Marcus Aurelius Sestertius & Germania

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ken Dorney, May 20, 2019.

  1. Ken Dorney

    Ken Dorney Yea, I'm Cool That Way...

    Some of my favorite coins are those which I never knew I needed or wanted until I saw them. I recently picked up this lovely coin:


    Marcus Aurelius, 161 - 180 AD
    AE Sestertius, Rome Mint, Struck circa 173 AD, 33mm, 26.49 grams
    Obverse: M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXVII, Laureate and cuirassed bust of Marcus right.
    Reverse: GERMANIA SVBACTA IMP VI COS III S C, Captive seated left at foot of trophy composed of arms and armor.

    An interesting and historic coin to be sure. Marcus’ reign was beleagured by incursions and migrations of Germanic tribes beginning in 162 and the resulting wars would continue throughout his reign despite many victories and two rather desperate policy changes. Marcus decided to allow widespread and unchecked tribal settlement so long as the settlers were legally bound to Roman landowners or lands owned by the empire. He also tried to push the borders and created two new provinces (Sarmatia and Marcomannia). None of these solutions (wars included) were to prove a lasting solution to the problem.

    The reverse inscription is interesting and somewhat rare on Roman coinage. In its most true sense subacta means 'ploughed, tilled, cultivated'. But in this propagandizing use it would be best translated as ‘subdued’, or perhaps fancifully, ‘destroyed'. Along with Parthian invasion and a severe plague the Germanic migrations would have been on the mind of the average citizen and positive propaganda such as this coin would have been paramount to keeping the populace feeling as if all was well (which it was not).

    Marcus Aurelius remains one of the most fascinating of all the Roman emperors. His personal and imperial life were constantly at odds (his stoic personality vs. his feelings of strict adherence to duty and loyalty, which in a way are also partly stoic). If one has not previously done so, pick up a copy of his so-called ‘Meditations’. It is worthy of life-long reading.

    Feel free to show any of your related Germanic or Parthian war issues of the period.
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  3. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Very nice new coin, Ken!

    Here's my (rough and cracking) contribution:

    Marcus Aurelius, Ruled 161-180 AD
    AE Dupondius, Struck 170-171 AD, Rome mint
    : M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXV, Head of Marcus Aurelius, radiate, right.
    Reverse: IMP VI COS III, Victory, winged, naked to waist, standing front, head right, setting on palm-tree right, shield inscribed VIC GER; S-C across fields.
    References: RIC III 1002
    Notes: After the death of Lucius Verus in 169, Marcus Aurelius has to face the German invasions. The sixth imperial acclaim is tied to the German campaign of 171-172 AD, when the Roman armies were nearly crushed after crossing the Danube and entering enemy territory.
  4. Ken Dorney

    Ken Dorney Yea, I'm Cool That Way...

    Nice. Your coin seems to have been struck right about the time as the so-called 'rain miracle'.
    Justin Lee likes this.
  5. Ancient Aussie

    Ancient Aussie Supporter! Supporter

    Great looking coin with the brass highlights, interesting time in history. Congrats nice pick up.
  6. Justin Lee

    Justin Lee I learn by doing Supporter

    Very cool... I hadn't read about that before, so I had to quick google it and catch up. Fascinating bit of luck/blessing!
    The Miracle of the Rain as depicted on the Column of Marcus Aurelius in Rome.
    chrsmat71, Marsyas Mike, TIF and 3 others like this.
  7. Jwt708

    Jwt708 Well-Known Member

    I couldn't agree more! All of my favorites are coins I doddid know I wanted. Sadly I have no coins to contribute to this thread.
  8. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

  9. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Lovely coin, @Ken Dorney ! No wonder you had to acquire it!
  10. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Roma Invicta

    Great coin Ken ! I get the daily stoic newsletter in my email inbox every day. Helps balance my life and opinion on things. Just see my signature...
  11. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    He's a complicated man ... and no one understands him but his woman!

    Faustina Jr IVNONI REGINAE standing sestertius jpeg.jpg

  12. Finn235

    Finn235 Well-Known Member

    Superb and very historically important addition!

    No sestertii or historically significant reverses, but I did snag this one for cheap from a recent Savoca Auction (haven't taken my own photos yet)


    AE Limes denarius of RIC 176, minted AD 169, very likely for soldier's pay on the German frontier during this protracted war.
    chrsmat71, TIF, Johndakerftw and 3 others like this.
  13. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Alleged 'Rain Miracle' sestertius...

    Marcus Aurelius - RELIG AVG c.jpg
    AE Sestertius. 29.44g, 31mm. Rome mint, AD 173. RIC 1075; Cohen 535. O: M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXVII, laureate head right. R: IMP VI - COS III, Mercury standing left on pedestal, holding caduceus and purse, within a tetrastyle temple with telamons as columns; semicircular pediment containing, from left to right, tortoise, cockerel, ram, winged helmet, caduceus, and purse; S - C in field, RELIG AVG in exergue.
    Notes: This type is popularly associated with the Rain Miracle of the Legio XII Fulminata (Thundering 12th Legion). According to Cassius Dio, the 12th Legion under the command of Marcus Aurelius had found themselves encircled and heavily outnumbered by a Quadi Army. Stricken with fatigue, thirst, and the heat, they were on the verge of capture when an Egyptian magician named Anurphis, a companion of the emperor, invoked the aid of Mercury as god of the wind and air. A sudden storm rose in the midst of the battle, reviving the Romans with rain while destroying their enemies with hail and lightning.
    chrsmat71, Andres2, TIF and 3 others like this.
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