MARCUS AURELIUS as Caesar 145AD BIG Ancient Roman Coin Minerva Athena i36685
Item: i36685 Authentic Ancient Coin of. Marcus Aurelius – Roman Emperor: 161-180 A. Marcus Aurelius, as Caesar Bronze Dupondius 25mm (11.93 grams) Rome mint. Struck under Antoninus Pius 145. Reference: RIC III 1263 (Pius) AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG PII F COS II, bare head right, slight drapery on far shoulder No legend S-C, Minerva right, brandishing javelin and holding shield. Minerva (Etruscan : Menrva) was the Roman goddess of wisdom and sponsor of arts, trade, and defense. She was born from the godhead of Jupiter with weapons. From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry , medicine , wisdom , commerce , weaving , crafts , magic. She is often depicted with her sacred creature, an owl usually named as the ” owl of Minerva “, which symbolizes that she is connected to wisdom. Stemming from an Italic moon goddess Menesw (‘She who measures’), the Etruscans adopted the inherited Old Latin name, Menerw , thereby calling her Menrva. It is assumed that her Roman name, Minerva, is based on this Etruscan mythology , Minerva was the goddess of wisdom, war, art, schools and commerce. She was the Etruscan counterpart to Greek Athena. Like Athena, Minerva was born from the head of her father, Jupiter (Greek Zeus). It is possible that such a goddess was “imported” to both Greece and Italy from beliefs originating in the Near East during the extreme antiquity. The very few extant Lemnian inscriptions suggest that the Etruscans may have originated in Asia Minor , in which case subsequent syncretism between Greek Athena and Italic Minerva may have been all the easier. By a process of folk etymology , the Romans could have confused the phones of her foreign name with those of the root men- in Latin words such as mens meaning “mind”, perhaps because one of her aspects as goddess pertained to the intellectual. The word mens is built from the Proto-Indo-European root men-‘mind’ (linked with memory as in Greek Mnemosyne / and mnestis /: memory, remembrance, recollection, Manush in Sanskrit meaning mind). Menrva was part of a holy triad with Tinia and Uni , equivalent to the Roman Capitoline Triad of Jupiter-Juno-Minerva. Minerva was the daughter of Jupiter. As Minerva Medica , she was the goddess of medicine and doctors. As Minerva Achaea , she was worshipped at Luceria in Apulia where votive gifts and arms said to be those of Diomedes were preserved in her temple. A head of “Sulis-Minerva” found in the ruins of the Roman baths in Bath. In Fasti III, Ovid called her the goddess of a thousand works. Minerva was worshipped throughout Italy, though only in Rome did she take on the warlike character shared by Athena. Her worship was also taken out to the empire in Britain, for example, she was conflated with the local wisdom goddess Sulis. The Romans celebrated her festival from March 19 to March 23 during the day which is called, in the neuter plural, Quinquatria , the fifth after the Ides of March, the nineteenth, an artisans’ holiday. A lesser version, the Minusculae Quinquatria, was held on the Ides of June, June 13, by the flute-players , who were particularly useful to religion. In 207 BC, a guild of poets and actors was formed to meet and make votive offerings at the temple of Minerva on the Aventine hill. Among others, its members included Livius Andronicus. The Aventine sanctuary of Minerva continued to be an important center of the arts for much of the middle Roman Republic. Minerva was worshipped on the Capitoline Hill as one of the Capitoline Triad along with Jupiter and Juno, at the Temple of Minerva Medica , and at the ” Delubrum Minervae” a temple founded around 50 BC by Pompey on the site now occupied by the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva facing the present-day Piazza della Minerva. Universities and educational establishments. As patron goddess of wisdom, Minerva frequently features in statuary, as an image on seals, and in other forms, at educational establishments, including. A statue of Minerva is located in the centre of La Sapienza University , the largest university of Rome. A statue of Minerva is located in the main review pit at the Yale School of Architecture. Minerva is featured in the University at Albany’s logo. The catalogue of books and other materials in the University Library at the University at Albany campus is called the “Minerva Catalog”. Minerva is also mentioned in UAlbany’s Alma Mater. “Wisdom’s duty heeds thy call, Ever in Minerva’s thrall, “. Minerva is the goddess of Kappa Kappa Gamma and can be seen, with her owl, on their crest. Minerva as a bronze head bust over the main entrance of the Main Library of the University of California, Berkeley. Raised-relief image of Minerva on a Roman gilt silver bowl, 1st century BC. The Minerva head has been associated with the Chartered Society of Designers since its inception in 1930 and has been redefined several times during the history of the Society by notable graphic designers. The current logo was established in 1983. Minerva is the symbol of the University of Porto. Athena is the patron goddess of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Minerva is displayed in front of Columbia University’s Low Memorial Library as Alma Mater. Above the entrance to the University of Vienna main building, there is a sculpture work titled “The Birth of Minerva”. A statue of Minerva adorns the library at the United States Military Academy. Minerva is the name of a language school in Ruse, Bulgaria. Minerva is the name of a female residence at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa. Minerva is displayed to the East of University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Elliot University Center as a statue. The SUNY Potsdam campus in Potsdam, NY is home to multiple statues of Minerva and a cafe named after her. Statue of Minerva on the Alte Brücke in Heidelberg. Temple of Minerva in Sbeitla , Tunisia. Minerva is featured on the seals and logos of many institutions of higher learning. The University of Louisville official seal. The University of South Carolina official seal. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro official seal. UNCG also has a Minerva statue , donated by the Class of 1953. An emblem of Minerva’s head is represented in the logo for this UK University. There is a tradition within the Lincoln Rugby Union team where it is thought that they are Knights of Minerva, with each match being fought and won in her honour. University at Albany, The State University of New York. Minerva is pictured in the university’s logo. Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom has been the institution’s enduring symbol. ” Minerva is still venerated by seniors and their’torch bearers’ during a pre-graduation ritual called “Torch Night there. The University of Alabama. The University of Virginia. Union College, New York. Union College has also used Minerva as the name of their new academic and social “Third Space” program, the Minerva House System. UFRJ , the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil. Escola Politécnica da USP, Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo , in Brazil. Ghent University , in Belgium. An 1817 French Empire mantel clock depicting Minerva. American Academy of Arts & Sciences , in Cambridge, Mass. The seal’s principal figure is Minerva – a symbol appropriate for an organization created in the midst of the American Revolution and dedicated to the cultivation of every art and science to advance the interest, honour, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people. Heidelberg University , Germany’s most ancient university (1386), features depictions of Minerva (or Pallas Athene) in the Old University’s assembly hall (1785) as well as over the door of the New University building (1931). Max Planck Society , Germany. Leiden University , Minerva is presented in the centre of the great seal of the most ancient University in the Netherlands (1575). Minerva is the name and the patroness of the most ancient student-association of Leiden and was established in 1819. Minerva decorates the keystone over the main entrance to the Boston Public Library beneath the words, Free to all. BPL was the original public-financed library in America and, with all other libraries, is the long-term memory of the human race. The annual prize for the best Politics student in Liverpool Hope University in the UK is called the Minerva Prize, both because of the association with wisdom and knowledge and because there is a statue of Minerva on the dome of Liverpool Town Hall, the seat of local politics in the city. Minerva is the Goddess of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Fraternity Brothers are known as Loyal Sons of Minerva. Minerva is the name of a remote learning facility at Bath Spa University in England, UK. Minerva is featured on the seal of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Minerva is featured on the seal of the “Escuela Comercial Cámara de Comercio”, in Mexico, founded in 1923. A statue of Minerva stands in the entrance to Main Building at Wells College in Aurora, NY. On the last day of spring semester classes, graduating seniors kiss Minerva’s feet for luck and lifelong wisdom. Minerva was the only statue that survived the 1888 fire of old Main Building. Minerva is the patroness of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro , Brazil. Minerva is featured in the emblem of Ballarat Clarendon College , Australia, as derivative of the emblem of Clarendon Ladies’ College. Minerva is featured in the logo of The Mac. Robertson Girls’ High School , Australia. Minerva is featured in the logo of Kelvinside Academy , Glasgow, Scotland. Minerva is featured on the seals of many schools and colleges: on that of Union College in Schenectady, NY, the motto is (translated from the French) Under the laws of Minerva, we are all brothers. Minerva is the patroness of the Union Philosophical Society of Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The Yale School of Architecture in New Haven, Connecticut, features a Roman marble statue of Minerva in its 4th floor atrium. The Minerva head is displayed outside The Natural History Museum, Bergen, Norway. The seal for the University of Louisville includes a large head of Minerva. McGill University’s web interface is called Minerva. Milne Library at SUNY Geneseo has a statue of Minerva in their lobby. Minerva is the name of the managed learning environment at the University of Sheffield Medical School. Minerva is the name of the main file server at Keystone College. Minerva is on the crest of the Girls Day School Trust. A statue of Minerva appears on top of the Minerva Building at Dumfries Academy , Dumfries, Scotland. The symbol of Hornsby Girls High School, Australia, is the “Torch of Knowledge” and words of the school song include Minerva by our southern seas her sacred groves replanted, with whispering gums to woo the breeze that flows o’er lands enchanted; with ageless hills she rimmed her bower, her sunlit shrine of learning, and here we keep through shine and shower the Torch of Knowledge burning… ” NOTE on Australianisms: gums here means “gum trees (eucalyptus), not a part of the mouth. Here you can see a model of the Torch is still used in events. Minerva is a supercomputer at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City on the Upper East Side. One of the highest positions awarded among the Elder Worthy Sisters of Nu Kappa Beta, the sister sorority of Nu Kappa Phi in the University of Nueva Caceres in Naga City, Province of Camarines Sur, Republic of the Philippines, is the title Minerva. The Worthy Sister who wins this title by majority vote of the present Elders in special gatherings is deemed to be the epitome of all the essential attributes exalted by the sisterhood which are Scholarship, Leadership, Character and Loyalty. Societies and governmental use. The Seal of California. The Seal of California depicts the Goddess Minerva having sprung full grown from the brain of Jupiter. This was interpreted as analogous to the political birth of the State of. Without having gone through the probation period of being a Territory. In the early 20th century, Manuel José Estrada Cabrera , President of Guatemala , tried to promote a “Cult of Minerva” in his country; this left little legacy other than a few interesting Hellenic style “Temples” in parks around Guatemala. According to John Robison’s Proofs of a Conspiracy (1798), the third degree of the Bavarian Illuminati was called Minerval or Brother of Minerva , in honour of the goddess of learning. Later, this title was adopted for the first initiation of Aleister Crowley’s OTO rituals. Minerva is the logo of the world famous German “Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science” (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft). The Minerva was a prominent Belgian luxury automobile manufactured from 1902 until 1938. The helmet of Minerva serves as the crest of the distinctive unit insignia for Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D. Minerva is displayed on the Medal of Honor , the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. A large mosaic of Minerva is the focal art piece in the great room of the U. Minerva Institute of Management& Technology Dehradun, Uttarakhand. (India)an institute of Professional courses like- Animation & Multimedia, Fashion Technology and Mass Communication was established in 2009 affiliated to Uttarakhand Teacnical University. The Minerva Ward is an elderly care rehab ward at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, it opened in January 2013. Public monuments, places and modern culture. The Minerva Roundabout in Guadalajara, Mexico. The statue of Minerva atop Writers’ Building , Kolkata , India. A small Roman shrine to Minerva (the only one still in situ in the UK) stands in Handbridge , Chester. It sits in a public park, overlooking the River Dee. Minerva circle is one of the famous and busiest circles in Bangalore , India. It gets its name from an eponymous movie theatre that used to be located there. The Minerva Roundabout in Guadalajara, Mexico , located at the crossing of the López Mateos , Vallarta, López Cotilla, Agustín Yáñez and Golfo de Cortez avenues, features the goddess standing on a pedestal, surrounded by a large fountain, with an inscription which says “Justice, wisdom and strength guard this loyal city”. Minerva is displayed as a statue in the Minneapolis Central Library in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minerva is displayed as a statue in Pavia , Italy, near the train station, and is considered as an important landmark in the city. A statue of Minerva stands atop the dome of the Mitchell Library in Glasgow , Scotland. A seven foot statue of Minerva stands at the highest point in Brooklyn , overlooking New York Harbor , located in Green-Wood Cemetery. A bronze statue of Minerva lies in monument square Portland, Maine. “Our Lady of Victories Monument” dedicated 1891, Richard Morris Hunt and Franklin Simmons. In the Harry Potter series, J. K Rowling named a leading female character Minerva McGonagall in light of the Goddess. Indeed the character’s main trait was that of wisdom – a clear inspiration from the Goddess. Also, like Minerva (who had the ability to transform into an owl), the character of McGonagall had the ability to transfigure into a cat. Also, like Minerva’s other trait as a goddess of war, Minerva McGonagall is shown to be a good and courageous soldier, actually dueling Tom Marvolo Riddle himself. In the Percy Jackson & The Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan Athena is the mother of Annabeth Chase , one of the main characters in both series and has appeared in a few of the books, usually as Athena. She appears in her aspect as Minerva in The Mark of Athena. Philadelphia disc jockey Pierre Robert owns a VW Micro-bus named Minerva. In the Assassin’s Creed series, Minerva, along with Juno and Tinia appear; these three were likely chosen since they were worshiped together as a triad in Rome. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus. 26 April 121 AD 17 March 180 AD was a Roman Emperor from 161 to 180. 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 in the East; Aurelius’ general Avidius Cassius sacked the capital Ctesiphon in 164. In central Europe, Aurelius fought the Marcomanni , Quadi , and Sarmatians with success during the Marcomannic Wars , with the threat of the Germanic tribes beginning 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 Statue of Marcus Aurelius (detail) in the Musei Capitolini in Rome. 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 more accurate. For Marcus’ life and rule, the biographies of Hadrian , Antoninus 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. 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 7374, his grandfather, Marcus Annius Verus (II) , was made a patrician. Verus’ elder sonMarcus 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 Romea profitable enterprise in an era when the city was experiencing a construction boom. A bust of Marcus Aurelius as a young boy (Capitoline Museum). Anthony Birley, Marcus’ modern biographer, writes of the bust: This is certainly a grave young man. 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. Portrait of Emperor Marcus Aurelius – Palazzo Nuovo (Musei Capitolini). Marcus was in the care of “nurses”. Even so, 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 Proculustook 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 influencean emphasis on matter over style, on careful wording, with the occasional Homeric quotationhas been detected in Marcus’ Meditations. Succession to Hadrian, 13638. 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 Verus , 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, 13845. 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. Antoninus bolstered Marcus’ dignity: Marcus was made consul for 140, with Antoninus 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 dyefor 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. Antoninus demanded that Marcus take up residence in the House of Tiberius, the imperial palace on the Palatine. Antoninus 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 Antoninus 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. A bust of Faustina the Younger , Marcus’ wife (Louvre). In April 145, Marcus married Faustina, as had been planned since 138. Since Marcus was, by adoption, Antoninus Pius’ son, under Roman law he was marrying his sister; Antoninus would have had to formally release one or the other from his paternal authority (his patria potestas) for the ceremony to take place. Little is specifically known of the ceremony, but it is said to have been “noteworthy”. Coins were issued with the heads of the couple, and Antoninus, as Pontifex Maximus , would have officiated. Marcus makes no apparent reference to the marriage in his surviving letters, and only sparing references to Faustina. Fronto and further education, 13661. After taking the toga virilis in 136, Marcus probably began his training in oratory. He had three tutors in Greek, Aninus Macer, Caninius Celer, and Herodes Atticus , and one in Latin, Fronto. The latter two were the most esteemed orators of the day. Fronto and Atticus, however, probably did not become his tutors until his adoption by Antoninus in 138. The preponderance of Greek tutors indicates the importance of the language to the aristocracy of Rome. This was the age of the Second Sophistic , a renaissance in Greek letters. Although educated in Rome, in his Meditations , Marcus would write his inmost thoughts in Greek. Herodes was controversial: an enormously rich Athenian (probably the richest man in the eastern half of the empire), he was quick to anger, and resented by his fellow-Athenians for his patronizing manner. Atticus was an inveterate opponent of Stoicism and philosophic pretensions. He thought the Stoics’ desire for a “lack of feeling” foolish: they would live a “sluggish, enervated life”, he said. Marcus would become a Stoic. He would not mention Herodes at all in his Meditations , in spite of the fact that they would come into contact many times over the following decades. Fronto was highly esteemed: In the self-consciously antiquarian world of Latin letters, he was thought of as second only to Cicero , perhaps even an alternative to him. He did not care much for Herodes, though Marcus was eventually to put the pair on speaking terms. Fronto exercised a complete mastery of Latin, capable of tracing expressions through the literature, producing obscure synonyms, and challenging minor improprieties in word choice. A significant amount of the correspondence between Fronto and Marcus has survived. The pair were very close. Farewell my Fronto, wherever you are, my most sweet love and delight. How is it between you and me? I love you and you are not here. Marcus spent time with Fronto’s wife and daughter, both named Cratia, and they enjoyed light conversation. He wrote Fronto a letter on his birthday, claiming to love him as he loved himself, and calling on the gods to ensure that every word he learned of literature, he would learn “from the lips of Fronto”. His prayers for Fronto’s health were more than conventional, because Fronto was frequently ill; at times, he seems to be an almost constant invalid, always sufferingabout one-quarter of the surviving letters deal with the man’s sicknesses. Marcus asks that Fronto’s pain be inflicted on himself, “of my own accord with every kind of discomfort”. Fronto never became Marcus’ full-time teacher, and continued his career as an advocate. One notorious case brought him into conflict with Herodes. Marcus pleaded with Fronto, first with “advice”, then as a “favor”, not to attack Herodes; he had already asked Herodes to refrain from making the first blows. Fronto replied that he was surprised to discover Marcus counted Herodes as a friend (perhaps Herodes was not yet Marcus’ tutor), allowed that Marcus might be correct, but nonetheless affirmed his intent to win the case by any means necessary:… The charges are frightful and must be spoken of as frightful. Those in particular which refer to the beating and robbing I will describe in such a way that they savour of gall and bile. If I happen to call him an uneducated little Greek it will not mean war to the death. The outcome of the trial is unknown. By the age of twenty-five (between April 146 and April 147), Marcus had grown disaffected with his studies in jurisprudence, and showed some signs of general malaise. His master, he writes to Fronto, was an unpleasant blowhard, and had made “a hit at” him: It is easy to sit yawning next to a judge, he says, but to be a judge is noble work. Marcus had grown tired of his exercises, of taking positions in imaginary debates. When he criticized the insincerity of conventional language, Fronto took to defend it. In any case, Marcus’ formal education was now over. He had kept his teachers on good terms, following them devotedly. It “affected his health adversely”, his biographer writes, to have devoted so much effort to his studies. It was the only thing the biographer could find fault with in Marcus’ entire boyhood. Fronto had warned Marcus against the study of philosophy early on: it is better never to have touched the teaching of philosophy… Than to have tasted it superficially, with the edge of the lips, as the saying is. He disdained philosophy and philosophers, and looked down on Marcus’ sessions with Apollonius of Chalcedon and others in this circle. Fronto put an uncharitable interpretation of Marcus’ “conversion to philosophy”: “in the fashion of the young, tired of boring work”, Marcus had turned to philosophy to escape the constant exercises of oratorical training. Marcus kept in close touch with Fronto, but he would ignore his scruples. Apollonius may have introduced Marcus to Stoic philosophy, but Quintus Junius Rusticus would have the strongest influence on the boy. He was the man Fronto recognized as having “wooed Marcus away” from oratory. He was twenty years older than Marcus, older than Fronto. As the grandson of Arulenus Rusticus , one of the martyrs to the tyranny of Domitian r. 8196, he was heir to the tradition of “Stoic opposition” to the “bad emperors” of the 1st century; the true successor of Seneca (as opposed to Fronto, the false one). Births and deaths, 147160. On November 30, 147, Faustina gave birth to a girl, named Domitia Faustina. She was the first of at least thirteen children (including two sets of twins) that Faustina would bear over the next twenty-three years. The next day, 1 December, Antoninus Pius gave Marcus the tribunician power and the imperium authority over the armies and provinces of the emperor. As tribune, Marcus had the right to bring one measure before the senate after the four Antoninus could introduce. His tribunican powers would be renewed, with Antoninus’, on 10 December 147. The Mausoleum of Hadrian , where the children of Marcus and Faustina were buried. The first mention of Domitia in Marcus’ letters reveals her as a sickly infant. If the gods are willing we seem to have a hope of recovery. The diarrhoea has stopped, the little attacks of fever have been driven away. But the emaciation is still extreme and there is still quite a bit of coughing. ” He and Faustina, Marcus wrote, had been “pretty occupied with the girl’s care. Domitia would die in 151. In 149, Faustina gave birth again, to twin sons. Contemporary coinage commemorates the event, with crossed cornucopiae beneath portrait busts of the two small boys, and the legend temporum felicitas , “the happiness of the times”. They did not survive long. Before the end of the year, another family coin was issued: it shows only a tiny girl, Domitia Faustina, and one boy baby. Then another: the girl alone. The infants were buried in the Mausoleum of Hadrian , where their epitaphs survive. They were called Titus Aurelius Antoninus and Tiberius Aelius Aurelius. Another daughter was born on 7 March 150, Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla. At some time between 155 and 161, probably soon after 155, Marcus’ mother, Domitia Lucilla, died. Faustina probably had another daughter in 151, but the child, Annia Galeria Aurelia Faustina, might not have been born until 153. Another son, Tiberius Aelius Antoninus, was born in 152. A coin issue celebrates fecunditati Augustae , “the Augusta’s fertility”, depicting two girls and an infant. The boy did not survive long; on coins from 156, only the two girls were depicted. He might have died in 152, the same year as Marcus’ sister, Cornificia. By 28 March 158, however, when Marcus replied, the child was dead. Marcus thanked the temple synod, “even though this turned out otherwise”. The child’s name is unknown. In 159 and 160, Faustina gave birth to daughters: Fadilla, after one of Faustina’s dead sisters, and Cornificia, after Marcus’ dead sister. Antoninus Pius’ last years, 15261. Antoninus Pius , Marcus’ adoptive father and predecessor as emperor (Glyptothek). In 152, Lucius was named quaestor for 153, two years before the legal age of 25 (Marcus held the office at 17). In 154, he was consul, nine years before the legal age of 32 (Marcus held the office at 18 and 23). Lucius had no other titles, except that of “son of Augustus”. Lucius had a markedly different personality from Marcus: he enjoyed sports of all kinds, but especially hunting and wrestling; he took obvious pleasure in the circus games and gladiatorial fights. He did not marry until 164. Antoninus Pius was not fond of his adopted son’s interests. He would keep Lucius in the family, but he was sure never to give the boy either power or glory. To take a typical example, Lucius would not appear on Alexandrian coinage until 160/1. In 156, Antoninus Pius turned 70. He found it difficult to keep himself upright without stays. He started nibbling on dry bread to give him the strength to stay awake through his morning receptions. In 160, Marcus and Lucius were designated joint consuls for the following year. Perhaps Antoninus was already ill; in any case, he died before the year was out. Two days before his death, the biographer reports, Antoninus was at his ancestral estate in Lorium. He ate Alpine cheese at dinner quite greedily. In the night he vomited; he had a fever the next day. The day after that, 7 March 161, he summoned the imperial council, and passed the state and his daughter to Marcus. He ordered that the golden statue of Fortune, which had been in the bedroom of the emperors, should go to Marcus’ bedroom. Antoninus turned over, as if going to sleep, and died. Accession of Marcus and Lucius, 161. After the death of Antoninus Pius, Marcus was effectively sole ruler of the Empire. The formalities of the position would follow: The senate would soon grant him the name Augustus and the title imperator , and he would soon be formally elected as Pontifex Maximus , chief priest of the official cults. Marcus made some show of resistance: the biographer writes that he was “compelled” to take imperial power. This may have been a genuine horror imperii , “fear of imperial power”. Marcus, with his preference for the philosophic life, found the imperial office unappealing. His training as a Stoic, however, had made the choice clear. It was his duty. Lucius Verus, Marcus’ co-emperor from 161 to Verus’ death in 169 (Metropolitan Museum of Art lent by Musée du Louvre). Although Marcus shows no personal affection for Hadrian (significantly, he does not thank him in the first book of his Meditations), he presumably believed it his duty to enact the man’s succession plans. Thus, although the senate planned to confirm Marcus alone, he refused to take office unless Lucius received equal powers. The senate accepted, granting Lucius the imperium , the tribunician power, and the name Augustus. Marcus became, in official titulature, Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; Lucius, forgoing his name Commodus and taking Marcus’ family name, Verus, became Imperator Caesar Lucius Aurelius Verus Augustus. It was the first time that Rome was ruled by two emperors. In spite of their nominal equality, Marcus held more auctoritas , or “authority”, than Lucius. He had been consul once more than Lucius, he had shared in Antoninus’ administration, and he alone was Pontifex Maximus. It would have been clear to the public which emperor was the more senior. Immediately after their senate confirmation, the emperors proceeded to the Castra Praetoria , the camp of the praetorian guard. Lucius addressed the assembled troops, which then acclaimed the pair as imperatores. Then, like every new emperor since Claudius, Lucius promised the troops a special donative. This donative, however, was twice the size of those past: 20,000 sesterces (5,000 denarii) per capita, with more to officers. In return for this bounty, equivalent to several years’ pay, the troops swore an oath to protect the emperors. Upon his accession he also devalued the Roman currency. He decreased the silver purity of the denarius from 83.5% to 79% the silver weight dropping from 2.68 grams to 2.57 grams. However, Marcus would later revisit the issue of currency reform. Antoninus Pius’ funeral ceremonies were, in the words of the biographer, “elaborate”. If his funeral followed the pattern of past funerals, his body would have been incinerated on a pyre at the Campus Martius , while his spirit would rise to the gods’ home in the heavens. Marcus and Lucius nominated their father for deification. In contrast to their behavior during Antoninus’ campaign to deify Hadrian, the senate did not oppose the emperors’ wishes. A flamen , or cultic priest, was appointed to minister the cult of the deified Antoninus, now Divus Antoninus. Antoninus Pius’ remains were laid to rest in the Hadrian’s mausoleum, beside the remains of Marcus’ children and of Hadrian himself. The temple he had dedicated to his wife, Diva Faustina, became the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina. It survives as the church of San Lorenzo in Miranda. In accordance with his will, Antoninus’ fortune passed on to Faustina. Marcus had little need of his wife’s fortune. Indeed, at his accession, Marcus transferred part of his mother’s estate to his nephew, Ummius Quadratus. Faustina was three months pregnant at her husband’s accession. During the pregnancy she dreamed of giving birth to two serpents, one fiercer than the other. On 31 August she gave birth at Lanuvium to twins: T. Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus. Aside from the fact that the twins shared Caligula’s birthday, the omens were favorable, and the astrologers drew positive horoscopes for the children. The births were celebrated on the imperial coinage. This marble portrait depicts Marcus Aurelius (reigned AD 161-180) The Walters Art Museum. Soon after the emperors’ accession, Marcus’ eleven-year-old daughter, Annia Lucilla, was betrothed to Lucius (in spite of the fact that he was, formally, her uncle). At the ceremonies commemorating the event, new provisions were made for the support of poor children, along the lines of earlier imperial foundations. Marcus and Lucius proved popular with the people of Rome, who strongly approved of their civiliter (“lacking pomp”) behavior. The emperors permitted free speech, evidenced by the fact that the comedy writer Marullus was able to criticize them without suffering retribution. At any other time, under any other emperor, he would have been executed. But it was a peaceful time, a forgiving time. And thus, as the biographer wrote, No one missed the lenient ways of Pius. Marcus replaced a number of the empire’s major officials. The ab epistulis Sextus Caecilius Crescens Volusianus, in charge of the imperial correspondence, was replaced with Titus Varius Clemens. Clemens was from the frontier province of Pannonia and had served in the war in Mauretania. Recently, he had served as procurator of five provinces. He was a man suited for a time of military crisis. Lucius Volusius Maecianus, Marcus’ former tutor, had been prefectural governor of Egypt at Marcus’ accession. Maecianus was recalled, made senator, and appointed prefect of the treasury (aerarium Saturni). He was made consul soon after. Fronto’s son-in-law, Aufidius Victorinus, was appointed governor of Upper Germany. He sent a note to the imperial freedman Charilas, asking if he could call on the emperors. Fronto would later explain that he had not dared to write the emperors directly. The tutor was immensely proud of his students. Reflecting on the speech he had written on taking his consulship in 143, when he had praised the young Marcus, Fronto was ebullient: There was then an outstanding natural ability in you; there is now perfected excellence. There was then a crop of growing corn; there is now a ripe, gathered harvest. What I was hoping for then, I have now. The hope has become a reality. Fronto called on Marcus alone; neither thought to invite Lucius. Lucius was less esteemed by his tutor than his brother, as his interests were on a lower level. Lucius asked Fronto to adjudicate in a dispute he and his friend Calpurnius were having on the relative merits of two actors. Marcus told Fronto of his reading Coelius and a little Ciceroand his family. His daughters were in Rome, with their great-great-aunt Matidia; Marcus thought the evening air of the country was too cold for them. He asked Fronto for some particularly eloquent reading matter, something of your own, or Cato, or Cicero, or Sallust or Gracchusor some poet, for I need distraction, especially in this kind of way, by reading something that will uplift and diffuse my pressing anxieties. Marcus’ early reign proceeded smoothly. Marcus was able to give himself wholly to philosophy and the pursuit of popular affection. Soon, however, Marcus would find he had many anxieties. It would mean the end of the felicitas temporum (“happy times”) that the coinage of 161 had so glibly proclaimed. In the spring of 162, the Tiber flooded over its banks, destroying much of Rome. It drowned many animals, leaving the city in famine. Fronto’s letters continued through Marcus’ early reign. He believed Marcus was “beginning to feel the wish to be eloquent once more, in spite of having for a time lost interest in eloquence”. Fronto would again remind his pupil of the tension between his role and his philosophic pretensions: Suppose, Caesar, that you can attain to the wisdom of Cleanthes and Zeno , yet, against your will, not the philosopher’s woolen cape. The early days of Marcus’ reign were the happiest of Fronto’s life: his pupil was beloved by the people of Rome, an excellent emperor, a fond pupil, and, perhaps most importantly, as eloquent as could be wished. Marcus had displayed rhetorical skill in his speech to the senate after an earthquake at Cyzicus. It had conveyed the drama of the disaster, and the senate had been awed: “not more suddenly or violently was the city stirred by the earthquake than the minds of your hearers by your speech”. Fronto was hugely pleased. War with Parthia, 16166. Origins to Lucius’ dispatch, 16162. On his deathbed, Antoninus Pius spoke of nothing but the state and the foreign kings who had wronged him. One of those kings, Vologases IV of Parthia , made his move in late summer or early autumn 161. Vologases entered the Kingdom of Armenia (then a Roman client state), expelled its king and installed his own Pacorus , an Arsacid like himself. The governor of Cappadocia, the front-line in all Armenian conflicts, was Marcus Sedatius Severianus, a Gaul with much experience in military matters. Convinced by the prophet Alexander of Abonutichus that he could defeat the Parthians easily, and win glory for himself, Severianus led a legion (perhaps the IX Hispana) into Armenia, but was trapped by the great Parthian general Chosrhoes at Elegia, a town just beyond the Cappadocian frontiers, high up past the headwaters of the Euphrates. Severianus made some attempt to fight Chosrhoes, but soon realized the futility of his campaign, and committed suicide. His legion was massacred. The campaign had only lasted three days. Coin of Vologases IV , king of Parthia, from 152/53. There was threat of war on other frontiers as wellin Britain, and in Raetia and Upper Germany , where the Chatti of the Taunus mountains had recently crossed over the limes. Antoninus seems to have given him no military experience; the biographer writes that Marcus spent the whole of Antoninus’ twenty-three-year reign at his emperor’s sideand not in the provinces, where most previous emperors had spent their early careers. More bad news arrived: the Syrian governor’s army had been defeated by the Parthians, and retreated in disarray. Reinforcements were dispatched for the Parthian frontier. Julius Geminius Marcianus, an African senator commanding X Gemina at Vindobona (Vienna), left for Cappadocia with detachments from the Danubian legions. Three full legions were also sent east: I Minervia from Bonn in Upper Germany, II Adiutrix from Aquincum. And V Macedonica from Troesmis. The northern frontiers were strategically weakened; frontier governors were told to avoid conflict wherever possible. Annius Libo, Marcus’ first cousin, was sent to replace the Syrian governor. He was younghis first consulship was in 161, so he was probably in his early thirtiesand, as a mere patrician, lacked military experience. Marcus had chosen a reliable man rather than a talented one. Marcus took a four-day public holiday at Alsium , a resort town on the Etrurian coast. He was too anxious to relax. Writing to Fronto, he declared that he would not speak about his holiday. Fronto replied ironically: What? Do I not know that you went to Alsium with the intention of devoting yourself to games, joking and complete leisure for four whole days? He encouraged Marcus to rest, calling on the example of his predecessors (Antoninus had enjoyed exercise in the palaestra , fishing, and comedy), going so far as to write up a fable about the gods’ division of the day between morning and eveningMarcus had apparently been spending most of his evenings on judicial matters instead of at leisure. Marcus could not take Fronto’s advice. Marcus put on Fronto’s voice to chastise himself:’Much good has my advice done you’, you will say! ” He had rested, and would rest often, but “this devotion to duty! Who knows better than you how demanding it is! Fronto sent Marcus a selection of reading material, and, to settle his unease over the course of the Parthian war, a long and considered letter, full of historical references. In modern editions of Fronto’s works, it is labeled De bello Parthico (On the Parthian War). There had been reverses in Rome’s past, Fronto writes, but, in the end, Romans had always prevailed over their enemies: “always and everywhere [Mars] has changed our troubles into successes and our terrors into triumphs”. Lucius at Antioch, 16265. Over the winter of 16162, as more bad news arriveda rebellion was brewing in Syriait was decided that Lucius should direct the Parthian war in person. He was stronger and healthier than Marcus, the argument went, more suited to military activity. Lucius’ biographer suggests ulterior motives: to restrain Lucius’ debaucheries, to make him thrifty, to reform his morals by the terror of war, to realize that he was an emperor. Whatever the case, the senate gave its assent, and, in the summer of 162, Lucius left. Marcus would remain in Rome; the city “demanded the presence of an emperor”. Lucius spent most of the campaign in Antioch, though he wintered at Laodicea and summered at Daphne, a resort just outside Antioch. Critics declaimed Lucius’ luxurious lifestyle. He had taken to gambling, they said; he would “dice the whole night through”. He enjoyed the company of actors. Libo died early in the war; perhaps Lucius had murdered him. In the middle of the war, perhaps in autumn 163 or early 164, Lucius made a trip to Ephesus to be married to Marcus’ daughter Lucilla. Marcus moved up the date; perhaps he had already heard of Lucius’ mistress, the low-born and beautiful Panthea. Lucilla’s thirteenth birthday was in March 163; whatever the date of her marriage, she was not yet fifteen. Lucilla was accompanied by her mother Faustina and M. Vettulenus Civica Barbarus, the half-brother of Lucius’ father. Civica was made comes Augusti , “companion of the emperors”; perhaps Marcus wanted him to watch over Lucius, the job Libo had failed at. Marcus may have planned to accompany them all the way to Smyrna (the biographer says he told the senate he would); this did not happen. Counterattack and victory, 16366. The Armenian capital Artaxata was captured in 163. At the end of the year, Verus took the title Armeniacus , despite having never seen combat; Marcus declined to accept the title until the following year. When Lucius was hailed as imperator again, however, Marcus did not hesitate to take the Imperator II with him. Occupied Armenia was reconstructed on Roman terms. In 164, a new capital, Kaine Polis (‘New City’), replaced Artaxata. A new king was installed: a Roman senator of consular rank and Arsacid descent, Gaius Julius Sohaemus. He may not even have been crowned in Armenia; the ceremony may have taken place in Antioch, or even Ephesus. Sohaemus was hailed on the imperial coinage of 164 under the legend. Lucius sat on a throne with his staff while Sohamenus stood before him, saluting the emperor. In 163, the Parthians intervened in Osroene , a Roman client in upper Mesopotamia centered on Edessa , and installed their own king on its throne. In response, Roman forces were moved downstream, to cross the Euphrates at a more southerly point. Before the end of 163, however, Roman forces had moved north to occupy Dausara and Nicephorium on the northern, Parthian bank. Soon after the conquest of the north bank of the Euphrates, other Roman forces moved on Osroene from Armenia, taking Anthemusia, a town south-west of Edessa. In 165, Roman forces moved on Mesopotamia. Edessa was re-occupied, and Mannus, the king deposed by the Parthians, was re-installed. The Parthians retreated to Nisibis, but this too was besieged and captured. The Parthian army dispersed in the Tigris. A second force, under Avidius Cassius and the III Gallica, moved down the Euphrates, and fought a major battle at Dura. By the end of the year, Cassius’ army had reached the twin metropolises of Mesopotamia: Seleucia on the right bank of the Tigris and Ctesiphon on the left. Ctesiphon was taken and its royal palace set to flame. The citizens of Seleucia, still largely Greek (the city had been commissioned and settled as a capital of the Seleucid Empire , one of Alexander the Great’s successor kingdoms), opened its gates to the invaders. The city got sacked nonetheless, leaving a black mark on Lucius’ reputation. Excuses were sought, or invented: the official version had it that the Seleucids broke faith first. Cassius’ army, although suffering from a shortage of supplies and the effects of a plague contracted in Seleucia, made it back to Roman territory safely. Lucius took the title Parthicus Maximus, and he and Marcus were hailed as imperatores again, earning the title’imp. Lucius took the title’Medicus’, and the emperors were again hailed as imperatores , becoming’imp. IV’ in imperial titulature. Marcus took the Parthicus Maximus now, after another tactful delay. Conclusion of the war and events at Rome, mid-160s167. A bust of Marcus Aurelius, Metropolitan Museum of Art , New York. Most of the credit for the war’s success must be ascribed to subordinate generals, the most prominent of which was C. Avidius Cassius , commander of III Gallica, one of the Syrian legions. Cassius was a young senator of low birth from the north Syrian town of Cyrrhus. His father, Heliodorus, had not been a senator, but was nonetheless a man of some standing: he had been Hadrian’s ab epistulis , followed the emperor on his travels, and was prefect of Egypt at the end of Hadrian’s reign. Cassius also, with no small sense of self-worth, claimed descent from the Seleucid kings. Cassius and his fellow commander in the war, Martius Verus, still probably in their mid-thirties, took the consulships for 166. After their consulships, they were made governors: Cassius, of Syria; Martius Verus, of Cappadocia. At Rome, Marcus was occupied with family matters. Matidia, his great-aunt, had died. However, her will was invalid under the lex Falcidia : Matidia had assigned more than three-quarters of her estate to non-relatives. This was because many of her clients were included in codicils to her will. Matidia had never confirmed the documents, but as she was dying, her clients had sealed them in with the original, making them valid. Fronto urged Marcus to push the family’s case, but Marcus demurred, saying his brother would make the final decision. On the return from the campaign, Lucius was awarded with a triumph ; the parade was unusual because it included the two emperors, their sons and unmarried daughters as a big family celebration. Marcus Aurelius’ two sons, Commodus five years old and Annius Verus of three, were elevated to the status of Caesar for the occasion. The returning army carried with them a plague, afterwards known as the Antonine Plague , or the Plague of Galen , which spread through the Roman Empire between 165 and 180. The disease was a pandemic believed to be either of smallpox or measles , and would ultimately claim the lives of two Roman emperors Lucius Verus , who died in 169, and Marcus Aurelius, whose family name, Antoninus, was given to the epidemic. The disease broke out again nine years later, according to the Roman historian Dio Cassius , and caused up to 2,000 deaths a day at Rome, one-quarter of those infected. Total deaths have been estimated at five million. A possible contact with Han China occurred in 166 when a Roman traveller visited the Han court , claiming to be an ambassador representing a certain Andun, who can be identified either with Marcus Aurelius or his predecessor Antoninus Pius. Legal and administrative work, 16180. Like many emperors, Marcus spent most of his time addressing matters of law such as petitions and hearing disputes. Marcus took great care in the theory and practice of legislation. Professional jurists called him “an emperor most skilled in the law” and “a most prudent and conscientiously just emperor”. He shows marked interest in three areas of the law: the manumission of slaves, the guardianship of orphans and minors, and the choice of city councillors (decuriones). In 168 he revalued the denarius , increasing the silver purity from 79% to 82% the actual silver weight increasing from 2.57 grams to 2.67 grams. However, two years later Marcus reverted to the previous values because of the military crises facing the empire. War with Germanic tribes 166180. The Roman Empire during the reign of Marcus Aurelius. His annexation of lands of the Marcomanni and the Jazyges perhaps to be provincially called Marcomannia and Sarmatia was cut short in 175 by the revolt of Avidius Cassius and in 180 by his death. During the early 160s, Fronto’s son-in-law Victorinus was stationed as a legate in Germany. He was there with his wife and children (another child had stayed with Fronto and his wife in Rome). The condition on the northern frontier looked grave. A frontier post had been destroyed, and it looked like all the peoples of central and northern Europe were in turmoil. There was corruption among the officers: Victorinus had to ask for the resignation of a legionary legate who was taking bribes. Experienced governors had been replaced by friends and relatives of the imperial family. Dasumius Tullius Tuscus, a distant relative of Hadrian, was in Upper Pannonia, succeeding the experienced M. Lower Pannonia was under the obscure Ti. Servilius Fabianus Maximus was shuffled from Lower Moesia to Upper Moesia when Iallius Bassus had joined Lucius in Antioch. Lower Moesia was filled by Pontius Laelianus’ son. The Dacias were still divided in three, governed by a praetorian senator and two procurators. The peace could not hold long; Lower Pannonia did not even have a legion. Starting in the 160s, Germanic tribes and other nomadic people launched raids along the northern border , particularly into Gaul and across the Danube. This new impetus westwards was probably due to attacks from tribes further east. A first invasion of the Chatti in the province of Germania Superior was repulsed in 162. Far more dangerous was the invasion of 166, when the Marcomanni of Bohemia, clients of the Roman Empire since 19, crossed the Danube together with the Lombards and other German tribes. At the same time, the Iranian Sarmatians attacked between the Danube and the Theiss rivers. Due to the situation in the East, only a punitive expedition could be launched in 167. Both Marcus and Verus led the troops. After the death of Verus (169), Marcus led personally the struggle against the Germans for the great part of his remaining life. The Romans suffered at least two serious defeats by the Quadi and Marcomanni, who could cross the Alps, ravage Opitergium (Oderzo) and besiege Aquileia , the main Roman city of north-east Italy. At the same time the Costoboci , coming from the Carpathian area, invaded Moesia , Macedonia and Greece. After a long struggle, Marcus Aurelius managed to push back the invaders. Numerous Germans settled in frontier regions like Dacia , Pannonia , Germany and Italy itself. This was not a new thing, but this time the numbers of settlers required the creation of two new frontier provinces on the left shore of the Danube, Sarmatia and Marcomannia , including today’s Czech Republic and Hungary. Some Germans who settled in Ravenna revolted and managed to seize possession of the city. For this reasion, Marcus Aurelius decided not only to bring more barbarians into Italy, but even banished those who had previously been brought there. The emperor’s plans were, however, prevented by a revolt in East, led by Avidius Cassius, which was prompted by false news of the death of Marcus after an illness. Of the eastern provinces, only Cappadocia and Bithynia did not side with the rebels. When it became clear that Marcus Aurelius was still alive, Cassius’ fortunes declined quickly and he was killed by his troops after only 100 days of power. Together with his wife Faustina, Marcus Aurelius toured the eastern provinces until 173. He visited Athens, declaring himself a protector of philosophy. After a triumph in Rome, the following year he marched again to the Danubian frontier. After a decisive victory in 178, the plan to annex Bohemia seemed poised for success but was abandoned after Marcus Aurelius again fell ill in 180. Death and succession 180. Bronze statue of Marcus Aurelius, piazza del Campidoglio in Rome. Marcus Aurelius died on 17 March 180, in the city of Vindobona (modern Vienna). His campaigns against Germans and Sarmatians were also commemorated by a column and a temple built in Rome. Marcus gave the succession to his son Commodus , whom he had named Caesar in 166 and made co-emperor in 177. This decision, putting an end to the series of “adoptive emperors”, was highly criticized by later historians since Commodus was a political and military outsider, as well as an extreme egotist with neurotic problems. At the end of his history of Marcus’ reign, Cassius Dio wrote an encomium to the emperor, and described the transition to Commodus, to Dio’s own times, with sorrow. [Marcus] did not meet with the good fortune that he deserved, for he was not strong in body and was involved in a multitude of troubles throughout practically his entire reign. But for my part, I admire him all the more for this very reason, that amid unusual and extraordinary difficulties he both survived himself and preserved the empire. Just one thing prevented him from being completely happy, namely, that after rearing and educating his son in the best possible way he was vastly disappointed in him. This matter must be our next topic; for our history now descends from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust, as affairs did for the Romans of that day. Cassius Dio 71.36.34. Michael Grant, in The Climax of Rome (1968), writes of Commodus: The youth turned out to be very erratic or at least so anti-traditional that disaster was inevitable. But whether or not Marcus ought to have known this to be so, the rejections of his son’s claims in favour of someone else would almost certainly involved one of the civil wars which were to proliferate so disastrous around future successions. Marcus Aurelius acquired the reputation of a philosopher king within his lifetime, and the title would remain his after death; both Dio and the biographer call him “the philosopher”. Christians Justin Martyr , Athenagoras, Melitogave him the title too. The last named went so far as to call Marcus “more philanthropic and philosophic” than Antoninus Pius and Hadrian, and set him against the persecuting emperors Domitian and Nero to make the contrast bolder. “Alone of the emperors, ” wrote the historian Herodian, he gave proof of his learning not by mere words or knowledge of philosophical doctrines but by his blameless character and temperate way of life. The 1964 movie The Fall of the Roman Empire and the 2000 movie Gladiator featured characters based on him. Both plots posited that Marcus Aurelius was assassinated because he intended to pass down power to Aurelius’s adopted son, a Roman general, instead of his biological son Commodus. Although, before becoming emperor, Marcus Aurelius followed the lenient line of the emperors Hadrian and Antoninus Pius , he is listed among the persecutors of Christians along with Nero , Domitian and Decius. Henry Wace attributes his severity as emperor to rivalry between the rising teachers of Christianity and the professors of the school of Stoicism to which the emperor belonged, to a personal bitterness to which he gave expression in his Meditations , and to the occurrence of natural calamities that the populace attributed to the anger of the gods against those who denied them and that the Christians saw as signs of the end of the world. Bust of Faustina the Younger, Louvre , Paris. Aurelius married his first cousin Faustina the Younger in 145. During their 30-year marriage Faustina bore 13 children. Only one son and four daughters outlived their father. Annia Aurelia Galeria Faustina (147after 165). Gemellus Lucillae (died around 150), twin brother of Lucilla. Annia Aurelia Galeria Lucilla (148/50182), twin sister of Gemellus, married her father’s co-ruler Lucius Verus. Titus Aelius Antoninus (born after 150, died before 7 March 161). Titus Aelius Aurelius (born after 150, died before 7 March 161). Domitia Faustina (born after 150, died before 7 March 161). Annia Aurelia Fadilla (159after 211). Annia Cornificia Faustina Minor (160after 211). Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus (161165), twin brother of Commodus. Lucius Aurelius Commodus Antoninus (Commodus) (161192), twin brother of Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus, later emperor. Marcus Annius Verus Caesar (162169). Vibia Aurelia Sabina (170died before 217). While on campaign between 170 and 180, Aurelius wrote his Meditations in Greek as a source for his own guidance and self-improvement. The title of this work was added posthumouslyoriginally he entitled his work simply: “To Myself”. He had been a priest at the sacrificial altars of Roman service and was an eager patriot. He had a logical mind and his notes were representative of Stoic philosophy and spirituality. Meditations is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty. The book has been a favourite of Frederick the Great , John Stuart Mill , Matthew Arnold , Goethe , Wen Jiabao , and Bill Clinton. It is not known how far Marcus’ writings were circulated after his death. There are stray references in the ancient literature to the popularity of his precepts, and Julian the Apostate was well aware of Marcus’ reputation as a philosopher, though he does not specifically mention the Meditations. The book itself, though mentioned in correspondence by Arethas of Caesarea in the 10th century and in the Byzantine Suda , was first published in 1558 in Zurich by Wilhelm Holzmann, from a manuscript copy that is now lost. The only other surviving complete copy of the manuscript is in the Vatican library. (1) = 1st spouse. (2) = 2nd spouse (not shown). (3) = 3rd spouse. = posthumously deified (Augusti , Augustae , or other). Dotted lines indicate adoption or (in the case of Hadrian and Antinous) alleged lovers. T , adoptive son r. Libo Rupilius Frugi (3). H , adoptive son r. P , adoptive son r. V , adoptive son r. The sestertius , or sesterce , pl. Sestertii was an ancient Roman coin. During the Roman Republic it was a small, silver coin issued only on rare occasions. During the Roman Empire it was a large brass coin. Helmed Roma head right, IIS behind Dioscuri riding right, ROMA in linear frame below. The name sestertius (originally semis-tertius) means “2 ½”, the coin’s original value in asses , and is a combination of semis “half” and tertius “third”, that is, “the third half” (0 ½ being the first half and 1 ½ the second half) or “half the third” (two units plus half the third unit, or half way between the second unit and the third). Parallel constructions exist in Danish with halvanden (1 ½), halvtredje (2 ½) and halvfjerde (3 ½). The form sesterce , derived from French , was once used in preference to the Latin form, but is now considered old-fashioned. It is abbreviated as (originally IIS). Example of a detailed portrait of Hadrian 117 to 138. The sestertius was introduced c. 211 BC as a small silver coin valued at one-quarter of a denarius (and thus one hundredth of an aureus). A silver denarius was supposed to weigh about 4.5 grams, valued at ten grams, with the silver sestertius valued at two and one-half grams. In practice, the coins were usually underweight. When the denarius was retariffed to sixteen asses (due to the gradual reduction in the size of bronze denominations), the sestertius was accordingly revalued to four asses, still equal to one quarter of a denarius. It was produced sporadically, far less often than the denarius, through 44 BC. Hostilian under Trajan Decius 250 AD. In or about 23 BC, with the coinage reform of Augustus , the denomination of sestertius was introduced as the large brass denomination. Augustus tariffed the value of the sestertius as 1/100 Aureus. The sestertius was produced as the largest brass denomination until the late 3rd century AD. Most were struck in the mint of Rome but from AD 64 during the reign of Nero (AD 5468) and Vespasian (AD 6979), the mint of Lyon (Lugdunum), supplemented production. Lyon sestertii can be recognised by a small globe, or legend stop, beneath the bust. The brass sestertius typically weighs in the region of 25 to 28 grammes, is around 3234 mm in diameter and about 4 mm thick. The distinction between bronze and brass was important to the Romans. Their name for brass was orichalcum , a word sometimes also spelled aurichalcum (echoing the word for a gold coin, aureus), meaning’gold-copper’, because of its shiny, gold-like appearance when the coins were newly struck (see, for example Pliny the Elder in his Natural History Book 34.4). Orichalcum was considered, by weight, to be worth about double that of bronze. This is why the half-sestertius, the dupondius , was around the same size and weight as the bronze as, but was worth two asses. Sestertii continued to be struck until the late 3rd century, although there was a marked deterioration in the quality of the metal used and the striking even though portraiture remained strong. Later emperors increasingly relied on melting down older sestertii, a process which led to the zinc component being gradually lost as it burned off in the high temperatures needed to melt copper (Zinc melts at 419 °C, Copper at 1085 °C). The shortfall was made up with bronze and even lead. Later sestertii tend to be darker in appearance as a result and are made from more crudely prepared blanks (see the Hostilian coin on this page). The gradual impact of inflation caused by debasement of the silver currency meant that the purchasing power of the sestertius and smaller denominations like the dupondius and as was steadily reduced. In the 1st century AD, everyday small change was dominated by the dupondius and as, but in the 2nd century, as inflation bit, the sestertius became the dominant small change. In the 3rd century silver coinage contained less and less silver, and more and more copper or bronze. By the 260s and 270s the main unit was the double-denarius, the antoninianus , but by then these small coins were almost all bronze. Although these coins were theoretically worth eight sestertii, the average sestertius was worth far more in plain terms of the metal they contained. Some of the last sestertii were struck by Aurelian (270275 AD). During the end of its issue, when sestertii were reduced in size and quality, the double sestertius was issued first by Trajan Decius (249251 AD) and later in large quantity by the ruler of a breakaway regime in the West called Postumus (259268 AD), who often used worn old sestertii to overstrike his image and legends on. The double sestertius was distinguished from the sestertius by the radiate crown worn by the emperor, a device used to distinguish the dupondius from the as and the antoninianus from the denarius. Eventually, the inevitable happened. Many sestertii were withdrawn by the state and by forgers, to melt down to make the debased antoninianus, which made inflation worse. In the coinage reforms of the 4th century, the sestertius played no part and passed into history. Sestertius of Hadrian , dupondius of Antoninus Pius , and as of Marcus Aurelius. As a unit of account. The sestertius was also used as a standard unit of account, represented on inscriptions with the monogram HS. Large values were recorded in terms of sestertium milia , thousands of sestertii, with the milia often omitted and implied. The hyper-wealthy general and politician of the late Roman Republic, Crassus (who fought in the war to defeat Spartacus), was said by Pliny the Elder to have had’estates worth 200 million sesterces’. A loaf of bread cost roughly half a sestertius, and a sextarius (0.5 liter) of wine anywhere from less than half to more than 1 sestertius. One modius (6.67 kg) of wheat in 79 AD Pompeii cost 7 sestertii, of rye 3 sestertii, a bucket 2 sestertii, a tunic 15 sestertii, a donkey 500 sestertii. A writing tablet from Londinium (Roman London), dated to c. 75125 AD, records the sale of a Gallic slave girl called Fortunata for 600 denarii, equal to 2,400 sestertii, to a man called Vegetus. It is difficult to make any comparisons with modern coinage or prices, but for most of the 1st century AD the ordinary legionary was paid 900 sestertii per annum, rising to 1,200 under Domitian (81-96 AD), the equivalent of 3.3 sestertii per day. Half of this was deducted for living costs, leaving the soldier (if he was lucky enough actually to get paid) with about 1.65 sestertii per day. A sestertius of Nero , struck at Rome in 64 AD. The reverse depicts the emperor on horseback with a companion. The legend reads DECVRSIO,’a military exercise’. Sestertii are highly valued by numismatists , since their large size gave caelatores (engravers) a large area in which to produce detailed portraits and reverse types. The most celebrated are those produced for Nero (54-68 AD) between the years 64 and 68 AD, created by some of the most accomplished coin engravers in history. The brutally realistic portraits of this emperor, and the elegant reverse designs, greatly impressed and influenced the artists of the Renaissance. The series issued by Hadrian (117-138 AD), recording his travels around the Roman Empire, brilliantly depicts the Empire at its height, and included the first representation on a coin of the figure of Britannia ; it was revived by Charles II , and was a feature of United Kingdom coinage until the 2008 redesign. What is a certificate of authenticity and what guarantees do you give that the item is authentic? You will be quite happy with what you get with the COA; a professional presentation of the coin, with all of the relevant information and a picture of the coin you saw in the listing. Is there a number I can call you with questions about my order? When should I leave feedback? Once you receive your order, please leave a positive. Please don’t leave any negative feedbacks, as it happens many times that people rush to leave feedback before letting sufficient time for the order to arrive. The matter of fact is that any issues can be resolved, as reputation is most important to me. My goal is to provide superior products and quality of service. The item “MARCUS AURELIUS as Caesar 145AD BIG Ancient Roman Coin Minerva Athena i36685″ is in sale since Thursday, January 16, 2014. This item is in the category “Coins & Paper Money\Coins\ Ancient\Roman\ Imperial (27 BC-476 AD)”. The seller is “highrating_lowprice” and is located in Rego Park, New York. This item can be shipped worldwide.