Marcus Aurelius - Roman Caesar: 139-161 A.D. - Roman Emperor: 161-180 A.D. - Bronze 17mm (3.83 grams) of Tomis in Thrace, circa 139-161 A.D.
Reference: Varbanov 4729; AMNG 2655
BHPΩ KAICAPI, bare-headed, draped bust left.
TOMITΩN, Dionysos standing left, holding
thyrsos and kantharos.
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item pictured, provided with a Certificate of Authenticity and Lifetime
Guarantee of Authenticity.
Dionysos (GreekΔιόνυσος) is the
god of the grape harvest,
wine, of ritual madness and
ecstasy, was also the driving force behind
Greek theater. The god who inspires joyful
ecstasy, festivals and celebration is a major
Greek mythology and the
religion of ancient Greece. He is included as
one of the
Olympians in some lists. Dionysus is typical of the god of the
epiphany, "the god that comes". He was also
known as Bacchus, the name adopted by the
Romans and the frenzy he induces, bakkheia.
Hailed as an Asiatic foreigner, he was thought to have had strong ties to the
East and to
Ethiopia in the South. He was also known as the
freeing one from one's normal self, by madness, ecstasy or wine. The divine
mission of Dionysus was to mingle the music of the
aulos and to bring an end to care and worry.
Scholars have discussed Dionysus' relationship to the "cult of the souls" and
his ability to preside over communication between the living and the dead.
Contradictions in Dionysus' origin suggest to some that we are dealing not
with the historical memory of a cult that is foreign, but with a god in whom
foreignness is inherent.
Karl Kerenyi traces him to
Minoan Crete, where his Minoan name is unknown
but his characteristic presence is recognizable. Clearly, Dionysus had been with
the Greeks and their predecessors a long time, and yet always retained the feel
of something alien.
Tomis (also called Tomi) was a
Greek colonyy in the province of
Scythia Minor on the
Black Sea's shore, founded around 600 BC for
commercial exchanges with the local
Getic populations. Probably the name is derived
from Greek Τομή meaning cut, section.
"When Aeetes discovered the daring deeds done by
Medea, he started off in pursuit of the
ship; but when she saw him near, Medea murdered her brother and cutting him
limb from limb threw the pieces into the deep. Gathering the child's limbs,
Aeetes fell behind in the pursuit; wherefore he turned back, and, having
buried the rescued limbs of his child, he called the place Tomi."
"After achieving this victory (against
Cyrus the Great) and winning so much booty
from her enemies, Queen
Tomyris crossed over into that part of
Moesia which is now called
Lesser Scythia - a name borrowed from Great
Scythia -, and built on the Moesian shore
of the Black Sea the city of Tomi, named after herself."
In 29 BC the
Romans captured the region from the
Odryses, and annexed it as far as the Danube,
under the name of Limes Scythicus.
In AD 8, the Roman poet
Ovid (43 BC-17) was banished here by
Augustus and died there eight years later. He
laments his exile in Tomis in his poems the
Epistulae Ex Ponto. Tomis was "by his
account a town located in a war-stricken cultural wasteland on the remotest
margins of the empire".
A statue of Ovid stands in the Ovid Square (Piaţa Ovidiu) of Constanţa,
in front of the History Museum (the former City Hall).
A railroad linking Constanţa to
Cernavodă was opened in 1860. In spite of
damage done by railway contractors there are considerable remains of ancient
masonry walls, pillars, etc. An impressive public building, thought to have
originally been a port building, has been excavated, and contains the
substantial remains of one of the longest
mosaic pavements in the world. In 1878, after
Romanian War of Independence, Constanţa and the
Northern Dobruja were ceded by the
Ottoman Empire to
Romania. The city became
Romania's main seaport and transit point for
much of Romania's exports.
On October 22, 1916 (during
World War I), the
Central Powers (German, Turkish and Bulgarian
troops) occupied Constanţa. According to the
Treaty of Bucharest in May 1918, article 10.b
(treaty which has never been ratified by Romania), Constanţa remained under the
joint control of the Central Powers. Allied troops liberated the city in 1918
after the successful offensive on the
Thessaloniki front knocked Bulgaria out of the
In the interwar years, the city became Romania's main commercial hub, so that
by the 1930s over half of the national exports were going through the port.
World War II, when Romania joined the
Axis powers, Constanţa was one of the country's
main targets for the
Allied bombers. While the town was left
relatively undamaged, the port suffered extensive damage, recovering only in the
MARCUS AURELIUS Caesar:
A.D. 139-161 under Antoninus Pius Augustus: A.D. 161-180
A.D. 161-169 with Lucius Verus
A.D. 169-177 Sole Reign
A.D. 177-180 with Commodus
Adopted son of Antoninus Pius and heir of Hadrian
Husband of Faustina Junior
Father of Commodus, Annius Verus, Lucilla and Aurelius Antoninus
Son-in-law of Antoninus Pius and Faustina Senior Father-in-law of Lucius Verus
Marcus Aurelius' work
Meditations, written in Greek while on campaign between 170 and 180, is
still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty.
Marcus Aurelius owes much of him becoming Augustus to Hadrian who
groomed him from childhood for the post. He became Caesar shortly after Hadrian
died and the political grooming continued under Antoninus Pius. He had to wait
another twenty years or so to become Augustus himself in the year 161. No sooner
did this happen than he was thrust in a series of wars that would eat up the
rest of his time in office. He died while fighting the ever-harassing tribes of
the Germanic region and power then passed to his son Commodus.
During his lengthy reign he is remembered as being among the noblest and most
even-keeled of emperors. He preferred to use the considerable power of his post
to pursue a period of enlightenment out of character not only for his age but
clear across time to our very own. Gibbon summarizes that he "was severe to
himself, indulgent to the imperfections of others, just and beneficent to all
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