The Federal Mint Swissmint has released a new commemorative gold coin which marks 2000 years of Aventicum. The obverse design carries an image of the famous Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Aventicum, the capital city of the Helvetii, whose territory once stretched over nearly all of the Swiss Plateau region, had almost 20,000 inhabitants in the third century AD. The city was constructed at the start of the first century AD, shortly after the territory of the Helvetii was annexed to the Roman Empire. Soon after coming to power in the year 69 AD, the Roman Emperor Vespasian gave Aventicum the status of a colony. After the building of the city walls, which were later to have been 5.5 km long, the city experienced spectacular growth in the second century AD; increasing numbers of public buildings were erected: thermal baths, temples, a theatre and an amphitheatre. The slow decline of Aventicum began in the middle of the third century AD, following a period of political instability and repeated invasions by “barbarians”. Nevertheless, Aventicum was still so significant that it was chosen as the bishop’s see in the sixth century, before this was later transferred to Lausanne.
The site in modern-day Avenches is one of the most important archaeological excavation sites in Switzerland and is considered internationally to be a gem of the Roman era. The 50-franc gold anniversary coin from Swissmint shows the most important find from Aventicum, the famous gold bust of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
Each coin is struck in 90% gold with a weight of 11.29 grams and diameter of 25 mm. The polish proof coins are available in presentation cases and limited to a mintage of 5,000 pieces.
The Swissmint shop can be found online at www.swissmintshop.ch.