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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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The star in the field, a symbol of the sun-god, stands for the mint of Rome.
RS87267. Silver denarius, RSC III 195a, BMCRE V 251, RIC IV 45, SRCV II 7535, Choice VF, fine sharp portrait, perfect centering, slightly frosty surfaces, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.992 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, seen from behind; reverse P M TR P IIII COS III P P, Victory flying left, holding open laurel diadem in both hands, a small shield on each side at feet, star right; $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.
RS87491. Silver denarius, RIC IV 40a; RSC III 184; BMCRE V p. 567, 242; Hunter III 49 var. draped; cf. SRCV II 7533 (TR P III), Choice gVF, full circle centering on obverse, light toning, weight 2.378 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right, shoulders seen 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; ex Triskeles auction 24 - VAuction 331 (16 Jul 2018), lot 222; ex Maple Leaf Collection; $120.00 (€102.00) ON RESERVE


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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 40a; RSC III 184; BMCRE V p. 567, 242; Hunter III 49 var. draped; 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 head right, shoulders seen 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; $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.
RY86854. Bronze AE 23, SNG München 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

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.
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., Laodicea ad Mare, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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Laodicea ad Mare prospered thanks to the excellent wine produced in the nearby hills and was also famous for its textiles, both of which were exported to all the empire. A sizable Jewish population lived in Laodicea during the first century. Under Septimius Severus the city was fortified and was made for a few years the capital of Roman Syria: in this period Laodicea grew to be a city of nearly 40,000 inhabitants and had even an hippodrome. Christianity was the main religion in the city after Constantine I and many bishops of Laodicea participated in ecumenical councils, mainly during Byzantine times. The heretic Apollinarius was bishop of Laodicea in the 4th century, when the city was fully Christian but with a few remaining Jews. An earthquake damaged the city in 494 A.D. Justinian I made Laodicea the capital of the Byzantine province of "Theodorias" in the early sixth century. Laodicea remained its capital for more than a century until the Arab conquest.
RP86245. Bronze AE 19, SNG München 944; SNG Hunterian 3226, SNG Cop 372 var. (bust); BMC Galatia p. 262, 105 var. (no clubs), VF, porous, reverse off center, weight 5.941 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 225o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 16 May 218 - 11 Mar 222 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVP - ANTONINVS - AVG, radiate bust right, bare shoulders seen from behind; reverse LAVDICEON, two naked wrestlers, standing confronted and grappling, wrestler on the left has his hand on his antagonist shoulder, clubs left and right, one behind each wrestler, ∆E exergue; scarce; $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.
RY86859. Bronze AE 23, SNG München 961; Lindgren I 2116 corr. (described as head); BMC Galatia p. 267, 3 var. (head); SNG Cop 385 var. (radiate), F, desert patina, tight flan, reverse slightly off center, scratches, porous, weight 5.113 g, maximum diameter 23.4 mm, die axis 180o, Raphanea (Rafniye, Syria) mint, 16 May 218 - 11 Mar 222 A.D.; obverse AVT K M AVP ANTΩNINOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PEΦ−A−NE−ΩT, turreted Genius standing half left, wears himation, patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, bull at feet left, two eagles flanking in upper field; ex Classical Numismatic Group, ex J.S. Wagner Collection; rare; $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 München 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)
 


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

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Rosenberger describes the altar as a "figure (?) with plumes headdress, on pedestal." The Rosenberger coin is worn and the "figure" is a bit taller and thinner than our altar, but the coin does seem to be this same type.

The site of ancient Dium (Dion, Decapolis) has not been conclusively identified. The four leading candidates for Dium are Tell al-Husn and Edun, both near Irbid, in north Jordan, Kufr Abil, near Pella, and Tell al-Ash'ari, near the Syrian border town of Der'a.
RY77847. Bronze AE 22, Rosenberger 9 corr., Spijkerman 10 var. (legends), Sofaer 10 var. (legends), Meshorer -, SNG ANS -, SNG Hunterian -, BMC Galatia -, aF, uneven strike, tight flan, porous, corrosion, weight 8.736 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Dium mint, 219 - 220 A.D.; obverse AV KAI MAV ANTWNINO, laureate and draped or cuirassed youthful bust right, from the front; reverse hexastyle temple, flaming altar within under central arch, ΓΠ-C (year 283) divided above roof, ∆IHNWN in exergue; very rare; $60.00 (€51.00)
 


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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.
RS86256. Silver denarius, RIC IV 46b; BMCRE V p. 570, 261 (seen from the back); RSC III 196 var. (horned); Hunter II 67 var. (same); SRCV II 7536 var. (same), F, dark natural uncleaned patina, weight 2.646 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from front; reverse P M TR P IIII COS III P P, Elagabalus standing left, sacrificing from patera in right hand over lit altar at feet on left, club or cypress branch in left hand and cradled in left arm, star in upper left field; will not improve with cleaning - should be left in this natural state; scarce without horn; $30.00 (€25.50)
 







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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).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 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., 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 Wednesday, September 19, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Elagabalus