Classical Numismatics Discussion
  Welcome Guest. Please login or register. Books Clearance Sale Now - Many at or Below Our Wholesale Cost!!! Explore Our Website And Find Joy In The History, Numismatics, Art, Mythology, And Geography Of Coins!!! Expert Authentication - Accurate Descriptions - Reasonable Prices - Coins From Under $10 To Museum Quality Rarities Welcome Guest. Please login or register. Books Clearance Sale Now - Many at or Below Our Wholesale Cost!!! Explore Our Website And Find Joy In The History, Numismatics, Art, Mythology, And Geography Of Coins!!! Support Our Efforts To Serve The Classical Numismatics Community - Shop At Forum Ancient Coins

New & Reduced


Author Topic: A new bronze medallion of Septimius Severus in 208 AD  (Read 2527 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline curtislclay

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 11129
A new bronze medallion of Septimius Severus in 208 AD
« on: September 06, 2007, 12:58:45 pm »
L SEPT SEVERVS PIVS - AVG IMP XI PART MAX, bust laureate, cuirassed r., seen from front, aegis with Medusa head and snakes (unclear) on l. shoulder.

[P M TR P XVI] above, mainly illegible, COS III P P in exergue, Arching bridge with roof between monumental entrance gates on each shore, five figures cross the bridge, each entrance gate has three arched openings and, on its roof, the three emperors in a facing four-horse chariot led by standing figures on each side; a boat in the waves below.

Brass, 34-34 1/2 mm, 48.36 g, 12h.  Unusually round and with an unusually regular, perpendicular edge.  Flan thickness varies from almost 6 mm at 4h on obv. to under 5 mm at 10h.

Possibly originally a framed medallion, explaining the unusual roundness and thickness and the perpendicular edge?  If so, this central disk was separated from the frame in antiquity: there are thick green deposits on the edge.

This medallion is heavily encrusted, especially on the reverse.  I cleaned it somewhat, but have stopped before reaching the metal surfaces, since I fear that many details of the reverse type and legend may have merged with the deposits and would disappear if the deposits were removed!

There is a medallion of similar type in Paris, with short obv. legend SEVERVS - PIVS AVG, but I believe this coin is a modern forgery, based on the well-known asses of this type.  The forger cannot have known that he was manufacturing a type that the mint really had struck on medallions!  I will add an image of the fake this evening.
Curtis Clay

Offline whitetd49

  • Procurator Caesaris
  • Caesar
  • ****
  • Posts: 1540
  • FEL TEMP REPARATIO
    • Coins of the Severan Dynasty at Stobi
Re: A new bronze medallion of Septimius Severus in 208 AD
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2007, 01:32:14 pm »
Wonderful find!  Could this medallion commerate the arrival (departure?) of Septimius in England (York)?
If you watch long enough, even a treefrog is interesting.  Umberto Eco
https://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/index.php?cat=10349

Offline slokind

  • Tribuna Plebis Perpetua
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 6661
  • Art is an experimental science
    • An Art Historian's Numismatics Studies
Re: A new bronze medallion of Septimius Severus in 208 AD
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2007, 05:11:21 pm »
That is wonderful!  whitetd gets his way if it is TR P XVI?  Heavy stone towers with stone arch and roofed passage (it would shield soldiers stationed on it, too), boat in fast-moving stream.
Never one to underestimate British archaeology, I wonder whether one might find (or might have found) the huge footings of the two towers of such a bridge?
Anyhow, a great medallion and a great document, too.
Pat L.

Offline maridvnvm

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 4374
Re: A new bronze medallion of Septimius Severus in 208 AD
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2007, 05:24:05 pm »
Awesome. Incredible. The superlatives overflow.
Martin

Offline curtislclay

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 11129
Re: A new bronze medallion of Septimius Severus in 208 AD
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2007, 07:42:37 pm »
The meaning of this rev. type is obscure, unfortunately.

A British connection?  Well, the emperors traveled to Britain in this year, 208, but the first types indicating fighting, including one showing the emperors crossing a river on a bridge of boats, belong to 209.  Indeed, the Bridge type of the new medallion probably belongs to January 208, (1) because the unique aureus of this type, in Paris, was struck from an obv. die that was carried over from 207, and (2) because we now know that the type was used on bronze medallions, which were usually produced as New Year's gifts.

Now, the same hypothetical medallion issue of 1 Jan. 208 also included a type commemorating the departure of the three emperors for Britain, PROF AVG[G] P M TR P XVI, all three of them on horseback: see my incomplete and somewhat damaged plaster cast of a unique framed medallion in the Vatican, below, from a different obv. die than the new Bridge medallion.

Such an expedition had to be planned months in advance, so it is plausible that a medallion of 1 Jan. 208 might look ahead to a departure that presumably only occurred several months later, in spring or early summer 208.  But had Septimius already begun building a stone bridge connected with his British campaign by Jan. 208?  What major river in Britain, or en route in Italy or Gaul for that matter, could have required such an effort, and deserved commemoration on the coinage?

Perhaps the bridge had actually been built in 207, in a different connection.  It seems plausible from numismatic evidence that Caracalla may have conducted a campaign in Mesopotamia in 207, though no such expedition is mentioned in our scanty and fragmentary literary sources.  What precise river was bridged remains obscure in either case!  The occurrence of the Bridge type on coins of Septimius only, however, speaks against its connection with an expedition led not by him but by Caracalla.
Curtis Clay

Offline David Atherton

  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 4576
  • The meaning of life can be found in a coin.
    • Flavian Fanatic Blog
Re: A new bronze medallion of Septimius Severus in 208 AD
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2007, 11:18:51 pm »
I suppose this would be a good time to ask the naive question concerning what function these medallions served in the coinage, souvenirs or keepsakes perhaps? Could you buy anything with them?

What an excellent piece btw.

Offline curtislclay

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 11129
Re: A new bronze medallion of Septimius Severus in 208 AD
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2007, 11:29:54 pm »
I responded to this question in the thread on the purpose of medallions, on p. 2 of Classical Numismatics.

I am intending to add to that thread a note on the brief revival of the production of large bronze medallions by Septimius in 207-210 AD.  Volume much lower than under the Antonines and during Septimius' first three years, but at least some bronze medallions were again being struck!
Curtis Clay

Offline curtislclay

  • Tribunus Plebis Perpetuus
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 11129
Re: A new bronze medallion of Septimius Severus in 208 AD
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2007, 01:50:32 am »
Here is the Bridge medallion in Paris that I believe is fake:  the forger attempted to make a medallic counterpart to the well-known Bridge asses, one of which (in Berlin) is also shown below.

The style of the medallion is good, but not quite right, a little too simple.  The letters of the legends lack the requisite size and vigor.

A couple of errors, I think, give the game away.

On the obv. Septimius should be grasping the shaft of the spear over his shoulder, not resting its base on his palm.

On the rev., the forger drew six stick figures atop each of the entry gates.  The As he was copying wasn't fine eough to show that it should be A FACING QUADRIGA OF HORSES, LED BY STANDING FIGURES AT L. AND R., WITH THE HEADS OF THE THREE EMPERORS VISIBLE ABOVE THE HORSES!

The titles IMP XI PART MAX had been eliminated from Septimius' circulating coinage in 199, but they reappeared on his three known genuine large-bronze medallion types in 207-8, namely IOVI VICTORI TR P XV, PROF AVGG TR P XVI, and TR P XVI Bridge, all shown above.  The forger, in contrast, used SEVERVS PIVS AVG, because that's what he found on the As he copied!
Curtis Clay

Offline slokind

  • Tribuna Plebis Perpetua
  • Procurator Monetae
  • Caesar
  • *****
  • Posts: 6661
  • Art is an experimental science
    • An Art Historian's Numismatics Studies
Re: A new bronze medallion of Septimius Severus in 208 AD
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2007, 05:58:17 pm »
That is brilliant, IMO, and irrefutable.  For what my opinion is worth, not quite nothing when it comes to looking at things.  Stating the conclusion in subjective language (not the same as subjectivity!), on the Paris medallion both the portrait and the architecture are 'dead' (not instinct with understanding).  But the objective facts are what matters.  P.L.

Offline Susan Headley

  • Procurator Caesaris
  • Legionary
  • ****
  • Posts: 7
Re: A new bronze medallion of Septimius Severus in 208 AD
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2007, 10:22:54 pm »
I was just looking over Curtis's shoulder at the before and after images (at the top of this thread) of the medallion he cleaned, and was appalled at how awful it looks in the photo compared to the coin in hand!  Curtis is extremely painstaking about cleaning coins, spending hours looking through a microscope and using a scalpel to carefully flick off microscopic bits of adhesion, but for some reason my photo makes the coin look damaged and pitted rather than slightly covered in a rust-colored patina.

Anyway, I just wanted to point this out lest anybody think that Curtis has mangled this coin, because he hasn't.  =)

Susan Headley

Douglas

  • Guest
Re: A new bronze medallion of Septimius Severus in 208 AD
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2007, 11:21:29 pm »
Thank you Susan for your comment. I've seen some of photos of coins that Curtis has cleaned (taken by you I imagine), and he is indeed excellent at it, and does it in a style I admire. No shortcuts, and no magical chemical potions or superlative tools. However, with this coin I actually liked the before photo better. I naturally thought that Curtis had gone further than he'd normally would for numismatic reasons. I know he's mentioned here that he can understand stripping a coin if it reveals important numismatic and historic details. Not being a scholar like Curtis is, I appreciate something wholly different than that, but I too can understand the reasoning behind it. Some coins just don't photograph well.

My faith in Curtis Clay, cleaner of coins (along with all his many other numismatic talents) is restored.

 

All coins are guaranteed for eternity