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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.||sestertius|NEW
The central figure is described in RIC IV as Pietas or Concordia. Others have identified the figure as uncertain or even as Julia Domna or Julia Domna as Pietas. On some of the coins, however, it is clearly Septimius Severus with the same three pointed beard seen on the obverse of this coin.
SH98649. Orichalcum sestertius, BMCRE V p. 394, 190; RIC IV 798 (R2); SRCV 6432; Cohen IV 560; Hunter V 165, Choice gVF, excellent centering, nice portrait, near black fields with some brassy high points, weight 25.165 g, maximum diameter 33.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 210 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEVE-RVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVIII COS III P P (Pontifex Maximus, TRibunicia Potestate XVII, Consul III, Pater Patriae), Geta, on left, standing right; Septimius Severus, in center, standing facing; Caracalla on right, standing left; all three are veiled and draped as priests, sacrificing at the flaming columnar altar in center; S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; ex Triton XX (11 Jan 2017), lot 618 (part of); ex A.K. Collection; ex K. Kress auction 139 (Munich, 19 Jun 1967), lot 1382; very rare; $1400.00 (€1148.00)
 


|Septimius| |Severus|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.||denarius|
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.
RS97451. Silver denarius, RIC IV 166, RSC III 586, BMCRE V 197, SRCV II 6354, Hunter III -, aEF, excellent portrait, nice toning, small scratch in beard, edge a little ragged, weight 3.184 g, maximum diameter 19.5 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; $140.00 (€114.80)
 


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

|Roman| |Arabia|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.,| |Rabbathmoba-Areopolis,| |Arabia||AE| |29|
Rabbathmoba (also called Areopolis or Aresopolis), on the Karak plateau, was probably the Biblical Ir-Moab conquered by Alexander Jannaeus. Its ruins are 18 kilometers north of Kerak in Jordan. Rabbath-Moba minted coins during the reigns of the Severan emperors between 193 and 222 A.D.
RY94932. Bronze AE 29, apparently unpublished; Sofaer 7 - 8 var. (obv. legend), SNG ANS 1413 var. (same); Spijkerman p. 265, 14 - 16 var. (same); Rosenberger IV -, F, green patina with highlighting orange earthen deposits, scratches, tight squared flan, weight 13.613 g, maximum diameter 29.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rabbathmoba (near Kerak, Jordan) mint, 209 - 210 A.D.; obverse AYT K Λ CEΠ CEOVHPOC CEBACTO, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse PABAΘMOUBHNWN TUCH, Tyche standing right, wearing mural crown, her right foot on a river god, long scepter vertical in right hand, small bust in left hand, P-∆ ([year] 104 [of Roman rule]) divided across field; from the Ray Nouri Collection; rare; $135.00 (€110.70)
 


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| |22|
Petra, the capital of the ancient Nabatean Kingdom, is a famous archaeological site in Jordan's southwestern desert. 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." Accessed via a narrow canyon called Al Siq, it contains tombs and temples carved into pink sandstone cliffs, earning its nickname, the "Rose City." Perhaps its most famous structure is 45m-high Al Khazneh, a temple with an ornate, Greek-style facade, and known as The Treasury. After the last Nabataean king, Rabbel II, died in 106 A.D., Trajan incorporated Nabataea into the Roman province Arabia Petraea. One of the latest known Nabataean language inscriptions, from 191 A.D., records "...This in the year 85 of the Eparchy [Roman Rule], in which Arabs destroyed the land." It seems likely that raiding Arab tribes extinguished what remained of a weakened Nabataean culture. In 747 A.D. what was left of the Nabataean cities was destroyed in a major earthquake.Treasury
RY94931. Bronze AE 22, Sofaer 30 (same dies); Rosenberger 22 (same dies); Spijkerman 27 var. (legends); BMC Arabia, p. 36, 15 var. (legends, left hand empty); SNG ANS -, gF, well centered on a tight flan cutting off parts of legends, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, weight 7.224 g, maximum diameter 21.6 mm, die axis 0o, Petra (Jordan) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse K Λ CEΠ - CEOVH CE, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; c/m on neck: ∆(?); reverse A∆PIA • ΠE-TPA MHTROΠOΛIC, Tyche seated left on rock, right hand extended and holding small stele, trophy of arms over shoulder in left hand; from the Ray Nouri Collection; scarce; $110.00 (€90.20)
 


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; $100.00 (€82.00)
 


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; $90.00 (€73.80)
 


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

|Roman| |Arabia|, |Septimius| |Severus,| |9| |April| |193| |-| |4| |February| |211| |A.D.,| |Rabbathmoba-Areopolis,| |Arabia||AE| |27|
Rabbathmoba (also called Areopolis or Aresopolis), on the Karak plateau, was probably the Biblical Ir-Moab conquered by Alexander Jannaeus. Its ruins are 18 kilometers north of Kerak in Jordan. Rabbath-Moba minted coins during the reigns of the Severan emperors between 193 and 222 A.D.
RY94947. Bronze AE 27, cf. SNG ANS 1414, Sofaer 6, Spijkerman 8, Rosenberger IV -, Meshorer City-Coins -, F, light earthen deposits, parts of legends off flan/unstruck, reverse off center, small edge split, weight 8.132 g, maximum diameter 26.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rabbathmoba (near Kerak, Jordan) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse [AVT KAI Λ CEΠ - CE]OV ΠEB (or similar), laureate head right; reverse RABBAΘM-[WBWN APHC] (or similar), cult statue of Ares standing facing on platform with four legs set on base, wearing military dress, sword erect in right hand, spear and round shield in left hand; from the Ray Nouri Collection; rare; $90.00 (€73.80)
 


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| |22|
Pliny the Elder and other writers identify Petra as the capital of the Nabataean Kingdom and the center of their caravan trade. Enclosed by towering rocks and watered by a perennial stream, Petra not only possessed the advantages of a fortress, but controlled the main commercial routes which passed through it to Gaza in the west, to Bosra and Damascus in the north, to Aqaba and Leuce Come on the Red Sea, and across the desert to the Persian Gulf. Click here to see Petra at BiblePlaces.com.The Decapolis
RY94928. Bronze AE 22, Spijkerman 34a (same dies), Rosenberger 21, SNG ANS 1369, BMC Arabia -, SNG Cop -, Lindgren -, Meshorer City-Coins -, F, desert patina with highlighting earthen deposits, centered on a tight flan, legends weak, weight 8.882 g, maximum diameter 22.3 mm, die axis 0o, Petra (Jordan) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse A K Λ CEΠ CEOVH CE (or similar), laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse A∆PI ΠETPA MHT, Tyche seated left on rocks inside distyle temple, stele extended in right, trophy over shoulder in left; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $80.00 (€65.60)
 


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|NEW
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; $80.00 (€65.60)
 


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; $80.00 (€65.60)
 




  



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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.
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).
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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