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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Severan Period ▸ Septimius SeverusView Options:  |  |  |   

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

Septimius Severus, a native of Leptis Magna, Africa was proclaimed emperor by his troops after the murder of Pertinax. He is at the same time credited with strengthening and reviving an empire facing imminent decline and, through the same policies that saved it, causing its eventual fall. Severus eliminated the dangerous praetorians, unified the empire after turmoil and civil war, strengthened the army, defeated Rome's most powerful enemy, and founded a successful dynasty. His pay increases for the army, however, established a severe burden on Rome. Future emperors were expected to increase pay as well. These raises resulted in ever-increasing taxes that damaged the economy. Some historians believe high taxes, initiated by Severus policies, played a significant role in Rome's long-term decline. In 208 A.D., he traveled to Britain to defeat a disastrous barbarian invasion. He died in York in 211 A.D and was succeeded by his sons, Caracalla and Geta.

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Hebros is the Romanized version of the original Thracian Ebros. Today it is the Maritsa river or, in Greece, the Evros. The river enters the Aegean Sea near Enez. The lower course of the Maritsa/Evros forms part of the Bulgarian-Greek border and most of the Greek-Turkish border. The upper Maritsa valley runs east-west in Bulgaria. The unnavigable river is used for power production and irrigation.

The Three Graces, named Euphrosyne, Aglaia and Thalia, were the attendants of Venus (Aphrodite).
SH74540. Brass AE 31, Schnert-Geiss Augusta Traiana 27 (V13/R24), Varbanov III 2739, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, F, well centered, cleaning scratches, smoothing, weight 11.934 g, maximum diameter 31.2 mm, die axis 15o, Thrace, Traianopolis mint, hegemon Statilus Barbarus; obverse AYK Λ CEΠ - CEYHPOC Π, laureate head right; reverse HΓ CTATI BAPBAPOY TPAIANOΠO−ΛITΩN, River-god Hebrus reclining left on upturned urn; the Charites (the Three Graces) behind his legs standing facing; left and middle Charites with heads right, left Charis holding rod(?), middle Charis holding apple; big 31 mm bronze!; very rare; $520.00 (442.00)

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Augusta Traiana, Thrace

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Augusta Traiana (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria today) was founded by Trajan, c. 106 A.D. During 2nd - 3rd century A.D., it was the second largest city in Roman Thrace, after Philippopolis, and was fortified by strong walls. The city struck bronze coins from the time of Marcus Aurelius to Gallienus.
RP83509. Brass AE 31, Schnert-Geiss Augusta Traiana 163, Varbanov II 1009 (R7), SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, F, well centered, centration dimples, weight 15.997 g, maximum diameter 30.8 mm, die axis 0o, Augusta Traiana (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV K Λ CEΠTI - CEVHPOC Π, laureate head right; reverse AVΓOVCT-HC TRAIAN-HC, tetrastyle temple on raised platform, flanked on each side by a tree and a stag leaping outward, Artemis standing right within the temple, holding bow in left hand and drawing arrow from quiver on shoulder with right hand; big 31 mm bronze!; very rare; $240.00 (204.00)

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

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In 209, Publius Septimius Geta receives the titles of Imperator and Augustus from his father, emperor Septimius Severus.
RS85795. Silver denarius, RIC IV 228, RSC III 529, BMCRE V 3, Hunter III 69, SRCV II 6346, gVF, superb portrait, light toning, Poseidon a little flatly struck, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.885 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 209 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right, bare shoulders, from behind; reverse P M TR P XVII COS III P P, Neptune standing left, nude but for chlamys draped over left shoulder and right forearm, right hand resting on upper right leg, right foot on rock, long trident vertical in left hand; $160.00 (136.00)

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Pautalia, Thrace

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The site of Pautalia (modern Kyustendil, Bulgaria) was settled in the Iron Age by the Thracian Dentheletes tribe. It was located near thermal springs and remains of the ancient city include a temple of Asklepios and Roman baths. In the 1990s, excavation of nearby 2nd century A.D. tumuli unearthed bronze surgical instruments and a small bronze case containing a variety of medicines.
RP63965. Bronze AE 30, Ruzicka 264 (same reverse die), Varbanov II 4653, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, aF, smoothing, weight 26.306 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 180o, Pautalia (Kyustendil, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AYT K Λ CEΠTI CEYHPOC ΠEP CEB, laureate head right; reverse HΓE K AIΛIOY ONEPATOY OYΛΠIAC ΠAYTAΛIAC, tetrastyle temple seen in three-quarters perspective, no steps, Apollo-Bonus Eventus standing within, flanked by a tree left and another right; thick sestertius-like flan; rare; $150.00 (127.50)

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Petra, Arabia

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UNESCO describes Petra as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage." The BBC selected Petra as one of "the 40 places you have to see before you die."
RP84854. Bronze AE 25, Spijkerman 32, Rosenberger 19, SGICV 2281, SNG ANS -, VF, attractive earthen fill, weight 10.019 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 0o, Petra mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV K Λ CEΠT CEOYHPOC IN ΠEP CEB (or similar), laureate bust right; reverse METPOΠOΛIC A∆PIAN ΠETRA, Tyche seated left on rock, turreted and veiled, right hand extended and open, trophy over shoulder in left; $135.00 (114.75)

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Amphipolis, Macedonia

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Excavations of Roman Amphipolis have revealed traces of all the impressive architecture one would expect from a thriving Roman city. A bridge, gymnasium, public and private monuments, sanctuaries, and cemeteries all attest to the city's prosperity. From the early Christian period (after 500 CE) there are traces of four basilicas, a large rectangular building which may have been a bishop's residence, and a church. -- Ancient History Encyclopedia
RP84023. Bronze AE 23, BMC Macedonia p. 58, 126 (same obverse die); Varbanov 3268 (R4) var. (obv. legend); Moushmov 6106; SNG Cop -, aVF, attractive portrait, dark patina, porous, centration dimples, weight 8.283 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, Amphipolis mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse Λ CEΠT CE-OYHPOC ΠEP A-YΓ (YHP ligate), laureate and draped bust right; reverse AMΦIΠOΛEITWN, Tyche of Amphipolis seated left on a throne, wearing kalathos, veil, long chiton and mantle, phiale in extended right hand, star below seat; $120.00 (102.00)

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Bonus Eventus, the god of good outcomes, was originally worshiped by the Romans as a deity especially presiding over agriculture and successful harvests. During the Imperial era, he was associated with other types of success. The epithet Bonus, "the Good," is used with other abstract deities such as Bona Fortuna ("Good Fortune"), Bona Mens ("Good Thinking" or "Sound Mind"), and Bona Spes ("Good Hope," perhaps to be translated as "optimism"), as well as with the mysterious and multivalent Bona Dea, a goddess whose rites were celebrated by women.
RS76958. Silver denarius, SRCV II 6267, RIC IV 369, RSC III 68, BMCRE V 343, VF, excellent eastern style portrait, some light corrosion, weight 2.130 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, Emesa (Homs, Syria) mint, 194 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II, laureate head right; reverse BONI EVENTVS, Bonus Eventus standing left, basket of fruit in right, two heads of grain in left; $110.00 (93.50)

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Severus was born in Leptis Magna (Khoms, Libya) in the Roman province of Africa. This type was struck to commemorate the emperor's visit to his native Africa in 207. See Leptis Magna on Wikipedia.
RS73189. Silver denarius, RIC IV 207 (S); RSC III 493; BMCRE V p. 263, 531; SRCV II 6341, VF, grainy, weight 3.634 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XV COS III P P, Africa standing half right, wearing elephant skin headdress, with right holding out drapery with fruits in the fold, lion at her feet right; interesting reverse type; scarce; $105.00 (89.25)

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Marcianopolis, Moesia Inferior

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The first of Herakles' twelve labors, set by King Eurystheus (his cousin), was to slay the Nemean lion and bring back its skin. It could not be killed with mortal weapons because its golden fur was impervious to attack. Its claws were sharper than swords and could cut through any armor. Herakles stunned the beast with his club and, using his immense strength, strangled it to death. During the fight, the lion bit off one of his fingers. After slaying the lion, he tried to skin it with a knife from his belt but failed. Wise Athena, noticing the hero's plight, told him to use one of the lion's own claws to skin the pelt.
RP84687. Bronze AE 20, H-J Marcianopolis (R2), AMNG I/I 585, Moushmov 397, Varbanov I 732 (R3) var. (CEΠ), VF, dark sea-green patina, scratches, weight 5.161 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 225o, Markianopolis (Devnya, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AY K Λ CE - CEYHPOC, laureate head right; reverse MAPKIANO-ΠOΛITΩN, Herakles standing left, strangling the Nemean lion; $100.00 (85.00)

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Barbaric Imitative

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Tribal peoples outside the Empire struck coinage imitative of Roman types beginning in the second century B.C. and continued to strike imitative types even after the Western Empire ceased to exist. Several official issues used this reverse type, but the style is exotic and crude. These legends were never used on any official issues.
RS90386. Silver denarius, for possible prototype: cf. RIC IV 516, RSC III 719, BMCRE V 678 (Roman official, Laodicea ad Mare mint, 198 - 202 A.D.), gVF, fantastic unofficial style, frosty surfaces, weight 2.520 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 180o, tribal mint, c. 198 - 210 A.D.; obverse S VERVS - AVGVSTVS P, laureate head right; reverse TR - PO CO VIII VICTO AVG, Victory ascending left, open wreath in both hands, round shield on a low base at feet on left; $95.00 (80.75)






Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Bickford-Smith, R. "The imperial mints in the east for Septimius Severus: it is time to begin a thorough reconsideration" in RIN XCVI (1994/1995), pp. 53-71.
Calic, E. 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., E. Sydenham & C. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. IV: From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 5: Pertinax to Elagabalus. (London, 1950).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III. Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H. & Sear, D. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. III, Pertinax to Balbinus and Pupienus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. 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 Saturday, March 17, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Septimius Severus