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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.


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; $250.00 (222.50)


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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; $250.00 (222.50)


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)=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; $200.00 (178.00)


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In 215, Caracalla introduced the double denarius, or antoninianus. The weight of the new denomination was less than that of two denarii. The orichalcum and copper coinage disappeared gradually, and by the middle of the third century, with Rome's economy in crisis, the antoninianus was the only official currency.
RS79781. Silver denarius, RIC IV 258c (S), RSC III 279b, BMCRE VI 114, SRCV II 6836, Choice VF, small edge cracks, weight 3.297 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 215 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVIII COS IIII P P, Jupiter standing right, nude but for cloak over left shoulder, thunderbolt in right hand, long scepter in left hand; scarce; $160.00 (142.40)


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Libertas (Latin for Liberty) was the Roman goddess and embodiment of liberty. The pileus liberatis was a soft felt cap worn by liberated slaves of Troy and Asia Minor. In late Republican Rome, the pileus was symbolically given to slaves upon manumission, granting them not only their personal liberty, but also freedom as citizens with the right to vote (if male). Following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., Brutus and his co-conspirators used the pileus to signify the end of Caesar's dictatorship and a return to a Republican system of government. The pileus was adopted as a popular symbol of freedom during the French Revolution and was also depicted on some early U.S. coins.
RS77584. Silver denarius, RIC IV 161, RSC III 143, BMCRE V 511, SRCV III 6817, Hunter III -, gVF, mint luster, excellent portrait, well centered, struck with a worn reverse die, many small edge cracks, weight 3.682 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 208 - 210 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right, long curly sideburn; reverse LIBERTAS AVG, Libertas standing left, pileus in right hand, long rod vertical in left hand; $150.00 (133.50)


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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 (129.05)


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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 (129.05)


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In 201, Osroene, a semi-autonomous vassal kingdom located in Mesopotamia, became the first state to adopt Christianity as its official religion. The independence of the state ended in 244 when it was incorporated in the Roman Empire.
RS77027. Silver denarius, RIC IV 54b, RSC III 175 corr., SRCV II 6853, Choice VF, nice portrait, well centered, small flan cracks, weight 3.413 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 201 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse PART MAX PONT TR P IIII, trophy of captured arms, flanked by two captives seated facing outward and wearing pointed caps; $125.00 (111.25)


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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; $120.00 (106.80)


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, Tarsos (Tarsus, Mersin, Turkey) 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; $115.00 (102.35)




  



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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.X. 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.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, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Friday, September 30, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Caracalla