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 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.
On the reverse side of this coin, Mars is shown holding a spear and leaning on a shield. Mars was the Roman god of war; however, he was not viewed as a destructive force. Instead, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace.