MARCUS AURELIUS 161AD Sestertius NGC Certified XF Authentic Ancient Roman Coin
MARCUS AURELIUS: 161-180 A. Brass Sestertius 33mm, 24.05 gm. Draped bare-headed bust of Aurelius right. Clementina standing left, holding patera and holding out folds of dress, CLEM in ex. Provided with certificate of authenticity. CERTIFIED AUTHENTIC by Sergey Nechayev, PhD – Numismatic Expert. Marcus Aurelius (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus ; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180 AD), was Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD. He ruled with Lucius Verus as co-emperor from 161 until Verus’ death in 169. He was the last of the “Five Good Emperors”, and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. During his reign, the Empire defeated a revitalized Parthian Empire; Aurelius’ general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. Aurelius fought the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars, but the threat of the Germanic tribes 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. Marcus Aurelius’ Stoic tome 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 in the midst of conflict by following nature as a source of guidance and inspiration. The major sources for 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, 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 better. For Marcus’ life and rule, the biographies of Hadrian, Pius, Marcus and Lucius Verus are largely reliable, but those of Aelius Verus and Avidius Cassius are full of fiction. 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. Family, childhood, and early education, 121-136. 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. 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. Lucilla and Verus (III) had two children: a son, Marcus, born on 26 April 121, and a daughter, Annia Cornificia Faustina, probably born in 122 or 123. Verus (III) probably died in 124, 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. Marcus was in the care of “nurses”. 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 adopted by his paternal grandfather Marcus Annius Verus (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. In 127, at the age of six, Marcus was enrolled in the equestrian order on the recommendation of Emperor Hadrian. Though this was not completely unprecedented, and other children are known to have joined the order, Marcus was still unusually young. In 128, Marcus was enrolled in the priestly college of the Salii. Since the standard qualifications for the college were not met-Marcus did not have two living parents-they must have been waived by Hadrian, Marcus’ nominator, as a special favor to the child Hadrian had a strong affection for the child, and nicknamed him Verissimus, “most true”. He rose through the offices of the priesthood, becoming in turn the leader of the dance, the vates (prophet), and the master of the order. Hadrian did not see much of Marcus in his childhood. He spent most of his time outside Rome, on the frontier, or dealing with administrative and local affairs in the provinces. He had grown close to Lucius Ceionius Commodus, husband of the daughter of Gaius Avidius Nigrinus, a dear friend of Trajan who was executed for attempting to overthrow Hadrian early in his reign. In 136, shortly after Marcus assumed the toga virilis symbolizing his passage into manhood, Hadrian arranged for his engagement to one of Commodus’ daughters, Ceionia Fabia. Marcus was made prefect of the city during the feriae Latinae soon after (he was probably appointed by Commodus). Although the office held no real administrative significance-the full-time prefect remained in office during the festival-it remained a prestigious office for young aristocrats and members of the imperial family. Marcus conducted himself well at the job. Through Commodus, Marcus met Apollonius of Chalcedon, a Stoic philosopher. Apollonius had taught Commodus, and would have an enormous impact on Marcus, who would later study with him regularly. He is one of only three people Marcus thanks the gods for having met. At about this time, Marcus’ younger sister, Annia Cornificia, married Ummidius Quadratus, her first cousin. Domitia Lucilla asked Marcus to give part of his father’s inheritance to his sister. He agreed to give her all of it, content as he was with his grandfather’s estate. Succession to Hadrian, 136-38. In late 136, Hadrian almost died from hemorrhage. Convalescent in his villa at Tivoli, he selected Lucius Ceionius Commodus as his successor, and adopted him as his son. The selection was done invitis omnibus , “against the wishes of everyone”; its rationale is still unclear. The night before the speech, however, he grew ill, and died of a hemorrhage later in the day. On 24 January 138, 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 Commodus, the son of Aelius. Aelius Aurelius Verus; Lucius became L. At Hadrian’s request, Antoninus’ daughter Faustina was betrothed to Lucius. Marcus was appalled to learn that Hadrian had adopted him. Only with reluctance did he move from his mother’s house on the Caelian to Hadrian’s private home. At some time in 138, 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. But 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. 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. Pius bolstered Marcus’ dignity: Marcus was made consul for 140, with Pius 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. 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. Pius demanded that Marcus take up residence in the House of Tiberius, the imperial palace on the Palatine. Pius 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 Pius 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, 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. The item “MARCUS AURELIUS 161AD Sestertius NGC Certified XF Authentic Ancient Roman Coin” is in sale since Tuesday, June 10, 2014. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Roman\ Imperial (27 BC-476 AD)”. The seller is “victoram” and is located in Forest Hills, New York. This item can be shipped worldwide.
- Certification: NGC
- Certification Number: 4372524-004
- Grade: XF
- Ruler: Marcus Aurelius