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    Antoninus Pius (AD 138-161), with Marcus Aurelius, as Caesar (AD 139-161). Rome, AD 141-143. ANTONINVS AVG PI-VS P P TR P COS III, laureate head of Antoninus Pius right / AVRELIVS CAESAR AVG PII F COS, bare head of Marcus Aurelius right. RIC 417a. BMC 155. RSC 15. Wonderful strike from artistic dies. Light toning. Superb extremely fine.

    This dynastic denarius depicting Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius illustrates the adoptive system of succession employed by emperors from Hadrian through Antoninus Pius as a means of ensuring a smooth transition of power to individuals prepared for rule. Dynastic succession through bloodlines tended to provide inexperienced leadership and could lead to civil war. While the system worked well for the so-called Adoptive Emperors, it should be noted that Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius all lacked sons that survived into adulthood, so the principle that adoption of the "best man" should prevail over blood descent was never truly tested. In any case, it fell apart under Marcus Aurelius when he left the empire to his own son, the unstable Commodus. Diocletian (AD 284-305) took another stab at setting up a system of imperial succession absent blood descent, but it, too, broke down when two of his chosen colleagues favored their own natural sons.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2011
    2nd-3rd Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 227

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