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

Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.

Elagabalus came to power through the scheming of his grandmother Julia Maesa. Elagabalus repeatedly shocked the population with increasingly bizarre behavior including cross dressing and marrying a vestal virgin. Eventually his grandmother replaced him on the throne with Severus Alexander, and Elagabalus and his mother were murdered, dragged through the streets of Rome and dumped into the Tiber.


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Philippopolis, Thrace

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Philippopolis today is Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
RP63960. Bronze AE 28, BMC Thrace p. 167, 44; Varbanov III 1712; Moushmov 5404; SNG Cop -, F, nice green patina, weight 13.097 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 225o, Philippopolis (Plovdiv, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AYT K M AYPHΛ MA ANTΩNEINOC CEB, laureate bust of emperor right; reverse MHTPOΠOΛEΩC ΦIΛIΠΠOΠOΛE/ΩC NEΩKO/POY, two wrestlers grappling; USA import restricted type, ex Mark Staal Collection; scarce; $200.00 (178.00)


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The star in the field, a symbol of the sun-god, stands for the mint of Rome.
RS77436. Silver denarius, RIC IV 40b, RSC III 184, Hunter III 49, BMCRE V p. 567, 244; cf. SRCV II 7533 (TR P III), VF, well centered, nice portrait, toned, some die wear, porous, weight 3.150 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, Rome mint, 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P IIII COS III P P, Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for cloak over shoulders and left arm and flying behind, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip vertical in left hand, star in left field; $145.00 (129.05)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Zeugma, Commagene, Syria

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Butcher notes coins of Elagabalus from Zeugma share obverse dies with his coins from Antioch and were probably struck at the Antioch mint.

Zeugma was founded by Seleucus I Nicator who almost certainly named the city Seleucia after himself. In 64 B.C. the city was conquered by Rome and renamed Zeugma, meaning "bridge of boats." On the Silk Road connecting Antioch to China, Zeugma had a pontoon bridge across the Euphrates, which was the long time border with the Persian Empire. The Legio IV Scythica was camped in Zeugma. The legion and the trade station brought great wealth to Zeugma until, in 256, Zeugma was fully destroyed by the Sassanid king, Shapur I. An earthquake then buried the city beneath rubble. The city never regained its earlier prosperity and, after Arab raids in the 5th and 6th centuries, it was abandoned again.
RY90698. Bronze AE 32, BMC Galatia p. 127, 28; Butcher 29; SNG Cop 31 var. (AVT K M AV -..., and slight drapery), F, weight 18.971 g, maximum diameter 32.4 mm, die axis 315o, Antioch(?) mint, obverse AVT KAI MAP AVP - ANTΩNEINOC CE, laureate head right; reverse ZEYΓM−ATEΩN (Z reversed), tetrastyle temple of Zeus(?) with peribolos containing grove of trees, capricorn right in exergue; big 32 mm bronze!; $140.00 (124.60)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Perga, Pamphylia

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Perga was the capital of Pamphylia. Today it is a large site of ancient ruins, 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) east of Antalya on the southwestern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. During the Hellenistic period, Perga was one of the richest and most beautiful cities in the ancient world, famous for its temple of Artemis. It also is notable as the home of the renowned mathematician Apollonius of Perga.
RP83671. Bronze AE 24, BMC Lycia p. 127, 41; SNG BnF 462 (plate numbered 642 in error); SNGvA 4685; SNG Cop -, VF, tight flan cutting off parts of legends, green patina with highlighting buff earthen deposits, weight 9.73 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, Perga mint, 218-222 A.D.; obverse AVT K M AV ANTWNINOC CEB, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ΠEPΓ-AIΩN, a simulacrum of Artemis Pergaia, crescent above left, star above right, phoenix on cippus flanking on each side, all within distyle temple, eagle in pediment; $140.00 (124.60)


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Hilaritas, the personification of rejoicing, is usually depicted as a matron, standing with a cornucopia in her left hand and a long palm frond on the ground in her right. Green branches were a sign of gladness and for special occasions, both public and private, it was the custom in ancient times to ornament streets, temples, gates, houses, and even entire cities, with branches and leaves of trees. This tradition carries on today in the form of wreaths and Christmas trees.
RS73522. Silver denarius, RIC IV 190, RSC III 54, BMCRE V 281, Hunter III 116, SRCV II 7517, VF, exotic eastern style, weight 2.751 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 218 - 219 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse HILARITAS AVG, Hilaritas standing front, looking left, patera in right, long grounded palm frond in left, flanked by two nude children standing at her feet reaching up to her, the child on the right touching the palm frond; $135.00 (120.15)


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The silver content of the Roman denarius fell to 43 percent under emperor Elagabalus, down from 50 percent under Septimius Severus. He emptied the treasury with his excesses while his grandmother, Julia Maesa, ruled the Empire.
RS73531. Silver antoninianus, RSC III 289a, BMCRE V 36, RIC IV 156, cf. SRCV II 7500 (obv legend, no cuirass), Choice gVF, nice portrait, excellent centering, a little porous, weight 5.337 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, 218 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M AVR ANTONINVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right; reverse VICTOR ANTONINI AVG, Victory walking right, wreath raised in right hand, palm over shoulder in left; $135.00 (120.15)


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In July 221, Elagabalus was forced to divorce his new bride, the Vestal Virgin Aquilia Severa. He then married Annia Faustina, his third wife. After five months he returned to Severa claiming the divorce was invalid. Meanwhile, according to the historian Cassius Dio, Elagabalus had a stable homosexual relationship with his chariot driver, the slave Hierocles.
RS74521. Silver denarius, RIC IV 78, BMCRE V 201, RSC III 44, SRCV III 7514, VF, some marks, light corrosion, weight 3.019 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 220 - 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse FIDES MILITVM, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, shield at base of each standard; $135.00 (120.15)


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In 219 A.D., Julia Maesa arranged a marriage for Elagabalus, her 15 year old grandson. The wedding was a lavish ceremony and his bride, Julia Paula, was given the honorific title of Augusta. Elagabalus was also consul that year and was initiated into the worship of the Phrygian gods Cybele and Attis.
RB79664. Copper as, RIC IV 341, BMCRE V 365, Cohen 7, F, scratches, weight 11.656 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, 219 - 220 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M AVR ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate draped bust right; reverse ADVENTVS AVGVSTI, emperor on horseback left, right hand raised in salute, baton in right, S C in exergue; scarce; $130.00 (115.70)


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Curtis Clay notes, one of Elagabalus' four emperor sacrificing types is dated, and the horn disappears from its obverse soon after the beginning of TR P V on 10 Dec. 221. This coin, without the horn thus dates c. mid-Jan. to his death 11 March 222.
SH79758. Silver denarius, RSC III 61b, Eauze 356 (10 spec.), BMCRE V 209, RIC IV 88 (notes usually horned), SRCV II 7518 var. (horned), Choice gVF, superb portrait, small encrustations, weight 2.830 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. mid-Jan - 11 Mar 222; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped and bearded bust right, no horn; reverse INVICTVS SACERDOS AVG, Elagabalus standing half left, branch in left, offering from patera over altar in right, recumbent bull behind altar, star left; $120.00 (106.80)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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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.
RP65521. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.26.54.24, AMNG I/I 2039, Varbanov I 3849, cf. BMC Thrace p. 51, 68 ff. (larger, bust, inscription arrangement), SNG Cop -, aEF, weight 2.273 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 16 May 218 - 11 Mar 222 A.D.; obverse AY K M AYΠ ANTΩNINOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse NI/KOΠ/OΛITΩN / ΠPOC IC/TPON, inscription in five lines within laurel wreath; ex Helios Numismatik auction 7, lot 464; $110.00 (97.90)




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

ANTONINVSPIVSAVG
ANTONINVSPIVSFEL
ANTONINVSPIVSFELAVG
ANTONINVSVPIVSFELAVG (ALSO USED BY CARACALLA)
IMPANTONINVSAVG
IMPANTONINVSPIVSAVG
IMPANTONINVSPIVSFELIXAVG
IMPCAESANTONINVSAVG
IMPCAESMAVRANTONINVSAVG
IMPCAESMAVRANTONINVSPIVSAVG


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calic, E.X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 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, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Monday, September 26, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Elagabalus