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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Recovery of the Empire ▸ CarinusView Options:  |  |  | 

Carinus, First Half 283 - Spring 285 A.D.

Carinus was the son of Carus who was Praetorian prefect during the reign of Probus. After his father seized power, Carinus was raised to the rank of Caesar in October 282 and left to manage the Western provinces while his father and brother Numerian campaigned against the Persians in the east. The campaign was a success, but Carus was killed by lightning. In 285 Carinus left Rome to confront the usurper Julian I and then Diocletian, who had been declared Augustus by his troops. Carinus was nearly victorious in battle but was murdered by one of his chief officers - apparently Carinus had seduced his wife.


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This reverse announces that Carinus, who has the world in his hands, is bringing an age of good fortune.
RB71344. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 152, Bastien 492; Hunter IV 13; Cohen VI 117; Pink VI - 2, p. 22; SRCV III 12305, Choice aEF, fantastic style, perfect centering, weight 4.691 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 2nd emission of Carus, October 282 A.D.; obverse CARINVS NOBIL CAES, radiate and cuirassed bust left, spear (or scepter?) over shoulder in right, shield ornamented with head of gorgoneion in left; reverse SAECVLI FELICITAS, Carinus standing right, transverse spear in right, globe in left, D right; beautiful coin!; $720.00 (€626.40)
 


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When this coin was struck in 282, Carinus was still the Prince of Youth, full of promise. Later he would be remembered as one of the worst Roman emperors. This infamy is, however, likely part fiction, supported by Diocletian himself. For example, the (unreliable) Historia Augusta has Carinus marrying nine wives, while neglecting to mention his only real wife, Magnia Urbica, by whom he had a son, Nigrinianus. After his death, Carinus' memory was officially condemned in the Roman proceeding known as Damnatio Memoriae. His name, along with that of his wife, was erased from inscriptions.
RS71588. Silvered antoninianus, Venèra Hoard IV 390 (LV 4227); RIC V, part 2, 182; Cohen VI 97; Hunter III 71; Pink VI-2, p. 28; SRCV III 12302, Choice EF, most silvering remains, well centered and struck, nice portrait, some porosity, weight 4.627 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 2nd issue as caesar, 282 - 283 A.D.; obverse M AVR CARINVS NOB CAES, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse PRINCIPI IVVENTVT, Carinus standing left, globe in extended right hand, spear vertical behind in left hand, bound captive seated left at feet on left, QXXI in exergue; $250.00 (€217.50)
 


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This coin is dedicated to the goddess Fides for her good quality of preserving the public peace by keeping the army true to its allegiance.
RB72410. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 253; Cohen VI 28; Pink VI - 2, p. 37; SRCV III 12344; Hunter III 30 var (crescent in mintmark), gVF, well centered and struck, some light corrosion, weight 3.619 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 180o, 5th officina, Rome mint, 283 - 285 A.D.; obverse IMP CARINVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder; reverse FIDES MILITVM, Fides standing left, standard in each hand, KAE in exergue; ex I. Jones Collection; $125.00 (€108.75)
 


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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.
RS73892. Silvered antoninianus, RIC V 212, Bastien IX 533, Pink VI - 2 p. 22, Cohen VI 8, SRCV III 12339, gVF, nice portrait, well struck, some silvering, weight 3.774 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 283 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR CARINVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse AEQVITAS AVGG, Aequitas standing slightly left, scales in right, cornucopia in left, A (1st officina) right; ex Harlan J. Berk; $125.00 (€108.75)
 


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Carinus ruled at a time when virtus (valor, courage) was an essential attribute for the emperor. Although the empire had recovered significantly from the low point of the third century decline, Pax Romana was only a distant and faded memory. The fortune of the empire greatly depended on the virtus of the emperor. Some references identify the figures on the reverse as Carinus and Numerian.
RA73657. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 325; Cohen VI 184; Hunter IV 47 var (officina); SRCV III 12362, aEF/VF, nice portrait, toned, flan crack, weight 3.933 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 284 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR CARINVS P F AVG, radiate cuirassed bust right; reverse VIRTVS AVGG, Emperor standing right, short scepter in left hand, facing Jupiter on right, standing left, with right hand offering Victory on globe, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, B in lower center, XXI in exergue; ex Forum (2006); $65.00 (€56.55)
 


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Providentia is the personification of the ability to foresee and make provision. She was among the embodiments of virtues that were part of the Imperial cult of ancient Rome. Providentia figures in art, cult, and literature, but has little or no mythology as such.
RS60035. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 303; Cohen VI 111; Pink VI -2, p. 28; SRCV III 12353, Hunter IV -, VF, weight 4.146 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 0o, 6th officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 4th emission, 283 A.D.; obverse IMP CARINVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse PROVIDENT AVGG, Providentia standing left, heads of grain downward in right hand over modius at feet on left, cornucopia in left hand, VIXXI in exergue; $50.00 (€43.50)
 


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The Roman poet Ovid tells the story of the Phoenix: 'Most beings spring from other individuals; but there is a certain kind which reproduces itself. The Assyrians call it the Phoenix. It does not live on fruit or flowers, but on frankincense and odoriferous gums. When it has lived five hundred years, it builds itself a nest in the branches of an oak, or on the top of a palm tree. In this it collects cinnamon and spikenard, and myrrh, and of these materials builds a pile on which it deposits itself, and dying, breathes out its last breath amidst odors. From the body of the parent bird, a young Phoenix issues forth, destined to live as long a life as its predecessor. When this has grown up and gained sufficient strength, it lifts its nest from the tree (its own cradle and its parent's sepulcher), and carries it to the city of Heliopolis in Egypt, and deposits it in the temple of the Sun.'
RB50696. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 244; Cohen VI 10; Pink VI - 2, pp. 38 - 39; SRCV III 12340; Hunter IV -, aVF, weight 3.089 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Rome mint, 5th emission, 284 - 285 A.D.; obverse IMP CARINVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse AETERNIT AVG, Aeternitas standing left, Phoenix on globe in right hand, raising robe with left, KAΓ in exergue; $45.00 (€39.15)
 


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RB73691. Billon antoninianus, RIC V, part 2, 161; Venèra Hoard 1857 - 1891 (LV 4223); Cohen VI 91; Hunter IV 6; SRCV III -, F, well centered, green patina, scratches, flan crack, weight 3.389 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, 6th officina, Rome mint, as caesar, 282 A.D.; obverse M AVR CARINVS NOB CAES, radiate, cuirassed, and draped bust right; reverse PRINCIPI IVVENTVT, Carinus standing left, globe in right, spear (or long scepter) vertical behind in left hand, SKA in exergue; $45.00 (€39.15)
 







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

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IMPCMAVRCARINVSNOBC
IMPCARINVSPFAVG
IMPCMAVRCARINVSAVG
IMPCCARINVSPFAVG
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REFERENCES

Bastien, P. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon. De la réouverture de l'atelier par Aurélien à la mort de Carin (fin 274 – mi-285). Numismatique Romaine IX. (Wetteren, 1976).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l’Empire Romain, Vol. 6: Macrianus to Diocletian & Maximianus. (Paris, 1886).
Gricourt, D. Ripostiglio della Venèra, Nuovo Catalogo Illustrato, Volume IV: Caro - Diocleziano. (Verona, 2000).
Mattingly, H. Sydenham & Webb. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol V, Part I, Valerian to Florian. (London, 1927).
Milani, L.A. Il ripositglio della Venèra, Monete romane della seconda meta del terzo secolo. (Rome, 1880).
Pink, K. "Der Aufbau der Römischen münzprägung in der Kaiserzeit: VI/2. Carus und Söhne" in Numismatische Zeitschrift 80 (1963).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. IV. Valerian I to Allectus. (Oxford, 1978).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume Three, The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, September 02, 2015.
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Roman Coins of Carinus