Interesting items

Marcus Aurelius

Biography

Marcus Aurelius, in full Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, original name (up to 161 AD) Marcus Annius Verus, (born April 26, 121 AD, Rome – died March 17, 180, Vindobona [Vienna], or Sirmium, Pannonia) Roman Emperor (CE 161-180), better known for his meditations on Stoic philosophy. Marcus Aurelius symbolized for many generations in the West the golden age of the Roman Empire.

He was adopted by Emperor Antoninus Pius in 138 AD. Under Antoninus Pius, he learned government affairs and how to assume public roles. Marcus was consul in 140, 145 and 161. In 145 he married his cousin, the daughter of the emperor, Annia Galeria Faustina, and in 147 the Imperium and the tribunician potestas, the main formal powers of the emperor, he were conferred; Now he was a kind of junior co-emperor, sharing Antonin’s intimate advice and crucial decisions. (His adopted brother, Lucius Verus, nearly 10 years his junior, was officially highlighted in due time.) On March 7, 161, at a time when the brothers were joint consuls (for the third and second time, respectively), their father dies.

The transition was easy for Marcus; already possessing the essential constitutional powers, he automatically entered the role of emperor in his own right. At his own insistence, however, his adoptive brother was made emperor with him. For the first time in history, the Roman Empire had two joint emperors of constitutional status and formally equal powers, but, although the accomplishment of Lucius Verus suffered in comparison with the paragon Marcus, it seems likely that the serious work of the government was done by Marcus throughout his reign.

In 167 or 168, Marcus and Verus together undertook a punitive expedition on the Danube, and behind their backs a horde of German tribes invaded Italy in massive force and besieged Aquileia. Marcus and Verus successfully fought the Germans, but in 169 Verus died suddenly, and doubtless naturally, of a stroke. Three years of fighting were still necessary to restore the Danubian border, and another three years of campaigning in Bohemia sufficed to pacify the tribes beyond the Danube, at least for a time.

Sick throughout his life and probably suffering from a chronic ulcer, he took daily doses of medicine; the suggestion was made that the apocalyptic imagery of the passages in the meditations betrays the addict. More certain and more important is the fact that Marcus’s anxieties reflect, in an exaggerated way, the beliefs and aspirations of his age.

In 177, Marcus proclaimed his 16 year old son, Commodus, co-emperor. Together, they took over the Danubian wars. Marcus was determined to move from defense to offensive and expansionist redevelopment of the northern borders of Rome. His determination seemed to be a success when, in 180, he died at his military headquarters, having just had time to recommend Commodus to the regime’s chief advisers.

​We value this coin at $120.

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