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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Severan Period| ▸ |Caracalla||View Options:  |  |  |   

Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, better known as Caracalla, was the son of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna, born in 188 A.D. He was named Caesar in 196 and Augustus in 198. Shortly before his death, Severus advised his sons, "Agree with each other, give money to the soldiers and scorn all other men." But the brothers hated each other and soon Caracalla had Geta murdered and massacred thousands suspected of supporting him. Although a capable military commander, the actual running of the government was left to his mother. He gradually slipped more and more into paranoia and delusions of grandeur before being murdered on his way to an Eastern campaign aimed at fulfilling his belief that he was the reincarnation of Alexander the Great.


Sardes, Lydia, c. 212 - 217 A.D.

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The Zeus who was worshiped at Laodicea was a Hellenized form of the old native god, Men. Men had been the king and father of his people. When Greeks settled in the area they continued to worship the god whose power was supreme in the district, but they identified him with their own god Zeus. Thus at Sardis and elsewhere in the region the native god became Zeus Lydios.
RP92868. Bronze AE 16, SNG Mnchen 499; BMC Lydia p. 248, 86; Johnston Sardis 262; Lindgren-Kovacs A809A; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -, aVF, well centered, dark green patina, porosity, weight 1.991 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 180o, Sardes (Sart, Turkey) mint, time of Caracalla, c. 212 - 217 A.D.; obverse ZEYC - ΛY∆IOC, diademed and draped bust of Zeus Lydios right; reverse CAP∆IANΩN, Herakles standing facing, head left, resting right hand on grounded club, Nemean lionskin on left arm; scarce; $80.00 (70.40)


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In 213, Caracalla summoned Abgar IX Severus, King of Edessa (Osroene), with his son to Rome and then ordered them murdered. A year later, Caracalla incorporated Edessa as a Roman province. Caracalla would be assassinated by his legionaries near Edessa in 217.
RB92488. Copper as, RIC IV 506 (R1); BMCRE V p. 479, 259; Cohen IV 234; Hunter III -; SRCV II -, VF, excellent portrait, centered on a tight flan, porosity, weight 7.778 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVI IMP II COS IIII P P (Pontifex Maximus, Tribunicia Potestate XVI, Consul IIII, Pater Patriae), emperor standing in a slow quadriga right, wearing military dress, holding reins in right, eagle tipped scepter in left hand, crowned by Victory behind him standing right, S C (Senatus Consulto) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $140.00 (123.20)


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Concordia, the goddess of agreement, understanding, and marital harmony, did not favor Caracalla and his wife, Plautilla. They hated each other, lived separately, and the marriage was likely never consummated. After the fall and execution of her father, Caracalla's Praetorian Prefect, she was exiled to the Lipari islands and executed in 212 A.D.
RS92484. Silver denarius, RIC IV 116a; RSC III 484; BMCRE III p. 362, 29; SRCV II 6871 var. (...AVG BRIT, next issue); Hunter III -, Choice VF, fantastic portrait, well centered, flow lines, toned, edge cracks, weight 3.147 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, 210 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate bearded head right; reverse PONTIF TR P XIII COS III (priest, holder of Tribunitian power for 13 years, consul for the 3rd time), Concordia seated left, patera in right hand, double cornucopia in left hand; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $110.00 (96.80)


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The ancients did not all agree on the attributes of Serapis. A passage in Tacitus affirms that many recognized in this god, Aesculapius, imputing healing to his intervention; some thought him identical with Osiris, the oldest deity of the Egyptians; others regarded him as Jupiter, possessing universal power; but by most he was believed to be the same as Pluto, the "gloomy" Dis Pater of the infernal regions. The general impression of the ancients seems to have been that by Serapis, was to be understood the beginning and foundation of things. Julian II consulted the oracle of Apollo for the purpose of learning whether Pluto and Serapis were different gods; and he received for an answer that Jupiter-Serapis and Pluto were one and the same divinity.
RB92485. Copper as, RIC IV 505 (S); Cohen IV 214; BMCRE V p. 478, 257; SRCV II -, VF, nice portrait, dark patina, scratches encrustations, weight 9.619 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVI COS IIII P P, Serapis standing slightly left, head left, draped, kalathos on head, raising right hand with fingers spread, transverse scepter in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking below center; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very scarce; $160.00 (140.80)


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Providentia is the personification of the ability to foresee and to make provision for the future. This ability was considered essential for the emperor and providentia was among the embodiments of virtues that were part of the imperial cult. Cicero said that providentia, memoria (memory) and intellegentia (understanding) are the three main components of prudentia, the knowledge what is good or bad or neither.
RB92486. Bronze as, RIC IV 519 (S); Hunter III 83; BMCRE V p. 412, 259; Cohen IV 533, SRCV II -, VF, nice style, corrosion, small edge splits, weight 9.631 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 211 - 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse PROVIDENTIAE DEORVM (to the foresight of the gods), Providentia standing facing, head left, baton in right hand held over globe at feet, long scepter vertical in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $120.00 (105.60)


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Juno was the chief female divinity in the Roman pantheon. She was the wife of Jupiter and a member of the Capitoline Triad. She had many different aspects, such as Juno Regina, Juno Sospita, and Juno Lucina, but here she is depicted as Juno Moneta, holding the scales symbolic of equity and a cornucopia indicating plenty. This surname was given to Juno because she counseled the Romans to undertake only just wars in which case she promised that they would never be in want of money. The first mint in Rome was within the temple of Juno Moneta.
RS91584. Silver denarius, RIC IV 224; RSC III 165; BMCRE V p. 372, 90; Hunter III 15; SRCV II 6821, Choice EF, light tone on mint luster, excellent portrait, well centered, weight 3.225 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, Rome mint, 210 - 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse MONETA AVG, Moneta standing left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $150.00 (132.00)


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Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian. He was the father of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. In early Rome, he was second in importance only to Jupiter, and the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began and ended the season for military campaigning and farming.
RS92482. Silver denarius, RIC IV 88; RSC III 431; BMCRE V p. 265, 542; SRCV II 6862, VF, nice portrait, old collection toning, scratches, weight 3.399 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate bust right; reverse PONTIF TR P X COS II (priest, holder of Tribunitian power for ten years, consul for the 2nd time), Mars advancing right, nude except for helmet and cloak tied in belt at waist and flying behind, transverse spear in right hand, trophy over left shoulder in left hand; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $70.00 (61.60)


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Although Ares was viewed by the Greeks primarily as destructive and destabilizing, worthy of contempt and revulsion, for the Romans, Mars was a father (pater) of the Roman people. He was the father of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. In early Rome, he was second in importance only to Jupiter, and the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began and ended the season for military campaigning and farming.
RS92483. Silver denarius, RIC IV 223; RSC III 150; BMCRE V p. 372, 87; Hunter III 14; SRCV II 6819, Choice VF, superb portrait, flow lines, light marks, uneven toning on reverse, edge cracks and splits, weight 3.259 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate, bearded head right; reverse MARTI PROPVGNATORI (to Mars the defender), Mars advancing left in helmet and military garb, transverse spear in right hand, trophy in left hand over left shoulder; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $110.00 (96.80)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

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A star or stars within a crescent with horns up probably represent a solar eclipse.
RP89583. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.18.48.1 (R2), Varbanov I 2999 (R3), AMNG I/I 1513.2, Moushmov 1118, aF, edge cracks, weight 2.055 g, maximum diameter 15.8 mm, die axis 180o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, as caesar, 195 - 28 Jan 198; obverse M AV KA ANTΩNIN, bare-headed, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC IC, six-pointed star above and within crescent with horns up; $16.00 (14.08)


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In 215, Caracalla introduced the double denarius, or antoninianus. This coin was one of the earliest of the, then new, denomination. The weight of the new denomination was less than that of two denarii. The orichalcum and copper coinage disappeared gradually, and by the middle of the third century, with Rome's economy in crisis, the antoninianus was the only official currency.
RS91597. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 258(a) (S), RSC III 279, BMCRE V p. 453, 110, cf. Hunter III 33 (Jupiter head left), SRCV II 6775 (same), Choice gVF, nice portrait, full borders strike, toned, flow lines, light marks, slight porosity, reverse die wear, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.653 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 215 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bearded bust right, seen from the front; reverse P M TR P XVIII COS IIII P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for 18 years, consul for the 4th time, father of the country), Jupiter standing half right, head right, left foot forward, nude but for chlamys over left shoulder and arm, thunderbolt at side in right hand, long vertical scepter in left hand; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; scarce; $200.00 (176.00)




  






OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

ANTONINVSAVGVSTV
ANTONINVSAVGVSTVS
ANTONINVSPIVSAVG
ANTONINVSPIVSAVGBRIT
ANTONINVSPIVSAVGGERM
ANTONINVSPIVSFELAVG (ALSO USED BY ELAGABALUS)
DIVOANTONINOMAGNO
IMPCAEMAVRANTAVGPTRP
IMPCAESMAVRELANTONINVSAVG
IMPANTONINETGETACAESAVGFIL
IMPCMAVRANTONAVGPTRP
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSAVG
IMPCMAVRANTONAVGPTRP
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSAVG
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSPONTAVG
IMPMAVRANTONINVSPIVSAVGPMTRPXIII
MAVRANTCAESPONTIF
MAVRANTONCAESPONTIF
MAVRANTONINVSCAES
MAVRELANTONINVSPIVSAVG
MAVRELANTONINVSPIVSAVGBRIT
MAVRELANTONINVSPIVSAVGGERM


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 Wednesday, October 23, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Caracalla