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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Severan Period ▸ ElagabalusView Options:  |  |  |   

Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.

Elagabalus came to power through the scheming of his grandmother Julia Maesa. Elagabalus repeatedly shocked the population with increasingly bizarre behavior including cross-dressing and marrying a vestal virgin. Eventually, his grandmother replaced him on the throne with Severus Alexander, and Elagabalus and his mother were murdered, dragged through the streets of Rome, and dumped into the Tiber.


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Pax, regarded by the ancients as a goddess, was worshiped not only at Rome but also at Athens. Her altar could not be stained with blood. Claudius began the construction of a magnificent temple to her honor, which Vespasian finished, in the Via Sacra. The attributes of Peace are the hasta pura, the olive branch, the cornucopia, and often the caduceus. Sometimes she is represented setting fire to a pile of arms.
RS77585. Silver denarius, RIC IV 125; RSC III 120; BMCRE V p. 564, 223; Hunter III 63; SRCV II 7527, Choice EF, lustrous, nearly as struck, well centered, some die wear, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.919 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 220 - 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, no horn, from behind; reverse PAX AVGVSTI (to the peace of the emperor), Pax advancing left, raising olive branch in right hand, long scepter in left hand; $140.00 (119.00)


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The star in the field, a symbol of the sun-god, stands for the mint of Rome.
RS77436. Silver denarius, RIC IV 40b, RSC III 184, Hunter III 49, BMCRE V p. 567, 244; cf. SRCV II 7533 (TR P III), VF, well centered, nice portrait, toned, some die wear, porous, weight 3.150 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, Rome mint, 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P IIII COS III P P, Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for cloak over shoulders and left arm and flying behind, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip vertical in left hand, star in left field; $115.00 (97.75)


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Pax, regarded by the ancients as a goddess, was worshiped not only at Rome but also at Athens. Her altar could not be stained with blood. Claudius began the construction of a magnificent temple to her honor, which Vespasian finished, in the Via Sacra. The attributes of Peace are the hasta pura, the olive branch, the cornucopia, and often the caduceus. Sometimes she is represented setting fire to a pile of arms.
RB84426. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 366, BMCRE V 358, Cohen IV 121, Thirion 298, Banti 20, Hunter III, SRCV II 7569, F, edge split, bumps and marks, areas of corrosion, weight 21.555 g, maximum diameter 32.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 219 - 220 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M AVR ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PAX AVGVSTI (to the peace of the emperor), Pax advancing left, raising olive branch in right hand, scepter in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking near her waist; scarce; $110.00 (93.50)


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In July 221, Elagabalus was forced to divorce his new bride, the Vestal Virgin Aquilia Severa. He then married Annia Faustina, his third wife. After five months he returned to Severa claiming the divorce was invalid. Meanwhile, according to the historian Cassius Dio, Elagabalus had a stable homosexual relationship with his chariot driver, the slave Hierocles.
RS74521. Silver denarius, RIC IV 78, BMCRE V 201, RSC III 44, SRCV III 7514, VF, some marks, light corrosion, weight 3.019 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 220 - 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse FIDES MILIT (the loyalty of the soldiers), aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, shield at base of each standard; $105.00 (89.25)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Raphanea, Seleukis Pieria, Syria

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Josephus mentions Raphanea in connection with a stream that flowed only every seventh day (probably an intermittent spring now called Fuwar ed-Deir) and that was viewed by Titus on his way north from Berytus after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70. Near Emesa, Raphanea was the fortified headquarters of the Legio III Gallica from which in 218 A.D. 14-year-old Elagabalus launched his successful bid of to become Roman Emperor. The crusaders passed through it at the end of 1099; it was taken by Baldwin I and was given to the Count of Tripoli. It was then known as Rafania.
RY86854. Bronze AE 23, SNG Munchen 962; SNG Cop 385; Lindgren-Kovacs 2115 var. (radiate head, AVT K - ANT...); cf. BMC Galatia p. 267, 1 (Caracalla), VF, tight flan, reverse a little off center, weight 6.160 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, Raphanea (Rafniye, Syria) mint, 16 May 218 - 11 Mar 222 A.D.; obverse AVT K M - ANTΩNINOC, radiate and draped bust right; reverse PE−Φ−A−NEΩN, turreted Genius stands facing, head left, wears himation around hips and legs and over left shoulder, patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, bull left, two eagles flanking in upper field; ex Classical Numismatic Group; ex J.S. Wagner Collection; rare; $100.00 (85.00)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Raphanea, Seleukis Pieria, Syria

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Josephus mentions Raphanea in connection with a stream that flowed only every seventh day (probably an intermittent spring now called Fuwar ed-Deir) and that was viewed by Titus on his way north from Berytus after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70. Near Emesa, Raphanea was the fortified headquarters of the Legio III Gallica from which in 218 A.D. 14-year-old Elagabalus launched his successful bid of to become Roman Emperor. The crusaders passed through it at the end of 1099; it was taken by Baldwin I and was given to the Count of Tripoli. It was then known as Rafania.
RY86860. Bronze AE 24, BMC Galatia p. 267, 2 corr. (Caracalla); SNG Cop 385; Lindgren-Kovacs 2115 var. (radiate head), F, tight flan, porous, pitting, flaw in obverse right field, weight 7.893 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 0o, Raphanea (Rafniye, Syria) mint, obverse AVT K ANTΩNINOC, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PEΦ−A−NE−ΩN, turreted Genius stands facing, head left, wears himation around hips and legs and over left shoulder, patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, bull left, two eagles flanking in upper field; ex Classical Numismatic Group, ex J.S. Wagner Collection; rare; $100.00 (85.00)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101 - 106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town reached its peak during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty.
RP65521. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.26.54.24, AMNG I/I 2039, Varbanov I 3849, cf. BMC Thrace p. 51, 68 ff. (larger, bust, inscription arrangement), SNG Cop -, aEF, weight 2.273 g, maximum diameter 15.6 mm, die axis 0o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 16 May 218 - 11 Mar 222 A.D.; obverse AY K M AYΠ ANTΩNINOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse NI/KOΠ/OΛITΩN / ΠPOC IC/TPON, inscription in five lines within laurel wreath; ex Helios Numismatik auction 7, lot 464; $90.00 (76.50)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Raphanea, Seleukis Pieria, Syria

Click for a larger photo
Josephus mentions Raphanea in connection with a stream that flowed only every seventh day (probably an intermittent spring now called Fuwar ed-Deir) and that was viewed by Titus on his way north from Berytus after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70. Near Emesa, Raphanea was the fortified headquarters of the Legio III Gallica from which in 218 A.D. 14-year-old Elagabalus launched his successful bid of to become Roman Emperor. The crusaders passed through it at the end of 1099; it was taken by Baldwin I and was given to the Count of Tripoli. It was then known as Rafania.
RY86861. Bronze AE 24, Lindgren-Kovacs 2115; SNG Munchen 962 var. (AVT K M -, draped bust); SNG Cop 385 var. (same); BMC Galatia p. 267, 3 var. (laureate), F, nice portrait for the grade, reverse a little off center, earthen encrustation, weight 8.467 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 180o, Raphanea (Rafniye, Syria) mint, obverse AVT K ANTΩNINOC, radiate head right; reverse PEΦ−A−NE−ΩN, turreted Genius stands facing, head left, wears himation around hips and legs and over left shoulder, patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, bull left, two eagles flanking in upper field; ex Classical Numismatic Group, ex J.S. Wagner Collection; rare; $90.00 (76.50)


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Liberalitas coin types attest to occasions when the emperor has displayed his generosity towards the people by a distribution to them, in money, provisions, or both. The first mention of Liberalitas was on coins of Hadrian. It was a type frequently repeated by the succeeding emperors. Indeed these instances of imperial generosity are more carefully recorded on coins than they are by history. This coin advertises that Elagabalus has made his third distribution to the people. 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. In the other hand she holds a cornucopia.
RS74122. Silver denarius, RIC IV 103; RSC III 86; Hunter III 60; SRCV II 7522; BMCRE V p. 563, 216 var. (star right), VF, well centered on a tight flan, coppery spots, reverse legend weak, weight 3.032 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse LIBERALITAS AVG III, Liberalitas standing left, counting board in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, star lower left; $70.00 (59.50)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Anazarbus, Cilicia

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The inscription AMKΓB is a boast of this city, Πρωτη Mεγιστη Kαλλιστη, meaning first (A is the Greek number one), greatest, and most beautiful city of the three (Γ is the Greek number three) adjoining provinces (Cilicia, Isauria, Lycaonia). The final B (B is the Greek number two) indicates the city held two neokorie, temples dedicated to the imperial cult. Anazarbos first called itself first, greatest and most beautiful during the reign of Elagabalus. Prior to that time these titles were peculiar only to Tarsos, though Tarsos was not subject to any dishonor during the reign and also continued to use the titles. Anazarbos dropped them early in the reign of Severus Alexander, perhaps as a result of a petition from Tarsos to the new emperor.
RP59566. Bronze trihemiassaria, Ziegler 366a (same rev die), SNG Levante 1431 var. (legend arrangement), Lindgren III 781 var. (same), BMC Lycaonia -, SNG Cop -, gF, weight 6.043 g, maximum diameter 22.80 mm, die axis 180o, Anazarbus (Anavarza, Turkey) mint, 16 May 218 - 11 Mar 222 A.D.; obverse AYT K M AY ANTΩNEINOC CEB, radiate head right; reverse ANAZAP MHTPOΠ Γ B AMK, Dionysos standing left, kantharos in right, thyrsos in left, panther at feet left; scarce; $50.00 (42.50)




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

ANTONINVSFELPIVSAVG
ANTONINVSPFELAVG ANTONINVSPIVSAVG
ANTONINVSPIVSFEL
ANTONINVSPIVSFELAVG (ALSO USED BY CARACALLA)
IMPANTONINVSAVG
IMPANTONINVSPIVSAVG
IMPANTONINVSPIVSFELIX
IMPANTONINVSPIVSFELIXAVG
IMPCAESANTONINVSAVG
IMPCAESMAVRANTONINVSAVG
IMPCAESMAVRANTONINVSPFAVG
IMPCAESMAVRANTONINVSPIVSAVG
IMPCAESMAVRSEANTONINVSAVG
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSPFAVG
IMP M AVR ANTONIN PIVS AVG


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calic, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
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 Thursday, April 19, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Elagabalus