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

Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.

Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander was promoted from Caesar to Augustus after the murder of his cousin, Elagabalus. His reign was marked by great economic prosperity, and he enjoyed great success against the barbarian tribes. His mother Julia Mamaea was the real power in the empire, controlling her son's policies and even his personal life with great authority. Severus had an oratory where he prayed under the edict, written on the wall, "Do not unto others what you would not have done to yourself" and the images of various prophets including Mithras, Zoroaster, Abraham, and Jesus. Mutinous soldiers led by Maximinus I murdered both Severus Alexander and his mother.

Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Sagalassus, Pisidia

|Pisidia|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Sagalassus,| |Pisidia||AE| |19|
Sagalassos, also known as Selgessos and Sagallesos, is an archaeological site in southwestern Turkey, 7 km from Aglasun (as well as being its namesake) in the province of Burdur, on Mount Akdag, in the Western Taurus mountains range, at an altitude of 14501700 metres. In Roman Imperial times, the town was known as the "first city of Pisidia", a region in the western Taurus mountains, currently known as the Turkish Lakes Region. During the Hellenistic period it was already one of the major Pisidian towns.
ME113226. Bronze AE 19, RPC Online VI T5880; BMC Lycia p. 246, 33; SNG BN , aVF, well centered, dark patina, earthen deposits, scratches, weight 3.46 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 0o, Sagalassos (near Aglasun, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse AV K M A CE AΛEΞANΔPOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse CAΓAΛAC CEΩN, Tyche standing facing, head left, wearing kalathos, rudder in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; ex CNG e-auction 534 (15 Mar 2023), lot 368; this coin is one, and the better one, of only two specimens on Coin Archives; very rare; $110.00 (103.40)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Caesarea, Cappadocia

|Cappadocia|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Caesarea,| |Cappadocia||AE| |25|
Mount Erciyes (Argaios to the Greeks, Argaeus to the Romans) is a massive stratovolcano 25 km to the south of Kayseri (ancient Caesarea) in Turkey. The highest mountain in central Anatolia, with its summit reaching 3,916 meters (12,848 ft). It may have erupted as recently as 253 B.C. Strabo wrote that the summit was never free from snow and that those few who ascended it reported seeing both the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the south in days with a clear sky.
RP112993. Bronze AE 25, RPC Online VI T6850, Henseler 1276, Sydenham Caesarea 593, BMC Cappadocia 336, Lindgren I 1725, SNGvA 6522, SNG Cop -, aVF, nice portrait, uneven strike with some legend unstruck, weight 13.851 g, maximum diameter 25.3 mm, die axis 0o, Cappadocia, Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, 228 - 229 A.D.; obverse AVK CEOV AΛEZANΔ, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse MHTPOΠ KAICAPIA, agalma of Mount Argaeus, ET H (year 8) in exergue; first specimen of this type handled by FORVM; ex Leu Numismatik AG Web Auction 24 (3 Dec 2022), lot 4995 (part of); $100.00 (94.00)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Kyzikos, Mysia

|Cyzicus|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Kyzikos,| |Mysia||AE| |28|
Colossal foundations of the Temple of Hadrian, sometimes ranked among the Seven Wonders of the World, are still visible at Cyzicus. The columns were 21.35 meters high (about 70 feet), the highest known in the Roman Empire. Those at Baalbek in Syria, the next highest, are only 19.35 meters (about 63 feet). Columns from both structures were recycled under Justinian I for the Hagia Sophia.
RP112741. Bronze AE 28, RPC Online VI T3777 (6 spec.), SNG BnF 818, SNG Tb 2285 , F, well centered, dark patina, scratches, small edge chips, center dimple on rev., weight 13.074 g, maximum diameter 28.0 mm, die axis 105o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse AY KAI MAY CEBH AΛEXANΔPOC AYΓ, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse KYZIKH-N-ΩN NEΩ/KOPΩ (last four letters in exergue), two burning torches, serpent coiled around each, flaming altar between; first example of this type handled by Forum; rare; $80.00 (75.20)


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
Mars, the god of war, was, according to the common belief of the ancients, the son of Jupiter and of Juno; or as some of the later poets have pretended, the son of Juno, by whom solely he was generated, as the goddess Minerva was brought forth from Jupiter alone. Mars was regarded as a great leader in battle; as presiding over discord and contest, everywhere exciting slaughter and war. Although this divinity had numerous adorers in Greece and in many other countries, there was no place where his worship became more popular than in Rome.
RS111588. Silver denarius, RIC IV 73, RSC III 332, BMCRE VI 453, cf. SRCV II 7898 (TR P IIII), Hunter III 38 (TR P VI), aEF, choice obv., nice portrait, radiating flow lines, rev. die wear, edge a bit ragged, flan crack, weight 2.710 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, earlier part of 228 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate and draped bust right, seen from behind; reverse P M TR P VII COS II P P, Mars advancing right, nude but for crested helmet and cloak tied in belt at waist and flying behind, transverse spear in right hand, trophy of captured arms over left shoulder in left hand; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 124 (8 Jan 2023), lot 986 (part of); $150.00 (141.00)


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
TR P abbreviates Tribunicia Potestate, the tribunician power, the power to veto legislation. In Roman coin legends the abbreviation TR P is often followed by a Roman numeral indicating the number of times the tribunitian power has been held. Every emperor claimed the tribunician power from the moment of accession. Up to Nerva the tribunician power was renewed on the anniversary of its original conferment. From Antoninus Pius on it seems to have been renewed on 10 December, the day on which elected tribunes entered office. It is still unclear (a) what system of renewal was in force from Trajan to Antoninus Pius and (b) whether at some point in the third century the tribunician day was moved from 10 December to 1 January.
SH112502. Silver denarius, RIC IV 109; RSC III 411a; BMCRE VI p. 195, 807; SRCV II 7913; Hunter III -, Choice EF, well centered and struck, flow lines, edge crack, mild die wear, weight 2.475 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 231 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse P M TR P X COS III P P, Sol standing slightly left, head left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand; $150.00 (141.00)


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||sestertius|
In 232, Severus Alexander launched a counterattack against the Persian forces of King Ardashir I, who had invaded Mesopotamia. Alexander gave the order to march to the capital at Ctesiphon, but was defeated and withdrew to Syria. After heavy losses on both sides, a truce was signed.
RB112558. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 648d, BMCRE VI 906, Hunter III 180, Cohen IV 549, SRCV II 8019 var. (sl. dr.), aVF, excellent portrait, nice green patina, well centered, scratches, scattered light corrosion, flan cracks, weight 20.231 g, maximum diameter 30.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 232 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse SPES PVBLICA (the hope of the public), Spes advancing left, flower in right hand, raising skirt with left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $190.00 (178.60)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Caesarea-Eusebia, Cappadocia

|Cappadocia|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Caesarea-Eusebia,| |Cappadocia||AE| |23|
"Caesarea (Kayseri, Turkey - 3842'N, 3528'E) was created by the Cappodocian Kings to be their capital and was originally known as Mazaca. Caesarea fell to the Romans as a result of Pompey the Great's eastern campaigns, although client kings continued to rule until 17 AD when Tiberius annexed the area as the province of Cappodocia, with Caesarea as its capital. Through subsequent provincial reorganizations Caesarea finally became the capital of Cappodocia Prima in the late fourth century. It served as a mint city from Tiberius's reign until that of Septimius Severus, although not continuously." - from Moneta Historical Research by Tom Schroer
RP112702. Bronze AE 23, Ganschow 823h; RPC VI Online 6823/32; Sydenham Caesarea 575; SNG Cop 296 var. (obv. leg.); SNGvA 6518 var. (same), F, dark patina, rev. slightly off center, weight 8.572 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 180o, Cappadocia, Caesarea-Eusebia (Kayseri, Turkey) mint, 226 - 227 A.D.; obverse AY K CEOYH - AΛEΞANΔ, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust to right, seen from behind; reverse inscription in five lines: MH/TPOΠO/ΛEWC K/AICAPI/AC ET ς (Metropolis Caesarea, year 6); $80.00 (75.20)


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.

|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
In 230 A.D., Severus Alexander made Thessaly a separate province from Macedonia. He increased taxes in order to maintain the war against the Sassanids and strengthened the defenses of the Roman Empire.
RS112596. Silver denarius, RSC III 401, RIC IV 105a, BMCRE VI 616, SRCV II 7911, Hunter III 55 var. (slight drapery), VF, choice obv., flow lines, edge cracks, weight 2.894 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 230 A.D.; obverse IMP SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate head right, drapery on left shoulder; reverse P M TR P VIIII COS III P P, emperor standing right in military dress, laureate, transverse spear in right hand, globe in left hand; from the Collection of Dr. Jregen Buschek; $110.00 (103.40)


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one snake bringing another snake healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing.
RS112400. Silver denarius, RIC IV 32, RSC III 239, BMCRE VI 117, cf. SRCV II 7894 (TR P COS, 222 A.D.), aEF, well centered, weight 2.723 g, maximum diameter 19.20 mm, Rome mint, 223 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate and draped bust right, seen from behind; reverse P M TR P II COS P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for two years, consul, father of the country), Salus seated left, with right hand feeding snake coiled around altar, left elbow resting on chair; $160.00 (150.40)


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
"Mars the Pacifier" may be seen as ironic today, but the Romans knew that victory in war (hopefully including the total destruction of your enemy) is an effective way to achieve peace.
RS112401. Silver denarius, BMCRE VI 93 (same rev. leg. breaks); RIC IV 23, RSC III 231, Hunter III, p. 138, 14; SRCV II 7895, Choice aEF, nice portrait, well centered, flow lines, edge cracks, weight 2.930 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 223 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse P M TR P - II - COS P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for two years, consul, father of the country), Mars the Pacifier standing facing, head left, wearing helmet and military garb, olive branch in extended right hand, reversed spear in left hand; $150.00 (141.00)




  






OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

DIVOALEXANDRO
MAVRALEXANDERCAES
MAVRELALEXANDERCAES
IMPALEXANDERPIVSAVG
IMPCAEMARAVSEVALX
IMPCAESMAVRSEVALEXANDAVG
IMPCAESMAVRSEVALEXANDERAVG
IMPCAESMAVRELALEXANDERPIVSFELAVG
IMPCAESMAVRELALEXANDERPIVSFELIXAVG
IMPCMAVRSEVALEXANDAVG
IMPCMAVRSEVALEXANDERAVG
IMPMARCOAVRSEVALAV
IMPSEVALEXANDAVG
IMPSEVALEXANDERAVG


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).

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