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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., 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; $90.00 (79.20)


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Liberalitas coin types attest to occasions when the emperor has displayed his generosity towards the people by a distribution to them, in money, provisions, or both. The first mention of Liberalitas was on coins of Hadrian. It was a type frequently repeated by the succeeding emperors. Indeed these instances of imperial generosity are more carefully recorded on coins than they are by history. This coin advertises that Caracalla has made his eighth distribution to the people. Liberality is personified by the image of a woman, holding in one hand a counting board, or square tablet with a handle on which are cut a certain number of holes. These boards were used to quickly count the proper number of coins or other items for distribution to each person. In the other hand she holds a cornucopia
RS72357. Silver denarius, RIC IV 219; RSC III 134; BMCRE V p. 371, 79; Hunter III -; SRCV II -, Choice VF, excellent portrait, centered, slight porosity, weight 3.439 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, man's bearded and laureate head right; reverse LIBERALITAS AVG VIII, Liberalitas standing left, coin counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left; ex a-a-c-ancientcoins (eBay); $90.00 (79.20)


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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; $90.00 (79.20)


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; $85.00 (74.80)


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 mint, obverse AYTOKP ANTWNEINOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, with short beard; reverse KAP KOΛ MHTPOΠOΛ, eight pointed star in crescent; very rare; $85.00 (74.80)


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

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A temple of Mn has been excavated at Antioch, Pisidia. Luna, the Greek moon-goddess, was female, which seems natural because the female menstrual cycle follows the lunar month. But Mn was a male moon-god, probably originally of the indigenous non-Greek Karian people. By Roman times, Mn was worshiped across Anatolia and in Attica. He was associated with fertility, healing, and punishment. Mn is usually depicted with a crescent moon behind his shoulders, wearing a Phrygian cap, and holding a lance or sword in one hand and a pine-cone or patera in the other. His other attributes include the bucranium and cock.
RP69829. Bronze AE 17, cf. SNG Cop 43 (slightly different reverse legend), Krzyzanowska -, BMC Pisidia -, SNG BnF -, SNGvA -, SNG PfPS -, F, weight 6.169 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 225o, Antiocheia mint, as caesar, 196 - 28 Jan 198 A.D.; obverse IMP C MA-R AVR ANT, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ANTIOC-H - MENTIS COIC, Mn standing facing in long robes and Phrygian cap, head right, crescent moon behind shoulders, left foot on bucranium, spear vertical in right hand, Nike (holding trophy?) in extended left, cock left at feet behind; from the Butte College Foundation, ex Lindgren; very rare; $75.00 (66.00)


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; $75.00 (66.00)


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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; $60.00 (52.80)


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; $60.00 (52.80)


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.
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, 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 (44.00)


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.
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; $50.00 (44.00)


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RS74175. Silver denarius, RIC IV 4, RSC III 587, SRCV II 6679, aVF, light toning, edge cracks, weight 3.236 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 196 A.D.; obverse M AVR ANTONINVS CAES, bare headed, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse SEVERI AVG PII FIL, priestly implements; lituus, ax, jug, simpulum, and sprinkler; scarce; $50.00 (44.00)


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Virtus was a specific virtue in ancient Rome. It carries 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; $50.00 (44.00)


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

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Alexandria Troas (modern Eski Stambul) is on the Aegean Sea near the northern tip of the west coast of Anatolia, a little south of Tenedos (modern Bozcaada). The city was founded by Antigonus around 310 B.C. with the name Antigoneia and was populated with the inhabitants of Cebren, Colone, Hamaxitus, Neandria, and Scepsis. About 301 B.C., Lysimachus improved the city and re-named it Alexandreia. Among the few structure ruins remaining today are a bath, an odeon, a theater and gymnasium complex and a stadium. The circuit of the old walls can still be traced.
RP74429. Bronze AE 23, SNG Stockholm 2154 (same dies); SNG Righetti 781; Bellinger Troy A262, SNG Cop 139 var (legends, bust); BMC Troas p. 22, 101 var (same); SNGvA -, F, weight 6.557 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria Troas mint, 28 Jan 198 - 8 Apr 217 A.D.; obverse ANTONINV-S PIVS AV, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse COL - AVG TR-OA, eagle flying right with bull's head in tallons; $40.00 (35.20)




  



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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).
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, David. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, February 09, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Caracalla