The Roman Empire
Estimate: 18'000 CHF
Starting price: 14'400 CHF
Price realized: 25'000 CHF
Marcus Aurelius augustus, 161-180
Aureus 176-177, AV 7.28 g. M ANTONINVS AVG – GERM SARM Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust r. Rev. TR P XXXI IMP VIII COS III P P Pile of arms; in exergue, DE GERM. C 155. BMC 736. RIC 362. Calicó 1845.
Extremely rare. A very interesting and historically important reverse type. Struck in high
relief on a full flan, almost invisible mark on obverse, otherwise extremely fine
Ex Naville III, 1922, Sir Arthur Evans, 74 and Lanz 97, 2000, 640 sales. From Dr. H. Wintz collection.
The empire enjoyed an age of relative peace and prosperity under Hadrian and Antoninus Pius, but with the accession of the co-emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus in 161, the nation braced for war. Their immediate tasks were not to draft legislation with the senate or to engage in charitable deeds, but to lead their legions to the great river boundaries and defend their empire. Lucius Verus went to the East to guard against the Parthians and Marcus Aurelius marched northward to the long frontier defined by Rhine and the Danube. Marcus Aurelius was to spend much of his life as emperor waging unwanted wars on the frontiers, which sometimes required leading his soldiers deep into German territory on dangerous expeditions. Not long before this aureus was struck Marcus Aurelius had scored victories over the Sarmatians and the Germans, which he celebrated on coinage struck mainly in 176. Amid the victories Marcus Aurelius celebrates here, though he had to contend with a serious illness and a usurpation by the Syrian governor Avidius Cassius.