Marcus Aurelius                            161 - 180


Marcus Aurelius owes much of him becoming Augustus to Hadrian who groomed him from childhood for the post. He became Caesar shortly after Hadrian died and the political grooming continued under Antoninus Pius. He had to wait another twenty years or so to become Augustus himself in the year 161. No sooner did this happen than he was thrust in a series of wars that would eat up the rest of his time in office. He died while fighting the ever-harassing tribes of the Germanic region and power then passed to his son Commodus.

During his lengthy reign he is remembered as being among the noblest and most even-keeled of emperors. He preferred to use the considerable power of his post to pursue a period of enlightenment out of character not only for his age but clear across time to our very own. Gibbon summarizes that he "was severe to himself, indulgent to the imperfections of others, just and beneficent to all mankind."


AE As 139--180 A.D.

27 mm.

Obv. AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG P II F COS: Draped and bare-headed bust right

Rev. PIETAS AVG S C: Aspergillum, praeferculum, lituus, and simplum

RIC 1240, C. 455, Van Meter 160

AE As 161--180 A.D.

26 mm. struck 162/163

Obv. IMP M AVREL ANTONINVS AVG PM: Bare head right

Rev. SALVTI AVGVSTOR TR P XVII: Salus standing left, using patera to feed a

snake arising from an altar

BMC 1044, Van Meter 161

AR Denarius 161--180 A.D.


3.25 g., 18 mm.

Obv. AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG PII F: Bare-headed bust right

Rev. TR POT III COS II: Minerva standing right, holding spear and leaning on a shield

RC 618, C. 634, Van Meter 43/1

AR Dupondius 161--180 A.D.

Rome struck ca. 170--171 A.D.

23 mm.

Obv. M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXV: Radiate head right

Rev. IMP VI COS III S C: Victory standing right, attaching a shield on which is inscribed


C. 268, RIC 1002

AE Sestertius 139--180 A.D.

32.63 g.,30 mm., 5 mm. thickness ca. 157--158 A.D.

Obv. AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG P II FIL: Bare-headed, draped bust right

Rev. TR POT XII COS II S C: Felicitas standing left, holding caduceus and scepter,

leaning on column

RIC 1345