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    Description

    Healing Goddess

    Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180). AV aureus (20mm, 7.28 gm, 11h). Rome, AD 162. IMP M AVREL ANTONINVS AVG P M, bareheaded, draped, and cuirassed bust of Marcus right / SALVTI AVGVSTOR TR P XVI, Salus standing left, holding patera in right hand to feed serpent coiled around altar, holding scepter with left hand. RIC 56. MIR 18, 38-2/17. Calicó 1912. A gemlike aureus of this philosopher emperor, deeply struck from fresh dies and fully lustrous. NGC MS ★ 5/5 - 5/5.

    This reverse of this remarkably beautiful gold aureus depicts Salus, goddess of healing, and invokes her help in preserving the "health of the emperors." Marcus Aurelius was never in the best of health and his youthful letters to his mentor Fronto, serendipitously preserved in a medieval palimpsest, record his frequent complaints of chills, fevers, chest colds, and other varying illnesses. As emperor, the stresses of office were exacerbated by frequent bouts of gastric and respiratory trouble. He was fortunate to have the services of Galen, the greatest physician of his age, who kept him going with a variety of treatments, all carefully recorded in his journals. Galen also acted as a kind of minister of public health to fight the terrible plague, perhaps smallpox, that swept the classical world after AD 163, carrying off up to half the Roman Empire's population. In such an age, invocations for the health of the rulers and the general populace become increasingly common on the Roman coinage.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 459

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