Description:This denarius coin was minted in Rome during the rule of Marcus Aurelius, who was the Roman Emperor from AD 161 to 180. Marcus is widely seen as the last of the Five Good Emperors and the final emperor during the Pax Romana, a 207-year period of peace and prosperity. However, even during this golden age, hostilities still persisted on several fronts. In 161, the Parthians invaded the Roman province of Syria and the client state of Armenia. The Romans eventually defeated the Parthians and in 166 sacked their capital, Ctesiphon, in Mesopotamia. In 169, Marcus set out from Rome to command his army against a series of incursions by Germanic tribes known as the Marcomannic Wars. In 180, after 11 years of war, and on the verge of total victory over the Barbarians, Marcus died of natural causes in Vienna.
Marcus Aurelius is best remembered for his personal writings known as Meditations, detailing his ideas on Stoic philosophy, which earned him the title “Philosopher King.” He was also very dedicated to reforming Roman law. Marcus was known as being a just emperor skilled in legal work. Some of his main priorities were improving conditions for slaves, orphans, widows, and minors, as well as recognizing claims of blood relationship in inheritance.
The reverse of this coin depicts captive Armenia seated on the ground in a mournful attitude with a vexillum and shield as her hand rests on a bow. This is a reference to the recovery of Armenia from Parthia by the Romans in AD 163.