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    Description

    Pyrrhic Victory of Marcus Aurelius

    Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180). AV aureus (19mm, 7.31 gm, 11h). Rome,  AD 168. M ANTONINVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX, laureate head of Marcus right / TR P XXII · IMP V COS III, Victory advancing left, holding wreath in right hand and palm frond cradled in left arm. RIC 194. Calicó 2008. Boldly struck, with pleasing mellow luster. NGC Choice AU? 5/ 5 - 5/5.

    The 'Victory' celebrated on this aureus, over the Parthians in a long and difficult war AD 162-168, ended up being a Pyrrhic one for the Romans, as the returning Legions brought with them a virulent plague which quickly spread through most of the Roman Empire and devastated its population. The "Antonine Plague," also called the "Plague of Galen" after the famous physician who strove mightily against it, is now thought to have been smallpox or possibly measles. Europeans seemingly had no exposure to the illness before and died in enormous numbers. While not as devastating as the later Plague of Justinian or the Black Death of the 14th century, it seems to have severely depopulated vast regions and helped bring about the economic stagnation and external invasion that eventually brought down the Western Roman Empire. 


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2016
    3rd-4th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,151

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