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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Severan Period ▸ Severus AlexanderView Options:  |  |  |   

Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.

Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander was promoted from Caesar to Augustus after the murder of his cousin, Elagabalus. His reign was marked by great economic prosperity, and he enjoyed great success against the barbarian tribes. His mother Julia Mamaea was the real power in the empire, controlling her son's policies and even his personal life with great authority. Severus had an oratory where he prayed under the edict, written on the wall, "Do not unto others what you would not have done to yourself" and the images of various prophets including Mithras, Zoroaster, Abraham, and Jesus. Mutinous soldiers led by Maximinus I murdered both Severus Alexander and his mother.


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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Eros was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid ("desire"). According to Hesiod (c. 700 B.C.), one of the most ancient of all Greek sources, Eros was the fourth god to come into existence, coming after Chaos, Gaia (the Earth), and Tartarus (the Abyss or the Underworld). Parmenides (c. 400 B.C.), one of the pre-Socratic philosophers, makes Eros the first of all the gods to come into existence. In early Greek poetry and art, Eros was depicted as an adult male who embodies sexual power. But in later sources, Eros is represented as the son of Aphrodite, whose mischievous interventions in the affairs of gods and mortals cause bonds of love to form, often illicitly. Ultimately, by the later satirical poets, he is represented as a child, the precursor to the chubby Renaissance Cupid.
RP85220. Bronze AE 20, RPC Online VI temp 3886 (3 spec. all same dies); BMC Mysia -, SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG BnF -, SNG Tub -, SNG Hunt-, SNG Çanakkale -, SNG Leypold -, gVF, centered on a tight flan cutting off tops of some letters, marks and scratches, weight 6.148 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP SEV AL-EXANDER, radiate head right; reverse DEO CVPIDI-NI COLI C IL [?] PA (to the god Cupid, Colonia Gemella Julia Hadriana Pariana, blundered), Cupid standing slightly left, head right, nude but for drapery over left arm, right hand held over herm at feet on left; extremely rare; $250.00 SALE PRICE $225.00
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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An excellent gift for a veterinarian! The 18th-century French numismatist Belley, cited in BMC Mysia p. 105, suggested that the SVB in the reverse legend should be expanded to "subvenienti," giving the meaning "To Aesculapius, the god who helps." This extraordinary depiction of Aesculapius is the only ancient coin reverse type referring to veterinary medicine.
RP85231. Bronze AE 22, RPC Online VI temp 3871 (unpublished in refs, 4 spec. listed from auctions); SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, SNG BnF -, SNG Çanakkale -, BMC Mysia -, aVF, centered on a tight flan, marks, scratches, corrosion, weight 6.228 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 45o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP CAEƧ L ƧEP ƧEV ALEXANDER, laureate and cuirassed bust, right from the front, wearing cuirass with Gorgoneion; reverse DEO AE ƧVB (Deo Aesculapius subvenienti - to Aesculapius, the god who helps), Asclepius seated right on throne, treating an injured bull standing left before him, with his right hand holding the bull's raised right foreleg, C G H I P (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) in exergue; rare; $190.00 SALE PRICE $171.00
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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An excellent gift for a veterinarian! The 18th-century French numismatist Belley, cited in BMC Mysia p. 105, suggested that the SVB in the reverse legend should be expanded to "subvenienti," giving the meaning "To Aesculapius, the god who helps." This extraordinary depiction of Aesculapius is the only ancient coin reverse type referring to veterinary medicine.
RP85257. Bronze AE 21, RPC Online VI temp 3871 (unpublished in refs, 4 spec. listed from auctions); SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, SNG BnF -, SNG Hunt -, BMC Mysia -, Lindgren -, aVF, corrosion, marks, tight flan, weight 4.968 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 225o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP CAEƧ L ƧEP ƧEV ALEXANDER, laureate and cuirassed bust, right from the front, wearing cuirass with Gorgoneion; reverse DEO AE ƧVB (Deo Aesculapius subvenienti - to Aesculapius, the god who helps), Asclepius seated right on throne, treating an injured bull standing left before him, with his right hand holding the bull's raised right foreleg, C G H I P (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) in exergue; rare; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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An excellent gift for a veterinarian! The 18th-century French numismatist Belley, cited in BMC Mysia p. 105, suggested that the SVB in the reverse legend should be expanded to "subvenienti," giving the meaning "To Aesculapius, the god who helps." This extraordinary depiction of Aesculapius is the only ancient coin reverse type referring to veterinary medicine.
RP85260. Bronze AE 22, RPC Online VI temp 3871 (4 spec.); SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, SNG BnF -, SNG Çanakkale -, SNG Hunt -, BMC Mysia -, aVF/F, corrosion, weight 6.926 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 45o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP CAEƧ L ƧEP ƧEV ALEXANDER, laureate and cuirassed bust, right from the front, wearing cuirass with Gorgoneion; reverse DEO AE ƧVB (Deo Aesculapius subvenienti - to Aesculapius, the god who helps), Asclepius seated right on throne, treating an injured bull standing left before him, with his right hand holding the bull's raised right foreleg, C G H I P (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) in exergue; rare; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Pella, Macedonia

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Pella was founded in 399 B.C. by King Archelaus (413 - 399 B.C.) as his capital. It was the seat of Philip II and of his son, Alexander the Great. In 168 B.C., it was sacked by the Romans, and its treasury transported to Rome. Later the city was destroyed by an earthquake. By 180 A.D., Lucian could describe it in passing as "now insignificant, with very few inhabitants."
RB79934. Bronze AE 24, Varbanov III 3735 (R4), SNG ANS 633, Moushmov 6479, SNG Cop -, F, superb portrait, attractive green patina, tight flan, weight 11.112 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 0o, Pella mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXANDER AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse COL IVL AVG PELLA, city-goddess seated left, kalathos on head, right hand raised to shoulder; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00
 


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In Roman mythology, Aequitas was the minor goddess of fair trade and honest merchants. Aequitas was also the personification of the virtues equity and fairness of the emperor (Aequitas Augusti). The scales, a natural emblem of equity, express righteousness. The cornucopia signifies the prosperity which results from Aequitas and Aequitas Augusti.
RS83526. Silver denarius, RIC IV 274; RSC III 11; BMCRE VI p. 215, 1033; SRCV 7856; Hunter III -, Choice VF, excellent portrait, well centered, coppery areas, small edge cracks, weight 2.967 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 222 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse AEQVITAS AVG (equity of the emperor), Aequitas standing slightly left, head left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, star upper left; $140.00 SALE PRICE $126.00
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Thessalonica, Macedonia

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Thessalonica was founded around 315 B.C. by Cassander, King of Macedonia, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma. He named it after his wife Thessalonike, a daughter of Philip II and a half-sister of Alexander the Great. In 168 B.C. it became the capital of the Macedonia Secunda and in 146 B.C. it was made the capital of the whole Roman province of Macedonia. Due to its port and location at the intersection of two major Roman roads, Thessalonica grew to become the most important city in Macedonia. Thessalonica was important in the spread of Christianity; the First Epistle to the Thessalonians written by Paul the Apostle is the first written book of the New Testament.
RP79950. Bronze AE 27, Touratsoglou p. 246, 5 (V6/-, unlisted rev. die); SNG Cop 422; Varbanov III 4471 (R3); BMC Macedonia p. 123, 109; SNG ANS 873 var. (bust from behind), VF, well centered and struck, nice green patina, small edge split, flan crack, light marks, weight 11.341 g, maximum diameter 26.7 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse AV K M AV CEV AΛEΞAN∆POC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse ΘECCAΛONIKEΩN, Nike advancing left, Kabeiros in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand; scarce; $135.00 SALE PRICE $122.00
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Amphipolis, Macedonia

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Tyche (Greek for luck; the Roman equivalent was Fortuna) was the presiding tutelary deity that governed the fortune and prosperity of a city, its destiny. Increasingly during the Hellenistic period, cities had their own specific iconic version of Tyche, wearing a mural crown (a crown like the walls of the city).
RP79963. Bronze AE 22, Varbanov III 3298; SNG Cop 118; BMC Macedonia p. 59, 133; SNG ANS 205 corr. (obv. leg.); AMNG III 88 var. (Tyche wears kalathos, holds scepter), VF, well centered, nice green patina, weight 5.546 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 0o, Amphipolis mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse AV K M AVP CEV AΛEΞAN∆POC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse AMΦIΠOΛEITΩN, turreted city goddess enthroned left, patera in extended right hand, fish left in exergue; $135.00 SALE PRICE $122.00
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Parium, Mysia

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Founded in 709 B.C., the ancient city of Parion was a major coastal city, near Lampsacus, with two harbors used to connect Thrace with Anatolia. Parium belonged to the Delian League. In the Hellenistic period, it came under the domain of Lysimachus, and subsequently the Attalid dynasty. Julius Caesar refounded it as a colonia in the province of Asia. It was the main customs station through which all goods bound for Byzantium from Greece and the Aegean had to pass. When this coin was minted, Parium was within the Conventus of Adramyteum. After Asia was divided in the 4th century, Parium was in the province of Hellespontus. Today it is the village of Kemer in the township of Biga, Canakkale province, Turkey.
RP85745. Bronze AE 21, RPC Online VI temp 3875 (3 spec., all same dies), SNG Çanakkale 226 var. (same obv. die, normal rev.), SNG Cop -, SNGvA -, SNG BnF -, BMC Mysia -, VF, tight flan, reverse a little off center, spots of light corrosion, weight 6.220 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 195o, Parium (Kemer, Canakkale, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP CAEƧ L ƧEP ƧEV ALEXANDER, laureate and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front, cuirass with Gorgoneion; reverse Capricorn swimming left, holding celestial globe between legs, cornucopia on back, C G I H P (Colonia Gemella Iulia Hadriana Pariana) retrograde below (the entire reverse is retrograde - the normal type is Capricorn right); rare; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00
 


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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."
RB73721. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 538d, BMCRE VI 593, Hunter III 154, SRCV II 8004, Cohen IV 449 var. (bust), Choice aVF, nice portrait, well centered, nice green patina with some smoothed red areas on the reverse, light corrosion, weight 21.746 g, maximum diameter 31.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 234 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse P M TR P XIII COS III P P, Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip in left hand, S - C across field below center; $115.00 SALE PRICE $104.00
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

DIVOALEXANDRO
MAVRALEXANDERCAES
MAVRELALEXANDERCAES
IMPALEXANDERPIVSAVG
IMPCAEMARAVSEVALX
IMPCAESMAVRSEVALEXANDAVG
IMPCAESMAVRSEVALEXANDERAVG
IMPCAESMAVRELALEXANDERPIVSFELAVG
IMPCAESMAVRELALEXANDERPIVSFELIXAVG
IMPCMAVRSEVALEXANDAVG
IMPCMAVRSEVALEXANDERAVG
IMPMARCOAVRSEVALAV
IMPSEVALEXANDAVG
IMPSEVALEXANDERAVG


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. II: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayón, 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 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, November 22, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Severus Alexander