April 26, 2014, by Helen Lovatt

Happy birthday Marcus Aurelius!

In a new occasional series, Nottingham PhD student Will Leveritt posts his own photos of coins to reflect on significant anniversaries.

1893 years ago today, on the 26th of April A.D. 121,  the Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius was born in Rome.

On the obverse of the coin we see the laureate head of the emperor; the reverse shows Victory writing on a shield. The legend on the obverse of this coin ends PARTH MAX, commemorating victory over the Parthians (166). While on campaign Marcus Aurelius wrote private notes or reflections for himself (known to us as “the Meditations”); an excerpt appears below.

“Everything that thou seest will the Nature that controls the Universe change, no one knows how soon, and out of its substance make other compounds, and again others out of theirs that the world may ever renew its youth.” [7.25, trans. Haines]

Posted in AnniversariescoinsEmperorsPhilosophyRoman cultureRoman history