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|Portrait Gallery of Roman Emperors|
What's in a Name?
Many Roman emperors appear to have had multiple identities, in that they added or changed names as they were adopted by one of their seniors. In the case of Aurelius, he seems to have more than his share of different names. We will start by trying to list and clarify his various names.
Born Marcus Annius Verus at Rome in 121 AD. He had the name Verissimus bestowed on him by Hadrian, who had recognised his talents and potential. After the death of Aelius, when Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius, Antoninus in turn adopted Aurelius, and gave him the names Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus. On his elevation as Augustus, he also acquired the name Antoninus. He is often referred to simply as Aurelius, although he is also referred to as "The Philosopher" on account of his devotion to Stoic philosophy.
In 145, he married Faustina Junior, the younger daughter of Antoninus Pius and Faustina Senior. They had 13 children including the future emperor Commodus, and their eldest daughter Lucilla who became the wife of Lucius Verus.
On his accession, Aurelius immediately installed Lucius Verus as his partner in the administration of the empire.
Aurelius reigned for 20 years, during which there were many frontier wars, but his reign was noted for its military successes, and he is also recognised for literary achievements including his "Meditations". On Lucius Verus' return from the Parthian War in 166, many of the soldiers brought back a form of plague which caused considerable depopulation in many regions of the empire.
He carries a reputation as one of the best of the Roman emperors.
The coin shown is a silver denarius of Marcus Aurelius.
Bare headed portrait, with curly hair and beard, facing right, with the legend M ANTONINUS AUG IMP II.
The reverse shows Providence holding globe and cornucopiae, with the legend PROV D FOR TRP (XVII or XVIII possibly XVIIII) COS III.
These titles date this coin to 163, assuming that the failure to mention ARMENIACUS eliminates the possibility of 164 AD.
Memory Still Alive
There is a well known bronze equestrian sculpture of Marcus Aurelius, in the Musei Capitolini in Rome, with a copy is on display in the Piazza del Campidoglio square. This is the only surviving bronze statue of a pre-Christian Roman emperor, and it is believed to have survived only because it was wrongly thought to be of Constantine the Great. The statue forms the basis of the design for the Italian euro 50¢.
Roman Emperors Portrait Gallery
You may wish to visit our portrait gallery of Roman emperors. Although it is not complete, we add new and better coins when we can. We are always keen to buy superior quality Roman coins to upgrade our photo gallery.
If you want to find the value of a coin you own, please take a look at our page I've Found An Old Coin, What's It Worth?
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