Marcus Aurelius Consecration denarius- the end of an era

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Shea19, Nov 29, 2020.

  1. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    This Consecration denarius was struck shortly after the death of Marcus Aurelius in 180 A.D., under the rule of his son Commodus. The coin was struck to memorialize the recently deified Marcus Aurelius, the last of the "5 Good Emperors" This is widely considered to be a critical time in the history of the Empire. The famous quote from Cassius Dio is that when Marcus Aurelius died and his son took over the throne, the Empire soon descended "from a kingdom of gold to one of iron and rust.”

    This coin has an expressive and somewhat unusual portrait of Divus Marcus Aurelius, which really stood out to me. In most of his coinage, Marcus was shown with a stoic, dignified facial expression. In this portrait, he has an odd look on his face, as though he is startled or stunned at what he is seeing. I thought that this was a perfect symbol for this time period. To me, it looks like Marcus is looking out from beyond the grave at the future, and thinking "what is happening to my Empire?" (or maybe more accurately "what has my idiot son done now?").

    Divus Marcus Aurelius. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.24 g). Consecration issue. Rome mint. Struck under Commodus, 180 AD. Bare head of Divus Marcus Aurelius right / Rev. CONSECRATIO, eagle standing right on globe, head left, wings spread. RIC III 273 (Commodus).
    CNG E-Auction 466, From the Phil Peck ("Morris") Collection

    The idea that the Empire immediately declined after Commodus took over of course isn't true. Rome wasn't built in a day, and it didn't collapse in a day either. But the ascension of Commodus, whose only real credential was that his father happened to be the emperor, was a huge change from nearly a century of wildly successful "Adoptive" emperors (Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Lucius Verus, Marcus Aurelius), who were chosen as emperor mostly (or at least partially) because they were competent and capable for the job. To be fair, unlike his predecessors, Marcus Aurelius was the only emperor that century to have an adult male heir to choose from, but his choice of Commodus as his successor turned out to be a terrible decision.

    This portrait showing the seemingly regretful, mortified ghost of Marcus Aurelius really struck me as a perfect representation of the aftermath of his rule, and I was very happy to add this one to my collection.

    Please share your Consecration issues, your favorite Marcus Aurelius portraits, or anything else relevant!
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  3. El Cazador

    El Cazador Active Member

  4. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Great coin, @Shea19 ...

    RI Carus 282-283 CE AE 18mm BI Tet Consecratio Flaming Alter Divus Carus under Carinus R2
  5. Tony1982

    Tony1982 Well-Known Member

    Nice coin , this is my favourite Marcus Aurelius portrait that i own
    and also the mistake that was Commodus!
  6. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    This is my favorite Marcus Aurelius portrait.
    AR Denarius, Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180).
    RIC 349
  7. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    LOL. That look on his face really says it all. Great coin!

    His co-emperor, Lucius Verus, had no such worries when he shuffled off this mortal coil a decade earlier and left the empire in Aurelius's hands. Not that Verus was one known for being a worrier.

    Lucius Verus - Consecratio.jpg
    AR Denarius. 3.64g, 19.7mm. Rome mint, AD 169, Consecration issue under Marcus Aurelius. RIC III 596a; BMCRE IV p. 456, 503 and pl. 62.19; C 55. O: DIVVS VERVS, bare head right. R: CONSECRATIO, Eagle standing front, body inclined right, head turned left, stands on bar.
    Ex A.K. Collection
  8. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    CONSECRATIO Sestertius:

    Marcus Aurelius CONSECRATIO sestertius WmR.jpg
  9. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    My only Consecratio with a wedding cake reverse, a Divus Antoninus Pius issued under Marcus Aurelius:

    COMBINED Divus Antoninus Pius - Consecratio.jpg
  10. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..very nice concencrato denarius of MA @Shea19 :) i thnk of it(and see RC's^^)...i have a very worn sestertius MA concencrato..kool! :D Marcus Arelius funeral pyre sestertius 005.JPG Marcus Arelius funeral pyre sestertius 004.JPG
  11. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    ..i have one o does too(tho not as nice as yours)...Everett Guy just got one and made a thread on it..:)( i wasn't able to post on it at the time)
    DonnaML likes this.
  12. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Great coins, thanks for sharing!

    @Tony1982 , love the portrait on that bronze, wow! And some beautiful L. Verus portraits, @zumbly and @El Cazador.

    I always enjoy the “wedding cake” style reverse that RC, Donna, and ominus shared. I also have a Divus Marcus sestertius with that same reverse’s a picture of both coins in hand, interesting to see the comparison in the portrait styles side-by-side.

    Tony1982, Orielensis, Bing and 5 others like this.
  13. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Great new denarius, @Shea19! I have a rough As with a similar reverse...
    Divus Marcus Aurelius, Ruled 161-180 AD
    AE As, Issued under Commodus 180 AD, Rome Mint

    Obverse: DIVVS M ANTONINVS P AVG, Bare head right.
    Reverse: CONSECRATIO, Eagle standing right on globe, head left.
    References: RIC 663

    Also, I picked up this AP Consecratio denarius as a little snack in May...
    Divus Antoninus Pius, Died 161 AD
    AR Denarius, Commemorative Issue, Rome
    Struck under Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus in 161 AD

    Obverse: DIVVS ANTONINUS, bare head right.
    Reverse: CONSECRATIO, eagle standing right, head left, with wings spread.
    References: RIC III 429
    Size: 18mm, 3.23g

    And this Lucius Verus Consecratio in August to add to my growing sestertius collection...
    Tony1982, Orielensis, Bing and 6 others like this.
  14. cmezner

    cmezner do ut des Supporter

    On this one the eagle is standing on an altar:

    Æ Sestertius, Rome, 180 AD, struck posthumous under Commodus
    27 x 30 mm, 20.13 g
    RIC III Commodus 657, BMCRE 389, Cohen 85;

    Ob.: DIVVS M AN-TONINVS PIVS Bare head right
    Rev.: C(ONSE)CRATIO Eagle standing to r. on garlanded altar, one open wing, head l. S - C across field

    upload_2020-12-1_1-1-20.png upload_2020-12-1_1-1-53.png
    Tony1982, Orielensis, Bing and 5 others like this.
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