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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.||aureus|
Certificate of Authenticity issued by David R. Sear.

Beautiful Roman gold! RIC in error does not identify the drapery on left shoulder. This type was issued prior to the emperor's expedition against the Sassanid Persians. The type with Annona combined with the legend extolling the emperor's foresight (Providentia Augusti) seems to be intended to reassure that the people's interests would not be forgotten during his absence from the capital.
SH08970. Gold aureus, BMCRE VI p. 196, 812; RIC IV 251 var.; Calico 3133 (R2); Cohen IV 507 var.; SRCV II 7838, Choice EF, weight 5.61 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 231 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate bust right with drapery on left shoulder; reverse PROVIDENTIA AVG (the foresight of the Emperor), Providentia (or Annona) standing left, holding stalks of grain over modius and anchor; Sear graded as "attractive EF and rare"; very rare; SOLD


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
SH66246. Silver denarius, RIC IV 120, RSC III 440, BMCRE VI 930, SRCV II 7915, FDC, high relief portrait, light toning, weight 3.165 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 233 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse P M TR P XII COS III P P, Sol standing left, radiate, nude but for cloak on shoulders billowing behind, raising right commanding the sun to rise, whip vertical behind in left; uncirculated, superb!; SOLD


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |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.
SH53594. Silver denarius, RIC IV 212, RSC III 556, Choice Uncirculated, weight 2.759 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 228 - 231 A.D.; obverse IMP SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate head right; reverse VICTORIA AVG (the victory of the Emperor), Victory standing half-left, wreath in right hand, transverse palm in right; ex H. S. Perlin Co., 1988; sparkling luster, well centered and struck; SOLD


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
This coin was dedicated to Jupiter, the defender, probably to ask for protection the emperor in his war against the Persians. As Jupiter was the king of the gods, he took more interest in kings and emperors than the common man.
SH79815. Silver denarius, RIC IV 238, RSC III 83, BMCRE VI 824, Hunter III 71, SRCV II 7871, FDC, weight 3.037 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 231 - 235 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, with a short neatly trimmed beard, seen from the front; reverse IOVI PROPVGNATORI (Jupiter the Defender), Jupiter standing slightly left in fighting attitude, head right, nude but for cloak flying behind, hurling thunderbolt with right, eagle in extended left hand; SOLD


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
By the time Alexander and his mother arrived to face his German enemies, the situation had settled, and so his mother convinced him that to bribe the Germans and avoid violence was the more sensible course. Though they were not yet expected to personally fight in battle during Alexander's time, emperors were increasingly expected to display general competence in military affairs. Alexander's taking of his mother's advice, his dishonorable method of dealing with the Germanic threat, and the relative failure of his earlier military campaign against the Persians were all deemed highly unacceptable by the soldiers. Alexander was assassinated on 19 March 235, together with his mother, in a mutiny of the Legio XXII Primigenia at Moguntiacum (Mainz) while at a meeting with his generals. The assassinations secured the throne for Maximinus.
RS79821. Silver denarius, RSC III 453a, BMCRE VI 962, SRCV II 7917, RIC IV 125 var. (no cuirass), Hunter III -, Superb EF, excellent portrait, fantastic Sol, perfect centering, a couple small encrustations on the obverse, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.056 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jan - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse P M TR P XIIII COS III P P, Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, left arm and flying behind, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip in left hand; scarce last issue of reign; SOLD


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
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."
SH73143. Silver denarius, RSC III 161a, BMCRE VI 831, RIC IV 246, SRCV II 7882, Hunter III -, Choice EF, excellent centering, great strike, weight 3.682 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 231 - 235 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, seen from the front; reverse MARS VLTOR (Mars the avenger), Mars walking right in military garb, spear in right hand, shield in left; SOLD


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
Spes was the Roman personification of Hope. In art Spes is normally depicted carrying flowers or a cornucopia, but on coins she is almost invariably depicted holding a flower in her extended right hand, while the left is raising a fold of her dress. She was also named "ultima dea" - for Hope is the last resort of men.
RS34153. Silver denarius, RIC IV 254d, RSC III 546, BMCRE VI 897, Hunter III 75, SRCV II 7927, FDC, full circles strike, bold high relief, as-struck luster, weight 3.122 g, maximum diameter 21.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 231 - 235 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse SPES PVBLICA (the hope of the public), Spes advancing left, flower in right, with left raising skirt; SOLD


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|
This is an apparently unpublished obverse legend variant for a very rare (R5) type.
SH56947. Billon tetradrachm, Milne 3017, Dattari 4296, Curtis 1056, BMC 1589, Kampmann 62.87, Emmett 3097/7 (R5), Geissen -, SNG Milan - (all refs. obv. leg. ends EV), VF, excellent style, toned, edge splits, weight 12.024 g, maximum diameter 23.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 227 - 228 A.D.; obverse A KAI MAP AV CEV AΛEΞAN∆POC, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse Dikaiosyne (Aequitas) seated left on facing throne, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, L Z (year 7) upper left; very rare; SOLD


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
This interesting mint error mixes the legend LIBERTAS (liberty) with the figure of Liberalitas (generosity). Libertas usually hold a pileus and rod, symbols of liberty. On this coin, Liberalitas holds scales and a cornucopia, symbols of fairness and prosperity. A similar error coin in the Reka Devnia hoard has the legend LIBERITAS and Liberalitas holding an abacus (counting board) and cornucopia. The mint officials at Antioch apparently did not speak Latin and did not know the difference between the words and images of Libertas and Liberalitas.
SH60464. Silver denarius, cf. Reka Devnia p. 133 for similar error: LIBERITAS and Liberalitas holding abacus; RSC III 145a (refs RD coin), RIC IV 284 note (same), gVF, toned, crack, weight 3.372 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 223 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right from behind; reverse LIBERTAS AVG, Liberalitas standing left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left; not in sources consulted, perhaps unpublished; extremely rare; SOLD


|Severus| |Alexander|, |Severus| |Alexander,| |13| |March| |222| |-| |March| |235| |A.D.||denarius|
By the time Alexander and his mother arrived to face his German enemies, the situation had settled, and so his mother convinced him that to bribe the Germans and avoid violence was the more sensible course. Though they were not yet expected to personally fight in battle during Alexander's time, emperors were increasingly expected to display general competence in military affairs. Alexander's taking of his mother's advice, his dishonorable method of dealing with the Germanic threat, and the relative failure of his earlier military campaign against the Persians were all deemed highly unacceptable by the soldiers. Alexander was assassinated on 19 March 235, together with his mother, in a mutiny of the Legio XXII Primigenia at Moguntiacum (Mainz) while at a meeting with his generals. The assassinations secured the throne for Maximinus.
RS77384. Silver denarius, RSC III 453a, BMCRE VI 962, SRCV II 7917, RIC IV 125 var. (no cuirass), Hunter III -, Choice EF, excellent portrait, excellent centering and strike, slightly irregular flan, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.48 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jan - Mar 235 A.D.; obverse IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from the front; reverse P M TR P XIIII COS III P P, Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders, left arm and flying behind, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip in left hand; scarce last issue of reign; SOLD




  




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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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