Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, better known as Caracalla, was the son of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna, born in 188 A.D. He was named Caesar in 196 and Augustus in 198. Shortly before his death, Severus advised his sons, "Agree with each other, give money to the soldiers and scorn all other men." But the brothers hated each other and soon Caracalla had Geta murdered and massacred thousands suspected of supporting him. Although a capable military commander, the actual running of the government was left to his mother. He gradually slipped more and more into paranoia and delusions of grandeur before being murdered on his way to an Eastern campaign aimed at fulfilling his belief that he was the reincarnation of Alexander the Great.
In 196, Septimius Severus captured and sacked Byzantium after a long seige.
RB67889. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC IV 399, Cohen 564, Fair, attractive for grade, weight 16.570 g, maximum diameter 28.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, as caesar, 196 - 197 A.D.; obverseM AVR ANTONINVS CAES, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed boy's bust right, from behind; reverseSECVRITAS PERPETVA, Minerva standing left, resting right hand on grounded shield, inverted spear behind in left hand, S - C flanking across field; scarce; $80.00 (€60.00)
The ancients did not all agree on the attributes of Serapis. A passage in Tacitus affirms that many recognized in this god, Aesculapius, imputing healing to his intervention; some thought him identical with Osiris, the oldest deity of the Egyptians; others regarded him as Jupiter, possessing universal power; but by most he was believed to be the same as Pluto, the "gloomy" Dis Pater of the infernal regions. The general impression of the ancients seems to have been that by Serapis, was to be understood the beginning and foundation of things. Julian II consulted the oracle of Apollo for the purpose of learning whether Pluto and Serapis were different gods; and he received for an answer that Jupiter-Serapis and Pluto were one and the same divinity.
RS66555. Silver denarius, RIC IV 194, BMCRE V 39, RSC III 195, cf. RSCV 6829 (TR P XVI), aVF, weight 2.759 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 212 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverseP M TR P XV COS III P P, Serapis standing slightly left, polos on head, draped, raising right hand, scepter near vertical in left; $70.00 (€52.50)
Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Carrhae, Mesopotamia
Caracalla was assassinated near Carrhae on 8 April 217, while urinating on a roadside. When his escort gave him privacy to relieve himself, Julius Martialis, an officer of his personal bodyguard, ran forward and killed Caracalla with a single sword stroke. Martialis fled on horseback, but was killed by a bodyguard archer. Herodian says Caracalla had executed Martialis' brother a few days earlier on an unproven charge. Cassius Dio says that Martialis was resentful at not being promoted to the rank of centurion. Macrinus, the Praetorian Guard Prefect, who succeeded him as emperor, may have arranged the assassination.
RP67880. Bronze AE 20, cf. BMC Arabia p.85, 16 ff.; SNG Hunterian 2485 ff.; SNG Cop 176 ff., F, nice green patina, flan crack, weak legends, weight 4.254 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 180o, Carrhae mint, obverseM AVR ANTONINVS P F AVG, laureate head right, with short beard; reverse COL MET ANTONINIANA, turreted, veiled, and draped bust of Tyche right; $70.00 (€52.50)
Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior
Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101 - 106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town reached its peak during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty. Minted under the consular legate (governor) Aurelius Gallus.
RP68415. Bronze assarion, Varbanov 2986 (R5, same dies), H-H-J Nikopolis 22.214.171.124 corr. (R5), AMNG I/I 1492, BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, VF, nice green patina, weight 2.988 g, maximum diameter 15.7 mm, die axis 225o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, 195 - 198 A.D.; obverse M AY KA ANTΩNIN−OC, bare head right; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC I, radiate head of Sol right, whip over shoulder; scarce; $70.00 (€52.50)
'Courage' is depicted as a helmeted soldier, often a female, in armor holding a spear, parazonium, victory or a shield. Virtus and Mars can be distinguished since Mars is usually shown nude and Virtus is always shown clothed.
RS57669. Silver denarius, RIC IV 95, RSC III 440, aVF, toned, weight 3.785 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reversePONTIF TR P X COS II, Virtus standing right in military garb, left foot on helmet, reversed spear behind in right, parazonium in left; $65.00 (€48.75)
Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Byblos, Phoenicia
Astarte, a Phoenician fertility and war goddess, was the principal deity of the port city of Sidon. Other major centers of Astarte's worship were Tyre and Byblos, and she was worshipped as far west as Carthage, Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus. The Greeks associated her with Aphrodite. Byblos produced papyrus and our word bible was derived from the name of this city.
RP66219. Bronze AE 24, BMC Phoenicia p. 101, 29 ff.; SNG Cop 141; Rouvier IV p. 52, 692, aF, weight 9.633 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 180o, Byblos mint, obverse AY K M AYP CEOYH ANTΩNEINOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverse IEPAC BYBΛOY, temple of two columns surmounted by arch of shell pattern, containing Astarte standing right, foot on prow, crowned by Nike standing on column; $45.00 (€33.75)
Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D. Heliopolis, Coele Syria
Baalbek, a town in the Beqaa Valley of Lebanon, east of the Litani River, was known as Heliopolis during Roman rule. It was one of the largest sanctuaries in the empire and contains some of the best preserved Roman ruins in Lebanon. The gods worshiped at the temple, the triad of Jupiter, Venus and Bacchus, were grafted onto the indigenous deities of Hadad, Atargatis and a young male god of fertility. Local influences are seen in the planning and layout of the temples, which vary from the classic Roman design.
RP69638. Bronze AE 18, Sawaya Heliopolis 387 - 388 (D74/R151), Cohen 872, aVF, reverse off center, weight 3.885 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Heliopolis (Baalbek, Lebanon) mint, 211 - 212; obverseM AVR ANTONI, laureate head right, from behind; reverse COL HEL, Hermes standing slightly left, head left, nude but for cloak over shoulder, purse in right, caduceus; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; rare; $45.00 (€33.75)
In 215, Caracalla's troops massacred the population of Alexandria, Egypt, beginning with the leading citizens. The emperor was angry about a satire, produced in Alexandria, mocking his claim that he killed his brother Geta in self-defense.
RS71166. Silver denarius, RIC IV 268, RSC III 314, F, toned, rough, weight 2.599 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 215 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverseP M TR P XVIII COS IIII P P, Pax standing left, branch in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left; $45.00 (€33.75)