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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., Ephesos, Ionia

|Ephesos|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Ephesos,| |Ionia||AE| |36|
See this type online:
RPC Online VI
Asia Minor Coins
ANS Mantis (No photo on ANS, but photo of this specimen is available on RPC Online.)
SH87621. Bronze AE 36, Karwiese MvE 5.2 p. 164, 750b (O3/R3, only 1 spec. of this variety); RPC Online VI T4956 (5 spec.); ANS Mantis 1972.185.5, Choice EF, excellent centering, olive green patina, some legend weak, small flaw/punch on reverse, porous, weight 25.344 g, maximum diameter 36.3 mm, die axis 180o, Ephesos mint, obverse AYT K M AYP CEB AΛEΞAN∆POC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse M-ONΩN - ΠPΩTΩN - ACIAC, on left: cult statue of Artemis standing facing, wearing ornate kalathos, flanked on each side by a stag, arms with supports; on right: Demeter enthroned left, wreathed in grain, two stalks of grain in right hand, long torch vertical in left hand; EΦECIΩN in exergue; only the second known of this variety with stags flanking Artemis, fantastic HUGE 36mm provincial bronze!; $2100.00 (€1722.00)
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Apollonia Salbace, Caria

|Other| |Caria|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Apollonia| |Salbace,| |Caria||AE| |30|NEW
This coin is an obverse die match to a coin struck by the neighboring city, Alabanda, Caria, SNG München 464, RPC Online VI T5384. Dies shared by more than one city in the region were first discovered by Konrad Kraft in 1972. Groups of smaller cities in Anatolia shared traveling mints, which would sometimes use the same obverse dies for more than one city.
RP92646. Bronze AE 30, Apparently unpublished; RPC Online -, SNG BnF -, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, BMC Caria -, F, porous, turquoise and earthen adhesions, reverse flatly struck, weight 11.787 g, maximum diameter 29.7 mm, die axis 180o, Apollonia Salbace (Edremit, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse AYT K M AYP CEY AΛEΞAN∆PO-C, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse CTPA AΓAΘEINOY TOY IH AΠOΛΛΩNIATΩN (strategos Agathinos, son of Hie.(?), Apollonia), Zeus standing slightly left, head left, wearing himation and chlamys, eagle in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; from the Errett Bishop Collection; extremely rare, this is the only specimen of the type known to FORVM; $300.00 (€246.00)
 


|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.
RS96928. Silver denarius, RIC IV 298 var. (star rev. left), RSC III 535c var. (same), BMCRE VI 1014 var. (same); SRCV II 7926 var. (same), Hunter III -, VF, superb portrait, light toning, flow lines, spotty dark deposits, die wear, off center, flan split/cracks, weight 3.093 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 223 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SALVS PVBLICA (health of the public), Salus seated left on throne, feeding snake coiling up from altar from patera in right hand, left elbow resting on throne; Salus without star from Antioch (limited 223 A.D. issue) is missing from all the primary references but we know of a few other specimens from auctions; very rare; $170.00 (€139.40)
 


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

|Mesopotamia| |&| |Babylonia|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Edessa,| |Mesopotamia||AE| |25|
In 230, the Persian King Ardashir I invaded Mesopotamia. Ancient historians disagree about the success or failure of Alexander's counterattack against Persia in 232, but there is no doubt that Alexander had enough success to recover Edessa and make the town the "Metropolis Colony of the Edessans." No documents mention this event but it is clearly attested on the coins, including this one. Both sides suffered heavy losses and agreed to a truce. In 233, Severus Alexander celebrated a triumph in Rome to observe his "victory."
RY92578. Bronze AE 25, SNG Cop 215; SNG Hunterian II 2548; BMC Arabia p. 104, 82; Lindgren I 2578 var. (head bare, etc.), VF, black patina with light earthen highlights, weight 9.755 g, maximum diameter 24.8 mm, die axis 150o, Mesopotamia, Edessa (Urfa, Sanliurfa, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 221 - 222 A.D.; obverse M A AΛEΞN∆EPOC KA, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse M A K AVP E∆ECC, Tyche seated left on rocks, wearing turreted crown, veil, and mantle, sacrificing at flaming altar before her, river-god swimming at her feet; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $160.00 (€131.20)
 


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

|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||sestertius|
In 231, Severus Alexander accompanied his mother Julia Mamaea to Syria and campaigned against the Persians. Military command rested in the hands of his generals, but his presence gave additional weight to the empire's policy. The Romans were defeated and withdrew to Syria. After heavy losses on both sides, a truce was signed accepting the status quo. In 233, Alexander celebrated a triumph in Rome to commemorate his "victory."
RB89054. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 635, BMCRE VI 843, Cohen IV 163, Hunter III 163, SRCV II 7979, VF, dark patina, centered on an oval flan, small edge cracks, slight double strike, weight 20.911 g, maximum diameter 33.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 231 - 235 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate,draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse MARS VLTOR (Mars the avenger), Mars advancing right in military garb, spear transverse in right hand, shield in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; ex John Jencek; $120.00 (€98.40)
 


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
In 225, the first Christian paintings in Rome decorated the Catacombs.
RS92603. Silver denarius, RSC III 95, RIC IV 144, BMCRE VI 232, SRCV II 7873, Hunter III 26, VF, excellent portrait, toned, flow lines, struck with a worn reverse die, weight 3.048 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 224 - 225 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse IOVI VLTORI, Jupiter seated left on throne, nude to waist, himation around hips and legs, Victory presenting wreath in right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $110.00 (€90.20)
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

|Roman| |Egypt|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Roman| |Provincial| |Egypt||tetradrachm|
Dikaiosyne is the Greek personification of justice and fair dealing. One of the most common reverse types of Alexandria, she always holds scales and a cornucopia.
RX96896. Billon tetradrachm, RPC Online T10298; Geissen 2429; Dattari 4292; Milne 2951; Curtis 1059; SNG Cop 628; BMC Alexandria p. 208, 1617; Emmett 3096/5 (R1), Choice aVF, nice portrait, porosity, slightly off center, spots of corrosion on reverse edge, tiny edge cracks, weight 12.728 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 225 - 28 Aug 226 A.D.; obverse A KAI MAP AYP CEY AΛEΞAN∆POC EV, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse Dikaiosyne (Aequitas) standing slightly left, head left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, L E (year 5) upper left; $110.00 (€90.20)
 


Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria

|Antioch|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Antioch,| |Seleukis| |and| |Pieria||8| |assaria|NEW
The Tyche of Antioch was a cult statue of the city goddess (fortune) of Antioch, venerated in a temple called the Tychaion. The statue was made by Eutychides of Sicyon (c. 335 - c. 275), a pupil of the great Lysippus. It was the best-known piece of Seleucid art, remarkable because it was sculpted to be viewed from all directions, unlike many statues from the period. Although the original has been lost, many copies exist, including the one in the photograph right, now at the Vatican. The goddess is seated on a rock (Mount Sipylus), has her right foot on a swimming figure (the river Orontes), wears a mural crown (the city's walls), and has grain in her right hand (the city's fertility).Tyche of Antioch
RY94894. Bronze 8 assaria, SNG Hunt 3042 (same obv. die); McAlee 832/2 (same); Butcher 488a; SNG Cop 256 var. (SHC in ex.); BMC Galatia, p. 209, 479 var. (same), aF, attractive for the grade, dark brown toning with green and red earthen highlighting deposits, porosity, weight 17.391 g, maximum diameter 32.2 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse AVT KAI MAP AVP CE AΛEΞAN∆POC CEB, laureate head right; reverse ANTIOXEΩN MHTPO KOΛΩNIAC, Tyche seated left on rocks between standing Tyche, on left, holding rudder and cornucopia, and figure in military dress, on right, crowning the seated Tyche, tiny ∆-E (∆ EΠAPXEIΩN - of the four eparchies) high across field, river god Orontes swimming left between S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; from the Ray Nouri Collection; $90.00 (€73.80)
 


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

|Pella|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Pella,| |Macedonia||AE| |24|
Pella was founded in 399 B.C. by King Archelaus (413 - 399 B.C.) as his capital. It was the seat of Philip II and of his son, Alexander the Great. In 168 B.C., it was sacked by the Romans, and its treasury transported to Rome. Later the city was destroyed by an earthquake. By 180 A.D., Lucian could describe it in passing as "now insignificant, with very few inhabitants."
RB79934. Bronze AE 24, Varbanov III 3735 (R4), SNG ANS 633, Moushmov 6479, SNG Cop -, F, superb portrait, attractive green patina, tight flan, weight 11.112 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 0o, Pella mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXANDER AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse COL IVL AVG PELLA, city-goddess seated left, kalathos on head, right hand raised to shoulder; $70.00 (€57.40)
 


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||as|
Severus Alexander was promoted from Caesar to Augustus after his cousin Elagabalus was murdered. He was dominated by his mother, but his reign brought economic prosperity and military success against the barbarians. Mutinous soldiers led by Maximinus I murdered him and his mother.
RB94231. Copper as, RIC IV 530, Cohen IV 431, BMCRE VI 860, SRCV II 8088, Hunter III -, F, well centered, dark brown tone with highlighting earthen deposits, scratches, scrapes, spots of corrosion, weight 9.578 g, maximum diameter 25.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 232 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse P M TR P XI COS III P P (high priest, holder of tribunitian power 11 years, consul 3 times, father of the country), Sol standing slightly left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) across fields; this is the first specimen of this type handled by FORVM; $70.00 (€57.40)
 




  



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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).
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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