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Coins of Rome about Parthia:
Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161-180)

Marcus Annius Verus was the son of Annius Verus and Domitia Lucilla. Hadrian betrothed him to the daughter of Aelius Caesar. After the death of Aelius, he was adopted by Antoninus and took the name of M. Aelius Aurelius Verus. In A.D. 139 he was given the title of Caesar and in A.D. 145, he married Faustina Junior, the daughter of Antoninus. He became Augustus in A.D. 161. 

For all his philosophical wisdom, Marcus Aurelius was easily deceived by false prophets and he surrounded himself with these fakers even on military campaigns..  He was a patron of the great 'Glycon', (Alexander of Abonuteichos) a trickster who used a snake wearing a hooded mask of Apollo to issue his predictions. Glycon caused the death of numerous Roman soldiers by advising Marcus Sedatius Severianus to attack the Parthians in AD 161. The entire Roman force was annihilated by the Parthian mounted archers at Elegeia.  Even after that debacle, Marcus Aurelius consulted with Glycon before he crossed the Danube to assault the Marcomanni tribes; in the battle that followed, 20,000 legionaries were killed. (Lucian, Alexander, 48)

Marcus Aurelius' reign was disturbed by many frontier wars, and his legions returning from Parthia are believed the carriers of a plague which spread throughout the empire. Late in his reign he campaigned on the Danube frontier where he wrote Meditations. He died in A.D. 180 and was immediately deified.

Aurelius chose L. Verus as his partner and betrothed him to his daughter Lucilla. Verus had led a Parthian war from A.D. 162 to 166 with great success (but little effort on his part, according to some historians), and on his return to Rome, Verus shared his triumph with Aurelius.

TR P refers to the tribune power of the emperor, and indicates the year. It may appear on the obverse or reverse. Dating can also be done from consulships (COS) and imperatorial acclamations (IMP):

TR P XX = 10th Dec 165 - 9th Dec 166
TR P XXI =
TR P XXII =
TR P XXIII =

Coins in the Name of Marcus Aurelius

Click on coin catalog links to view images:

Catalog Denom Inscription Reverse Type

Marcus Aurelius  A.D. 161-180

BMC 444 aureus M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / TR P XXII IMP IIII COS III Victory advancing L holding up wreath and palm; also BMC 457
BMC 458
RIC3 9
aureus M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / FORT RED TR P XXII IMP V COS III Fortuna seated L holding rudder on ground and cornucopia in L hand
BMC 465 aureus M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX /TR P XXII IMP V COS III Aequitas seated L holding scales and cornucopias
BMC 471var aureus M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX /TR P XXII IMP V COS III Victory advancing L holding wreath and palm
RSC2 878
RSC2 878
RIC 163
RIC 163
denarius M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / TR P XX IMP IIII COS III Victory stand. inscribing VIC PAR on shield
RSC2 892 denarius " Aequitas stand. L holding scales and cornucopia
BMC 401
C 435
RIC 159
denarius " Pax stand. L holding a branch and a cornucopias; PAX in exergue
RSC2 881 denarius M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / TR P XXI IMP IIII COS III Providentia stand. L holding a wand over a globe to the L, and scepter to R; also BMC 439, 441, 442
BMC 435 denarius M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / TR P XXI IMP IIII COS III Aequitas stand. L holding scales in R and cornucopias in L
BMC 456 denarius M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / TR P XXII IMP IIII COS III Providentia stand. L holding in R hand wand over globe on ground L and vertical scepter in L hand
BMC 453 denarius M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / TR P XXII IMP IIII COS III Aequitas stand. L holding scales and cornucopias
BMC 470 denarius M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / TR P XXII IMP V COS III Providence stand. L holding baton & scepter, globe at her feet
RSC2 899 denarius " Aequitas seated L holding scales and cornucopia
BMC 462 denarius " Aequitas stand. front holding scales and cornucopias
RSC 208
RSC 208
BMC 459
denarius M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / FORT RED TR P XXII IMP V COS III Fortuna seated L holding rudder and cornucopia
BMC 484
BMC 487
denarius M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX /FORT RED TR P XXIII IMP V COS III "
BMC 1317
RIC 948
sestertius M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / TR POT XXI IMP IIII COS III Victory advancing L holding wreath and palm; S C
BMC 1318 sestertius M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / TR POT XXI IMP IIII COS III Victory advancing L holding wreath and palm
RIC 960
BMC 1333
sestertius M ANTONINUS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / TR POT XXII IMP V COS III Aequitas seated L holding scales and cornucopia flanked by S C
BMC 1334
RIC 959
sestertius M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / TR POT XXII IMP V COS III Victory advancing L holding wreath in R and palm in L; S C
BMC 1345
RIC 969
sestertius M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / TR POT XXIII IMP V COS III Aequitas seated L holding scales in R and cornucopias in L; S C
BMC 1289 sestertius M AVREL ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / TR POT XX IMP IIII COS III Victory stand. L head R holding palm in R and attaching shield inscribed VIC PAR to palm tree at R; S C
BMC 1296 dupondius M AVREL ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX / TR POT XX IMP IIII COS III Victory stand. front, holding palm and round shield inscribed VIC PAR on trunk of palm-tree
Catalog Denom Inscription Reverse Type

The images are used by permission of their copyright owners. See the Coins of Rome about Parthia index page for a listing of these generous individuals, dealers and institutions.


This page last updated 22 Apr 2008

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Online since 28 March 1998
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