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

Julia Mamaea, Augusta 13 March 222 - February or March 235 A.D.

Julia Mamaea was the highly intelligent and capable mother of Severus Alexander. After the death of her mother Julia Maesa, Julia Mamaea was the power behind the throne and largely responsible for the impressive recovery of the Roman state that took place during her son's rule. Though popular with the population of the empire, the military was deeply offended at being controlled by a woman. In 235 A.D., Julia Mamaea and Severus Alexander were both murdered by mutinous soldiers led by the thug Maximinus I.


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Vesta was originally a household spirit. Later she was personified as the goddess of the hearth and given the stature of her Greek equivalent, Hestia. In the temple of Vesta her flame was kept alive by Vestal Virgins.
SH66879. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 708, BMCRE VI 389, Cohen IV 83, SRCV II 8236, VF, green patina, well centered, weight 24.538 g, maximum diameter 30.9 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, 226 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEA AVGVSTA, diademed and draped bust right; reverse VESTA, Vesta standing half-left, veiled head left, palladium in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $100.00 (85.00)


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The palladium, a small figure of Minerva (Pallas Athena) holding a spear and shield, had a mythological origin from Troy. Troy was believed to be safe from foreign enemies as long as the palladium remained within the city walls. But Odysseus and Diomedes stole the image and soon after the Greeks took the city. The palladium was later taken by Aeneas to Rome where for centuries it was kept in the temple of Vesta in the Forum. In Late Antiquity, it was rumored that Constantine had taken the palladium to Constantinople and buried it under the Column of Constantine.
RS87249. Silver denarius, RIC IV 360; RSC III 81; BMCRE VI p. 152, 381; SRCV II 8217, VF, toned, porous, weight 2.932 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 226 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, diademed and draped bust right; reverse VESTA, Vesta standing half-left, veiled head left, palladium in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand; $100.00 (85.00)


Julia Mamaea, Augusta, 13 Mar 222 - Feb/Mar 235 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria

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The Tyche of Antioch was a cult statue of the city goddess (fortune) of Antioch, venerated in a temple called the Tychaion. The statue was made by Eutychides of Sicyon (c. 335 - c. 275), a pupil of the great Lysippus. It was the best-known piece of Seleucid art, remarkable because it was sculpted to be viewed from all directions, unlike many statues from the period. Although the original has been lost, many copies exist, including the one in the photograph right, now at the Vatican. The goddess is seated on a rock (Mount Sipylus), has her right foot on a swimming figure (the river Orontes), wears a mural crown (the city's walls), and has grain in her right hand (the city's fertility).Tyche of Antioch
RY84567. Bronze 8 assaria, cf. McAlee 857(a) (scarce); Waage 665; BMC Galatia p. 209, 491; SNG Hunterian 3044; SNG Cop 257; Butcher 491b (all rev. leg. variants), aVF, broad flan, corrosion, weight 13.501 g, maximum diameter 30.9 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, obverse IVΛ MAMAEA CEBACTH, draped bust right, wearing stephane; reverse ANTIOXE-WN MH KO, Tyche seated left on rocks, wearing turreted crown, chiton and peplos, grain ears in right hand, left hand resting on rock; ram above leaping left with head right; star inner right; river-god Orontes swimming left below; ∆ - E over S - C in two lines divided flanking across field above center; $90.00 (76.50)


Severus Alexander and Julia Mamaea, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Edessa, Mesopotamia

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Edessa is the historical name of an Assyrian town in northern Mesopotamia, refounded on an ancient site by Seleucus I Nicator. Caracalla was assassinated in Edessa in 217 and Valerian was captured by Shapur I at Edessa in 260.

In 230, the Persian King Ardashir I invaded Mesopotamia. Alexander attempted to make peace but was rebuffed. He and his mother Julia Mamaea made their headquarters at Antioch and accompanied the legions. The Roman counterattack was defeated in 232 but both sides suffered heavy losses and agreed to a truce. In 233, Severus Alexander celebrated a triumph in Rome to observe his "victory."
RP88152. Bronze tetrassarion, Lindgren-Kovacs A2584A (same dies); BMC Arabia p. 109, 115; SNG Cop 219; Babelon Edessa 79 ff. var. (obv. leg.), F, tight flan, a little rough and porous, weight 16.145 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 0o, Mesopotamia, Edessa (Urfa, Sanliurfa, Turkey) mint, c. 241 - 244 A.D.; obverse AYT K M A C AΛEΞAN∆POC CEB IOYΛ MAMEAC, Confronted draped busts of Severus Alexander on left, facing right, laureate and Julia Mamaea, on right, facing left, wearing stephane; reverse MHT KOΛ E∆ECCHNΩN, Tyche seated left on low seat set on rocks, turreted, holding small temple in extended right hand, flaming altar before her on left, small figure of Aquarius standing left above her head, river-god swimming left below, four stars around in field; $70.00 (59.50)


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On 11 March 222, Elagabalus was assassinated, along with his mother, Julia Soaemias, by the Praetorian Guard. Their mutilated bodies were dragged through the streets of Rome before being thrown into the Tiber. Severus Alexander succeeded Elagabalus. He was only 13 years old, his mother, Julia Avita Mamaea, governed the Roman Empire with the help of Domitius Ulpianus and a council of 16 senators.
RS67489. Silver denarius, RIC IV 343, RSC III 35, BMCRE VI 43, Hunter III 1, SRCV II 8212, VF, toned, weight 2.552 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 11 Mar - 31 Dec 222 A.D.; obverse IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, draped bust right; reverse IVNO CONSERVATRIX, Juno standing half left, veiled, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, peacock right at feet on left; $55.00 (46.75)







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

IVLIAMAMAEAAVG
IVLIAMAMAEAAVGMATAVGVSTI
IVLIAMAMAEAAVGVSTA
IVLIAMAMMAEAAVGVST


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calic, E. 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., 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).
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).

Catalog current as of Saturday, January 19, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Julia Mamaea