Dupondius Lucius Verus - Parthian war
LUCIUS VERUS (under MARCUS AURELIUS). Æ Dupondius. Rome, 10 December 165- 10 December 166 AD.
Obv. L VERVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX Bare head right
Rev. TR P VI IMP III COS III SC Armenia seated right,hands bounded; behind her, trophy.
Cohen 202 (3 F)
Military type commemorating the final victory over the Parthians.
With the death of Antoninus, Vologaesus III king of Parthia may have viewed the establishment of a Roman diarchy as a sign of weakness. Compounding this issue may have been the fact that neither of the two emperors had acquired any military experience whatsoever. Whatever the case may have been, Vologaesus seized a perceived moment of Roman weakness and installed his own candidate upon the Armenian throne. Rome’s response was swift but initially ineffective. A Roman legion under Severianus marched from Cappadocia into Armenia and was routed at Elegeia prompting the Parthians to invade Roman territory. The governor of Syria Attidius Cornelianus suffered defeats as well, pressuring the Romans for definitive personal involvement from the imperial family. Marcus Aurelius dispatched Lucius Verus to Parthia to oversee the war and to give it an air of heightened importance, but Verus was more inclined to enjoy himself on the trip than to prepare for war. As reported in the Historia Augusta, “Verus, after he had come to Syria, lingered amid the debaucheries of Antioch and Daphne and busied himself with gladiatorial bouts and hunting.” Aurelius was fully aware of his ‘brother’s’ inadequacies and Verus’ presence was more a statement indicating the importance of the campaign than an indication of military command.
Fortunately, despite Verus’ indulgences, his legates were focused on the task at hand. Statius Priscus, Avidius Cassius and Martius Verus were entrusted with command of the legions while Marcus Aurelius conducted affairs of the state back in Rome. Though the details provided by the ancients are scant, the Historia Augusta credits Priscus with an invasion of Armenia that took the capital of Artaxata. Armenia was given a Roman citizen of Armenian heritage, Sohaemus, as a king. Avidius Cassius then invaded Mesopotamia, and after withstanding the early attacks of Vologaesus, Cassius advanced deep into Mesopotamia, eventually razing Seleucia and the Parthian palaces in Ctesiphon.
Lucius Verus adopted the military titles of Armeniacus (163), Parthicus Maximus (165) and Medicus (166), and a joint triumph with Marcus Aurelius was held on 12 October 166.
Scarce coin. Nice lacquered dark green patina.
Paris coin fair, ex. A. Weil, 16 Oct. 2004