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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Severan Period| ▸ |Septimius Severus||View 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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Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.
SH58612. Gold aureus, RIC IV 237; Calico 2517 (same dies); BMCRE V p. 361, 23 & pl. 53, 13 (same obv die); S 6229, aVF, weight 7.240 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 210 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVIII COS III P P, Victory advancing right, head left, leading captive with right, trophy over shoulder in left; full circle centering on both obverse and reverse, ex Forum (2008), ex Harlan Berk, very conservative Sear grade; rare; SOLD

Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Caracalla and Geta reverse

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Part of the interesting dynastic Severan series, which comprises coins that display portraits of two, three, or all four members of Septimius Severus' family. The Julia Domna obverse/ Caracalla and Geta reverse comes in three varieties. The most common is the one with both brothers wearing paludamentum and often cuirass. In the past years we note 13 different specimens. On our coin the reverse has plain heads, and we can't trace any specimen auctioned in the recent years. RIC lists both types as R3, obviously in error. Neither was present in the Reka Devnia hoard.
SH25338. Silver denarius, RIC IV S541, RSC III 3, SRCV II 6534 var., Choice gVF, near full circle centering, light toning, weight 3.290 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 201 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right; reverse AETERNIT IMPERI, confronted heads of Caracalla (on left) laureate right and Geta Caesar bare head left; very rare; SOLD

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

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SH28917. Bronze medallion, SNGvA 5144 (different dies), BMC Lycia -, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, VF, weight 26.0 g, maximum diameter 37.1 mm, die axis 0o, obverse AYT K Λ CEΠ - CEOYHPOC ΠE, laureate and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ΠΩΓ−ΛEΩN, cult image of Artemis Pergaia between two stars, within distyle temple or aedicula with domed roof; a huge, very attractive bronze with a nice patina; the first coin FORVM has offered from Pogla; extremely rare; SOLD

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

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One of Rome's great story coins. 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 their rivalry intensified upon his death. The two emperors lived in separate palaces and each had their own guard. In December 211, Caracalla convinced their mother, Julia Domna, to call Geta for a reconciliation meeting in her residence. It was a trick. In his mother's house Caracalla's soldiers attacked. Geta died in their mother's arms.
SH33739. Silver denarius, RIC IV 251 var. (Caracalla draped and cuirassed), RSC III 6 var. (same), Vagi 1709, Choice VF, weight 3.464 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 202 - 210 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse AETERNIT IMPERI, bust of Caracalla laureate and draped facing bust of Geta bare-headed and draped; rare; SOLD

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Emesa frequently copied old coin reverse types. Sometimes they even copied old inscriptions listing honors that applied, not to the current emperor, but to the long dead emperor who issued the copied type. The normal Severan crescent and seven stars reverse has the legend SAECVL FELICIT (era of happy good fortune). Only a few Severan examples are known with this AETERNITAS AVS legend, copied from Pescennius Niger. We know of one example for Julia Domna, two for Severus with a COS obverse legend, and this coin with a COS II obverse. This coin is unpublished and, to the best of our knowledge, unique
SH59264. Silver denarius, Unpublished and likely unique; RIC IV -, RSC III -, BMCRE V -, Mazzini -; Hunter -, aVF/VF, light toning, weight 2.648 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Emesa (Homs, Syria) mint, 194 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II, laureate head right; reverse AETERNITAS AVS , crescent and seven stars; extremely rare; SOLD

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Laodicea ad Mare, Coele-Syria

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SH21683. Silver tetradrachm, Prieur 1163, superb EF, weight 13.375 g, maximum diameter 27.3 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 209 - 211 A.D.; obverse AYT KAI CEOVHPOC CE, laureate and draped bust right; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞ YΠATOC TO Γ (holder of Tribunitian power, consul for the 3rd time), eagle standing facing, looking left, wreath in beak, star between legs; SOLD

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The reverse commemorates Victories in Northern Britain.
RB26391. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 796 var. (bust type), nice VF, weight 26.475 g, maximum diameter 34.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 210 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right, drapery on left shoulder; reverse P M TR P XVIII COS III P P S C, two Victories standing facing each other, attaching shield to tree, two British captives seated below; dark greenish-brown patina, well-centered on an exceptional broad planchet; rare; SOLD

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Laodicea ad Mar, Syria

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Laodicea ad Mar was founded by Seleukos Nikator. The determined after an eagle snatched a piece of flesh from an altar where Seleukos was sacrificing. The exact site was indicated when he slew a boar following the eagle's flight. Perhaps the eagle on this reverse refers to the city's founding myth, though the ancients did not need a special reason to depict an eagle, the companion of Zeus.
RY10731. Silver tetradrachm, Prieur 1149, Choice EF, weight 14.59 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 208 - 209 A.D.; obverse AYTKAI - CEOYHPOC - CE, laureate and draped bust right seen from the front; reverse DHMARXEΞYΠATOCTOΓ (holder of Tribunitian power, consul for the 3rd time), eagle standing facing on ground line, wings open, head left, wreath in beak, star between legs; SOLD

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This type is very rare with less than a dozen examples known, apparently from only two reverse dies. This example from a different reverse die than the British Museum example. Saeculum Frugiferum, the Roman personification of the Fertility of the Age, is depicted on Roman coins only in the Severan period. He was associated with an African god with the Greek name of Aion Karpophoros, the patron deity of Hadrumetum, Byzacene (North Africa).
RS87263. Silver denarius, RIC IV 19 (R); RSC III 622; Hunter III 1; cf. BMCRE V W4 (aureus, Cohen 622 denarius noted); SRCV II -, VF, excellent portrait, attractive style, light rose toning, light marks, small edge cracks, weight 3.236 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, Rome mint, early June to end 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEPT SEV PERT AVG, laureate head right; reverse SAEC FRVGIF COS, Saeculum Frugiferum standing slightly left, radiate, head left, bare to the waist, himation around hips and thighs, winged caduceus upright in extended right hand, transverse trident in left hand; very rare; SOLD

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193 A.D. - The Year of Five Emperors. On 1 January, the Senate selected Pertinax, against his will, to succeed the late Commodus as Emperor. The Praetorian Guard assassinated him on 28 March and auctioned the throne to the highest bidder, Didius Julianus, who offered 300 million sesterces. Outraged by the Praetorians, legions in Illyricum select Septimius Severus as emperor; in Britannia the legions select their governor Clodius Albinus, and in Syria the legions select their governor Pescennius Niger. On 1 June Septimius Severus entered the capital, put Julianus put to death and replaced the Praetorian Guard with his own troops. Clodius Albinus allied with Severus and accepted the title of Caesar. Pescennius Niger was defeated, killed and his head displayed in Rome.
SH57786. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 651, BMCRE V 469, SRCV II 6411, gVF, scratches, weight 16.761 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, the "Year of Five Emperors," 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES L SEPT SEV PERT AVG, laureate bust right; reverse FIDEI LEG TR P COS, Fides standing slightly left, Victory in right, vexillum vertical behind in left, S - C across fields; handsome portrait from very early in his reign; SOLD


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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).
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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)
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, October 19, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Septimius Severus