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Author Topic: Caracalla and three reclining figures  (Read 773 times)

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Offline mauseus

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Caracalla and three reclining figures
« on: November 04, 2016, 07:02:15 pm »
Hi,

Just bought a Caracalla denarius that has been a favourite reverse type of mine for a long time. Can anybody elucidate on the interpretation of the reverse type from c.207 please?


RIC describes it as Caracalla standing with reclining river god in left field and two reclining figures in the right.

It has been postulated by some that there may be a British connection in that the seated female on the left is Tyche-Britannia and two reclining river-gods are British rivers (Tyne and Eden?).

The type obviously copies Trajan's sestertius (below, sady not my coin and an internet image) with reclining figures of Armenia, Euphrates and Tigris, an interpretation followed by Foss in "Roman Historical Coins", and may reflect Caracalla's victories on the Danube.

Any suggestions welcome.

Regards,

Mauseus

Online curtislclay

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Re: Caracalla and three reclining figures
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2016, 08:57:47 pm »
Mauseus,

It's clearly Trajan's type repeated, so reference should again be to Mesopotamia. It's possible that Caracalla undertook a new campaign against the Parthians c. 206-7, of which there is no mention in the literary sources.

Some extracts from an article by Andrew Burnett in Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, 2016:

"The clearest type on the coinage of Rome occurs in 207 (Caracalla’s TR P X) and has the legend PONTIF TR P X COS II or VIRTVS AVGG with a standing emperor between two river-gods and a captive (BMCRE S and C 555, 520) (Figs. 12-13).72 It is a close copy of the coins made ninety years earlier by Trajan, commemorating his establishment of the province of Mesopotamia between the Euphrates and the Tigris (inscribed ARMENIA ET MESOPOTAMIA IN POTESTATEM P(opuli) R(omani) REDACTAE)."
Note 72 "C. Clay points out that the type is often mis-described as one river-god and two captives. On clear coins from fine dies, however, one can see that there are two river-gods and that the captive is even wearing an ‘Armenian tiara’, as on the coins of Trajan. On the denarii the head of the standing figure is unbearded, indicating Caracalla (rather than Severus)."
"It is hard to form a definite view of the strength of this evidence for an otherwise unknown journey or campaign by Caracalla to the east. One could be sceptical, and assume that the coins from Rome were making a reference back to the capture of Ctesiphon in 198, but why should the mint recall that victory nine years later, and why for Caracalla only, and not for Septimius too?"
Curtis Clay

Offline mauseus

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Re: Caracalla and three reclining figures
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2016, 05:12:34 am »
Hi,

Thank-you Curtis for your interesting reply.

Regards,

Mauseus

 

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