(97) Antoninus Pius - AV aureus, A.D. 154-155, 7.35 g. (inv. 91.178).
Obverse: Draped and cuirassed bust of Marcus Aurelius r.; AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG(VSTVS) PII F(ILIVS): Aurelius Caesar Augustus, son of Pius.
Reverse: Helmeted Virtus/Roma standing l. with Victoria in r. and parazonium in l.; TR(IBVNICIA) POT(ESTATE) VIIII CO(N)S(VL) II: with tribunician power for the ninth time, consul for the second time.
Provenance: Abner Kreisberg, 1970.
Bibliography: H. Mattingly and E.A. Sydenham, The Roman Imperial Coinage III: Antoninus to Commodus (London 1930) 464 a.

Under Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius was clearly destined for the throne. He received the highest honors of the state, including the consulate for the first time in A.D. 140 and tribunician power on the birth of his first child in A.D. 146. He had married the emperor's daughter Faustina the Younger in A.D. 145.

In his portraits Marcus Aurelius continues the general type of his adoptive father, Antoninus Pius, with the curly hair and beard reminiscent of Greek philosopher portraits. The type was retained by all members of the Antonine family.

The military types on coins of this period may refer to the rebellion in Britain, but the personification of Virtus (compare no. 93), manly courage (especially in military affairs), is generally appropriate to a young man destined to become emperor. Perhaps Virtus (a female personification, because of the gender of the Latin word) is here to be identified also with Roma, who is depicted with similar dress and attributes.


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