Agesilaos Antik Sikkeler Nümzimatik

Marcus Aurelius - Victory Over the Germanic Invaders

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Antik Sikkeler

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Marcus Aurelius Antoninus was a Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher, was a pivotal figure of the Nerva–Antonine dynasty, renowned as the Five Good Emperors. His reign, from AD 161 to 180 AD, marked the pinnacle of the Pax Romana, an era of relative stability for the Roman Empire. Co-ruling with Lucius Verus, he confronted challenges like conflicts with the Parthian Empire and Germanic tribes. Born into privilege, Marcus was educated by prominent tutors and married Faustina. His reign witnessed the devastating Antonine Plague, impacting the empire's population. His Meditations, a collection of philosophical writings, remains influential and illuminates his commitment to Stoic ideals. Unlike his predecessors, Marcus refrained from adopting an heir. His descendants included Lucilla, who married Lucius, and Commodus, whose controversial succession sparked debates.

In the early 160s Germanic tribes and other nomadic people began launching a series of raids along the northern border of the empire, particularly into Gaul and across the Danube. This new impetus westwards was probably due to attacks from tribes further east. A first invasion of the Chatti in the province of Germania Superior was repulsed in 162. A far more serious incursion happened in late 166 or early 167 when a force of 6,000 Langobardi and Lacringi invaded Pannonia. This invasion was defeated by local forces [vexillations of the Legio I Adiutrix and the Ala I Ulpia Contariorum] with relative ease, but they marked the beginning of what was to come. In the same year, Vandals [Astingi and Lacringi] and the Sarmatian Iazyges invaded Dacia, and succeeded in killing its governor, Calpurnius Proculus.

In 169 the Iazyges defeated and killed Claudius Fronto, Roman governor of Lower Moesia, who was attempting to subdue the tribes living between the Danube and the province of Dacia. While the Roman army was bogged down in this campaign other tribes took the opportunity to raid across the border. To the east, the Costoboci crossed the Danube, ravaged Thrace and descended the Balkans, reaching Eleusis, near Athens, where they destroyed the temple of the Eleusinian Mysteries.

The worst was yet to come. In the west the Marcomanni, led by Ballomar, had formed a coalition of Germanic tribes. They crossed the Danube and won a decisive victory over a force of 20,000 Roman soldiers near Carnuntum. The larger part of this host then proceeded southwards towards into, while the remainder ravaged Noricum. The Marcomanni razed Opitergium [Oderzo] and besieged Aquileia - this was the first time hostile forces had entered Italy since 101 BC, when Gaius Marius defeated the Cimbri and Teutones. The praetorian prefect Furius Victorinus was defeated and slain while trying to relieve the city.

The invaders would not be ejected until 171, a ‘victory’ which required stripping various border regions of their forces to concentrate against the Marcomanni, the establishment of a new military command, the fortification of the Alpine borders and the strengthening of the Danubian fleet. In 172 Aurelius led a counter-invasion across the Danube into Marcomannic territory. Few details survive of this punitive campaign, but it is clear that the Romans achieved success. The Marcomanni and their allies, the Naristi and the Cotini were subjugated, and the chief of the Naristi was killed by the Roman General Marcus Valerius Maximianus.

The reverse of this coin celebrates the successes of Aurelius’ counter-attack, and perhaps to a lesser extent the expulsion of the Germanic invaders that had ravaged the Alpine provinces.

ANTİK SİKKELER NÜMİZMATİK_Victory Over the Germanic Invaders.jpg