A Denarius of Septimius Severus

Ancient coin dies were individual works cut by one or more real human beings. Sometimes they worked from a definite model and copied every detail; sometimes they worked from a mental image; sometimes, like all of us, they had a bad day. When things did not go as planned the result could be anything from a letter dropped, swapped or doubled to a legend with one side completely unrelated to the other. Misspellings were about as common on ancient coin die as on the internet (do a word search on 'recieve'). Some of these were caused by simple carelessness but some, like this example, showed confusion or language difficulty.

Septimius Severus denarius, 196 AD, Laodicea 'Old Style' Mint
Liberalitas standing holding counting board and cornucopia

Another denarius of Septimius Severus? Certainly! This coin is not particularly beautiful and not even all that rare. It was cataloged as RIC 482 where it was called 'scarce'. Of the several legend variations used with the figure of Liberalitas, few were spelled out beyond the point where Liberalitas (generosity) can be told from Libertas (freedom). Unfortunately, in this case, the Greek speaking die engraver was not clear on the concepts of these two Latin words and mixed up the figure of generosity with the legend for freedom.

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(c) 1997 Doug Smith