Raphanea Genius Coin


I have two questions about this coin and hope that you can help me.

First, how do I know that the emperor is Elagabalus and not Caracalla? The short beard makes him look a bit like Caracalla, I think. The ANS database displays an Elagabalus coin with a die match on the obverse: [DEAD LINK REMOVED BY ADMIN]

Second, can someone say something about the symbolism of the crowded reverse? I see a genius of the city (or the Gallic legion in Raphanea?) with cornucopia and a patera?, an eagle on each side of the genius and a bull.

Thanks in advance for any help,

Reverse: REFA/N/E/WTWN
Diameter: 21 mm

Hi Jan!

I think the eagle and the bull are symbols of Roman legions based at Raphanea and its region. The bull for sure stands for the legio III Gallica. The eagle could be stand for the legio III Parthica but I'm not sure for this. The history of the Roman legions with its numerous relocations, renamings, liquidations and realignments needs an indepth knowledge which I don't have.

Here I have some links:

Best regards

The portrait certainly looks more like Elagabal than Caracalla to me, but the distinction can be quite a challenge on provincial coins.


Thank you for your comments. Yes I agree, it is most likely Elagabalus. Maybe they wanted him to look a bit like Caracalla who was fairly popular in the army, or maybe he actually had a short beard that morning on May 16, 218 when the legion in Raphanea pronounced him emperor of the empire.

It would be great to learn more about the symbols on the reverse, any comments are very welcome. Jochen, thank you for the links. I will study them to learn a bit more.

Best regards, Jan


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