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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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Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274 the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them. The date 25 December was selected for Christmas to replace the popular Roman festival Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun."
RS79611. Silver denarius, RIC IV 293d; Cohen IV 389; BMCRE V p. 465, 194; SRCV II 6848, Hunter III -, Choice EF, superb portrait, centering and strike, lustrous, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.157 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 217 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XX COS IIII P P (high priest, tribune of the people for 20 years, consul for the 4th time, father of the country), Sol standing slightly left, radiate head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding sunrise, whip in left hand; $350.00 (311.50)


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

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Asklepios was the son of Apollo and a mortal woman named Coronis. Apollo killed Coronis for being unfaithful but rescued the unborn Asklepios from her womb. Apollo carried the baby to the centaur Chiron who raised Asclepius and instructed him in the art of medicine. In return for some kindness, a snake taught him secret knowledge of healing. Asclepius became so proficient as a healer that he surpassed both Chiron and his father, Apollo. Asclepius was even able to evade death and to bring the dead back to life. Zeus killed him to restore balance to the human population but later resurrected Asclepios as a god to prevent a feud with Apollo. Zeus instructed Asclepios to never revive the dead without his approval.
RP84488. Bronze AE 30, H-J Serdica 12.18.20.13 (R5), Varbanov III 2204 var. (obv. leg.), Moushmov 154 var. (same), SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, VF, nice green patina, smoothing, some light corrosion, centration dimples, weight 14.349 g, maximum diameter 30.1 mm, die axis 180o, Serdica (Sofia, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AVK M AVPH ANTΩNINOC, laureate head right; reverse OVΛΠIAC CEP∆IKHC, Asclepius seated left on throne without back, torso bare, himation around hips and leges and over left shoulder, patera in right hand, snake-coiled staff in left hand; from the Dr. Sam Mansourati Collection, ex CNG e-auction 320 (12 Feb 2014), lot 281; this coin is the only example of the type on Coin Archives; very rare; $285.00 (253.65)


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Venus in her aspect as the divine ancestress of the Roman people was known as Venus Genetrix. According to legend, and as recorded in Virgil's Aeneid, Aeneis was the son of Venus who fled Troy after its destruction and founded the city of Rome. Julius Caesar, being of the Gens Julia, claimed direct descent from Venus Genetrix and Aeneas. Julius Caesar built a Temple of Venus Genetrix in his new forum. Most depictions of Venus Genetrix on Roman coinage are of the statue in the Forum, and do not directly refer to pregnancy or fertility.
RS79617. Silver denarius, RIC IV C388c, RSC III 212, Hunter III 13, BMCRE V C25, SRCV II 7106, Choice EF, fantastic portrait, mint luster, tiny green spots of encrustation, weight 3.246 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, reign of Caracalla, 216 A.D.; obverse IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, draped bust right; reverse VENVS GENETRIX (Mother Venus), Venus enthroned left, extending right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; $225.00 (200.25)


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This type indicates Severus granted a special favor to Carthage. The water may indicate that he improved the water supply, possibly construction of an aqueduct.
RS79924. Silver denarius, RIC IV 130a; RSC III 97; BMCRE V p. 208, 280; Hunter III 38; SRCV II 6806, Choice VF, nice youth portrait, excellent centering, edge cracks, weight 3.228 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 201 - 206 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse INDVLGENTIA AVGG IN CARTH, Dea Caelestis riding lion right over water gushing from rock, thunderbolt in right hand, scepter in left hand; $225.00 (200.25)


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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.
SH85211. Silver denarius, RIC IV 206a; RSC III 220; BMCRE V p 438, 48; Hunter III 7, SRCV II 1357, Choice EF, masterpiece portrait, broad flan, some reverse die wear, flan cracks, weight 3.494 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right, bearded; reverse P M TR P XVI COS IIII P P (high priest, tribune of the people for 16 years, consul 4 times, father of the country), Hercules standing slightly left, head left, nude, branch in right hand, club and Nemean lion's skin cradled in left hand and arm; $220.00 (195.80)


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 the time of Marcus Aurelius to Gallienus.
SH68297. Bronze AE 28, Varbanov 1095 (R4) = Schnert-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; $170.00 (151.30)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Antiocheia, Pisidia

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A temple of Mn has been excavated at Antioch, Pisidia. Luna, the Greek moon goddess, was female, which seems natural because the female menstrual cycle follows the lunar month. But Mn was a male moon-god, probably originally of the indigenous non-Greek Karian people. By Roman times, Mn was worshiped across Anatolia and in Attica. He was associated with fertility, healing, and punishment. Mn is usually depicted with a crescent moon behind his shoulders, wearing a Phrygian cap, and holding a lance or sword in one hand and a pine-cone or patera in the other. His other attributes include the bucranium and cock.
RP79565. Bronze AE 24, Krzyzanowska -, BMC Lycia -, SNG BnF -, SNG PfPs -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG Righetti -, SNG Hunterian -, Lindgren -, VF, attractive unusual bust with aegis, dark patina with coppery high points, weight 5.635 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch in Pisidia (Yalvac, Turkey) mint, 28 Jan 198 - 8 Apr 217 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right, wearing aegis; reverse ANTIOCH FORTVNA COE, Mn standing facing, head right, wearing Phrygian cap, crescent with horns up rising behind shoulders, left foot on bucranium, leaning with left elbow on cippus, long scepter vertical in right hand, Nike in left hand, cock standing left at feet on left; $150.00 (133.50)


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A nice little boy portrait with no sign of the monster he would become.
RS79933. Silver denarius, RIC IV 68; RSC III 686; BMCRE V p. 234, 396; Hunter III p. 52, 23; SRCV II 6908, Choice VF, excellent boy portrait, well centered, weight 3.498 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 202 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped boy's bust right; reverse VOT SVSC DEC PON TR P V COS, Caracalla standing left, togate and veiled, sacrificing over lit tripod altar from a patera in right hand, roll in left hand; scarce; $150.00 (133.50)


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This coin refers to the departure (profectio) of Caracalla, Septimius, and Geta on their British expedition. Historian's dating of this departure to the year 208 depends on these coins dated TR P XI for Caracalla and TR P XVI for Septimius.
RS84986. Silver denarius, RIC IV 107 (S); RSC III 511; BMCRE V p. 272, 574; Hunter III p. 56, 52 var. (enemy under horse's raised foreleg); SRCV II -, aEF, well centered, light tone on luster, edge cracks, weight 3.627 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 208 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse PONTIF TR P XI COS III (high priest, tribune of the people for 11 years, consul for the 3rd time), Emperor on horseback right, wearing military garb, paludamentum flying behind, transverse lance in right hand, horse's right foreleg raised, PROF (departure) in exergue; scarce; $150.00 (133.50)


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In 200 A.D. Septimius Severus visited the provinces of Syria, Palestine, and Arabia. Palestine, benefiting from the benevolent policies of Severus, had a significant economic revival.
RS85000. Silver denarius, RIC IV 30a; RSC III 413; BMCRE V p. 190, 179; Hunter III p. 51, 9; SRCV II 6857, Choice gVF, fine style, superb boy portrait, full circle centering on a broad flan, light toning, small edge cracks, weight 3.555 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 200 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS AVGVSTVS, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PONTIF TR P III (priest, tribune of the people for 3 years), Caracalla (as Sol) standing facing, head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, globe in right hand, leaning on reversed spear in left, not radiate; $150.00 (133.50)




  



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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).
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 Monday, July 24, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Caracalla