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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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This type refers to Severus' victories over Parthia. Severus assumed the title "Parthicus Maximus," greatest of Parthian conquerors.
RS87643. Silver denarius, BMCRE V p. 288, 675; RIC IV 514 corr. (palm vice trophy); RSC III 741; SRCV II 6373, Choice gVF, light toning, some die wear, weight 2.883 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 198 - 202 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV AVG IMP XI PART MAX, laureate head right; reverse VICT PARTHICAE, Victory walking left, wreath in extended right, trophy of captured arms in left; Parthian captive at feet on left, bearded and wearing a Parthian cap, seated left, looking up and back at Victory, hands bound behind back; $160.00 (140.80)


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This type refers to Severus' victories over Parthia. Severus assumed the title "Parthicus Maximus," greatest of Parthian conquerors.
SL89819. Silver denarius, RIC IV 185; RSC III 373; BMCRE V p. 232, 385; Hunter III 48; SRCV II 6323, NGC AU, strike 5/5, surface 4/5 (4094543-012), weight 3.13 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 202 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse PART MAX P M TR P X COS III P P, trophy of captured arms, flanked by two Parthian captives seated facing outward and wearing pointed caps; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins; $150.00 (132.00)


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The Romans believed that Fortuna, after deserting the Persians and Assyrians, took flight over Macedonia and saw Alexander perish as she passed into Egypt and into Syria. At last arriving on Mount Palatine, she threw aside her wings and casting away her wheel, entered Rome where she took up her abode forever. It appears, however, she kept her wheel. She just hid it under her seat.
RS89488. Silver denarius, RIC IV 189b; RSC III 461; BMCRE V p. 240, 432; Hunter 49; SRCV II 6334, VF, nice portrait, well centered, light tone, edge cracks, weight 2.912 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 203 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XI COS III P P, Fortuna seated left, feet on low stool, holding rudder by tiller in right hand, scepter in left hand, wheel under seat; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73, part of lot 970; $110.00 (96.80)


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; $100.00 (88.00)


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The flattering appellation "the restorer of the city" was doubtless given not for either rebuilding or embellishing Rome, but rather for restoring the honor of the "Eternal City" by avenging the death of Pertinax, securing domestic tranquility to the empire, and reestablishing respect for the Roman name by victories over the Parthians.
RS89485. Silver denarius, RIC IV 167a, BMCRE V 194, RSC III 599; Hunter III 41; SRCV II 6357, Choice VF, well centered, tiny edge crack, weight 3.372 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 150o, Rome mint, 201 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS AVG PART MAX, laureate head right; reverse RESTITVTOR VRBIS (the restorer of the city), Severus standing left in military attire, sacrificing over flaming tripod altar from patera in right hand, inverted spear vertical behind in left hand; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73, part of lot 970; $95.00 (83.60)


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The reverse announces that Septimius has completed vows (prayers and sacrifices) to ask the gods for 20 years of rule. In a religious context, votum, plural vota, is a vow or promise made to a deity. The word comes from the past participle of voveo, vovere; as the result of the verbal action, a vow, or promise. The votum is an aspect of the contractual nature of Roman religion and sacrifice, a bargaining expressed by "do ut des" (I give that you might give).
RS87222. Silver denarius, RIC IV 308, RSC III 791, BMCRE V 375, Hunter III 103, SRCV II 6393, VF, well centered, toned, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.624 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 201 - 210 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse VOTA SVSCEPTA XX, Severus (his pointy beard well visible) sacrificing left over a lit tripod altar; $90.00 (79.20)


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, central cavities, 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; $80.00 (70.40)


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

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We were unable to find an example with complete legends or even read them with certainty combining parts from the six specimens we found in references and online. Some letters remain uncertain because they were blundered or partially off flan on all specimens examined.
RY86708. Bronze AE 27, SNG Cop 421, Lindgren-Kovacs A2141B, Rosenberger IV 20, SNG Mnchen -, BMC Galatia -, aF, desert patina, oval flan, weight 9.720 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 0o, Damascus mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse CEV Π CE - AVTOK KAI (or similar, blundered), laureate and draped bust right, from front; reverse ∆AMACKHWN MHTPOΠOΛ-EWN (or similar, blundered), turreted and draped bust of Tyche left inside tetrastyle shrine with arch; ex J.S. Wagner Collection; extremely rare; $70.00 (61.60)


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

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Niksar has been ruled by the Hittite, Persian, Greek, Pontic, Roman, Byzantine, Danishmend, Seljuk and Ottoman Empires. It was known as Cabira in the Hellenistic era. In 72/71 B.C., during the Third Mithridatic War, the Romans took the city in the Battle of Cabira. Pompey made it the metropolis Diopolis. Pythodoris, widow of Polemon, made it her capital and called it Sebaste. It is uncertain when it took the name of Neokaisareia, first mentioned in Pliny, "Hist. Nat.", VI, III, 1. Judging from its coins, it was probably during the reign of Tiberius. In 344 the city was completely destroyed by an earthquake but recovered. Neokaisareia became part of the Eastern Roman Empire when the Roman Empire divided in 395. Another earthquake occurred in 499.
RP91968. Bronze tetrassarion, SNGvA 99 corr. (date PMB), SNG Hunterian 1154, Rec Gn 13, BMC Pontus - (same rev. type as p. 33, 7 for Caracalla), SNG Cop -, Lindgren -, gF, brown patina, some light deposits, weight 11.362 g, maximum diameter 30.8 mm, die axis 45o, Pontus, Neocaesarea (Niksar, Turkey) mint, 209 - 210 A.D.; obverse AY K Λ CEΠ CEOYEIPOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse KOIN ΠON NEO-KAI MHTPO, Tetrastyle temple, statue of nude male figure on pediment in center, ET PMς (year 146, Mς appears as ligate MR); $70.00 (61.60)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Rabbathmoba-Areopolis, Provincia 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.
RP84127. Bronze AE 27, Sofaer 5; Spijkerman p. 264, 8; cf. Rosenberger IV 1-3 (bust and legend variations, etc.); SNG ANS 1414 (same), VF, no patina, weight 6.492 g, maximum diameter 27.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rabbathmoba-Areopolis mint, obverse AVT KAIC Λ CEΠ - CEOVHPOC ΠEB, laureate bust right; reverse RABBAΘM-WBHNWN APHC, cult statue of Ares standing facing in military dress, sword erect in right hand, spear and round shield in left hand, on platform with four legs set on base; rare; $48.00 (42.24)




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

DIVOSEPTIMIOSEVEROPIO
DIVOSEVERO
DIVOSEVEROPIO
FELICITASPVBLICA
IMPCLSEPSEVERVSAVG
IMPCLSEPSEVERVSPAV
IMPCLSEPSEVERVSPAVG
IMPCLSEPTISEVERVSPPAVG
IMPCALSESEVERAGCOSII
IMPCALSEPSEVPERAVGCOSII
IMPCALSEPSEVPERTAVGOCS
IMPCAELSEPPERTAVGCOSII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERAVGCOSII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVG
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCIIC
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCOII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCOIII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCOSI
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCOSII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGIIC
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGIICO
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTIAVGIIII
IMPCAELSEPTSEVPERTAVG
IMPCAELSEPTSEVPERTAVGNC
IMPCAESLSEPSEVERVSPERTAVG
IMPCAESLSEPTSEVPERTAVG
IMPCAESSEVEPERTINAXAVG
IMPLCAESSEPTSEVPERTAVGTRPVI
IMPPINVICTPIIAVGG
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGIMIMPXI
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGIMPXI
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGPVIMPXIPARPM
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGPMIMPXI
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGPMIMPXIPARDN
LSEPTSEVAVGIMPXI
LSEPTSEVAVGIMPXIPARTMAX
LSEPTSEVPERETAVGIMPI
LSEPTSEVPERETAVGIMPII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMP
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPI
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPIII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPIIII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPV
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPVI
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPVII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPVIII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPVIIII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPX
LSEPTSEVPERTEAVGIMP
LSEPTSEVPERTEAVGIMPII
LSEPTSEVPRTEAVGIMPII
LSEPTSEVERPERETIMPI
LSEPTSEVERPERTAVGIMPVIII
LSEPTSEVERVSAVGPARTMAXPMTRPVIIII
LSEPTSEVERVSPERAVGPIVIMPXIPARTMAX
LSEPTSEVERVSPERAVGPMIMPXI
LSEPTSEVERVSPIVSAVG
LSEPTSEVERVSPIVSAVGBRIT
LSEPTIMIVSSEVERVSPERTINAXAVGIMPIIII
LSEPTIMIVSSEVERVSPIVSAVG
SEVERPAVGPMTRPXCOSIII
SEVERPAVGPMTRPXICOSIII
SEVERVSAVGPARTMAX
SEVERVSAVGPARTMAXPMTRPVIII
SEVERVSAVGPARTMAXPMTRPVIIII
SEVERVSPIVSAVG
SEVERVSPIVSAVGBRIT
SEVERVSPIVSAVGPMTRPVIIII
SEVERVSPIVSAVGPMTRPX
SEVERVSPIVSAVGPMTRPXI
SEVERVSPIVSAVGPMTRPXII
SEVERVSPIVSAVGVSTVS


REFERENCES

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).
Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE) http://numismatics.org/ocre/
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 Thursday, June 20, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Septimius Severus