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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Severan Period| ▸ |Julia Maesa||View Options:  |  |  |   

Julia Maesa, Augusta, 8 June 218 - 224 or 225 A.D., Grandmother of Elagabalus and Severus Alexander

Julia Maesa was the sister of Julia Domna and grandmother of both Elagabalus and Severus Alexander. After her nephew Caracalla was murdered, Julia Maesa used her ample funds to successfully overthrow the usurper Macrinus and place her grandson Elagabalus on the throne. The teenager was a disaster as emperor, scorning Roman values with religious and sexual scandals. She cleverly convinced Elagabalus to adopt her other grandson Alexander as his heir. Shortly after Elagabalus and his mother were murdered by the Praetorian Guard, dragged through the streets and thrown into the Tiber. Through it all, Maesa held the power behind the throne.


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Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
SH33820. Silver antoninianus, RSC III 30; RIC IV 264; BMCRE p. 540, 70; Hunter III 6; SRCV II 7747, VF, weight 5.533 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 218 - 219; obverse IVLIA MAESA AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair slightly waved, looped plait at back of neck, crescent behind shoulders; reverse PIETAS AVG (to the piety of the Emperor), Pietas standing half-left, veiled, dropping incense from right hand over lit and garlanded altar at feet, incense box in left hand; scarce; SOLD


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Juno was the protector and special counselor of the state. She was a daughter of Saturn, and sister and wife of Jupiter and the mother of Juventas, Mars, and Vulcan. Her Greek equivalent is Hera.
RS27018. Silver denarius, RIC IV 256, RSC III 20, BMCRE V 295, SRCV II 7751, Hunter III -, gVF, weight 2.9668 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 218 - 220 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAESA AVG, diademed and draped bust right; reverse IVNO, Juno standing half left, head left draped and veiled, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, peacock at feet standing left with head turned back looking up at her; rare; SOLD


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Juno was the protector and special counselor of the state. She was a daughter of Saturn, and sister and wife of Jupiter and the mother of Juventas, Mars, and Vulcan. Her Greek equivalent is Hera.
RS29525. Silver denarius, RIC IV 256, RSC III 20, BMCRE V 295, SRCV II 7751, Hunter III -, Choice VF, full circles centering, weight 3.316 g, maximum diameter 20.5 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 218 - 220 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAESA AVG, diademed and draped bust right, hair slightly waved, flat chignon at back of head; reverse IVNO, Juno standing half left, head left draped and veiled, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, peacock at feet standing left with head turned back looking up at her; rare; SOLD


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Felicitas was the goddess or personification of happiness, good fortune, and success. She played an important role in Rome's state religion during the empire and was frequently portrayed on coins. She became a prominent symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the Roman Empire.
RS33875. Silver denarius, RIC IV 271; RSC III 45; BMCRE p. 541, 80; Hunter III p. 131, 13; SRCV II 7757, Choice EF, mint luster, weight 3.278 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 220 - 221 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAESA AVG, older draped bust right, hair in nearly vertical waves, and flat chignon at the back; reverse SAECVLI FELICITAS (era of good fortune), Felicitas standing half-left, sacrificing from patera in right hand over lit altar, long caduceus vertical in left hand, star in right field; SOLD


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Fecunditas is often identified as the personification of fertility rather than as an actual deity, however, Fecunditas was recognized as a divinity by Nero, who erected a statue to her. Tacitus notes that upon the birth of Claudia Neronis, the senate decreed the construction of a temple of Fertility to be built at Antium. Fecunditas is always portrayed as a female figure holding a child, or children and often a scepter, cornucopia, palm branch or caduceus. Sometimes the children are depicted standing at her feet. Coins portraying her usually advertise the fertility of the imperial family.
RS63896. Silver denarius, BMCRE p. 539, 64; RSC III 8; RIC IV 249; SRCV II 7749, Choice aEF, weight 3.079 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 218 - 220 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAESA AVG, older draped bust right, hair in nearly vertical waves, and flat chignon at the back; reverse FECVNDITAS AVG, Fecunditas standing left, extending right hand to a child standing before her with arms reaching up to her, cornucopia in left; SOLD


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Felicitas was the goddess or personification of happiness, good fortune, and success. She played an important role in Rome's state religion during the empire and was frequently portrayed on coins. She became a prominent symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the Roman Empire.
RS29303. Silver denarius, RIC IV 271; RSC III 45; BMCRE p. 541, 80; Hunter III p. 131, 13; SRCV II 7757, nice VF, weight 3.052 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 220 - 221 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAESA AVG, draped bust right, hair in nearly vertical waves, looped plait at back; reverse SAECVLI FELICITAS (era of good fortune), Felicitas standing half-left, sacrificing from patera in right hand over lit altar, long caduceus vertical in left hand, star in right field; ex Edgar L. Owen, auction 23, lot 93, 11 Jan 1996; SOLD


Severus Alexander and Julia Maesa, 222 - 235 A.D., Ninica-Claudiopolis, Cilicia

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Ammianus mentions Silifke and Claudiopolis as cities of Cilicia, or of the country drained by the Calycadnus; and Claudiopolis was a colony of Claudius Caesar. It is described by Theophanes of Byzantium as situated in a plain between the two Taurus Mountains, a description which exactly, corresponds to the position of the basin of the Calycadnus. Claudiopolis may therefore be represented by Mut, which is higher up the valley than Seleucia, and near the junction of the northern and western branches of the Calycadnus. It is also the place to which the pass over the northern Taurus leads from Laranda. The city received the Roman colony name Colonia Iulia Felix Augusta Ninica.
RP72148. Bronze AE 36, cf. asiaminorcoins.com 6551 (same obv. die & c/m), SNG Levante Supp. 167, BMC Lycaonia -, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, c/m: Howgego 262 (34 pcs), F, weight 17.901 g, maximum diameter 35.8 mm, die axis 180o, Ninica-Claudiopolis (Mut, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 222 - 235 A.D.; obverse IMP C SEVERUS AL[EXN∆ER NINI CΛAU∆I]OPOΛEΩ (or similar), laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; countermarked three times with Nike right, in oval punch, c. 5 x 8 mm; reverse IVL MAECA COL IVL FEL NINIO CLAU∆IO (or similar), draped bust of Julia Maesa right; huge 35.8 mm!; extremely rare; SOLD


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After her nephew Caracalla was murdered, Julia Maesa successfully used her ample funds to plot the overthrow the usurper Macrinus and place her grandson Elagabalus on the throne. The teenager was a disaster as emperor, scorning Roman values with religious and sexual scandals. She cleverly convinced Elagabalus to adopt her other grandson, Alexander, as his heir. Shortly after Elagabalus and his mother were murdered by the Praetorian Guard, dragged through the streets and thrown into the Tiber. Through it all, Maesa held the power behind the throne.
RB26270. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC IV Elagabalus 411; Cohen IV 12; Hunter III 18; BMCRE V p. 600, 402; SRCV III 7766, gF, weight 9.693 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 218 - 222 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAESA AVG, draped bust right, hair slightly waved, flat chignon at back of head; reverse FECVNDITAS AVGVSTAE, Fecunditas seated left, cornucopia in left hand, extending right hand to child at feet, child draped and standing right raising right hand, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; very rare; SOLD


Click for a larger photo
Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RS50616. Silver denarius, RIC IV 263; RSC III 29; BMCRE V p. 541, 73; Hunter III 7, SRCV II 7754, VF, well centered, frosty surfaces, weight 3.308 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 222 - c. 223 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAESA AVG, older draped bust right, hair in slight nearly vertical waves, looped plait at back; reverse PIETAS AVG (to the piety of the Emperor), Pietas standing half-left, veiled, dropping incense from right hand over lit and garlanded altar at feet, incense box in left hand; SOLD


Julia Maesa, Augusta 8 June 218 - 224 or 225 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
Felicitas was the goddess or personification of happiness, good fortune, and success. She played an important role in Rome's state religion during the empire and was frequently portrayed on coins. She became a prominent symbol of the wealth and prosperity of the Roman Empire.
RS91463. Silver denarius, Hunter III p. 130, 11; BMCRE V p. 541, 82; RIC IV 272, RSC III 45b, SRCV II 7757, Choice EF, toning on mint luster, well centered, some encrustations, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.001 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, struck under Elagabalus, 220 - 222 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAESA AVG, draped bust right, hair in vertical waves, and bun in the back; reverse SAECVLI FELICITAS (era of good fortune), Felicitas standing half-left, sacrificing out of patera over lit altar, holding caduceus, star upper left; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; SOLD




  




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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

DIVAMAESAAVG
DIVAMAESAAVGVSTA
IVLIAMAESAAVG
IVLIAMAESAAVGVST


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Caliců, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappťes 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).
Mouchmov, N. Le Tresor Numismatique De Reka-Devnia (Marcianopolis). (Sofia, 1934).
Online Coins of the Roman Empire (OCRE) http://numismatics.org/ocre/
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).

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Roman Coins of Julia Maesa