This chunky, enigmatic bronze coin dates from A.D. 161 – 180, a period when the Roman Empire was ruled by the ‘Philosopher King’, Marcus Aurelius.
Perhaps now better known as the father of Commodus in the movie, Gladiator, Marcus Aurelius was the last of the ‘Five Good Emperors’ (a term coined by Machiavelli in the sixteenth century — the other four being Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius) and the last emperor to rule during the extraordinary two-hundred-year period of political peace known as the Pax Romana.
Throughout history, Marcus Aurelius has been remembered primarily for two reasons: his domination of the Germanic tribes in a series of wars and conquests from 166 – 180 A.D., and ‘Meditations’ — a work of stoic philosophy and private thoughts which essentially constituted the world’s most powerful man giving himself advice on how to remain morally good despite the power and obligations of his position — perhaps the polar opposite of today’s most powerful man.
The coin is an ‘As’, or quarter of a Sestertius, and displays Marcus Aurelius as Caesar with ‘Hilaritas’ (the personification of joy) on the reverse.
A full description is provided in the documentation.
ROMAN BRONZE COIN OF THE PHILOSOPHER KING
Acquired by Timeless on the UK antiquities market, 2019.