Description:This Marcus Aurelius coin was minted in Rome when he was Caesar and heir to Emperor Antonius Pius. Marcus reigned as Roman Emperor from AD 161 to 180 and 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 known as being a just emperor, skilled in legal work and was very dedicated to reforming Roman law. Today, the Column and Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius still stand in Rome, where they were erected 19 centuries ago in celebration of his military victories.
The reverse of this coin depicts Spes, the Roman goddess of hope. Multiple temples to Spes were built in the ancient Roman Empire. Spes is shown here walking left, while holding flower and raising hem of her skirt.