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    Description

    The Emperor's Health

    Marcus Aurelius (AD 161-180). AV aureus (20mm, 7.06 gm, 6h). NGC Choice MS 5/5 - 5/5. Rome, AD 163. · M · ANTONINVS AVG IMP II, bareheaded, draped, and cuirassed bust of Aurelius right / SALVTI AVGVSTOR TR P XVII around, Salus standing left, holding scepter and feeding out of patera snake coiled around and rising from altar to left, COS III in exergue. RIC III 75. BMCRE 228. Calicó 1913. A minty piece, struck in high relief on a round planchet and displaying perfect, unmarked surfaces.

    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, then, 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 was also needed 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
    January, 2017
    8th-9th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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