Obverse: AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG PII F; Diademed Bust of the Emperor
Reverse: TR POT III COS II; Providentia Standing Left, Holding Scepter, Leaning on Column, Pointing at Globe with Right Hand
This beautiful silver coin was struck around the time of Marcus Aurelius' elevation to emperor. The name Caesar, which was an honorific, was replaced by his imperial name of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.
Born Marcus Annius Catilius Severus in 121 AD, his family was fairly well-connected to the aristocracy and ruling classes of Rome, including Hadrian, Trajan and Antoninus Pius. He attracted the attention of Hadrian at a young age, and was nicknamed verissimus – truest. Following the death of Hadrian’s adoptive son Lucius Aurelius, Hadrian named Antoninus as his successor on the condition that he adopt Marcus as well as Lucius Aurelius Verus, the son of his own adopted son, and that they succeed him as emperor in their turn. He acceded to power in 161, aged 40, and adopted the name Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.
The empire grew under his authority, with martial success against the Parthians and Germania, and diplomatic relations with states in Central Asia as far east as Han China. His Meditations, written while on campaign, is still used as a reference for leadership and duty and proposed a manner of rational virtue. He was a Stoic philosopher of considerable note, as well as a family man who took his wife and children with him on his trips around the empire. He had fourteen children by Faustina the Younger, of which only one son and four daughters survived him. He was deified upon his death from the Antonine Plague in 180, and was succeeded by Commodus.