appear after Christianization of the Empire, and slowly mutated into Christian angels. Son of Marcus Aurelius. Commodus (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus ; 31 August, 161 AD – 31 December, 192 AD), was Roman Emperor from 180 to 192. He also ruled as co-emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 until his father’s death in 180. His accession as emperor was the first time a son had succeeded his father since Titus succeeded Vespasian in 79. He was also the first Emperor to have both a father and grandfather as the two preceding Emperors. Commodus was the first (and until 337 the only) emperor “born in the purple”; i. During his father’s reign. Commodus was assassinated in 192. Early life and rise to power (161-180). Commodus was born on 31 August 161, as Commodus, in Lanuvium, near Rome. He was the son of the reigning emperor, Marcus Aurelius, and Aurelius’s first cousin, Faustina the Younger; the youngest daughter of Roman Emperor Antonius Pius. Commodus had an elder twin brother, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, who died in 165. On 12 October 166, Commodus was made Caesar together with his younger brother, Marcus Annius Verus. The latter died in 169 having failed to recover from an operation, which left Commodus as Marcus Aurelius’ sole surviving son. He was looked after by his father’s physician, Galen, in order to keep Commodus healthy and alive. Galen treated many of Commodus’ common illnesses. Commodus received extensive tuition at the hands of what Marcus Aurelius called an abundance of good masters. The focus of Commodus’ education appears to have been intellectual, possibly at the expense of military training. Commodus is known to have been at Carnuntum, the headquarters of Marcus Aurelius during the Marcomannic Wars, in 172. It was presumably there that, on 15 October 172, he was given the victory title Germanicus , in the presence of the army. The title suggests that Commodus was present at his father’s victory over the Marcomanni. On 20 January 175, Commodus entered the College of Pontiffs, the starting point of a career in public life. In April 175, Avidius Cassius, Governor of Syria, declared himself Emperor following rumors that Marcus Aurelius had died. Having been accepted as Emperor by Syria, Palestine and Egypt, Cassius carried on his rebellion even after it had become obvious that Marcus was still alive. During the preparations for the campaign against Cassius, the Prince assumed his toga virilis on the Danubian front on 7 July 175, thus formally entering adulthood. Cassius, however, was killed by one of his centurions before the campaign against him could begin. Commodus subsequently accompanied his father on a lengthy trip to the Eastern provinces, during which he visited Antioch. The Emperor and his son then traveled to Athens, where they were initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries. Joint rule with father (177). Marcus Aurelius was the first emperor since Vespasian to have a biological son of his own and, though he himself was the fifth in the line of the so-called Five Good Emperors, each of whom had adopted his successor, it seems to have been his firm intention that Commodus should be his heir. On 27 November 176, Marcus Aurelius granted Commodus the rank of Imperator and, in the middle of 177, the title Augustus , giving his son the same status as his own and formally sharing power. On 23 December of the same year, the two Augusti celebrated a joint triumph, and Commodus was given tribunician power. On 1 January 177, Commodus became consul for the first time, which made him, aged 15, the youngest consul in Roman history up to that time. He subsequently married Bruttia Crispina before accompanying his father to the Danubian front once more in 178, where Marcus Aurelius died on 17 March 180, leaving the 18-year-old Commodus sole emperor. Upon his accession Commodus devalued the Roman currency. He reduced the weight of the denarius from 96 per Roman pound to 105 (3.85 grams to 3.35 grams). He also reduced the silver purity from 79 percent to 76 percent – the silver weight dropping from 2.57 grams to 2.34 grams. In 186 he further reduced the purity and silver weight to 74 percent and 2.22 grams respectively, being 108 to the Roman pound. His reduction of the denarius during his rule was the largest since the empire’s first devaluation during Nero’s reign. Whereas the reign of Marcus Aurelius had been marked by almost continuous warfare, that of Commodus was comparatively peaceful in the military sense but was marked by political strife and the increasingly arbitrary and capricious behaviour of the emperor himself. In the view of Dio Cassius, a contemporary observer, his accession marked the descent “from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron” – a famous comment which has led some historians, notably Edward Gibbon, to take Commodus’s reign as the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire. Despite his notoriety, and considering the importance of his reign, Commodus’s years in power are not well chronicled. The principal surviving literary sources are Dio Cassius (a contemporary and sometimes first-hand observer, but for this reign, only transmitted in fragments and abbreviations), Herodian and the Historia Augusta (untrustworthy for its character as a work of literature rather than history, with elements of fiction embedded within its biographies; in the case of Commodus, it may well be embroidering upon what the author found in reasonably good contemporary sources). Commodus remained with the Danube armies for only a short time before negotiating a peace treaty with the Danubian tribes. Unlike the preceding Emperors Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, he seems to have had little interest in the business of administration and tended throughout his reign to leave the practical running of the state to a succession of favourites, beginning with Saoterus, a freedman from Nicomedia who had become his chamberlain. Dissatisfaction with this state of affairs would lead to a series of conspiracies and attempted coups, which in turn eventually provoked Commodus to take charge of affairs, which he did in an increasingly dictatorial manner. Nevertheless, though the senatorial order came to hate and fear him, the evidence suggests that he remained popular with the army and the common people for much of his reign, not least because of his lavish shows of largesse (recorded on his coinage) and because he staged and took part in spectacular gladiatorial combats. The conspiracies of 182. A bust of Commodus as a youth (Roman-Germanic Museum, Cologne). At the outset of his reign, Commodus, age 18, inherited many of his father’s senior advisers, notably Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus (the second husband of Commodus’s sister Lucilla), his father-in-law Gaius Bruttius Praesens, Titus Fundanius Vitrasius Pollio, and Aufidius Victorinus, who was Prefect of the City of Rome. He also had five surviving sisters, all of them with husbands who were potential rivals. Four of his sisters were considerably older than he; the eldest, Lucilla, held the rank of Augusta as the widow of her first husband, Lucius Verus. The first crisis of the reign came in 182, when Lucilla engineered a conspiracy against her brother. Her motive is alleged to have been envy of the Empress Crispina. Her husband, Pompeianus, was not involved, but two men alleged to have been her lovers, Marcus Ummidius Quadratus Annianus (the consul of 167, who was also her first cousin) and Appius Claudius Quintianus, attempted to murder Commodus as he entered the theatre. They bungled the job and were seized by the emperor’s bodyguard. Quadratus and Quintianus were executed. Lucilla was exiled to Capri and later killed. Pompeianus retired from public life. One of the two praetorian prefects, Tarrutenius Paternus, had actually been involved in the conspiracy but was not detected at this time, and in the aftermath, he and his colleague Sextus Tigidius Perennis were able to arrange for the murder of Saoterus, the hated chamberlain. Commodus took the loss of Saoterus badly, and Perennis now seized the chance to advance himself by implicating Paternus in a second conspiracy, one apparently led by Publius Salvius Julianus, who was the son of the jurist Salvius Julianus and was betrothed to Paternus’s daughter. Salvius and Paternus were executed along with a number of other prominent consulars and senators. Didius Julianus, the future emperor, a relative of Salvius Julianus, was dismissed from the governorship of Germania Inferior. Perennis took over the reins of government and Commodus found a new chamberlain and favourite in Cleander, a Phrygian freedman who had married one of the emperor’s mistresses, Demostratia. Cleander was in fact the person who had murdered Saoterus. After those attempts on his life, Commodus spent much of his time outside Rome, mostly on the family estates at Lanuvium. Being physically strong, his chief interest was in sport: taking part in horse racing, chariot racing, and combats with beasts and men, mostly in private but also on occasion in public. A bust of Commodus (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna). According to Herodian he was well proportioned and attractive, with naturally blonde and curly hair. Commodus was inaugurated in 183 as consul with Aufidius Victorinus for a colleague and assumed the title Pius. War broke out in Dacia: few details are available, but it appears two future contenders for the throne, Clodius Albinus and Pescennius Niger, both distinguished themselves in the campaign. Also, in Britain in 184, the governor Ulpius Marcellus re-advanced the Roman frontier northward to the Antonine Wall, but the legionaries revolted against his harsh discipline and acclaimed another legate, Priscus, as emperor. Priscus refused to accept their acclamations, but Perennis had all the legionary legates in Britain cashiered. On 15 October 184 at the Capitoline Games, a Cynic philosopher publicly denounced Perennis before Commodus, who was watching, but was immediately put to death. According to Dio Cassius, Perennis, though ruthless and ambitious, was not personally corrupt and generally administered the state well. However, the following year, a detachment of soldiers from Britain (they had been drafted to Italy to suppress brigands) also denounced Perennis to the emperor as plotting to make his own son emperor (they had been enabled to do so by Cleander, who was seeking to dispose of his rival), and Commodus gave them permission to execute him as well as his wife and sons. The fall of Perennis brought a new spate of executions: Aufidius Victorinus committed suicide. Ulpius Marcellus was replaced as governor of Britain by Pertinax; brought to Rome and tried for treason, Marcellus narrowly escaped death. Cleander’s zenith and fall (185-190). Unrest around the empire increased, with large numbers of army deserters causing trouble in Gaul and Germany. Pescennius Niger mopped up the deserters in Gaul in a military campaign, and a revolt in Brittany was put down by two legions brought over from Britain. In 187, one of the leaders of the deserters, Maternus, came from Gaul intending to assassinate Commodus at the Festival of the Great Goddess in March, but he was betrayed and executed. In the same year, Pertinax unmasked a conspiracy by two enemies of Cleander – Antistius Burrus (one of Commodus’s brothers-in-law) and Arrius Antoninus. As a result, Commodus appeared even more rarely in public, preferring to live on his estates. Early in 188, Cleander disposed of the current praetorian prefect, Atilius Aebutianus, and himself took over supreme command of the Praetorians at the new rank of a pugione (“dagger-bearer”) with two praetorian prefects subordinate to him. Now at the zenith of his power, Cleander continued to sell public offices as his private business. The climax came in the year 190, which had 25 suffect consuls – a record in the 1000-year history of the Roman consulship-all appointed by Cleander (they included the future Emperor Septimius Severus). In the spring of 190, Rome was afflicted by a food shortage, for which the praefectus annonae Papirius Dionysius, the official actually in charge of the grain supply, contrived to lay the blame on Cleander. At the end of June, a mob demonstrated against Cleander during a horse race in the Circus Maximus: he sent the praetorian guard to put down the disturbances, but Pertinax, who was now City Prefect of Rome, dispatched the Vigiles Urbani to oppose them. Cleander fled to Commodus, who was at Laurentum in the house of the Quinctilii, for protection, but the mob followed him calling for his head. At the urging of his mistress Marcia, Commodus had Cleander beheaded and his son killed. Other victims at this time were the praetorian prefect Julius Julianus, Commodus’s cousin Annia Fundania Faustina, and his brother-in-law Mamertinus. Papirius Dionysius was executed too. The emperor now changed his name to Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus. At 29, he took over more of the reins of power, though he continued to rule through a cabal consisting of Marcia, his new chamberlain Eclectus, and the new praetorian prefect Quintus Aemilius Laetus, who about this time also had many Christians freed from working in the mines in Sardinia. Marcia, the widow of Quadratus, who had been executed in 182, is alleged to have been a Christian. In opposition to the Senate, in his pronouncements and iconography, Commodus had always laid stress on his unique status as a source of god-like power, liberality and physical prowess. Innumerable statues around the empire were set up portraying him in the guise of Hercules, reinforcing the image of him as a demigod, a physical giant, a protector and a battler against beasts and men (see “Commodus and Hercules” and “Commodus the Gladiator” below). Moreover, as Hercules, he could claim to be the son of Jupiter, the representative of the supreme god of the Roman pantheon. These tendencies now increased to megalomaniac proportions. Far from celebrating his descent from Marcus Aurelius, the actual source of his power, he stressed his own personal uniqueness as the bringer of a new order, seeking to re-cast the empire in his own image. During 191, the city of Rome was extensively damaged by a fire that raged for several days, during which many public buildings including the Temple of Pax, the Temple of Vesta and parts of the imperial palace were destroyed. Perhaps seeing this as an opportunity, early in 192 Commodus, declaring himself the new Romulus, ritually re-founded Rome, renaming the city Colonia Lucia Annia Commodiana. All the months of the year were renamed to correspond exactly with his (now twelve) names: Lucius , Aelius , Aurelius , Commodus , Augustus , Herculeus , Romanus , Exsuperatorius , Amazonius , Invictus , Felix , Pius. The legions were renamed Commodianae , the fleet which imported grain from Africa was termed Alexandria Commodiana Togata , the Senate was entitled the Commodian Fortunate Senate, his palace and the Roman people themselves were all given the name Commodianus , and the day on which these reforms were decreed was to be called Dies Commodianus. Thus he presented himself as the fountainhead of the Empire and Roman life and religion. He also had the head of the Colossus of Nero adjacent to the Colosseum replaced with his own portrait, gave it a club and placed a bronze lion at its feet to make it look like Hercules, and added an inscription boasting of being “the only left-handed fighter to conquer twelve times one thousand men”. Character and physical prowess. Dio Cassius, a first-hand witness, describes him as not naturally wicked but, on the contrary, as guileless as any man that ever lived. His great simplicity, however, together with his cowardice, made him the slave of his companions, and it was through them that he at first, out of ignorance, missed the better life and then was led on into lustful and cruel habits, which soon became second nature. His recorded actions do tend to show a rejection of his father’s policies, his father’s advisers, and especially his father’s austere lifestyle, and an alienation from the surviving members of his family. It seems likely that he was brought up in an atmosphere of Stoic asceticism, which he rejected entirely upon his accession to sole rule. After repeated attempts on Commodus’ life, Roman citizens were often killed for raising his ire. One such notable event was the attempted extermination of the house of the Quinctilii. Condianus and Maximus were executed on the pretext that, while they were not implicated in any plots, their wealth and talent would make them unhappy with the current state of affairs. On his accession as sole ruler, Commodus added the name Antoninus to his official nomenclature. In October 180 he changed his praenomen from Lucius to Marcus, presumably in honour of his father. He later took the title of Felix in 185. In 191 he restored his praenomen to Lucius and added the family name Aelius, apparently linking himself to Hadrian and Hadrian’s adopted son Lucius Aelius Caesar, whose original name was also Commodus. Later that year he dropped Antoninus and adopted as his full style Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus Augustus Herculeus Romanus Exsuperatorius Amazonius Invictus Felix Pius (the order of some of these titles varies in the sources). “Exsuperatorius” (the supreme) was a title given to Jupiter, and “Amazonius” identified him again with Hercules. An inscribed altar from Dura-Europos on the Euphrates shows that Commodus’s titles and the renaming of the months were disseminated to the furthest reaches of the Empire; moreover, that even auxiliary military units received the title Commodiana, and that Commodus claimed two additional titles: Pacator Orbis (pacifier of the world) and Dominus Noster (Our Lord). The latter eventually would be used as a conventional title by Roman emperors, starting about a century later, but Commodus seems to have been the first to assume it. Disdaining the more philosophic inclinations of his father, Commodus was extremely proud of his physical prowess. He was generally acknowledged to be extremely handsome. As mentioned above, he ordered many statues to be made showing him dressed as Hercules with a lion’s hide and a club. He thought of himself as the reincarnation of Hercules, frequently emulating the legendary hero’s feats by appearing in the arena to fight a variety of wild animals. He was left-handed, and very proud of the fact. Cassius Dio and the writers of the Augustan History say that Commodus was a skilled archer, who could shoot the heads off ostriches in full gallop, and kill a panther as it attacked a victim in the arena. Commodus also had a passion for gladiatorial combat, which he took so far as to take to the arena himself, dressed as a gladiator. The Romans found Commodus’s naked gladiatorial combats to be scandalous and disgraceful. It was rumoured that he was actually the son, not of Marcus Aurelius, but of a gladiator whom his mother Faustina had taken as a lover at the coastal resort of Caieta. In the arena, Commodus always won since his opponents always submitted to the emperor. Thus, these public fights would not end in death. Privately, it was his custom to slay his practice opponents. For each appearance in the arena, he charged the city of Rome a million sesterces, straining the Roman economy. Commodus raised the ire of many military officials in Rome for his Hercules persona in the arena. Often, wounded soldiers and amputees would be placed in the arena for Commodus to slay with a sword. Commodus’s eccentric behaviour would not stop there. Citizens of Rome missing their feet through accident or illness were taken to the arena, where they were tethered together for Commodus to club to death while pretending they were giants. These acts may have contributed to his assassination. Commodus was also known for fighting exotic animals in the arena, often to the horror of the Roman people. According to Gibbon, Commodus once killed 100 lions in a single day. Later, he decapitated a running ostrich with a specially designed dart and afterwards carried the bleeding head of the dead bird and his sword over to the section where the Senators sat and gesticulated as though they were next. On another occasion, Commodus killed three elephants on the floor of the arena by himself. Finally, Commodus killed a giraffe, which was considered to be a strange and helpless beast. In November 192 Commodus held Plebian Games, in which he shot hundreds of animals with arrows and javelins every morning, and fought as a gladiator every afternoon, winning all the bouts. In December he announced his intention to inaugurate the year 193 as both consul and gladiator on 1 January. At this point, the prefect Laetus formed a conspiracy with Eclectus to supplant Commodus with Pertinax, taking Marcia into their confidence. On 31 December Marcia poisoned his food but he vomited up the poison; so the conspirators sent his wrestling partner Narcissus to strangle him in his bath. Upon his death, the Senate declared him a public enemy (a de facto damnatio memoriae) and restored the original name to the city of Rome and its institutions. Commodus’s statues were thrown down. His body was buried in the Mausoleum of Hadrian. In 195 the emperor Septimius Severus, trying to gain favour with the family of Marcus Aurelius, rehabilitated Commodus’s memory and had the Senate deify him. Commodus was succeeded by Pertinax, whose reign was short lived, being the first to fall victim to the Year of the Five Emperors. Commodus’s death marked the end of the Nervan-Antonian dynasty. World-renowned expert numismatist, enthusiast, author and dealer in authentic ancient Greek, ancient Roman, ancient Byzantine, world coins & more. Ilya Zlobin is an independent individual who has a passion for coin collecting, research and understanding the importance of the historical context and significance all coins and objects represent. Send me a message about this and I can update your invoice should you want this method. Getting your order to you, quickly and securely is a top priority and is taken seriously here. Great care is taken in packaging and mailing every item securely and quickly. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be very happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Additionally, the coin is inside it’s own protective coin flip (holder), with a 2×2 inch description of the coin matching the individual number on the COA. Whether your goal is to collect or give the item as a gift, coins presented like this could be more prized and valued higher than items that were not given such care and attention to. When should I leave feedback? Please don’t leave any negative feedbacks, as it happens sometimes that people rush to leave feedback before letting sufficient time for their order to arrive. The matter of fact is that any issues can be resolved, as reputation is most important to me. My goal is to provide superior products and quality of service. How and where do I learn more about collecting ancient coins? Visit the “Guide on How to Use My Store”. For on an overview about using my store, with additional information and links to all other parts of my store which may include educational information on topics you are looking for. The item “COMMODUS son of Marcus Aurelius Silver Ancient Roman Coin Possibly Unpubl i63382″ is in sale since Wednesday, August 16, 2017. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Roman\ Imperial (27 BC-476 AD)”. The seller is “highrating_lowprice” and is located in Rego Park, New York. This item can be shipped worldwide.
  • Ruler: Commodus
  • Composition: Silver

Oct 20 2018

Marcus Aurelius as Caesar Ancient Roman Coin Good humor Goddess Cult i30114

Marcus Aurelius as Caesar Ancient Roman Coin Good humor Goddess Cult i30114

Marcus Aurelius as Caesar Ancient Roman Coin Good humor Goddess Cult i30114

Marcus Aurelius as Caesar Ancient Roman Coin Good humor Goddess Cult i30114

Item: i30114 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Marcus Aurelius – Roman Caesar: 139-161 A. Roman Emperor: 161-180 A. Marcus Aurelius as Caesar Bronze As 25mm (10.37 grams) Rome mint: 147-148 AD. Reference: RIC 1260 (Antoninus Pius) AVRELIVSCAESARAVGPIIFCOSII – Bare head right. HILARITAS – Hilaritas standing left, holding palm and cornucopia. Hilaritas was the goddess of rejoicing and good humor. MARCUS AURELIUS Caesar : A. 139-161 under Antoninus Pius Augustus : A. 161-169 with Lucius Verus A. 169-177 Sole Reign A. Adopted son of Antoninus Pius and heir of Hadrian Husband of Faustina Junior Father of Commodus, Annius Verus, Lucilla and Aurelius Antoninus Son-in-law of Antoninus Pius and Faustina Senior Father-in-law of Lucius Verus. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus. (26 April 121 17 March 180) was Roman emperor from 161 to his death in 180. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Lucius’ death in 169. He was the last of the ” Five Good Emperors “, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. His tenure was marked by wars in Asia against a revitalized Parthian Empire , and with Germanic tribes along the Limes Germanicus into Gaul and across the Danube. A revolt in the East, led by Avidius Cassius who previously fought alongside Lucius Verus against the Parthians, failed. Marcus Aurelius’ work Meditations , written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty. Marcus Aurelius owes much of him becoming Augustus to Hadrian who groomed him from childhood for the post. He became Caesar shortly after Hadrian died and the political grooming continued under Antoninus Pius. He had to wait another twenty years or so to become Augustus himself in the year 161. No sooner did this happen than he was thrust in a series of wars that would eat up the rest of his time in office. He died while fighting the ever-harassing tribes of the Germanic region and power then passed to his son Commodus. During his lengthy reign he is remembered as being among the noblest and most even-keeled of emperors. He preferred to use the considerable power of his post to pursue a period of enlightenment out of character not only for his age but clear across time to our very own. Gibbon summarizes that he was severe to himself, indulgent to the imperfections of others, just and beneficent to all mankind. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be quite happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Is there a number I can call you with questions about my order? When should I leave feedback? Once you receive your order, please leave a positive. Please don’t leave any negative feedbacks, as it happens many times that people rush to leave feedback before letting sufficient time for the order to arrive. The matter of fact is that any issues can be resolved, as reputation is most important to me. My goal is to provide superior products and quality of service. The item “Marcus Aurelius as Caesar Ancient Roman Coin Good humor Goddess Cult i30114″ is in sale since Saturday, September 15, 2012. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Roman\ Imperial (27 BC-476 AD)”. The seller is “highrating_lowprice” and is located in Rego Park, New York. This item can be shipped worldwide.
  • Ruler: Marcus Aurelius

Oct 13 2018

COMMODUS son of Marcus Aurelius Ancient Silver Roman Coin Jupiter Cult i44084

COMMODUS son of Marcus Aurelius Ancient Silver Roman Coin Jupiter Cult i44084

COMMODUS son of Marcus Aurelius Ancient Silver Roman Coin Jupiter Cult i44084

COMMODUS son of Marcus Aurelius Ancient Silver Roman Coin Jupiter Cult i44084

Item: i44084 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Commodus – Roman Emperor : 177-192 A. Silver Denarius 18mm (2.91 grams) Struck circa 177-192 A. Reference: RIC 187, C 260 MCOMMANTPFELAVGBRITPP – Laureate head right. IOVIVVENPMTRPXIIIICOSVDESVI – Jupiter standing left, holding thunderbolt and scepter; eagle to left. In Roman mythology , Jupiter or Jove was the king of the gods , and the god of sky and thunder. He is the equivalent of Zeus in the Greek pantheon. He was called Iuppiter (or Diespiter) Optimus Maximus (“Father God the Best and Greatest”). As the patron deity of ancient Rome , he ruled over laws and social order. He was the chief god of the Capitoline Triad , with sister/wife Juno. Jupiter is also the father of the god Mars with Juno. Therefore, Jupiter is the grandfather of Romulus and Remus , the legendary founders of Rome. Jupiter was venerated in ancient Roman religion , and is still venerated in Roman Neopaganism. He is a son of Saturn , along with brothers Neptune and Pluto. He is also the brother/husband of Ceres (daughter of Saturn and mother of Proserpina), brother of Veritas (daughter of Saturn), and father of Mercury. Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus. 31 August, 161 AD 31 December, 192 AD, was Roman Emperor from 180 to 192. He also ruled as co-emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 until his father’s death in 180. His accession as emperor was the first time a son had succeeded his father since Titus succeeded Vespasian in 79. He was also the first Emperor to have both a father and grandfather as the two preceding Emperors. Commodus was the first (and until 337 the only) emperor ” born in the purple “; i. During his father’s reign. Commodus was assassinated in 192. Early life and rise to power (161180). Commodus was born on 31 August 161, as Commodus, in Lanuvium , near Rome. He was the son of the reigning emperor, Marcus Aurelius, and Aurelius’s first cousin, Faustina the Younger; the youngest daughter of Roman Emperor Antonius Pius. Commodus had an elder twin brother, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, who died in 165. On 12 October 166, Commodus was made Caesar together with his younger brother, Marcus Annius Verus. The latter died in 169 having failed to recover from an operation, which left Commodus as Marcus Aurelius’ sole surviving son. He was looked after by his father’s physician, Galen , in order to keep Commodus healthy and alive. Galen treated many of Commodus’ common illnesses. Commodus received extensive tuition at the hands of what Marcus Aurelius called an abundance of good masters. The focus of Commodus’ education appears to have been intellectual, possibly at the expense of military training. Commodus is known to have been at Carnuntum , the headquarters of Marcus Aurelius during the Marcomannic Wars , in 172. It was presumably there that, on 15 October 172, he was given the victory title Germanicus , in the presence of the army. The title suggests that Commodus was present at his father’s victory over the Marcomanni. On 20 January 175, Commodus entered the College of Pontiffs , the starting point of a career in public life. In April 175, Avidius Cassius , Governor of Syria , declared himself Emperor following rumors that Marcus Aurelius had died. Having been accepted as Emperor by Syria, Palestine and Egypt , Cassius carried on his rebellion even after it had become obvious that Marcus was still alive. During the preparations for the campaign against Cassius, the Prince assumed his toga virilis on the Danubian front on 7 July 175, thus formally entering adulthood. Cassius, however, was killed by one of his centurions before the campaign against him could begin. Commodus subsequently accompanied his father on a lengthy trip to the Eastern provinces, during which he visited Antioch. The Emperor and his son then traveled to Athens , where they were initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries. Joint rule with father (177). Marcus Aurelius was the first emperor since Vespasian to have a biological son of his own and, though he himself was the fifth in the line of the so-called Five Good Emperors , each of whom had adopted his successor, it seems to have been his firm intention that Commodus should be his heir. On 27 November 176, Marcus Aurelius granted Commodus the rank of Imperator and, in the middle of 177, the title Augustus , giving his son the same status as his own and formally sharing power. On 23 December of the same year, the two Augusti celebrated a joint triumph , and Commodus was given tribunician power. On 1 January 177, Commodus became consul for the first time, which made him, aged 15, the youngest consul in Roman history up to that time. He subsequently married Bruttia Crispina before accompanying his father to the Danubian front once more in 178, where Marcus Aurelius died on 17 March 180, leaving the 18-year-old Commodus sole emperor. Upon his accession Commodus devalued the Roman currency. He reduced the weight of the denarius from 96 per Roman pound to 105 (3.85 grams to 3.35 grams). He also reduced the silver purity from 79 percent to 76 percent the silver weight dropping from 2.57 grams to 2.34 grams. In 186 he further reduced the purity and silver weight to 74 percent and 2.22 grams respectively, being 108 to the Roman pound. His reduction of the denarius during his rule was the largest since the empire’s first devaluation during Nero’s reign. Whereas the reign of Marcus Aurelius had been marked by almost continuous warfare, that of Commodus was comparatively peaceful in the military sense but was marked by political strife and the increasingly arbitrary and capricious behaviour of the emperor himself. In the view of Dio Cassius , a contemporary observer, his accession marked the descent “from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron” a famous comment which has led some historians, notably Edward Gibbon , to take Commodus’s reign as the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire. Despite his notoriety, and considering the importance of his reign, Commodus’s years in power are not well chronicled. The principal surviving literary sources are Dio Cassius (a contemporary and sometimes first-hand observer, but for this reign, only transmitted in fragments and abbreviations), Herodian and the Historia Augusta (untrustworthy for its character as a work of literature rather than history, with elements of fiction embedded within its biographies; in the case of Commodus, it may well be embroidering upon what the author found in reasonably good contemporary sources). Commodus remained with the Danube armies for only a short time before negotiating a peace treaty with the Danubian tribes. Unlike the preceding Emperors Trajan , Hadrian , Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, he seems to have had little interest in the business of administration and tended throughout his reign to leave the practical running of the state to a succession of favourites, beginning with Saoterus , a freedman from Nicomedia who had become his chamberlain. Dissatisfaction with this state of affairs would lead to a series of conspiracies and attempted coups, which in turn eventually provoked Commodus to take charge of affairs, which he did in an increasingly dictatorial manner. Nevertheless, though the senatorial order came to hate and fear him, the evidence suggests that he remained popular with the army and the common people for much of his reign, not least because of his lavish shows of largesse (recorded on his coinage) and because he staged and took part in spectacular gladiatorial combats. The conspiracies of 182. A bust of Commodus as a youth (Roman-Germanic Museum , Cologne). At the outset of his reign, Commodus, age 18, inherited many of his father’s senior advisers, notably Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus (the second husband of Commodus’s sister Lucilla), his father-in-law Gaius Bruttius Praesens , Titus Fundanius Vitrasius Pollio, and Aufidius Victorinus , who was Prefect of the City of Rome. He also had five surviving sisters, all of them with husbands who were potential rivals. Four of his sisters were considerably older than he; the eldest, Lucilla, held the rank of Augusta as the widow of her first husband, Lucius Verus. The first crisis of the reign came in 182, when Lucilla engineered a conspiracy against her brother. Her motive is alleged to have been envy of the Empress Crispina. Her husband, Pompeianus, was not involved, but two men alleged to have been her lovers, Marcus Ummidius Quadratus Annianus (the consul of 167, who was also her first cousin) and Appius Claudius Quintianus , attempted to murder Commodus as he entered the theatre. They bungled the job and were seized by the emperor’s bodyguard. Quadratus and Quintianus were executed. Lucilla was exiled to Capri and later killed. Pompeianus retired from public life. One of the two praetorian prefects , Tarrutenius Paternus , had actually been involved in the conspiracy but was not detected at this time, and in the aftermath, he and his colleague Sextus Tigidius Perennis were able to arrange for the murder of Saoterus, the hated chamberlain. Commodus took the loss of Saoterus badly, and Perennis now seized the chance to advance himself by implicating Paternus in a second conspiracy, one apparently led by Publius Salvius Julianus , who was the son of the jurist Salvius Julianus and was betrothed to Paternus’s daughter. Salvius and Paternus were executed along with a number of other prominent consulars and senators. Didius Julianus , the future emperor, a relative of Salvius Julianus, was dismissed from the governorship of Germania Inferior. Perennis took over the reins of government and Commodus found a new chamberlain and favourite in Cleander , a Phrygian freedman who had married one of the emperor’s mistresses, Demostratia. Cleander was in fact the person who had murdered Saoterus. After those attempts on his life, Commodus spent much of his time outside Rome, mostly on the family estates at Lanuvium. Being physically strong, his chief interest was in sport: taking part in horse racing , chariot racing , and combats with beasts and men, mostly in private but also on occasion in public. A bust of Commodus (Kunsthistorisches Museum , Vienna). According to Herodian he was well proportioned and attractive, with naturally blonde and curly hair. Commodus was inaugurated in 183 as consul with Aufidius Victorinus for a colleague and assumed the title Pius. War broke out in Dacia : few details are available, but it appears two future contenders for the throne, Clodius Albinus and Pescennius Niger , both distinguished themselves in the campaign. Also, in Britain in 184, the governor Ulpius Marcellus re-advanced the Roman frontier northward to the Antonine Wall , but the legionaries revolted against his harsh discipline and acclaimed another legate, Priscus, as emperor. Priscus refused to accept their acclamations, but Perennis had all the legionary legates in Britain cashiered. On 15 October 184 at the Capitoline Games , a Cynic philosopher publicly denounced Perennis before Commodus, who was watching, but was immediately put to death. According to Dio Cassius, Perennis, though ruthless and ambitious, was not personally corrupt and generally administered the state well. However, the following year, a detachment of soldiers from Britain (they had been drafted to Italy to suppress brigands) also denounced Perennis to the emperor as plotting to make his own son emperor (they had been enabled to do so by Cleander, who was seeking to dispose of his rival), and Commodus gave them permission to execute him as well as his wife and sons. The fall of Perennis brought a new spate of executions: Aufidius Victorinus committed suicide. Ulpius Marcellus was replaced as governor of Britain by Pertinax ; brought to Rome and tried for treason, Marcellus narrowly escaped death. Cleander’s zenith and fall (185190). Unrest around the empire increased, with large numbers of army deserters causing trouble in Gaul and Germany. Pescennius Niger mopped up the deserters in Gaul in a military campaign, and a revolt in Brittany was put down by two legions brought over from Britain. In 187, one of the leaders of the deserters, Maternus, came from Gaul intending to assassinate Commodus at the Festival of the Great Goddess in March, but he was betrayed and executed. In the same year, Pertinax unmasked a conspiracy by two enemies of Cleander Antistius Burrus (one of Commodus’s brothers-in-law) and Arrius Antoninus. As a result, Commodus appeared even more rarely in public, preferring to live on his estates. Early in 188, Cleander disposed of the current praetorian prefect, Atilius Aebutianus , and himself took over supreme command of the Praetorians at the new rank of a pugione (“dagger-bearer”) with two praetorian prefects subordinate to him. Now at the zenith of his power, Cleander continued to sell public offices as his private business. The climax came in the year 190, which had 25 suffect consuls a record in the 1000-year history of the Roman consulshipall appointed by Cleander (they included the future Emperor Septimius Severus). In the spring of 190, Rome was afflicted by a food shortage, for which the praefectus annonae Papirius Dionysius , the official actually in charge of the grain supply , contrived to lay the blame on Cleander. At the end of June, a mob demonstrated against Cleander during a horse race in the Circus Maximus : he sent the praetorian guard to put down the disturbances, but Pertinax, who was now City Prefect of Rome, dispatched the Vigiles Urbani to oppose them. Cleander fled to Commodus, who was at Laurentum in the house of the Quinctilii , for protection, but the mob followed him calling for his head. At the urging of his mistress Marcia , Commodus had Cleander beheaded and his son killed. Other victims at this time were the praetorian prefect Julius Julianus, Commodus’s cousin Annia Fundania Faustina , and his brother-in-law Mamertinus. Papirius Dionysius was executed too. The emperor now changed his name to Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus. At 29, he took over more of the reins of power, though he continued to rule through a cabal consisting of Marcia, his new chamberlain Eclectus, and the new praetorian prefect Quintus Aemilius Laetus , who about this time also had many Christians freed from working in the mines in Sardinia. Marcia, the widow of Quadratus, who had been executed in 182, is alleged to have been a Christian. In opposition to the Senate, in his pronouncements and iconography , Commodus had always laid stress on his unique status as a source of god-like power, liberality and physical prowess. Innumerable statues around the empire were set up portraying him in the guise of Hercules , reinforcing the image of him as a demigod, a physical giant, a protector and a battler against beasts and men (see “Commodus and Hercules” and “Commodus the Gladiator” below). Moreover, as Hercules, he could claim to be the son of Jupiter , the representative of the supreme god of the Roman pantheon. These tendencies now increased to megalomaniac proportions. Far from celebrating his descent from Marcus Aurelius, the actual source of his power, he stressed his own personal uniqueness as the bringer of a new order, seeking to re-cast the empire in his own image. During 191, the city of Rome was extensively damaged by a fire that raged for several days, during which many public buildings including the Temple of Pax , the Temple of Vesta and parts of the imperial palace were destroyed. Perhaps seeing this as an opportunity, early in 192 Commodus, declaring himself the new Romulus , ritually re-founded Rome, renaming the city Colonia Lucia Annia Commodiana. All the months of the year were renamed to correspond exactly with his (now twelve) names: Lucius , Aelius , Aurelius , Commodus , Augustus , Herculeus , Romanus , Exsuperatorius , Amazonius , Invictus , Felix , Pius. The legions were renamed Commodianae , the fleet which imported grain from Africa was termed Alexandria Commodiana Togata , the Senate was entitled the Commodian Fortunate Senate, his palace and the Roman people themselves were all given the name Commodianus , and the day on which these reforms were decreed was to be called Dies Commodianus. Thus he presented himself as the fountainhead of the Empire and Roman life and religion. He also had the head of the Colossus of Nero adjacent to the Colosseum replaced with his own portrait, gave it a club and placed a bronze lion at its feet to make it look like Hercules, and added an inscription boasting of being “the only left-handed fighter to conquer twelve times one thousand men”. Character and physical prowess. Dio Cassius, a first-hand witness, describes him as not naturally wicked but, on the contrary, as guileless as any man that ever lived. His great simplicity, however, together with his cowardice, made him the slave of his companions, and it was through them that he at first, out of ignorance, missed the better life and then was led on into lustful and cruel habits, which soon became second nature. His recorded actions do tend to show a rejection of his fathers policies, his fathers advisers, and especially his fathers austere lifestyle, and an alienation from the surviving members of his family. It seems likely that he was brought up in an atmosphere of Stoic asceticism , which he rejected entirely upon his accession to sole rule. After repeated attempts on Commodus’ life, Roman citizens were often killed for raising his ire. One such notable event was the attempted extermination of the house of the Quinctilii. Condianus and Maximus were executed on the pretext that, while they were not implicated in any plots, their wealth and talent would make them unhappy with the current state of affairs. On his accession as sole ruler, Commodus added the name Antoninus to his official nomenclature. In October 180 he changed his praenomen from Lucius to Marcus, presumably in honour of his father. He later took the title of Felix in 185. In 191 he restored his praenomen to Lucius and added the family name Aelius, apparently linking himself to Hadrian and Hadrian’s adopted son Lucius Aelius Caesar , whose original name was also Commodus. Later that year he dropped Antoninus and adopted as his full style Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus Augustus Herculeus Romanus Exsuperatorius Amazonius Invictus Felix Pius (the order of some of these titles varies in the sources). “Exsuperatorius” (the supreme) was a title given to Jupiter, and “Amazonius” identified him again with Hercules. An inscribed altar from Dura-Europos on the Euphrates shows that Commodus’s titles and the renaming of the months were disseminated to the furthest reaches of the Empire; moreover, that even auxiliary military units received the title Commodiana, and that Commodus claimed two additional titles: Pacator Orbis (pacifier of the world) and Dominus Noster (Our Lord). The latter eventually would be used as a conventional title by Roman emperors, starting about a century later, but Commodus seems to have been the first to assume it. Disdaining the more philosophic inclinations of his father, Commodus was extremely proud of his physical prowess. He was generally acknowledged to be extremely handsome. As mentioned above, he ordered many statues to be made showing him dressed as Hercules with a lion’s hide and a club. He thought of himself as the reincarnation of Hercules, frequently emulating the legendary hero’s feats by appearing in the arena to fight a variety of wild animals. He was left-handed, and very proud of the fact. Cassius Dio and the writers of the Augustan History say that Commodus was a skilled archer, who could shoot the heads off ostriches in full gallop, and kill a panther as it attacked a victim in the arena. Commodus also had a passion for gladiatorial combat, which he took so far as to take to the arena himself, dressed as a gladiator. The Romans found Commodus’s naked gladiatorial combats to be scandalous and disgraceful. It was rumoured that he was actually the son, not of Marcus Aurelius, but of a gladiator whom his mother Faustina had taken as a lover at the coastal resort of Caieta. In the arena, Commodus always won since his opponents always submitted to the emperor. Thus, these public fights would not end in death. Privately, it was his custom to slay his practice opponents. For each appearance in the arena, he charged the city of Rome a million sesterces , straining the Roman economy. Commodus raised the ire of many military officials in Rome for his Hercules persona in the arena. Often, wounded soldiers and amputees would be placed in the arena for Commodus to slay with a sword. Commodus’s eccentric behaviour would not stop there. Citizens of Rome missing their feet through accident or illness were taken to the arena, where they were tethered together for Commodus to club to death while pretending they were giants. These acts may have contributed to his assassination. Commodus was also known for fighting exotic animals in the arena, often to the horror of the Roman people. According to Gibbon, Commodus once killed 100 lions in a single day. Later, he decapitated a running ostrich with a specially designed dart and afterwards carried the bleeding head of the dead bird and his sword over to the section where the Senators sat and gesticulated as though they were next. On another occasion, Commodus killed three elephants on the floor of the arena by himself. Finally, Commodus killed a giraffe , which was considered to be a strange and helpless beast. In November 192 Commodus held Plebian Games, in which he shot hundreds of animals with arrows and javelins every morning, and fought as a gladiator every afternoon, winning all the bouts. In December he announced his intention to inaugurate the year 193 as both consul and gladiator on 1 January. At this point, the prefect Laetus formed a conspiracy with Eclectus to supplant Commodus with Pertinax, taking Marcia into their confidence. On 31 December Marcia poisoned his food but he vomited up the poison; so the conspirators sent his wrestling partner Narcissus to strangle him in his bath. Upon his death, the Senate declared him a public enemy (a de facto damnatio memoriae) and restored the original name to the city of Rome and its institutions. Commodus’s statues were thrown down. His body was buried in the Mausoleum of Hadrian. In 195 the emperor Septimius Severus , trying to gain favour with the family of Marcus Aurelius, rehabilitated Commodus’s memory and had the Senate deify him. Commodus was succeeded by Pertinax , whose reign was short lived, being the first to fall victim to the Year of the Five Emperors. Commodus’s death marked the end of the Nervan-Antonian dynasty. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be quite happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Is there a number I can call you with questions about my order? When should I leave feedback? Once you receive your order, please leave a positive. Please don’t leave any negative feedbacks, as it happens many times that people rush to leave feedback before letting sufficient time for the order to arrive. The matter of fact is that any issues can be resolved, as reputation is most important to me. My goal is to provide superior products and quality of service. The item “COMMODUS son of Marcus Aurelius Ancient Silver Roman Coin Jupiter Cult i44084″ is in sale since Saturday, November 1, 2014. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Roman\ Imperial (27 BC-476 AD)”. The seller is “highrating_lowprice” and is located in Rego Park, New York. This item can be shipped worldwide.
  • Composition: Silver
  • Ruler: Marcus Aurelius

Oct 11 2018

Faustina II Marcus Aurelius wife Silver RARE Ancient Roman Coin Commodus i38669

Faustina II Marcus Aurelius wife Silver RARE Ancient Roman Coin Commodus i38669

Faustina II Marcus Aurelius wife Silver RARE Ancient Roman Coin Commodus i38669

Faustina II Marcus Aurelius wife Silver RARE Ancient Roman Coin Commodus i38669

Item: i38669 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Faustina II – Roman Empress & Wife of Emperor Marcus Aurelius – 161-175 A. Silver Denarius 18mm (3.36 grams) Rome mint circa 161-164 A. Reference: RSC190, RIC710-1 FAVSTINA AVGVSTA Draped bust right. SAECVLI FELICAT Draped throne on which are Commodus and Aurelius, (the twin sons of Faustina Junior and Marcus Aurelius) clasping hands. Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus (161-165), twin brother of Commodus. Lucius Aurelius Commodus Antoninus. (161-192), twin brother of Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, later emperor. Annia Galeria Faustina Minor (Minor Latin for the younger), Faustina Minor or Faustina the Younger. Between 125 and 130-175 was a daughter of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius and Roman Empress Faustina the Elder. She was a Roman Empress and wife to her maternal cousin Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Though Roman sources give a generally negative view of her character, she was held in high esteem by soldiers and her own husband and was given divine honours after her death. The item “Faustina II Marcus Aurelius wife Silver RARE Ancient Roman Coin Commodus i38669″ is in sale since Saturday, March 1, 2014. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Roman\ Imperial (27 BC-476 AD)”. The seller is “highrating_lowprice” and is located in Rego Park, New York. This item can be shipped worldwide.
  • Ruler: Marcus Aurelius
  • Composition: Silver

Oct 3 2018

Commodus son of Marcus Aurelius Silver Ancient Roman Coin APOLLO LYRE i39534

Commodus son of Marcus Aurelius Silver Ancient Roman Coin APOLLO LYRE i39534

Commodus son of Marcus Aurelius Silver Ancient Roman Coin APOLLO LYRE i39534

Commodus son of Marcus Aurelius Silver Ancient Roman Coin APOLLO LYRE i39534

Item: i39534 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Commodus – Roman Emperor : 177-192 A. Son of Marcus Aurelius. Mm (2.95 grams) Rome mint Struck circa 190-191 A. Reference: RIC 218, S 5629, C 24 MCOMMANTPFELAVGBRITPP – Laureate head right. APOLPALPMTRPXVICOSVI – Apollo standing, facing, holding plectrum and lyre on column. Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in ancient Greek and Roman religion , Greek and Roman mythology , and Greco Roman Neopaganism. The ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of light and the sun, truth and prophecy, healing, plague, music, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto , and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu. As the patron of Delphi (Pythian Apollo), Apollo was an oracular godthe prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Medicine and healing are associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius , yet Apollo was also seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague. Amongst the god’s custodial charges, Apollo became associated with dominion over colonists , and as the patron defender of herds and flocks. As the leader of the Muses (Apollon Musegetes) and director of their choir, Apollo functioned as the patron god of music and poetry. Hermes created the lyre for him, and the instrument became a common attribute of Apollo. Hymns sung to Apollo were called paeans. Apollo (left) and Artemis. Brygos (potter signed), Tondo of an Attic red-figure cup c. 470 BC, Musée du Louvre. In Hellenistic times, especially during the 3rd century BCE, as Apollo Helios he became identified among Greeks with Helios , Titan god of the sun , and his sister Artemis similarly equated with Selene , Titan goddess of the moon In Latin texts, on the other hand, Joseph Fontenrose declared himself unable to find any conflation of Apollo with Sol among the Augustan poets of the 1st century, not even in the conjurations of Aeneas and Latinus in Aeneid XII (161215). Apollo and Helios/Sol remained separate beings in literary and mythological texts until the 3rd century CE. The Omphalos in the Museum of Delphi. The cult centers of Apollo in Greece, Delphi and Delos , date from the 8th century BCE. The Delos sanctuary was primarily dedicated to Artemis , Apollo’s twin sister. At Delphi, Apollo was venerated as the slayer of Pytho. For the Greeks, Apollo was all the Gods in one and through the centuries he acquired different functions which could originate from different gods. In archaic Greece he was the prophet , the oracular god who in older times was connected with “healing”. In classical Greece he was the god of light and of music, but in popular religion he had a strong function to keep away evil. From his eastern-origin Apollo brought the art of inspection from “symbols and omina ” (: semeia kai terata), and of the observation of the omens of the days. The inspiration oracular-cult was probably introduced from Anatolia. The ritualism belonged to Apollo from the beginning. The Greeks created the legalism , the supervision of the orders of the gods, and the demand for moderation and harmony. Apollo became the god of shining youth, the protector of music, spiritual-life, moderation and perceptible order. The improvement of the old Anatolian god, and his elevation to an intellectual sphere, may be considered an achievement of the Greek people. Healer and god-protector from evil. The function of Apollo as a “healer” is connected with Paean , the physician of the Gods in the Iliad , who seems to come from a more primitive religion. Paen is probably connected with the Mycenean Pa-ja-wo, but the etymology is the only evidence. He did not have a separate cult, but he was the personification of the holy magic-song sung by the magicians that was supposed to cure disease. Later the Greeks knew the original meaning of the relevant song “paean”. The magicians were also called “seer-doctors”, and they used an ecstatic prophetic art which was used exactly by the god Apollo at the oracles. In the Iliad , Apollo is the healer under the gods, but he is also the bringer of disease and death with his arrows, similar to the function of the terrible Vedic god of disease Rudra. He sends a terrible plague to the Achaeans. The god who sends a disease can also prevent from it, therefore when it stops they make a purifying ceremony and offer him an “hecatomb” to ward off evil. When the oath of his priest appeases, they pray and with a song they call their own god, the beautiful Paean. Some common epithets of Apollo as a healer are “paion” , “epikourios”, “oulios”, and “loimios”. In classical times, his strong function in popular religion was to keep away evil, and was therefore called “apotropaios” and “alexikakos” , throw away the evil. In later writers, the word, usually spelled “Paean”, becomes a mere epithet of Apollo in his capacity as a god of healing. Homer illustrated Paeon the god, and the song both of apotropaic thanksgiving or triumph. Such songs were originally addressed to Apollo, and afterwards to other gods: to Dionysus , to Apollo Helios , to Apollo’s son Asclepius the healer. About the 4th century BCE, the paean became merely a formula of adulation; its object was either to implore protection against disease and misfortune, or to offer thanks after such protection had been rendered. It was in this way that Apollo had become recognised as the god of music. Apollo’s role as the slayer of the Python led to his association with battle and victory; hence it became the Roman custom for a paean to be sung by an army on the march and before entering into battle, when a fleet left the harbour, and also after a victory had been won. Columns of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, Greece. Unusually among the Olympic deities, Apollo had two cult sites that had widespread influence: Delos and Delphi. In cult practice, Delian Apollo and Pythian Apollo (the Apollo of Delphi) were so distinct that they might both have shrines in the same locality. Apollo’s cult was already fully established when written sources commenced, about 650 BCE. Apollo became extremely important to the Greek world as an oracular deity in the archaic period , and the frequency of theophoric names such as Apollodorus or Apollonios and cities named Apollonia testify to his popularity. Oracular sanctuaries to Apollo were established in other sites. In the 2nd and 3rd century CE, those at Didyma and Clarus pronounced the so-called “theological oracles”, in which Apollo confirms that all deities are aspects or servants of an all-encompassing, highest deity. In the 3rd century, Apollo fell silent. Julian the Apostate (359 – 61) tried to revive the Delphic oracle, but failed. Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus Augustus. 31 August, 161 AD 31 December, 192 AD, was Roman Emperor from 180 to 192. He also ruled as co-emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 until his father’s death in 180. His accession as emperor was the first time a son had succeeded his father since Titus succeeded Vespasian in 79. He was also the first Emperor to have both a father and grandfather as the two preceding Emperors. Commodus was the first (and until 337 the only) emperor ” born in the purple “; i. During his father’s reign. Commodus was assassinated in 192. Early life and rise to power (161180). Commodus was born on 31 August 161, as Commodus, in Lanuvium , near Rome. He was the son of the reigning emperor, Marcus Aurelius, and Aurelius’s first cousin, Faustina the Younger; the youngest daughter of Roman Emperor Antonius Pius. Commodus had an elder twin brother, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, who died in 165. On 12 October 166, Commodus was made Caesar together with his younger brother, Marcus Annius Verus. The latter died in 169 having failed to recover from an operation, which left Commodus as Marcus Aurelius’ sole surviving son. He was looked after by his father’s physician, Galen , in order to keep Commodus healthy and alive. Galen treated many of Commodus’ common illnesses. Commodus received extensive tuition at the hands of what Marcus Aurelius called an abundance of good masters. The focus of Commodus’ education appears to have been intellectual, possibly at the expense of military training. Commodus is known to have been at Carnuntum , the headquarters of Marcus Aurelius during the Marcomannic Wars , in 172. It was presumably there that, on 15 October 172, he was given the victory title Germanicus , in the presence of the army. The title suggests that Commodus was present at his father’s victory over the Marcomanni. On 20 January 175, Commodus entered the College of Pontiffs , the starting point of a career in public life. In April 175, Avidius Cassius , Governor of Syria , declared himself Emperor following rumors that Marcus Aurelius had died. Having been accepted as Emperor by Syria, Palestine and Egypt , Cassius carried on his rebellion even after it had become obvious that Marcus was still alive. During the preparations for the campaign against Cassius, the Prince assumed his toga virilis on the Danubian front on 7 July 175, thus formally entering adulthood. Cassius, however, was killed by one of his centurions before the campaign against him could begin. Commodus subsequently accompanied his father on a lengthy trip to the Eastern provinces, during which he visited Antioch. The Emperor and his son then traveled to Athens , where they were initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries. Joint rule with father (177). Marcus Aurelius was the first emperor since Vespasian to have a biological son of his own and, though he himself was the fifth in the line of the so-called Five Good Emperors , each of whom had adopted his successor, it seems to have been his firm intention that Commodus should be his heir. On 27 November 176, Marcus Aurelius granted Commodus the rank of Imperator and, in the middle of 177, the title Augustus , giving his son the same status as his own and formally sharing power. On 23 December of the same year, the two Augusti celebrated a joint triumph , and Commodus was given tribunician power. On 1 January 177, Commodus became consul for the first time, which made him, aged 15, the youngest consul in Roman history up to that time. He subsequently married Bruttia Crispina before accompanying his father to the Danubian front once more in 178, where Marcus Aurelius died on 17 March 180, leaving the 18-year-old Commodus sole emperor. Upon his accession Commodus devalued the Roman currency. He reduced the weight of the denarius from 96 per Roman pound to 105 (3.85 grams to 3.35 grams). He also reduced the silver purity from 79 percent to 76 percent the silver weight dropping from 2.57 grams to 2.34 grams. In 186 he further reduced the purity and silver weight to 74 percent and 2.22 grams respectively, being 108 to the Roman pound. His reduction of the denarius during his rule was the largest since the empire’s first devaluation during Nero’s reign. Whereas the reign of Marcus Aurelius had been marked by almost continuous warfare, that of Commodus was comparatively peaceful in the military sense but was marked by political strife and the increasingly arbitrary and capricious behaviour of the emperor himself. In the view of Dio Cassius , a contemporary observer, his accession marked the descent “from a kingdom of gold to one of rust and iron” a famous comment which has led some historians, notably Edward Gibbon , to take Commodus’s reign as the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire. Despite his notoriety, and considering the importance of his reign, Commodus’s years in power are not well chronicled. The principal surviving literary sources are Dio Cassius (a contemporary and sometimes first-hand observer, but for this reign, only transmitted in fragments and abbreviations), Herodian and the Historia Augusta (untrustworthy for its character as a work of literature rather than history, with elements of fiction embedded within its biographies; in the case of Commodus, it may well be embroidering upon what the author found in reasonably good contemporary sources). Commodus remained with the Danube armies for only a short time before negotiating a peace treaty with the Danubian tribes. Unlike the preceding Emperors Trajan , Hadrian , Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius, he seems to have had little interest in the business of administration and tended throughout his reign to leave the practical running of the state to a succession of favourites, beginning with Saoterus , a freedman from Nicomedia who had become his chamberlain. Dissatisfaction with this state of affairs would lead to a series of conspiracies and attempted coups, which in turn eventually provoked Commodus to take charge of affairs, which he did in an increasingly dictatorial manner. Nevertheless, though the senatorial order came to hate and fear him, the evidence suggests that he remained popular with the army and the common people for much of his reign, not least because of his lavish shows of largesse (recorded on his coinage) and because he staged and took part in spectacular gladiatorial combats. The conspiracies of 182. A bust of Commodus as a youth (Roman-Germanic Museum , Cologne). At the outset of his reign, Commodus, age 18, inherited many of his father’s senior advisers, notably Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus (the second husband of Commodus’s sister Lucilla), his father-in-law Gaius Bruttius Praesens , Titus Fundanius Vitrasius Pollio, and Aufidius Victorinus , who was Prefect of the City of Rome. He also had five surviving sisters, all of them with husbands who were potential rivals. Four of his sisters were considerably older than he; the eldest, Lucilla, held the rank of Augusta as the widow of her first husband, Lucius Verus. The first crisis of the reign came in 182, when Lucilla engineered a conspiracy against her brother. Her motive is alleged to have been envy of the Empress Crispina. Her husband, Pompeianus, was not involved, but two men alleged to have been her lovers, Marcus Ummidius Quadratus Annianus (the consul of 167, who was also her first cousin) and Appius Claudius Quintianus , attempted to murder Commodus as he entered the theatre. They bungled the job and were seized by the emperor’s bodyguard. Quadratus and Quintianus were executed. Lucilla was exiled to Capri and later killed. Pompeianus retired from public life. One of the two praetorian prefects , Tarrutenius Paternus , had actually been involved in the conspiracy but was not detected at this time, and in the aftermath, he and his colleague Sextus Tigidius Perennis were able to arrange for the murder of Saoterus, the hated chamberlain. Commodus took the loss of Saoterus badly, and Perennis now seized the chance to advance himself by implicating Paternus in a second conspiracy, one apparently led by Publius Salvius Julianus , who was the son of the jurist Salvius Julianus and was betrothed to Paternus’s daughter. Salvius and Paternus were executed along with a number of other prominent consulars and senators. Didius Julianus , the future emperor, a relative of Salvius Julianus, was dismissed from the governorship of Germania Inferior. Perennis took over the reins of government and Commodus found a new chamberlain and favourite in Cleander , a Phrygian freedman who had married one of the emperor’s mistresses, Demostratia. Cleander was in fact the person who had murdered Saoterus. After those attempts on his life, Commodus spent much of his time outside Rome, mostly on the family estates at Lanuvium. Being physically strong, his chief interest was in sport: taking part in horse racing , chariot racing , and combats with beasts and men, mostly in private but also on occasion in public. A bust of Commodus (Kunsthistorisches Museum , Vienna). According to Herodian he was well proportioned and attractive, with naturally blonde and curly hair. Commodus was inaugurated in 183 as consul with Aufidius Victorinus for a colleague and assumed the title Pius. War broke out in Dacia : few details are available, but it appears two future contenders for the throne, Clodius Albinus and Pescennius Niger , both distinguished themselves in the campaign. Also, in Britain in 184, the governor Ulpius Marcellus re-advanced the Roman frontier northward to the Antonine Wall , but the legionaries revolted against his harsh discipline and acclaimed another legate, Priscus, as emperor. Priscus refused to accept their acclamations, but Perennis had all the legionary legates in Britain cashiered. On 15 October 184 at the Capitoline Games , a Cynic philosopher publicly denounced Perennis before Commodus, who was watching, but was immediately put to death. According to Dio Cassius, Perennis, though ruthless and ambitious, was not personally corrupt and generally administered the state well. However, the following year, a detachment of soldiers from Britain (they had been drafted to Italy to suppress brigands) also denounced Perennis to the emperor as plotting to make his own son emperor (they had been enabled to do so by Cleander, who was seeking to dispose of his rival), and Commodus gave them permission to execute him as well as his wife and sons. The fall of Perennis brought a new spate of executions: Aufidius Victorinus committed suicide. Ulpius Marcellus was replaced as governor of Britain by Pertinax ; brought to Rome and tried for treason, Marcellus narrowly escaped death. Cleander’s zenith and fall (185190). Unrest around the empire increased, with large numbers of army deserters causing trouble in Gaul and Germany. Pescennius Niger mopped up the deserters in Gaul in a military campaign, and a revolt in Brittany was put down by two legions brought over from Britain. In 187, one of the leaders of the deserters, Maternus, came from Gaul intending to assassinate Commodus at the Festival of the Great Goddess in March, but he was betrayed and executed. In the same year, Pertinax unmasked a conspiracy by two enemies of Cleander Antistius Burrus (one of Commodus’s brothers-in-law) and Arrius Antoninus. As a result, Commodus appeared even more rarely in public, preferring to live on his estates. Early in 188, Cleander disposed of the current praetorian prefect, Atilius Aebutianus , and himself took over supreme command of the Praetorians at the new rank of a pugione (“dagger-bearer”) with two praetorian prefects subordinate to him. Now at the zenith of his power, Cleander continued to sell public offices as his private business. The climax came in the year 190, which had 25 suffect consuls a record in the 1000-year history of the Roman consulshipall appointed by Cleander (they included the future Emperor Septimius Severus). In the spring of 190, Rome was afflicted by a food shortage, for which the praefectus annonae Papirius Dionysius , the official actually in charge of the grain supply , contrived to lay the blame on Cleander. At the end of June, a mob demonstrated against Cleander during a horse race in the Circus Maximus : he sent the praetorian guard to put down the disturbances, but Pertinax, who was now City Prefect of Rome, dispatched the Vigiles Urbani to oppose them. Cleander fled to Commodus, who was at Laurentum in the house of the Quinctilii , for protection, but the mob followed him calling for his head. At the urging of his mistress Marcia , Commodus had Cleander beheaded and his son killed. Other victims at this time were the praetorian prefect Julius Julianus, Commodus’s cousin Annia Fundania Faustina , and his brother-in-law Mamertinus. Papirius Dionysius was executed too. The emperor now changed his name to Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus. At 29, he took over more of the reins of power, though he continued to rule through a cabal consisting of Marcia, his new chamberlain Eclectus, and the new praetorian prefect Quintus Aemilius Laetus , who about this time also had many Christians freed from working in the mines in Sardinia. Marcia, the widow of Quadratus, who had been executed in 182, is alleged to have been a Christian. In opposition to the Senate, in his pronouncements and iconography , Commodus had always laid stress on his unique status as a source of god-like power, liberality and physical prowess. Innumerable statues around the empire were set up portraying him in the guise of Hercules , reinforcing the image of him as a demigod, a physical giant, a protector and a battler against beasts and men (see “Commodus and Hercules” and “Commodus the Gladiator” below). Moreover, as Hercules, he could claim to be the son of Jupiter , the representative of the supreme god of the Roman pantheon. These tendencies now increased to megalomaniac proportions. Far from celebrating his descent from Marcus Aurelius, the actual source of his power, he stressed his own personal uniqueness as the bringer of a new order, seeking to re-cast the empire in his own image. During 191, the city of Rome was extensively damaged by a fire that raged for several days, during which many public buildings including the Temple of Pax , the Temple of Vesta and parts of the imperial palace were destroyed. Perhaps seeing this as an opportunity, early in 192 Commodus, declaring himself the new Romulus , ritually re-founded Rome, renaming the city Colonia Lucia Annia Commodiana. All the months of the year were renamed to correspond exactly with his (now twelve) names: Lucius , Aelius , Aurelius , Commodus , Augustus , Herculeus , Romanus , Exsuperatorius , Amazonius , Invictus , Felix , Pius. The legions were renamed Commodianae , the fleet which imported grain from Africa was termed Alexandria Commodiana Togata , the Senate was entitled the Commodian Fortunate Senate, his palace and the Roman people themselves were all given the name Commodianus , and the day on which these reforms were decreed was to be called Dies Commodianus. Thus he presented himself as the fountainhead of the Empire and Roman life and religion. He also had the head of the Colossus of Nero adjacent to the Colosseum replaced with his own portrait, gave it a club and placed a bronze lion at its feet to make it look like Hercules, and added an inscription boasting of being “the only left-handed fighter to conquer twelve times one thousand men”. Character and physical prowess. Dio Cassius, a first-hand witness, describes him as not naturally wicked but, on the contrary, as guileless as any man that ever lived. His great simplicity, however, together with his cowardice, made him the slave of his companions, and it was through them that he at first, out of ignorance, missed the better life and then was led on into lustful and cruel habits, which soon became second nature. His recorded actions do tend to show a rejection of his fathers policies, his fathers advisers, and especially his fathers austere lifestyle, and an alienation from the surviving members of his family. It seems likely that he was brought up in an atmosphere of Stoic asceticism , which he rejected entirely upon his accession to sole rule. After repeated attempts on Commodus’ life, Roman citizens were often killed for raising his ire. One such notable event was the attempted extermination of the house of the Quinctilii. Condianus and Maximus were executed on the pretext that, while they were not implicated in any plots, their wealth and talent would make them unhappy with the current state of affairs. On his accession as sole ruler, Commodus added the name Antoninus to his official nomenclature. In October 180 he changed his praenomen from Lucius to Marcus, presumably in honour of his father. He later took the title of Felix in 185. In 191 he restored his praenomen to Lucius and added the family name Aelius, apparently linking himself to Hadrian and Hadrian’s adopted son Lucius Aelius Caesar , whose original name was also Commodus. Later that year he dropped Antoninus and adopted as his full style Lucius Aelius Aurelius Commodus Augustus Herculeus Romanus Exsuperatorius Amazonius Invictus Felix Pius (the order of some of these titles varies in the sources). “Exsuperatorius” (the supreme) was a title given to Jupiter, and “Amazonius” identified him again with Hercules. An inscribed altar from Dura-Europos on the Euphrates shows that Commodus’s titles and the renaming of the months were disseminated to the furthest reaches of the Empire; moreover, that even auxiliary military units received the title Commodiana, and that Commodus claimed two additional titles: Pacator Orbis (pacifier of the world) and Dominus Noster (Our Lord). The latter eventually would be used as a conventional title by Roman emperors, starting about a century later, but Commodus seems to have been the first to assume it. Disdaining the more philosophic inclinations of his father, Commodus was extremely proud of his physical prowess. He was generally acknowledged to be extremely handsome. As mentioned above, he ordered many statues to be made showing him dressed as Hercules with a lion’s hide and a club. He thought of himself as the reincarnation of Hercules, frequently emulating the legendary hero’s feats by appearing in the arena to fight a variety of wild animals. He was left-handed, and very proud of the fact. Cassius Dio and the writers of the Augustan History say that Commodus was a skilled archer, who could shoot the heads off ostriches in full gallop, and kill a panther as it attacked a victim in the arena. Commodus also had a passion for gladiatorial combat, which he took so far as to take to the arena himself, dressed as a gladiator. The Romans found Commodus’s naked gladiatorial combats to be scandalous and disgraceful. It was rumoured that he was actually the son, not of Marcus Aurelius, but of a gladiator whom his mother Faustina had taken as a lover at the coastal resort of Caieta. In the arena, Commodus always won since his opponents always submitted to the emperor. Thus, these public fights would not end in death. Privately, it was his custom to slay his practice opponents. For each appearance in the arena, he charged the city of Rome a million sesterces , straining the Roman economy. Commodus raised the ire of many military officials in Rome for his Hercules persona in the arena. Often, wounded soldiers and amputees would be placed in the arena for Commodus to slay with a sword. Commodus’s eccentric behaviour would not stop there. Citizens of Rome missing their feet through accident or illness were taken to the arena, where they were tethered together for Commodus to club to death while pretending they were giants. These acts may have contributed to his assassination. Commodus was also known for fighting exotic animals in the arena, often to the horror of the Roman people. According to Gibbon, Commodus once killed 100 lions in a single day. Later, he decapitated a running ostrich with a specially designed dart and afterwards carried the bleeding head of the dead bird and his sword over to the section where the Senators sat and gesticulated as though they were next. On another occasion, Commodus killed three elephants on the floor of the arena by himself. Finally, Commodus killed a giraffe , which was considered to be a strange and helpless beast. In November 192 Commodus held Plebian Games, in which he shot hundreds of animals with arrows and javelins every morning, and fought as a gladiator every afternoon, winning all the bouts. In December he announced his intention to inaugurate the year 193 as both consul and gladiator on 1 January. At this point, the prefect Laetus formed a conspiracy with Eclectus to supplant Commodus with Pertinax, taking Marcia into their confidence. On 31 December Marcia poisoned his food but he vomited up the poison; so the conspirators sent his wrestling partner Narcissus to strangle him in his bath. Upon his death, the Senate declared him a public enemy (a de facto damnatio memoriae) and restored the original name to the city of Rome and its institutions. Commodus’s statues were thrown down. His body was buried in the Mausoleum of Hadrian. In 195 the emperor Septimius Severus , trying to gain favour with the family of Marcus Aurelius, rehabilitated Commodus’s memory and had the Senate deify him. Commodus was succeeded by Pertinax , whose reign was short lived, being the first to fall victim to the Year of the Five Emperors. Commodus’s death marked the end of the Nervan-Antonian dynasty. 16 January 27 BC to 19 August AD 14. 19 August 14 to 16 March 37. 18 March 37 to 24 January 41. Murdered by Praetorian Guard. 24 January 41 to 13 October 54. Poisoned by his wife Agrippina, mother of Nero. 13 October 54 to 11 June 68. Made a slave kill him. Year of the Four Emperors. 8 June 68 to 15 January 69. Murdered in favour of. 15 January 69 to 16 April 69. 2 January 69 to 20 December 69. 1 July 69 to 24 June 79. 24 June 79 to 13 September 81. Possibly assassinated by Domitian. 14 September 81 to 18 September 96. 18 September 96 to 27 January 98. Proclaimed emperor by senate. 28 January 98 to 7 August 117. 11 August 117 to 10 July 138. 10 July 138 to 7 March 161. 7 March 161 to 17 March 180. 7 March 161 to March 169. Usurper; ruled in Egypt and Syria; murdered by his own army. 177 to 31 December 192. Year of the Five Emperors. 1 January 193 to 28 March 193. Proclaimed emperor by senate; murdered by Praetorian Guard. 28 March 193 to 1 June 193. Proclaimed emperor by Praetorian Guard; executed on orders of the Senate. 9 April 193 to 4 February 211. Troops; accepted by senate. Proclaimed emperor by Syrian troops, defeated in battle by. Proclaimed emperor by British troops, defeated in battle by. 198 to 8 April 217. Assassinated at the behest of. 209 to 4 February 211. Assassinated on orders of. 11 April 217 to June 218. Proclaimed himself emperor; executed on orders of. May 217 to June 218. June 218 to 222. Proclaimed emperor by army; murdered by his own troops. 13 March 222 to? Murdered by his own troops. Crisis of the Third Century. February/March 235 to March/April 238. Proclaimed emperor by the army; murdered by. January/March 238 to late January/April 238. Proclaimed emperor in Africa; committed suicide after. January March 238 to late January/April 238. February 238 to early May 238. Proclaimed joint emperor by senate; murdered by. May 238 to February 244. Death unclear, probably murdered. Usurper; proclaimed himself emperor; defeated in battle. February 244 to September/October 249. Proclaimed emperor after death of. Killed in battle by. Usurper; proclaimed himself emperor; murdered by his own soldiers. Usurper; proclaimed himself emperor in the east; murdered by his own soldiers. Usurper; details essentially unknown. 249 to June 251. Proclaimed himself emperor in the east in opposition to. Usurper; proclaimed emperor in Rome; rebellion suppressed. 251 to June 251. June 251 to August 253. Proclaimed emperor by his troops after Decius’s death; murdered by them in favour of Aemilianus. July 251 to August 253. August 253 to October 253. Proclaimed emperor by his troops; murdered by them in favour of. 253 to June 260. Proclaimed emperor by his troops; captured in battle by the. 253 to September 268. To 260; probably murdered by his generals. Proclaimed emperor by army; murdered shortly after by troops of. June 260 (or 258). Usurper; proclaimed himself emperor after. S capture; defeated in battle. Usurper; proclaimed emperor after. S defeat; fate unclear. Usurper; proclaimed emperor by eastern army; defeated and killed in battle. Defeated and killed in battle. 261 to 261 or 262. Usurper; proclaimed himself emperor after the defeat of the Macriani; defeated and executed. S death; surrendered to. 268 to August 270. Proclaimed emperor by the army. August 270 to September 270. Proclaimed himself emperor; cause of death unclear. August 270 to 275. Proclaimed emperor by army; murdered by the. Usurper; proclaimed emperor in. Killed by his own soldiers. November/December 275 to July 276. Appointed emperor by the Senate; possibly assassinated. July 276 to September 276. Proclaimed emperor by the western army; murdered by his troops. July 276 to late September 282. Proclaimed emperor by the eastern army; murdered by his own soldiers in favour of. Usurper; proclaimed emperor by his troops; then killed by them. Usurper; proclaimed himself emperor at the request of the people of. Usurper; proclaimed himself emperor; defeated by. September 282 to July/August 283. Proclaimed emperor by Praetorian guard. Spring 283 to summer 285. Son of Carus; co-emperor with. July/August 283 to November 284. Declared himself emperor after. S death; killed by his own troops. Proclaimed himself emperor in opposition to Postumus; defeated and killed by Postumus. Proclaimed himself emperor after Postumus’s death. Proclaimed emperor after Marius’s death. Proclaimed himself emperor of the. Nominated heir to Victorinus. Declared himself emperor; assassinated by. S death; defeated by. 20 November 284 to 1 May 305. Declared emperor by the army after Numerian’s death; Abdicated. 1 April 286 to 1 May 305. Made co-emperor (‘Augustus’) with. 1 May 305 to 25 July 306. Made junior co-emperor (‘Caesar’) under. Became Augustus after his abdication. 1 May 305 to May 311. August 306 to 16 September 307. Became Augustus after his death; executed by. 28 October 306 to 28 October 312. Defeated in battle by. 307, de facto 312 to 22 May 337. Proclaimed Augustus by army. Proclaimed emperor in Africa; defeated in battle by. 11 November 308 to 18 September 324. 1 May 311 to July/August 313. Became Augustus after his death; defeated in battle by Licinius and committed suicide. December 316 to 1 March 317. July to 18 September 324. Co-emperor with his brothers; killed in battle. Co-emperor with his brothers. Co-emperor with his brothers, killed by. January 350 to 11 August 353. Usurper; proclaimed emperor by the army; defeated by. Proclaimed himself emperor against. Defeated and executed by. November 361 to June 363. Made Caesar by Constantius, then proclaimed Augustus by the army; killed in battle. 363 to 17 February 364. Proclaimed emperor by the army after. 26 February 364 to 17 November 375. 28 March 365 to 9 August 378. Made co-emperor in the east by his brother. September 365 to 27 May 366. Usurper; Proclaimed himself emperor; defeated and executed by. 24 August 367 to 383. And died in suspicious circumstances. Usurper; proclaimed emperor by troops; at one time recognized by. But then deposed and executed. Son of Magnus Maximus, executed on orders of. Usurper; proclaimed emperor by army under. 379 to 17 January 395. Made co-emperor for the east by. 383 to 408 EAST. Appointed co-emperor with his father. Sole emperor for the east from January 395. 23 January 393 to 15 August 423 WEST. Appointed Augustus for the west by his father. 407 to 411 WEST. Usurper; proclaimed emperor in Britain; defeated by. 409 to 411 WEST. Usurper; made emperor by his father. 409 and 414 to 415 WEST. Usurper; twice proclaimed emperor by. And twice deposed by. Usurper; proclaimed emperor in Spain; abdicated. 411 to 413 WEST. S death, executed by. 412 to 413 WEST. Usurper; appointed co-emperor by. 408 to 450 EAST. 421 to 421 WEST. 423 to 425 WEST. Proclaimed western emperor, initially undisputed; defeated and executed by. 425 to 16 March 455 WEST. 17 March 455 to 31 May 455. Proclaimed himself emperor after. June 455 to 17 October 456. Proclaimed emperor by the. 457 to 2 August 461. Deposed and executed by. 12 April 467 to 11 July 472. July 472 to 2 November 472. 5 March 473 to June 474. June 474 to 25 April 480. Appointed by eastern emperor. Deposed in Italy by. In 475; continued to be recognised as lawful emperor in Gaul and Dalmatia until his murder in 480. 31 October 475 to 4 September 476. Barbarian kings of Italy. For the rulers of the Eastern Roman Empire also known as the. List of Byzantine Emperors. See also: Theodosian dynasty. Theodosius I “the Great” (‘ , Flavius Theodosius)Theodosius I Coins. 19 January 379 17 January 395. Born on 11 January 347. Aristocrat and military leader, brother-in-law of Gratian, who appointed him as emperor of the East. From 392 until his death sole Roman emperor. Arcadius (, Flavius Arcadius)Arcadius Coins. 17 January 395 1 May 408. Born in 377/378, the eldest son of Theodosius I. Succeeded upon the death of his father. Theodosius II (‘, Flavius Theodosius) Theodosius II Coins. 1 May 408 28 July 450. Born on 10 April 401, the only son of Arcadius. As a minor, the praetorian prefect Anthemius was regent in 408414. He died in a riding accident. Marcian (, Flavius Valerius Marcianus). A soldier and politician, he became emperor after being wed by the Augusta Pulcheria , Theodosius II’s sister, following the latter’s death. See also: House of Leo. Leo I “the Thracian” (‘ , Flavius Valerius Leo). 7 February 457 18 January 474. Born in Dacia in 401. A common soldier, he was chosen by Aspar , commander-in-chief of the army. Leo II (‘, Flavius Leo). 18 January 17 November 474. Born in 467, the grandson of Leo I. Succeeded upon the death of Leo I. Died of an unknown disease, possibly poisoned. 17 November 474 9 April 491. 425 at Zenonopolis , Isauria , originally named Tarasicodissa. Son-in-law of Leo I, he was bypassed in the succession because of his barbarian origin. Named co-emperor by his son on 9 February 474, he succeeded upon the death of Leo II. Deposed by Basiliscus, brother-in-law of Leo, he fled to his native country and regained the throne in August 476. 9 January 475 August 476. General and brother-in-law of Leo I, he seized power from Zeno but was again deposed by him. Anastasius I (‘, Flavius Anastasius). BYZANTINE – Anastasius Coins. 11 April 491 9 July 518. 430 at Dyrrhachium , Epirus nova. A palace official (silentiarius) and son-in-law of Leo I, he was chosen as emperor by empress-dowager Ariadne. Main article: Justinian Dynasty. July 9, 518 AD August 1, 527 AD. Commander of the palace guard under Anastasius I ; elected as emperor with support of army. August 1, 527 AD Natural causes. FLAVIVS PETRVS SABBATIVS IVSTINIANVS AVGVSTVS. 482 AD, Tauresium , Dardania. August 1, 527 AD 13/14 November 565 AD. Nephew and nominated heir of Justin I. 13/14 November 565 AD Natural causes. FLAVIVS IVSTINIVS IVNIOR AVGVSTVS. 13/14 November 565 AD 578 AD. Nephew of Justinian I. 578 AD Became insane; Tiberius II Constantine ruled as regent from December 574 and became emperor on Justin’s death in 578. Roman Late Monogram Coins. List of Roman usurpers. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be quite happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Is there a number I can call you with questions about my order? When should I leave feedback? Once you receive your order, please leave a positive. Please don’t leave any negative feedbacks, as it happens many times that people rush to leave feedback before letting sufficient time for the order to arrive. The matter of fact is that any issues can be resolved, as reputation is most important to me. My goal is to provide superior products and quality of service. The item “Commodus son of Marcus Aurelius Silver Ancient Roman Coin APOLLO LYRE i39534″ is in sale since Sunday, April 20, 2014. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Roman\ Imperial (27 BC-476 AD)”. The seller is “highrating_lowprice” and is located in Rego Park, New York. This item can be shipped worldwide.
  • Ruler: Marcus Aurelius
  • Composition: Silver

Sep 11 2018

Lot Of 10 Ancient Roman Coins Silver Denarius Of Aurelius, AE 23 Of Theodosius+

Lot Of 10 Ancient Roman Coins Silver Denarius Of Aurelius, AE 23 Of Theodosius+

Lot Of 10 Ancient Roman Coins Silver Denarius Of Aurelius, AE 23 Of Theodosius+

Lot Of 10 Ancient Roman Coins Silver Denarius Of Aurelius, AE 23 Of Theodosius+

Lot Of 10 Ancient Roman Coins Silver Denarius Of Aurelius, AE 23 Of Theodosius+

Lot Of 10 Ancient Roman Coins Silver Denarius Of Aurelius, AE 23 Of Theodosius+

Lot Of 10 Ancient Roman Coins Silver Denarius Of Aurelius, AE 23 Of Theodosius+

Lot Of 10 Ancient Roman Coins Silver Denarius Of Aurelius, AE 23 Of Theodosius+

Lot Of 10 Ancient Roman Coins Silver Denarius Of Aurelius, AE 23 Of Theodosius+

Lot Of 10 Ancient Roman Coins Silver Denarius Of Aurelius, AE 23 Of Theodosius+

Lot Of 10 Ancient Roman Coins Silver Denarius Of Aurelius, AE 23 Of Theodosius+

Lot Of 10 Ancient Roman Coins Silver Denarius Of Aurelius, AE 23 Of Theodosius+

Lot Of 10 Ancient Roman Coins Silver Denarius Of Aurelius, AE 23 Of Theodosius+

These coins range in grade from fine to extremely or extra fine. The coins in the photos are the coins you will receive, so judge for yourself and feel free to ask me any questions. I have put together a nice selection of rulers and reverses for your consideration. These are all rare and valuable coins. I pride myself in offering the best quality and best selection of coins in lots like these. This lot of coins is as nice as any you will find without spending a fortune. Thank you for checking out my listing! BONUS: W inner will receive at least one silver coin older than 500 years chosen from my collection. This is a free gift and will be a quality coin. Thanks and Good Luck! The item “Lot Of 10 Ancient Roman Coins Silver Denarius Of Aurelius, AE 23 Of Theodosius+” is in sale since Monday, September 10, 2018. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Roman\ Imperial (27 BC-476 AD)”. The seller is “rve-jro-kbsp19lsbp” and is located in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. This item can be shipped to United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Denmark, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Czech republic, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Estonia, Australia, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Slovenia, Japan, Sweden, Indonesia, Belgium, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Singapore, Norway, Saudi arabia, United arab emirates, Bahrain, Croatia, Malaysia, Chile, Colombia, Costa rica, Dominican republic, Panama, Trinidad and tobago, Guatemala, El salvador, Honduras, Jamaica.
  • Grade: F-XF
  • Date: 1st To 4th Century AD
  • Denomination: Denarius, Ae-23, etc
  • Ruler: Aurelius, Theodosius, Diocletian, Constantius, Etc
  • Composition: Silver, Mixed

Aug 15 2018

Divus Marcus Aurelius AE Sestertius. Eagle On Globe Reverse. Ancient Roman Coin

Divus Marcus Aurelius AE Sestertius. Eagle On Globe Reverse. Ancient Roman Coin

Divus Marcus Aurelius AE Sestertius. Eagle On Globe Reverse. Ancient Roman Coin

Divus Marcus Aurelius AE Sestertius. Eagle On Globe Reverse. Ancient Roman Coin

Divus Marcus Aurelius AE Sestertius. Eagle On Globe Reverse. Ancient Roman Coin

Divus Marcus Aurelius AE Sestertius. Eagle On Globe Reverse. Ancient Roman Coin

Divus Marcus Aurelius AE Sestertius. Eagle On Globe Reverse. Ancient Roman Coin

Here I present a beautiful large AE Sestertius of Marcus Aurelius. This is the Divus issue meaning its a commemorative coin memorialising Marcus Aurelius the man. The reverse carries the Roman Eagle on top of a globe, and the word CONSECRATIO as the legends around the coin. A Rome Mint, and mega collectable. Marcus Aurelius was Roman emperor from 161 to 180. He ruled with his adoptive brother, Lucius Verus, until Verus’ death in 169, and with his son, Commodus, from 177. He was the last of the so-called Five Good Emperors. The item “Divus Marcus Aurelius AE Sestertius. Eagle On Globe Reverse. Ancient Roman Coin” is in sale since Tuesday, August 7, 2018. This item is in the category “Antiques\Antiquities\Roman”. The seller is “veni_vidi_vici_coins” and is located in Washington, Tyne and Wear. This item can be shipped worldwide.
  • Type: Sestertius
  • Provenance: Ownership History Available
  • Material: Bronze
  • Colour: Brass