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Captive Armenia

CNG 111, Lot: 731. Estimate $7500.
Sold for $10100. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Lucius Verus. AD 161-169. AV Aureus (19.5mm, 7.24 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck AD 164. • L • VERVS ΛVG ΛRMENIΛCVS, bareheaded and cuirassed bust right / TR P IIII • IMP II COS II, ARMEN in exergue, Armenia, wearing cloak, breeches and pointed cap, seated left in attitude of mourning, propping head on right hand, left hand on bow and quiver; to right, behind her, trophy. RIC III 508 (Aurelius); MIR 18, 68-12/15; Calicó 2107; BMCRE 297 note (Aurelius and Verus); Biaggi 947; Jameson –; Mazzini 7. Near EF, lustrous. Rare variety with cuirassed bust only; only one other example in CoinArchives.

Immediately after Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus had been installed as joint emperors, the Parthians tested the new regime by breaking a long-standing peace treaty and invading the buffer state of Armenia in AD 161, ejecting its pro-Roman king. In response, Lucius led a large Roman expeditionary force eastward and launched a counter-offensive, ejecting the Parthians from Armenia in AD 163. This initial Roman victory is celebrated on the reverse of this aureus, which gives Verus the title Armeniacus.