The legend around the portrait of Marc Aurel on this denarius describes the emperor as conqueror of Armenia Minor. The goddess Pietas, who is shown on the reverse of the coin, symbolizes duty, loyalty and devoutness vis-à-vis the gods, the state and the family. In these Roman virtues, Marc Aurel set a good example.
Marc Aurel's reign (161-180) was marked by wars, epidemic plagues, and revolts. He had ascended the imperial throne only reluctantly, and supposedly anticipated the difficulties that awaited him. Hence he was the first Roman emperor to chose diarchy by naming Lucius Verus as his co-regent.