Septimius Severus

Legionary Denarii - Rome mint Legions 1-2

(Left) LEG ITAL (no numeral) - (Right) LEG I ITAL

We begin our survey of the legions with Legion I Italica. Stationed on the Danube in Moesia, I Italica was once led by Septimius' brother Geta and by Pertinax. Its southern position placed it closest to the East and guaranteed it would have a leading part in the war with Pescennius Niger. This strikes me as inconsistant with the extreme rarity of the coins. At least one die (left above) is clearly lacking the numeral I. I have seen more than one coin from this die and am quite certain that the reading is correct and not the result of a filled die or damage to the coins. Cohen (C.255) listed a coin with legend LEG ITALICA which I have not seen. I would appreciate receiving confirmation or an image of this type. The few coins of this legion that I have seen vary greatly in the design of the standards shown but none include capricorns on the standards.

(Left) LEG I ADIVT - (Right) LEG I MIN

Legion I Adiutrix (left) was stationed in Pannonia at Brigetio very near the position of Septimius (and Legion XIIII). This legion had once been commanded by Pertinax who was deeply respected by the soldiers. This legion must have jumped at the chance to support Septimius in his role as avenger of the murdered Pertinax. Of the legions numbered ' I ', Adiutrix is the most commonly seen. In the same region (but west at Vienna) was Legion X Gemina which was not represented in the legionary coin series. The legion is mentioned in regard to later actions in Parthia but must have incurred Septimius' displeasure by being slow to proclaim him Emperor thereby losing the honor of a coin issue. Anyone having information on this legion's absence from the series is asked to write.

Legion I Minervia (right) was stationed at Bonn, Germany. Legate of this legion was C. Julius Septimius Castinus, possibly a relative of Severus. As expected with the more remote legions, these coins are rare.

Legion II Adiutrix (left) was stationed at Budapest. Before his elevation to the purple, Hadrian served as a Tribune in Legion II Adiutrix.

Legion II Italica (right) was stationed on the Danube in Noricum. The information on the placements of the legions given on these pages was taken from the HIGHLY recommended book by Anthony Birley, Septimius Severus, The African Emperor, Yale, 1988. Other than a dot on his legionary map (pp 100f) no mention is made of this legion. Its immediate support of Severus seems certain by the issue of this coin but, as often is the case in a study of ancient history, detailed information is not easily available.

Remaining legions are shown on following pages. To improve loading times they are split over several pages.

Ahead to the next Legionary page

Legions from Eastern mints
Rome mint:
Legions 1-2
Legions 3-8
Legions 11-13
Legion 14 Several varieties of the most common legion
Legions 22-30

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1997 - 2000 Doug Smith