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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.


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The reverse legend abbreviates, "Consul ludos saeculares fecit" (Consul, he made the secular games), commemorating the Ludi Saeculares (Secular Games) of 204. Liber and Hercules were the favored deities at Severus' birthplace, Lepcis Magna.
RS73196. Silver denarius, RSC III 50, RIC IV 74(a) (R2), BMCRE V 275A, SRCV II 6796, VF, nice boy portrait, centered, two small lamination defects on the reverse, weight 3.238 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, 204 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped young bust right; reverse COS LVDOS SAECVL FEC, Bacchus (or Liber) and Hercules standing confronted, Bacchus feeding panther from cup in right and holding thyrsus in left, Hercules resting right hand on grounded club, lion skin on left arm; scarce; $500.00 (€435.00)


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.
SH70946. Billon tetradrachm, Prieur 830, Bellinger Syrian 159, SNG Cop -, BMC Galatia -, gVF, nice portrait, good metal, well centered on a crowded flan, weight 13.320 g, maximum diameter 24.6 mm, die axis 0o, Zeugma mint, Cos. 4, 215 - 217 A.D.; obverse AVT K M ANTΩNEINOC CEB, radiate head right, bare back and shoulder, from behind; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞ YΠA TO ∆, eagle standing facing, head and tail right, wings open, wreath in beak, star upper left, crescent between legs, two pellets in exergue; ex Ancient Resource (Pasadena, CA); $400.00 (€348.00)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Nicopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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The term κιψριοσ (masters or lords) rarely appears on coins. The inscription, meaning, "Nikopolis ad Istrum is thankful for our lords," is a message of congratulations from the city to the Septimius Severus and Caracalla on the occasion of Caracalla's promotion to Augustus.
RP72139. Bronze tetrassarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.18.54.3 (R5), Varbanov 2912 (R6), Moushmov 1112, AMNG I/I -, VF, green patina, marks, weight 7.794 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 45o, Nikopolis ad Istrum mint, 198 A.D.; obverse AY K M AςP − ANTΩNINOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse EYTY/XΩC TOIC / KYPIOIC N/IKOΠOΛI / ΠPOC I, inscription in five lines all within laurel wreath; very rare; $250.00 (€217.50)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 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 time of Marcus Aurelius to Gallienus.
SH68297. Bronze AE 28, Varbanov 1095 (R4)=Schönert-Geiss Augusta Traiana 300, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, Nice F, weight 15.539 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, Augusta Traiana (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AYT K M AYP CEYH ANTΩONINOC, laureate and cuirassed bust right, from b; reverse AYΓOYCTHC TPAIANHC, city-gate flanked by two crenellated towers, a third crenellated tower in the center behind the gate; $225.00 (€195.75)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Odessos, Moesia Inferior

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According to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, Ampliatus, a follower of Saint Andrew preached in Odessos in 56 A.D. Ten early basilicas and a monophysite monastery indicate that Odessos was an early Christian center. The supreme god of Odessos was, however, the Thracian god Darzalas.
RP64031. Bronze AE 26, Varbanov I 4376; BMC Thrace p. 138, 14; AMNG I/II 2283 var (rev legend break),, gVF, nice green patina, weight 8.849 g, maximum diameter 26.3 mm, die axis 180o, Odessos (Varna, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AYT K M AYP CEYH−POC ANTΩNIN−OC, laureate head right; reverse O∆HCCEITΩN, the Great God of Odessos standing left, wearing kalathos, patera in right over flaming altar at feet, cornucopia in left; ex Helios Numismatik auction 7 (12 Dec 2011), lot 470; $160.00 (€139.20)


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The motto ‘Salus Generis Humani,’ meaning safety of the human race and the health of humanity, is engraved on a pin presented to graduates at Columbia University who have successfully completed the master’s degree in nursing.
RS73529. Silver denarius, RIC IV 350, SRCV II 6883, BMCRE V 701, RSC III 558a, VF, tight flan cuts off part of the reverse legend, weight 2.914 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 200 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SAL GEN HVM (Salus Generis Humani), Salus standing left, extending right hand to kneeling woman, long vertical snake-wreathed scepter in left; $150.00 (€130.50)


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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. It appears they were held over a container, covered with coins and the excess swept away back into the container. The proper number of coins would fill the holes and then would be dumped out to the recipient. On coins this symbol indicated the prince had given to the people money, grain, or other articles of consumption. In the other hand she holds a cornucopia, to indicate the abundance of wheat contained in the public graineries.
RS73547. Silver denarius, RIC IV 136b; RSC III 124; BMCRE V p. 209, 286; Hunter III 41; cf. SRCV II 6815 (AVG VI), Choice VF, excellent portrait, small flan crack, surfaces a little frosty, weight 3.452 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 201 - 206 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right; reverse LIBERALITAS AVGG V, Liberalitas standing slightly left, head left, counting board in right, cornucopia in left; $150.00 (€130.50)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Pautalia, Thrace

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Strymon, son of Oceanus and Tethys, was a river god and king of Thrace. By the muses Euterpe or Calliope, he became the father of Rhesus, Brangas, and Olynthus, and by Neaera of Evadne.
RP63246. Bronze AE 29, Apparently unpublished variety; cf. Ruzicka 632 (obv legend, armed bust left, etc.), Varbanov II 5186 (obv leg, laureate head), SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace, F, weight 16.33 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 45o, Pautalia (Kyustendil, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AYT K M AY − ANTΩNEINOC, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse OYΛΠIAC (above), ΠAYTAΛIAC (in exergue), river-god Strymon reclining left, head right, left arm resting on jug on its side from which water flows; rare; $135.00 (€117.45)


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The ancients did not all agree on the attributes of Serapis. A passage in Tacitus affirms that many recognized in this god, Aesculapius, imputing healing to his intervention; some thought him identical with Osiris, the oldest deity of the Egyptians; others regarded him as Jupiter, possessing universal power; but by most he was believed to be the same as Pluto, the "gloomy" Dis Pater of the infernal regions. The general impression of the ancients seems to have been that by Serapis, was to be understood the beginning and foundation of things. Julian II consulted the oracle of Apollo for the purpose of learning whether Pluto and Serapis were different gods; and he received for an answer that Jupiter-Serapis and Pluto were one and the same divinity.

RS71515. Silver denarius, RIC IV 263f, RSC III 296, BMCRE V 133, VF, full circles centering, toned, reverse a little weak, small encrustations, weight 3.102 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 215 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVIII COS IIII P P, Serapis standing facing, head left, draped, raising right hand, scepter in left; scarce; $135.00 (€117.45)


Caracalla and Geta, 209 - c. 26 December 211 A.D., Marcianopolis, Moesia Inferior

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The brothers, Caracalla and Geta, pledged to their dying father, Septimius Severus, they would rule together. But each had a rival faction and vied for supremacy. Pretending reconciliation, Caracalla scheduled a meeting at their mother's house where instead Geta was murdered, dying in his mother's arms.
RP72141. Bronze pentassarion, H-J Marcianopolis 6.20.38.3 corr. (same dies, H-J assumes full ethnic off flan, R4), Varbanov I 1086 var (full ethnic, R3); AMNG I/I 652 var (same), nice F, weight 10.733 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 180o, Markianopolis (Devnya, Bulgaria) mint, consular legate Flavius Ulpianus, 210 - 211 A.D.; obverse AY K M AY ANTΩNINOC AY K CEΠ, ΓETAC (ending below busts), laureate and draped confronted busts of Caracalla and Geta; reverse Y ΦΛ OYΛΠIANOY MAPKIANOΠOΛIT, Tyche standing left, rudder in right hand, cornucopia in left, E (mark of value) in field left; ex Henrik Angdal collection; $135.00 (€117.45)




  



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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).
Calicó, 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 frappées 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 Thursday, July 30, 2015.
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Roman Coins of Caracalla