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

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

Septimius Severus, a native of Leptis Magna, Africa was proclaimed emperor by his troops after the murder of Pertinax. He is at the same time credited with strengthening and reviving an empire facing imminent decline and, through the same policies that saved it, causing its eventual fall. Severus eliminated the dangerous praetorians, unified the empire after turmoil and civil war, strengthened the army, defeated Rome's most powerful enemy, and founded a successful dynasty. His pay increases for the army, however, established a severe burden on Rome. Future emperors were expected to increase pay as well. These raises resulted in ever-increasing taxes that damaged the economy. Some historians believe high taxes, initiated by Severus policies, played a significant role in Rome's long-term decline. In 208 A.D., he traveled to Britain to defeat a disastrous barbarian invasion. He died in York in 211 A.D and was succeeded by his sons, Caracalla and Geta.

|Septimius| |Severus|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.||denarius|
Victory or Nike is seen with wings in most statues and paintings, with one of the most famous being the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Most other winged deities in the Greek pantheon had shed their wings by Classical times. Nike is the goddess of strength, speed, and victory. Nike was a very close acquaintance of Athena and is thought to have stood in Athena's outstretched hand in the statue of Athena located in the Parthenon. Victory or Nike is also one of the most commonly portrayed figures on Greek and Roman coins.
RS98485. Silver denarius, RIC IV 504 (S), RSC III 100, BMCRE V 657, SRCV II 6270, Hunter III 196, gVF, choice obv., nice slightly off center rev., light amber toning, flow lines, small edge cracks, weight 3.605 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 150o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 198 - 202 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV AVG IMP XI PART MAX, laureate head right; reverse COS III P P, Victory advancing left, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond in left hand; scarce; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


|Septimius| |Severus|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.||denarius|
In 194, Septimius Severus marched with his army of 12 legions to Cilicia and defeated Pescennius Niger, governor of Syria, at the Battle of Issus. Pescennius retreated to Antioch where he was executed by Severus' troops.
RS98494. Silver denarius, RIC IV 344 (R); BMCRE V p. 83, 319; RSC III 18; SRCV II 6258, Hunter III -, VF, tight flan, reverse off center, weight 3.081 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 0o, Egypt, Alexandria mint, 194 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG, laureate head right; reverse AEQVITAS II, Aequitas standing slightly left, head left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; rare; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


|Septimius| |Severus|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
In 210, Severus made peace with the Scots after guerrilla warfare by Scottish tribes resulted in heavy Roman losses.
RS99570. Silver denarius, RIC IV 234; RSC III 543; BMCRE V p. 360, 19; cf. SRCV II 6346 (TR P XVII, 209 A.D.); Hunter III -, Choice VF, well centered and struck, flow lines, obverse die wear, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.109 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 210 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVIII COS III P P, Neptune standing left, nude but for chlamys draped over left shoulder and right forearm, right hand resting on upper right leg, right foot on rock, long trident vertical in left hand; from the Ed Strivelli Collection, ex FORVM (2017); $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00


|Septimius| |Severus|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.||denarius|
In 199, Mesopotamia was partitioned into two Roman provinces divided by the Euphrates, Mesopotamia and Osroene. Two new legions, I Parthica and III Parthica, were formed as a permanent garrison. Septimius Severus laid siege to the city-state Hatra in Central-Mesopotamia, but failed to capture the city despite breaching the walls.
RS98470. Silver denarius, RIC IV 510a, RSC III 345, BMCRE V 669, SRCV II 6316, Hunter III 199, VF, toned, nice portrait, flow lines, frosty surfaces, weight 3.246 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 30o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 198 - 202 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV AVG IMP XI PART MAX, laureate head right; reverse MONETA AVGG, Moneta seated left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00


|Septimius| |Severus|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.||denarius|
The flattering appellation "the restorer of the city" was doubtless given not for either rebuilding or embellishing Rome, but rather for restoring the honor of the "Eternal City" by avenging the death of Pertinax, securing domestic tranquility to the empire, and reestablishing respect for the Roman name by victories over the Parthians.
RS98682. Silver denarius, RIC IV 288; RSC III 606; BMCRE V p. 221, 359; Hunter III 98; SRCV II 6358, gF, centered, light toning, edge cracks, struck with a worn reverse died, weight 2.397 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 202 - 210 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse RESTITVTOR VRBIS, Roma seated left on shield, helmeted, palladium in right hand, spear vertical behind in left hand; $100.00 SALE PRICE $90.00


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Petra, Arabia

|Roman| |Arabia|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.,| |Petra,| |Arabia||AE| |23|
Excavations have demonstrated that it was the ability of the Nabataeans to control the water supply that led to the rise of the desert city, creating an artificial oasis. The area was subject to flash floods, but archaeological evidence shows that the Nabataeans controlled these floods by the use of dams, cisterns and water conduits. These innovations stored this flood water for prolonged periods of drought and enabled the city to prosper in the desert.The Decapolis
RY94940. Bronze AE 23, cf. SNG ANS 1369, Sofaer 14, Spijkerman 34, Rosenberger IV 21, BMC Arabia -, SNG Cop -, Lindgren -, F, dark green patina with earthen deposit highlighting, scratches, weight 6.896 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 0o, Petra (Jordan) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV K Λ CEΠT CEOVHPOC (or similar), laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse A∆PI ΠETPA MHTP (or similar), Tyche seated left on rocks inside distyle temple, stele extended in right hand, trophy over shoulder in left hand; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

|Nikopolis|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.,| |Nikopolis| |ad| |Istrum,| |Moesia| |Inferior||assarion|
Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101-106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town peaked during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty. In 447, Nicopolis was destroyed by Attila's Huns. In the 6th century, it was rebuilt as a powerful fortress enclosing little more than military buildings and churches, following a very common trend for the cities of that century in the Danube area. It was finally destroyed by the Avar invasions at the end of the 6th century.
RP97502. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.54.9 (R3), Varbanov I 2349 (R3), AMNG I 1447 var. (rev. ends / IC), Moushmov 975 var. (leg. in 3 lines), SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, VF, slight double strike on the obverse, minor porosity, off center on an irregularly shaped flan, weight 2.956 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 195o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV K Λ C CEVHPOC, laureate head right; reverse NIKO/ΠOΛIT / ΠPOC / I in four lines within laurel wreath; from the Michael Arslan Collection; scarce; $80.00 SALE PRICE $72.00


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

|Nikopolis|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.,| |Nikopolis| |ad| |Istrum,| |Moesia| |Inferior||assarion|
Nicopolis ad Istrum was founded by Trajan around 101-106, at the junction of the Iatrus (Yantra) and the Rositsa rivers, in memory of his victory over the Dacians. Its ruins are located at the village of Nikyup, 20 km north of Veliko Tarnovo in northern Bulgaria. The town peaked during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, the Antonines and the Severan dynasty. In 447, Nicopolis was destroyed by Attila's Huns. In the 6th century, it was rebuilt as a powerful fortress enclosing little more than military buildings and churches, following a very common trend for the cities of that century in the Danube area. It was finally destroyed by the Avar invasions at the end of the 6th century.
RP96856. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.14.19 (R2), Varbanov I 2359 (R3), AMNG I/I 1387, Moushmov 1013 var. (Herakles' head right), SNG Cop 267 var., BMC Thrace -, VF, nice green patina, light marks, encrustations, ragged edge, weight 3.890 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 180o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV Λ C CEVHPOC, laureate head right; reverse NIKOΠO−ΛIT ΠPOC IC, Herakles standing slightly left, head left, nude, leaning on grounded club in right hand, skin of the Nemean lion draped over left arm; $70.00 SALE PRICE $63.00


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior

|Nikopolis|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.,| |Nikopolis| |ad| |Istrum,| |Moesia| |Inferior||assarion|
The figure on the reverse is most often identified as Eros (Cupid) or a generic winged Genius. The inverted torch represents a life extinguished, indicating the figure is Thanatos (death). By the Severan Era, there was increased hope for an afterlife in pleasant Elysium rather than in dismal Hades. Thanatos was associated more with a gentle passing than a woeful demise. Thanatos as a winged boy, very much akin to Cupid, with crossed legs and an inverted torch, became the most common symbol for death, depicted on many Roman sarcophagi.
RP97238. Bronze assarion, H-H-J Nikopolis 8.14.16.16 (R3), Moushmov 926, AMNG I/I 1367 (R3) var. (leg.), Varbanov I 2481 (R3) var. (obv. leg., bust), BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, F, rough, edge ragged, part of reverse legend not struck, weight 3.040 g, maximum diameter 15.9 mm, die axis 30o, Nicopolis ad Istrum (Nikyup, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV KAI CEVHP, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse NIKOΠOΛITΩN ΠPOC I, winged Thanatos standing right, legs crossed legs, leaning on reversed torch on right set on low base; scarce; $60.00 SALE PRICE $54.00







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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

DIVOSEPTIMIOSEVEROPIO
DIVOSEVERO
DIVOSEVEROPIO
FELICITASPVBLICA
IMPCLSEPSEVERVSAVG
IMPCLSEPSEVERVSPAV
IMPCLSEPSEVERVSPAVG
IMPCLSEPTISEVERVSPPAVG
IMPCALSESEVERAGCOSII
IMPCALSEPSEVPERAVGCOSII
IMPCALSEPSEVPERTAVGOCS
IMPCAELSEPPERTAVGCOSII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERAVGCOSII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVG
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCIIC
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCOII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCOIII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCOSI
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCOSII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGIIC
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGIICO
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTIAVGIIII
IMPCAELSEPTSEVPERTAVG
IMPCAELSEPTSEVPERTAVGNC
IMPCAESLSEPSEVERVSPERTAVG
IMPCAESLSEPTSEVPERTAVG
IMPCAESSEVEPERTINAXAVG
IMPLCAESSEPTSEVPERTAVGTRPVI
IMPPINVICTPIIAVGG
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGIMIMPXI
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGIMPXI
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGPVIMPXIPARPM
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGPMIMPXI
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGPMIMPXIPARDN
LSEPTSEVAVGIMPXI
LSEPTSEVAVGIMPXIPARTMAX
LSEPTSEVPERETAVGIMPI
LSEPTSEVPERETAVGIMPII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMP
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPI
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPIII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPIIII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPV
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPVI
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPVII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPVIII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPVIIII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPX
LSEPTSEVPERTEAVGIMP
LSEPTSEVPERTEAVGIMPII
LSEPTSEVPRTEAVGIMPII
LSEPTSEVERPERETIMPI
LSEPTSEVERPERTAVGIMPVIII
LSEPTSEVERVSAVGPARTMAXPMTRPVIIII
LSEPTSEVERVSPERAVGPIVIMPXIPARTMAX
LSEPTSEVERVSPERAVGPMIMPXI
LSEPTSEVERVSPIVSAVG
LSEPTSEVERVSPIVSAVGBRIT
LSEPTIMIVSSEVERVSPERTINAXAVGIMPIIII
LSEPTIMIVSSEVERVSPIVSAVG
SEVERPAVGPMTRPXCOSIII
SEVERPAVGPMTRPXICOSIII
SEVERVSAVGPARTMAX
SEVERVSAVGPARTMAXPMTRPVIII
SEVERVSAVGPARTMAXPMTRPVIIII
SEVERVSPIVSAVG
SEVERVSPIVSAVGBRIT
SEVERVSPIVSAVGPMTRPVIIII
SEVERVSPIVSAVGPMTRPX
SEVERVSPIVSAVGPMTRPXI
SEVERVSPIVSAVGPMTRPXII
SEVERVSPIVSAVGVSTVS


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
The Barry P. Murphy Collection of Severan Denarii - http://bpmurphy.ancients.info/severan/severanhome.htm
Bickford-Smith, R. "The imperial mints in the east for Septimius Severus: it is time to begin a thorough reconsideration" in RIN XCVI (1994/1995), pp. 53-71.
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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