Septimius Severus


'Emesa' Mint

This page is in process of constant revision. New material will be added as available. I am slow to get the common types posted but am trying to report the rare varieties as they are photographed.

Later the head is shown more rounded than on the early coins. Earlier period coins always break the obverse legend between E and V of SEV; some even placed a period to reinforce this gap. Later coins vary greatly in this regard showing not only several placements of the break but some with a continuous legend. The meaning of these forced (sometimes awkwardly so) breaks is not understood.


"Later Emesa Mint Denarii"
RIC417
C628
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

SAECVL FELICIT
Popular types from this series include the crescent and 7 stars honoring Septimius' interest in astrology.
RIC415 var.
C652 var.
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

SPQR OPTIMO PBINCIPI
Another shows the emperor on horseback (a type copied from Trajan) with the legend regularly misspelled 'SPQROPTIMOPBINCIPI'.

RIC415 var.
C652 var.
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

SPQR OPTIMO PBINCIPI
Several dies exist with the 'B' spelling. Since the 'R' in SPQR is normal, we can not take this variety as only a variation in letter form. Why then was the 'error' made so commonly?

RIC415
C652
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI
For comparison, this die uses the correct 'R' spelling. It is also the more scarce variety in which Septimius does not hold a spear in his right hand but is gesturing to the crowd. Some dies of this variety almost appear to show him holding a wreath but I believe this is an exaggeration of the size of the hand to show the Emperor's finger position. Then, as now, exact finger position in a hand gesture could change a sign of friendship into one of contempt.

unlisted IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

FEIICIT TIMLOR..
There are many legend varieties of the common grain & cornucopiae type. One die uses very original spelling with a strangely formed E, I for L, I for E and L for P. If any of the die cutters at this mint were literate, it is unlikely they were fluent in Latin. Style seems quite normal for the series.
unlisted IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

MARS PATER
Mars Pater is a common type from the Rome mint but was previously unreported at Emesa. This coin shows the I of IMP oddly separated from the MP.
RIC406
C324
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

MART VICTOR
Mars as Victor carries trophy and spear.

RIC410 var.
RSC327c var.
IMP CA L SE SEV PER AG COS II

MINER VICTRIC
The obverse legend of this rare type omits several letters from the standard formula

RIC413
C376
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

PIETAT AVG
The figure sacrificing appears to be Septimius.

RIC396
C242
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

IOVI PRAE ORBIS
Note that Jupiter as 'Protector of the world, on the reverse seems to resemble the features of Septimius.

RIC389
C232
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

INVICTO IMP
Among the more common types of the later, round head, period is the Trophy of Arms with breastplate, helmet, shields and spears. The arrangement of the arms show is remarkably consistant.

RIC389 var.
C232 var.
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

INVLCTO IMP
Spelling and spacing on the legends did vary. Most common is the substitution of L for I reading INVLCTO IMP. More than one die was made with this error.

RIC389 var.
C232 var.
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

INVIC/VTO IMP
This reverse die shows a correction of a mistake in spelling. The C appears to be cut over a V.

RIC400
C283a
IMP CAE L SPE SEV PERT AVG COS II

LIBERAL AVG
The Liberalitas type also shows a number of variations in abbreviation. Here the long abbreviation LIBERAL is used.

RIC398
C279a
IMP CAE L SPE SEV PERT AVG COS II

LIBER AVG
Here the shorter abbreviation LIBER is used. This early use of a new reverse die still shows raised polish marks and parts of a layout line under the letters. These look like scratches on the photo. The obverse die shows more wear.

RIC399 var.
C283 var.
IMP CAE L SPE SEV PERT AVG COS II

LIBERA AVG
Here the A of LIBERA is diagonally barred while the other A's on the coin are unbarred. Most unusual is the obverse legend with SPE replacing the expected SEP.

RIC401
C287
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

LIBER AVG
Liberalitas is also seen seated. For a reason I have not understood, the seated variety coins usually seem to be on less fine metal flans.
RIC383
RSC175a
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

FORTVN REDVC
Fortuna as Hilaritas stands with long palm and cornucopiae

unlisted IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

FORT BEDVC
Fortuna as Pax holds a branch and cornucopiae. B is substituted for the expected R of REDVC

RIC411
C330
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

MONET AVG
From Emesa this common type is almost always abbreviated MONET AVG. Coins of this mint spelling out MONETA AVG are much more unusual.

RIC364
C58
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

BONA SPES.
Later Spes varieties use the legend in the nominative.

RIC414v
C614v
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

ROMA AETERNA
A rare type of this mint honors the personification of Rome. While off center and missing the right legend, the coin clearly does not read ROMAE AETERNAE or POMA AETERNA as listed in RIC and Mouchmov.

unlisted IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

VICTOR VICT
One wonders if the die cutter went to lunch between cutting the VICTOR on the left and VICT on the right (in place of the expected AVG)?

RIC422
C674
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

VICT AVG
A scarce variant shows Victory advancing right with a trophy held in both hands.

unlisted IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

VICT AVG
Victory is usually shown walking on a plain ground line. Here we see a globe. The obverse die is known used with several other reverses including a normal Victory type. I have not seen another specimen like this and would appreciate hearing if you have one.
RIC424 IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

VICT AVG
The common VICT AVG coin shows a clear ground line. This coins shares the obverse die of the globe coin above.
RIC425 IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

VICTOR AVG
Another variety uses the longer legend VICTOR AVG
RIC431
C771
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II

VIRTVTE AVG
Virtus is shown leaning slightly back holding a reversed spear and what RIC describes as a parazonium. In this case the term refers to a pointless weapon or sheathed sword.

IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II
IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG COS II
More coins coming to this space

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1997 Doug Smith