Roman Empire

Lucius Verus, Co-Emperor AD 161-169

RIC 522; BMC 294; Calicó 2174 (same dies as illus.), Superb Mint State

Rome, A.D. 163/4. L VERVS AVG ARMENIACVS, bare head of Lucius Verus right. Reverse: TR P IIII IMP II COS II, Victory standing facing, head right, attaching shield inscribed VIC/AVG in two lines to palm tree.

Both this and the preceding aureus were struck in the context of the Parthian War of AD 162-166. War had broken out when the Parthian king, Vologases II, entered the Roman client-kingdom of Armenia and installed his own pro-Parthian puppet on the throne in AD 162. After a legion commanded by the proconsular governor of Asia was destroyed trying to restore Armenia to Roman influence, Lucius Verus was dispatched at the head of two legions to wage war on the Parthians. Although Verus was personally involved in little of the actual fighting, by the end of AD 163 the Armenian capital of Artaxata was in Roman hands and Verus had taken up the honorific title Armeniacus, which appears so prominently in the obverse legends of both this and the preceding aureus. From this point on the Parthian War became offensive in nature as Verus and especially his generals sought to punish Vologases II for his actions.