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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numism  |  Reading For the Advanced Collector  |  Topic: Caracalla's IVSTITIA type at Rome 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Caracalla's IVSTITIA type at Rome  (Read 4076 times)
curtislclay
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« on: July 05, 2008, 12:58:15 am »

In RIC and BMC, the type IVSTITIA, Justitia seated l. holding patera and scepter, is attested for Caracalla on new-style Eastern denarii of 198 with obv. legends

IMP C M AVR ANTONINVS PONT AVG or

IMP C M AVR ANTON AVG P TR P,

as on the example shown below from Wildwinds.

These were both "seen" coins, two with the second obv. legend being in BMC 637-8, and an example with the first obv. legend, with rev. legend IVSTITIA TR P, being in the L. A. Lawrence collection in London, and eventually passing to the BM.

In addition, a IVSTITIA denarius of Caracalla with the later obv. legend ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, Head laureate r., was reported to have occurred in the Reka Devnia hoard, and was attributed in RIC (Caracalla 355A) and BMC (p. 300), though with a query, to the new-style Eastern mint.  This attribution seemed likely, for the type was definitely known on earlier new-style Eastern denarii of Caracalla (see above) and it also occurs on quite common new-style Eastern denarii of Septimius with obv. legend L SEPT SEV AVG IMP XI PART MAX, but, at the time, it was unknown on any Rome-mint coin of either emperor.  The obv. legend ANTONINVS PIVS AVG did appear on a few very late new-style Eastern denarii of Caracalla just before the mint closed in 202, though these coins always showed Caracalla's bust laureate and draped, not just the laureate head as reported on the Reka Devnia coin.

Surprise, the Reka Devnia denarius will have been from the mint of Rome after all, with a portrait of around 207 AD, explaining the head-only portrait, a bust type that superseded the draped type in the course of 206 on Caracalla's coins at Rome!  This was proved by a second specimen of the same coin that I acquired in the 1970s, and that is now in the BM, see illustration from plaster casts below. 



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Curtis Clay
curtislclay
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2008, 02:04:13 am »

It still seemed that in the years 198-202 the IVSTITIA type had been used only on new-style Eastern denarii, not at Rome.  But in 1990 the British Museum acquired a sestertius of Caracalla, obviously struck at Rome, with the IVSTITIA rev. type and an obv. legend of 199,

IMP CAES M AVR ANTONINVS AVG,

see scan from plaster casts below!  This coin may be slightly tooled on the reverse, I have yet to see it in hand, but I have no doubt about its overall authenticity.

The appearance of this sestertius made me think:  I'll bet that the same type was also struck on denarii of Caracalla at the same time, and these Rome-mint IVSTITIA denarii, not yet attested, will have been the source of Caracalla's new-style Eastern IVSTITIA denarii, described above, since in its early years the new-style mint showed little innovation, but merely copied its types and legends wholesale from contemporary Rome-mint coins.

I recently acquired just such a IVSTITIA denarius of Caracalla struck at Rome, surprisingly using a previously unattested obv. legend,

M AVR ANTO - NINVS AVG,

see scan below.

I wonder, however, whether in this case the mint of Rome might have copied the type from the new-style Eastern mint, rather than vice versa as usual.  For Caracalla's Eastern denarii of this type seem to belong to 198: the PONT AVG obv. legend given above was his first Eastern legend after his elevation to Augustus in January 198, and the ANTON AVG P TR P obv. legend should also belong to 198, since it includes TR P and Caracalla became TR P II on 10 December 198.

At Rome, however, Caracalla's first obv. legend as Augustus was

IMP CAE M AVR ANT AVG P TR P,

replaced on 10 December 198 by

IMP CAES M AVR ANTON AVG

on denarii, and the same with ANTONINVS on aurei, some of the rev. types showing PONTIFEX TR P II.

The IVSTITIA sestertius, however, has the longer variety of the Roman obv. legend of early 199, and the new Rome-mint denarius has a variant of that same legend, omitting the initial IMP CAES, which seems more likely to belong to 199 than to 198.  On present evidence, then, the IVSTITIA type appeared on Eastern denarii of Caracalla in 198, but on Rome-mint sestertii and denarii of Caracalla only early in 199, so Rome would appear to have copied it from the Eastern coins.
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2013, 10:33:52 am »

I have dug out this old thread for three reasons: First, I think Curtis' thorough and interesting analysis deserves a feedback. Second, it allows me to show my three Caracalla denarii with IVSTITIA reverses. These are just the 'common' types mentioned in RIC, but still they are quite scarce, especially RIC 355a. Thirdly, I am wondering if anyone has a theory as to the reverse motive. Sometimes the depiction of IVSTITIA can be linked to the legislative program of the emperor: Nerva abolished the trials based on treason, Hadrian passed the edictum perpetuum, etc. But what about Caracalla, who was still a child at the time when the coins were struck? What was the motive behind his and his father's IVSTITIA coins? If I understood Curtis right, it was used over a longer period of time, so maybe it was not because of one single event? Or can it be because Pescennius Niger used the cognomen Iustus, and Septimius stole that idea from him?
Nice sestertius, by the way. You think the BM would sell it?  Wink
Olaf
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curtislclay
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2013, 08:07:08 am »

Olaf,

Thanks for showing your three coins, especially the third one.

That is only the second example of this denarius that I have seen, and it is from the same reverse die as the one in the BM ex my collection, but from a different obverse die.

A third specimen was in the Reka Devnia hoard, but it was not illustrated in Mouchmov's publication, and Sofia refuses to show its Reka Devnia coins, so they may have been looted.

It is difficult to explain why the IVSTITIA type might have been chosen in 198 in the East and c. 207 at Rome, since our historical account of what the emperors were doing in those years is so incomplete!
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