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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Severan Period ▸ CaracallaView Options:  |  |  |   

Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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.


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Carrhae, Mesopotamia

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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.
RP78055. Bronze AE 15, SNG Hunterian 2490 - 2491; BMC Arabia p. 86, 37; SNG Cop -, SNG Righetti -, VF, near black patina with red earthen highlighting, tight flan, light corrosion, weight 1.643 g, maximum diameter 14.5 mm, die axis 180o, Carrhae (Altinbasak, Turkey) mint, 28 Jan 198 - 8 Apr 217 A.D.; obverse M AVR ANTONINVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse COL AVR METROPOLI ANTONINIANA, veiled and turreted bust of Tyche right; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; $95.00 (84.55)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Pautalia, Thrace

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Strymon, son of Oceanus and Tethys, was a river god and king of Thrace. By the muses Euterpe or Calliope, he became the father of Rhesus, Brangas, and Olynthus, and by Neaera of Evadne.
RP63246. Bronze AE 29, Apparently unpublished variety; cf. Ruzicka 632 (obv. leg., armed bust left, etc.), Varbanov II 5186 (obv. leg., laur. head), SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace, F, weight 16.33 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 45o, Pautalia (Kyustendil, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AYT K M AY − ANTΩNEINOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse OYΛΠIAC (above), ΠAYTAΛIAC (in exergue), river-god Strymon reclining left, head right, left arm resting on jug on its side from which water flows; rare; $90.00 (80.10)


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Virtus to the ancient Romans included valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). Curiously, despite the masculine characteristics of virtus, the personification or deity Virtus was usually depicted as a female warrior, in armor holding a spear, parazonium, victory or a shield. Virtus and Mars can usually be distinguished since Mars is usually shown nude and Virtus is always shown clothed.
RS74206. Silver denarius, RIC IV 176 (S); RSC III 672; BMCRE V p. 260, 522; Hunter III p. 58, 63; SRCV II 6905, VF, excellent portrait, porous, a little rough, weight 2.964 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse VIRTVS AVGVSTOR, Virtus seated left, helmeted, Victory in right, parazonium in left, feet on low stool, shield resting against near side of seat; scarce; $85.00 (75.65)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Rabbathmoba, Arabia

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Rabbathmoba, probably the Biblical Ir-Moab, was conquered by Alexander Jannaeus. Its ruins are 18 kilometers north of Kerak in Jordan.
RP72140. Bronze AE 24, Spijkerman 29b; BMC Arabia, p. 44, 5 var. (date P − ∆); Rosenberger 15 var. (same); SNG ANS -; Sofaer -, aF, green highlighting patina, porous, weight 8.987 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 315o, Rabbathmoba mint, 209 - 210 A.D.; obverse AVT KAIC ANTΩNINOC CEB, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PABAΘMOVBHNΩN, Poseidon standing left, nude, foot on prow, dolphin in right, trident vertical behind in left, ∆ − P (year 104) divided across field; $80.00 (71.20)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Amasia, Pontos

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Amaseia was captured by the Roman Lucullus in 70 B.C. from Armenia. Pompey designated it a free city and the administrative center of the new province of Bithynia and Pontus. Amaseia was a thriving city, the home of thinkers, writers and poets, and one of them, Strabo, left a full description of Amaseia as it was between 60 B.C. and 19 A.D.
RP57031. Bronze AE 31, cf. BMC Pontus p. 11, 33 (inscriptions obliterated); SNG Cop 113 (date above); SNGvA 32 (tree right); Lindgren 16 (lit altar, no eagle), F, weight 17.323 g, maximum diameter 31.3 mm, die axis 180o, Amasia mint, 206 A.D.; obverse AY KAI MAP AYP − ANTΩONINOC, CEBA below bust, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse A∆PCE AN[T A]MACIAC MHTNΩNΠON (some ligate and retrograde letters), eagle standing right on altar, wings open, head left, wreath in beak, palm tree beside altar left, ETCH (year 208) below; $75.00 (66.75)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Carrhae, Mesopotamia

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Carrhae is the Haran of the Bible. Crassus was defeated and killed by the Parthians near Carrhae in 53 B.C. Emperor Galerius was defeated on the same site in 296 A.D.
RP57175. Bronze AE 21, BMC Arabia p. 84, 15, SNG Cop -, F, weight 4.991 g, maximum diameter 20.6 mm, die axis 180o, Carrhae (Altinbasak, Turkey) mint, obverse AYTOKP ANTWNEINOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, with short beard; reverse KAP KOΛ MHTPOΠOΛ, eight pointed star in crescent; very rare; $75.00 (66.75)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Nicaea, Bithynia

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Nicaea (Iznik, Turkey today) remained an important town throughout the imperial period. Although only 70 km (43 miles) from Constantinople, Nicaea did not lose its importance when Constantinople became the capital of the Eastern Empire. The city suffered from earthquakes in 358, 362 and 368; after the last of which, it was restored by Valens. During the Middle Ages it was a long time bulwark of the Byzantine emperors against the Turks.
RB72569. Bronze AE 25, Rec Gn II, p. 459, 481; SNG Cop 507; BMC Pontus -; SNGvA -, SNG Tbingen -, VF/F, excellent portrait, pitting on reverse, weight 8.685 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 45o, Nicaea (Iznik, Turkey) mint, 28 Jan 198 - 8 Apr 217 A.D.; obverse ANTΩNINOC AVΓOVCTOC, laureate head of Caracalla right; reverse NIKA-IEΩN, legionary aquila on pole with vexillum, flanked by two signa; very rare; $70.00 (62.30)


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In 195, Lucius Septimius Bassianus (Caracalla), age 7, changed his name to Marcus Aurelius Antoninus to reinforce his connection with the family of Marcus Aurelius and was given the title Caesar. This scarce type is from his first issue as Caesar.
RS77756. Silver denarius, RSC III 562a; BMCRE V p. 50, 181; RIC IV 2; SRCV III 6678; Hunter III -, F, small edge crack, weight 3.541 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 196 A.D.; obverse M AVR ANTONINVS CAES, boy's bare-headed and draped bust right, from behind; reverse SECVRITAS PERPETVA (Security Everlasting), Minerva standing slightly left, helmeted head left, aegis on breast, resting right hand on grounded shield, inverted spear vertical in left; scarce; $55.00 (48.95)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Carrhae, Mesopotamia

Click for a larger photo
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 (Altinbasak, Turkey) mint, obverse M AVR ANTONINVS P F AVG, laureate head right, with short beard; reverse COL MET ANTONINIANA, turreted, veiled, and draped bust of Tyche right; $50.00 (44.50)


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In 196, Septimius Severus captured and sacked Byzantium after a long siege.
RB67889. Orichalcum sestertius, 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.; obverse M AVR ANTONINVS CAES, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed boy's bust right, from behind; reverse SECVRITAS PERPETVA, Minerva standing left, resting right hand on grounded shield, inverted spear behind in left hand, S - C flanking across field; scarce; $50.00 (44.50)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D. Heliopolis, Coele Syria

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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.
RY73101. Bronze AE 18, Sawaya 391 - 393 var. (D78/R153, unlisted die combination), SNG Cop 430, Lindgren-Kovacs A2162A, BMC Galatia -, VF, well centered and struck, nice green patina, weight 3.684 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 0o, Heliopolis (Baalbek, Lebanon) mint, 211 - 212 A.D.; obverse M 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 in left; the second example from these dies handled by Forum; $50.00 (44.50)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D. Heliopolis, Coele Syria

Click for a larger photo
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.
RY73044. Bronze AE 18, Sawaya 388 var. (D74/R -, unlisted reverse die), SNG Cop 430, Lindgren-Kovacs A2162A, BMC Galatia -, aVF, centered, green patina, cleaning scratches, weight 3.612 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 0o, Heliopolis (Baalbek, Lebanon) mint, 211 - 212 A.D.; obverse M 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 hand, caduceus in left hand; $45.00 (40.05)


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Virtus was a specific virtue in ancient Rome. It carried connotations of valor, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth, perceived as masculine strengths (from Latin vir, "man"). It was thus a frequently stated virtue of Roman emperors. Virtus was not a term commonly used to describe children. Since virtus was primarily attributed to a full grown man who had served in the military, children were not particularly suited to obtain this particular virtue.
RS74186. Silver denarius, RIC IV 149; RSC III 667; BMCRE V p. 211, 300; SRCV II 6903; Hunter III -, VF, excellent portrait, well centered, toned, porous, weight 2.958 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 203 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVGG, Virtus standing left, helmeted, Victory offering wreath in extended right hand, reversed spear vertical behind in left hand; $45.00 (40.05)


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In 213, Caracalla summoned Abgar IX Severus, the king of Edessa, to Rome and had him murdered. A year later the Kingdom of Edessa was incorporated into the empire as a Roman province.
RS72358. Silver denarius, RIC IV 236; RSC III 166; BMCRE V p. 441, 62; cf. SRCV II 6821 (obv legend); Hunter III 15 (same), Choice VF, excellent centering, light toning, die break behind Caracalla's eye, weight 3.094 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, late 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate bearded head right; reverse MONETA AVG, Moneta standing left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left; ex Timeline Auctions; $40.99 (36.48)




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

ANTONINVSAVGVSTV
ANTONINVSAVGVSTVS
ANTONINVSPIVSAVG
ANTONINVSPIVSAVGBRIT
ANTONINVSPIVSAVGGERM
ANTONINVSPIVSFELAVG (ALSO USED BY ELAGABALUS)
DIVOANTONINOMAGNO
IMPCAEMAVRANTAVGPTRP
IMPCAESMAVRELANTONINVSAVG
IMPANTONINETGETACAESAVGFIL
IMPCMAVRANTONAVGPTRP
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSAVG
IMPCMAVRANTONAVGPTRP
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSAVG
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSPONTAVG
IMPMAVRANTONINVSPIVSAVGPMTRPXIII
MAVRANTCAESPONTIF
MAVRANTONCAESPONTIF
MAVRANTONINVSCAES
MAVRELANTONINVSPIVSAVG
MAVRELANTONINVSPIVSAVGBRIT
MAVRELANTONINVSPIVSAVGGERM


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calic, E.X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. II: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayn, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. III: De Marco Aurelio a Caracalla (Del 161 d.C. al 217 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 4: Septimius Severus to Maximinus Thrax. (Paris, 1884).
Mattingly, H.B., E.A. Sydenham & C.H.V. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol IV, From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 5: Pertinax to Elagabalus. (London, 1950).
Mouchmov, N.A. Le Tresor Numismatique De Reka-Devnia (Marcianopolis). (Sofia, 1934).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III. Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H.A. & Sear, D.R. Roman Silver Coins, Volume III, Pertinax to Balbinus and Pupienus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, June 28, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Caracalla