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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Severan Period ▸ Septimius SeverusView 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.


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Hebros is the Romanized version of the original Thracian Ebros. Today it is the Maritsa river or, in Greece, the Evros. The river enters the Aegean Sea near Enez. The lower course of the Maritsa/Evros forms part of the Bulgarian-Greek border and most of the Greek-Turkish border. The upper Maritsa valley runs east-west in Bulgaria. The unnavigable river is used for power production and irrigation.

The Three Graces, named Euphrosyne, Aglaia and Thalia, were the attendants of Venus (Aphrodite).
SH74540. Brass AE 31, Schönert-Geiss Augusta Traiana 27 (V13/R24), Varbanov III 2739, SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, F, well centered, cleaning scratches, smoothing, weight 11.934 g, maximum diameter 31.2 mm, die axis 15o, Thrace, Traianopolis mint, hegemon Statilus Barbarus; obverse AYK Λ CEΠ - CEYHPOC Π, laureate head right; reverse HΓ CTATI BAPBAPOY TPAIANOΠO−ΛITΩN, River-god Hebrus reclining left on upturned urn; the Charites (the Three Graces) behind his legs standing facing; left and middle Charites with heads right, left Charis holding rod(?), middle Charis holding apple; big 31 mm bronze!; very rare; $400.00 (€340.00)
 


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

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In 197, Septimius Severus returned to Rome and executed about 30 of Albinus' supporters in the Senate. After his victory he declared himself the adopted son of the late Marcus Aurelius. This type refers to games held to celebrate the victory over Albinus.
RS82712. Silver denarius, RIC IV 82 (IMP VIII) or 100 (IMP VIIII, S); RSC III 348 (IMP VIII) or 349 (IMP VIIII); SRCV II 6317 (IMP VIII); Hunter -, VF, excellent portrait and elephant, toned, well centered on a tight flan cutting off much of the legends, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.764 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 196 - 197 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP VIII(I?), laureate head right; reverse MVNIFICENTIA AVG, elephant walking right; $225.00 (€191.25)
 


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

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Augusta Traiana (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria today) was founded by Trajan, c. 106 A.D. During 2nd - 3rd century A.D., it was the second largest city in Roman Thrace, after Philippopolis, and was fortified by strong walls. The city struck bronze coins from the time of Marcus Aurelius to Gallienus.
RP83509. Brass AE 31, Schönert-Geiss Augusta Traiana 163, Varbanov II 1009 (R7), SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, F, well centered, centration dimples, weight 15.997 g, maximum diameter 30.8 mm, die axis 0o, Augusta Traiana (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV K Λ CEΠTI - CEVHPOC Π, laureate head right; reverse AVΓOVCT-HC TRAIAN-HC, tetrastyle temple on raised platform, flanked on each side by a tree and a stag leaping outward, Artemis standing right within the temple, holding bow in left hand and drawing arrow from quiver on shoulder with right hand; big 31 mm bronze!; very rare; $215.00 (€182.75)
 


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Providence is most often depicted clothed in a matron’s gown, holding a cornucopia in her left hand and in her right a short wand, which she points to a globe. She holds this globe in her right hand or it lies at her feet. The type is intended to mark the power and wisdom of the emperor, who ruled the Roman world. On this coin the plural AVGG indicates two Augusti, Severus and his son Caracalla.
RS86672. Silver denarius, RIC IV 166, RSC III 586, BMCRE V 197, SRCV II 6354, Hunter III -, Choice gVF superb portrait, excellent centering and strike, light toning, edge crack, weight 3.255 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 200 - 210 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS AVG PART MAX, laureate head right; reverse PROVID AVGG (the foresight of the two emperors), Providentia standing left, wand in right hand held over globe at feet on left, long grounded scepter vertical in left hand; from the Jyrki Muona Collection; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


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193 A.D. was the Year of Five Emperors, with Pertinax, Didius Julianus, Septimius Severus and Clodius Albinus, and Pescennius Niger all claiming the throne.

This bust is a very rare early type with straight hair, struck before the mint had an accurate portrait of the new emperor.
RS87223. Silver denarius, RIC IV 22; RSC III 682; BMCRE V p. 24, 30; Hunter III 7; SRCV II 6369, VF, toned, tight flan, small edge cracks, weight 2.916 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 30o, Rome mint, c. Jun - Dec 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG, laureate head right; reverse VICT AVG TR P COS, Victory walking left, wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


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Bonus Eventus, the god of good outcomes, was originally worshiped by the Romans as a deity especially presiding over agriculture and successful harvests. During the Imperial era, he was associated with other types of success. The epithet Bonus, "the Good," is used with other abstract deities such as Bona Fortuna ("Good Fortune"), Bona Mens ("Good Thinking" or "Sound Mind"), and Bona Spes ("Good Hope," perhaps to be translated as "optimism"), as well as with the mysterious and multivalent Bona Dea, a goddess whose rites were celebrated by women.
RS87227. Silver denarius, RIC IV 347 (R); BMCRE V p. 83, 321; RSC III 66; cf. SRCV II 6267 (Emesa), aVF, tight flan cutting off parts of legends, small encrustations, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.853 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria mint, Feb - Aug 194 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG, laureate head right; reverse BONI EVENTVS, Bonus Eventus standing left, basket of fruit in right, stalks of grain downward at side in left; rare; $130.00 (€110.50)
 


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193 A.D. - The Year of Five Emperors. On 1 January, the Senate selected Pertinax, against his will, to succeed the late Commodus as Emperor. The Praetorian Guard assassinated him on 28 March and auctioned the throne to the highest bidder, Didius Julianus, who offered 300 million sesterces. Outraged by the Praetorians, legions in Illyricum select Septimius Severus as emperor; in Britannia the legions select their governor Clodius Albinus, and in Syria the legions select their governor Pescennius Niger. On 1 June Septimius Severus entered the capital, put Julianus put to death and replaced the Praetorian Guard with his own troops. Clodius Albinus allied with Severus and accepted the title of Caesar. Pescennius Niger was defeated, killed and his head displayed in Rome.
RS87224. Silver denarius, RIC IV 22; RSC III 682; BMCRE V p. 24, 30; Hunter III 7; SRCV II 6369, VF, excellent portrait, toned, tight flan, light marks, edge cracks, weight 3.557 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. Jun - Dec 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG, laureate head right; reverse VICT AVG TR P COS, Victory walking left, wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


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

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UNESCO describes Petra as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage." The BBC selected Petra as one of "the 40 places you have to see before you die."
RP84854. Bronze AE 25, Spijkerman 32, Rosenberger 19, SGICV 2281, SNG ANS -, VF, attractive earthen fill, weight 10.019 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 0o, Petra mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV K Λ CEΠT CEOYHPOC IN ΠEP CEB (or similar), laureate bust right; reverse METPOΠOΛIC A∆PIAN ΠETRA, Tyche seated left on rock, turreted and veiled, right hand extended and open, trophy over shoulder in left; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


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Legio tertia Italica ("Italian Third Legion") was a legion of the Imperial Roman army founded by Marcus Aurelius in 165, for his campaign against the Marcomanni tribe. The cognomen Italica suggests the legion's original recruits were mainly drawn from Italy. Legio III Italica was in the Danube provinces from its beginning, fighting the Marcomanni invasion of the Raetia and Noricum provinces. In 171 they built the camp Castra Regina, present Regensburg, a strongly defensive position. In the civil war of 193, they supported Septimius Severus and helped him defeat his opponents: first Didius Julianus, then Pescennius Niger and Clodius Albinus. Their loyalty was extended to Severus' successor, emperor Caracalla, for whom they fought in 213 a campaign against the Alamanni. The legion was still active in Raetia and other provinces in the early 5th century.
RS87236. Silver denarius, RIC IV 7 (S); RSC III 262; BMCRE V p. 21, 10; Hunter III 2; SRCV II -, VF/F, centered on a tight flan, legends weak, reverse struck with a worn die, edge cracks, weight 2.631 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, Rome mint, 193 - 194 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG, laureate head right; reverse LEG III ITAL TR P COS, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; scarce; $120.00 (€102.00)
 


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

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Excavations of Roman Amphipolis have revealed traces of all the impressive architecture one would expect from a thriving Roman city. A bridge, gymnasium, public and private monuments, sanctuaries, and cemeteries all attest to the city's prosperity. From the early Christian period (after 500 CE) there are traces of four basilicas, a large rectangular building which may have been a bishop's residence, and a church. -- Ancient History Encyclopedia
RP84023. Bronze AE 23, BMC Macedonia p. 58, 126 (same obverse die); Varbanov 3268 (R4) var. (obv. legend); Moushmov 6106; SNG Cop -, aVF, attractive portrait, dark patina, porous, centration dimples, weight 8.283 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, Amphipolis mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse Λ CEΠT CE-OYHPOC ΠEP A-YΓ (YHP ligate), laureate and draped bust right; reverse AMΦIΠOΛEITWN, Tyche of Amphipolis seated left on a throne, wearing kalathos, veil, long chiton and mantle, phiale in extended right hand, star below seat; $100.00 (€85.00)
 




  



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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).
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.
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. II: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayón, 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 frappées 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).
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 Tuesday, July 17, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Septimius Severus