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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|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
This type is unpublished in the standard references, but we have handled another and we know of two more specimens from auctions. The style is certainly eastern and it was probably struck at the Antioch mint.
RS111585. Silver denarius, RIC IV 278 (S) var. (Antioch, EXERCIT, no bird); RSC IV 48 (same); BMCRE VI 1071 (irregular, EXERCIV, no bird) SRCV II -, Hunter III -, VF, tight flan, slightly off center, uneven toning, porous, flan crack, weight 2.589 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch or irregular mint, 13 Mar 222 - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse FIDES EXERCITVS (the loyalty of the army), Fides seated left on high backed throne, bird in right hand, flanked by two standards; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 124 (8 Jan 2023), lot 986 (part of); unpublished, very rare; $225.00 SALE PRICE $203.00


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
Jupiter or Jove, Zeus to the Greeks, was the king of the gods and god of the sky and thunder, and of laws and social order. As the patron deity of ancient Rome, he was the chief god of the Capitoline Triad, with his sister and wife Juno. The father of Mars, he is, therefore, the grandfather of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. Emperors frequently made vows to Jupiter for protection. The Roman's believed as the king of the gods, Jupiter favored emperors and kings, those in positions of authority similar to his own.
RS112402. Silver denarius, RSC III 229, BMCRE VI 87, RIC IV 19, SRCV II -, EF, choice obv., nice portrait, rev. a little off center, part of edge ragged, weight 2.602 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 0o, 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), Jupiter standing slightly left, head left, nude but for cloak over shoulder, thunderbolt in right, long scepter grounded and vertical behind in left; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||sestertius|NEW
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 SALE PRICE $171.00


Severus Alexander and Julia Maesa, 222 - 235 A.D., Ninica-Claudiopolis, Cilicia

|Cilicia|, |Severus| |Alexander| |and| |Julia| |Maesa,| |222| |-| |235| |A.D.,| |Ninica-Claudiopolis,| |Cilicia||AE| |36|
Ammianus mentions Silifke and Claudiopolis as cities of Cilicia, or of the country drained by the Calycadnus; and Claudiopolis was a colony of Claudius Caesar. It is described by Theophanes of Byzantium as situated in a plain between the two Taurus Mountains, a description which exactly, corresponds to the position of the basin of the Calycadnus. Claudiopolis may therefore be represented by Mut, which is higher up the valley than Seleucia, and near the junction of the northern and western branches of the Calycadnus. It is also the place to which the pass over the northern Taurus leads from Laranda. The city received the Roman colony name Colonia Iulia Felix Augusta Ninica.
RB91011. Bronze AE 36, cf. asiaminorcoins.com 6551 (same obv. die & c/m), SNG Levante -, RPC Online -, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, BMC Cilicia -, c/m: Howgego 262, F, weak legends, porosity, edge cracks, weight 17.901 g, maximum diameter 35.8 mm, die axis 180o, Ninica-Claudiopolis (Mut, Mersin, Turkey) mint, 222 - 235 A.D.; obverse IMP C SEVERUS ALEXANΔER AVΓ (or similar), laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; c/m: Nike right in c. 5 x 8 mm oval punch (3 times); reverse IVL MAECA COL IVL FEL NINIO CLAUΔIOPOLI (or similar), draped bust of Julia Maesa right; huge 35.8 mm!; ex Forum (2015); extremely rare; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00


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

|Cilicia|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.,| |Anazarbus,| |Cilicia||tetrassaria|
Anazarbus was founded by Assyrians. Under the early Roman Empire it was known as Kaicareωn (Caesarea), and was the Metropolis (capital) of the late Roman province Cilicia Secunda. It was the home of the poet Oppian. Rebuilt by the Byzantine emperor Justin I after an earthquake in the 6th century, it became Justinopolis (525); but the old native name persisted, and when Thoros I, king of Lesser Armenia, made it his capital early in the 12th century, it was known as Anazarva.
RP110457. Bronze tetrassaria, apparently unpublished; Ziegler - (Vs6/Rs12), RPC Online VI -, VF, broad flan, green patina, some legend unstruck, a little rough, small edge cracks, weight 12.496 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 0o, Anazarbus (Anavarza, Turkey) mint, 229 - 230 A.D.; obverse AYT K M AY CE AΛΕΞANΔPOC, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse ANAZAPBOY MHTPO, saddled horse right, left foreleg raised, ΓB (holder of 3 neocorates) above, ET ΘMC (year 249) in exergue; perhaps unique; extremely rare; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00


|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.
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 SALE PRICE $144.00


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
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 SALE PRICE $135.00


|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 SALE PRICE $135.00


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|NEW
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 SALE PRICE $135.00


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
Jupiter or Jove, Zeus to the Greeks, was the king of the gods and god of the sky and thunder, and of laws and social order. As the patron deity of ancient Rome, he was the chief god of the Capitoline Triad, with his sister and wife Juno. The father of Mars, he is, therefore, the grandfather of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. Emperors frequently made vows to Jupiter for protection. The Roman's believed as the king of the gods, Jupiter favored emperors and kings, those in positions of authority similar to his own.
RS112451. Silver denarius, RIC IV 141, BMCRE VI 56, RSC III 70, SRCV II 7868, VF, full legends, nice youthful portrait, flow lines, light marks, weight 2.941 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 222 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOVI CONSERVATORI (to Jupiter the protector), Jupiter standing slightly left, head left, nude but for cloak hanging over right arm and left shoulder, fulmen (thunderbolt) in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00




  



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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).
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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