Roman Empire

Marcus Aurelius, Co-Emperor AD 161-180

RIC 174; BMC 444, note; Calicó 1995, Mint State

Rome, AD 166/7. M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX, laureate and cuirassed bust of Marcus Aurelius right. Reverse: TR P XXI IMP IIII COS III Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm.

Ex Roma XIV (21 September 2017), 756

Famed as a contemplative philosopher Emperor, Marcus Aurelius was destined to be the last of the so-called Five Good Emperors (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius) before the Empire was plunged into madness and civil war by his son and successor, Commodus. He was not a particularly accomplished military man and took credit for the victories of others as a means of boosting his image as commander. For example, on 305516, he is named as Armeniacus and Parthicus Maximus although the victories in Armenia and against the Parthians were actually won by his co-Augustus, Lucius Verus (or more properly the generals of Verus). The latter part of his reign was troubled by barbarian incursions into the Empire acrosss the Danube, which he and his generals largely repressed. He planned further campaigns against the barbarians, who would become a fixture of later imperial history, but died in AD 180.