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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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Adventus reverse types commemorate the emperor's arrival at Rome, either at the commencement of his reign, or on his return from a distance. In 202, Septimius Severus (and Caracalla) returned to Rome after a five year absence. Festivals were held to celebrate his six year reign. This type might have been minted either after their return or in advance to advertise they were travelling by sea and would be in Rome soon.
RS74406. Silver denarius, RIC IV 120 (S); RSC III 3; BMCRE V p. 205, 267; SRCV II 6790; Hunter III -, Choice VF, nice style, cute boy portrait, fantastic galley, excellent centering, toned, tiny flan cracks, weight 3.465 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 201 - 202 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, boy's laureate and draped bust right; reverse ADVENT AVGG, war galley left on waves, ram, acrostolium and vexillum at the bow, five oarsmen and a steersman, three persons seated in the steersman's cabin, two standards and apluster at the stern; scarce; $400.00 (€352.00)
 


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Nikopolis 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 (€220.00)
 


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 (€198.00)
 


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In 213, Caracalla left Rome, expelled some German marauders from Gaul, defended the northern Rhine frontier against the Alamanni and the Chatti, and was victorious over German tribes on the banks of the River Main. For his success, he gave himself the title "Germanicus." It was probably while campaigning in Germania that he took a liking to the caracalla, a Celtic or German tunic from which he acquired his nickname.
RR75305. Silver denarius, RIC IV 206a; RSC III 220; BMCRE V p 438, 48; Hunter III 7, SRCV II 1357, Choice EF, luster, attractive style, weight 3.567 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right, bearded; reverse P M TR P XVI COS IIII P P, Hercules standing slightly left, head left, nude, branch upright in right hand, club and Nemean lion's skin cradled in left hand and arm; $180.00 (€158.40)
 


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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 (€132.00)
 


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Most references describe the two figures on the right as captives, but on some examples the outer right figure is also clearly a river god and the inner right figure is clearly a female wearing a kalathos. We believe this interesting reverse commemorates the wars in northern Britain. The two outer figures probably being the rivers Tyne and Eden, while the third, central female figure is probably Britannia.
RS74408. Silver denarius, RIC IV 96 (S); RSC III 441; BMCRE V p. 267, 555; SRCV II 6865, VF/F, superb portrait, well centered, interesting reverse type, reverse die wear, weight 3.223 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, older youth's laureate head right; reverse PONTIF TR P X COS II, Caracalla in military dress, standing half-left, head turned right, spear in right hand, parazonium in left, at feet seated female (Tyche-Britannia?) and two reclining river-gods (Tyne and Eden?) each holding a palm frond or reeds and leaning upon overturned urn from which water flows; very scarce; $145.00 (€127.60)
 


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Most references describe the two figures on the right as captives, but on some examples the outer right figure is also clearly a river god and the inner right figure is clearly a female wearing a kalathos. We believe this interesting reverse commemorates the wars in northern Britain. The two outer figures probably being the rivers Tyne and Eden, while the third, central female figure is probably Britannia.
RS77028. Silver denarius, RIC IV 96 (S); RSC III 441; BMCRE V p. 267, 555; SRCV II 6865, VF, nice portrait, well centered, some light marks, reverse die wear, small edge crack, weight 3.138 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, older youth's laureate head right; reverse PONTIF TR P X COS II, Caracalla in military dress, standing half-left, head turned right, spear in right hand, parazonium in left, at feet seated female (Tyche-Britannia?) and two reclining river-gods (Tyne and Eden?) each holding a palm frond or reeds and leaning upon overturned urn from which water flows; very scarce; $145.00 (€127.60)
 


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 (€118.80)
 


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Akko - Ptolemais, Phoenicia

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In 215, Caracalla's troops massacred the population of Alexandria, Egypt, beginning with the leading citizens. The emperor was angry about a satire, produced in Alexandria, mocking his claim that he killed Geta in self-defense.
GS73034. Silver tetradrachm, Prieur 1222, SNG Cop -, VF, grainy, weight 13.335 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 0o, Akko - Ptolemais mint, 215 - 217 A.D.; obverse AYT K M ANTΩNEINOC CEB, laureate head right; reverse ∆HMAP EΞ YΠATOC TO ∆, eagle standing facing, wings spread, tail and head left, wreath in beak, pilei topped by stars between legs; $135.00 (€118.80)
 


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Tarsus, Cilicia

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Our search of numerous references and auction results found numerous coins with various reverse types struck with the same obverse die. We also found numerous examples with a similar reverse but with a different obverse legend and the reverse legend with A∆P MHT. We did not find another example of this variant.
RP57158. Bronze tetrassarion, apparently unpublished; SNG BnF -, Lindgren -, BMC Lycaonia -, SNGvA -; cf. SNG Levante 1058 (legends) & 1067 (same obv die, different rev type), aF, weight 18.919 g, maximum diameter 35.1 mm, die axis 0o, Cilicia, Tarsus mint, c. 209 - 217 A.D.; obverse AYT KAI M AYP CEYEPOC ANTΩNEINOC, bust right, in robes of demiourgos, Π − Π; reverse ANTΩNEINIANH CEYHP A∆PIA, emperor standing left, sacrificing over altar, wearing toga, TAPCOY/Λ N in ex, A / M / K left, Γ / B right; 35 mm medallic coin!; extremely rare variant; $130.00 (€114.40)
 




  



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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 Tuesday, February 09, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Caracalla