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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Severan Period ▸ Septimius SeverusView Options:  |  |  |   

Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.

Septimius Severus, a native of Leptis Magna, Africa was proclaimed emperor by his troops after the murder of Pertinax. He is at the same time credited with strengthening and reviving an empire facing imminent decline and, through the same policies that saved it, causing its eventual fall. Severus eliminated the dangerous praetorians, unified the empire after turmoil and civil war, strengthened the army, defeated Rome's most powerful enemy, and founded a successful dynasty. His pay increases for the army, however, established a severe burden on Rome. Future emperors were expected to increase pay as well. These raises resulted in ever-increasing taxes that damaged the economy. Some historians believe high taxes, initiated by Severus policies, played a significant role in Rome's long-term decline. In 208 A.D., he traveled to Britain to defeat a disastrous barbarian invasion. He died in York in 211 A.D and was succeeded by his sons, Caracalla and Geta.


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Augusta Traiana, Thrace

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Augusta Traiana (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria today) was founded by Trajan, c. 106 A.D. During 2nd - 3rd century A.D., it was the second largest city in Roman Thrace, after Philippopolis, and was fortified by strong walls. The city struck bronze coins from the time of Marcus Aurelius to Gallienus.
RP83509. Brass AE 31, Schnert-Geiss Augusta Traiana 163, Varbanov II 1009 (R7), SNG Cop -, BMC Thrace -, F, well centered, central cavities, weight 15.997 g, maximum diameter 30.8 mm, die axis 0o, Augusta Traiana (Stara Zagora, Bulgaria) mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV K Λ CEΠTI - CEVHPOC Π, laureate head right; reverse AVΓOVCT-HC TRAIAN-HC, tetrastyle temple on raised platform, flanked on each side by a tree and a stag leaping outward, Artemis standing right within the temple, holding bow in left hand and drawing arrow from quiver on shoulder with right hand; big 31 mm bronze!; very rare; $175.00 (148.75)


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This type refers to Severus' victories over Parthia. Severus assumed the title "Parthicus Maximus," greatest of Parthian conquerors.
RS87643. Silver denarius, BMCRE V p. 288, 675; RIC IV 514 corr. (palm vice trophy); RSC III 741; SRCV II 6373, Choice gVF, light toning, some die wear, weight 2.883 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Laodicea ad Mare (Latakia, Syria) mint, 198 - 202 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV AVG IMP XI PART MAX, laureate head right; reverse VICT PARTHICAE, Victory walking left, wreath in extended right, trophy of captured arms in left; Parthian captive at feet on left, bearded and wearing a Parthian cap, seated left, looking up and back at Victory, hands bound behind back; $160.00 (136.00)


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To the ancient Romans, Rome was "Roma Aeterna" (The Eternal City) and "Caput Mundi" (Capital of the World). The empire is history but Rome is still today, the eternal city. Rome's influence on Western Civilization can hardly be overestimated; perhaps a greater influence than any other city on earth, making important contributions to politics, literature, culture, the arts, architecture, music, religion, education, fashion, cinema and cuisine.
RS87248. Silver denarius, RIC IV 350G (R); RSC III 615; BMCRE V p. 84, W323; Hunter III -; SRCV II 6358x, F, well centered, toned, exotic Alexandria style portrait, reverse legend weak, mild porosity, tiny coppery spots, small edge cracks, weight 3.079 g, maximum diameter 17.1 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 194 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP - SEV PERT AVG, laureate head right; reverse ROMAE AE-TERNAE, Roma seated left, helmeted and draped, shield in front of seat, Victory offering wreath in extended right hand, spear vertical behind in left hand; rare; $150.00 (127.50)


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In 194, Septimius Severus Augustus and Clodius Albinus Caesar were the two Roman Consuls. Septimius Severus marched with his army of 12 legions to Cilicia and defeated Pescennius Niger, the governor of Syria, at Battle of Issus. Pescennius retreated to Antioch but was executed by Severus' troops. For siding with Niger, Septimius Severus besieged Byzantium from 194 until 196; the city walls suffered extensive damage.
RS87230. Silver denarius, Bickford-Smith p. 56 & pl. I, 9; RIC IV 345 (R), BMCRE V W320, RSC III 42a; cf. SRCV II 6264 (Rome), F, light toning, tight flan, scratches, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.827 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria mint, Feb 194 - 195 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG, laureate head right; reverse APOLLINI AVGVSTO, Apollo standing slightly left, head left, patera in extended right hand, kithara in left hand; rare; $110.00 (93.50)


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The Romans believed that Fortuna, after deserting the Persians and Assyrians, took flight over Macedonia and saw Alexander perish as she passed into Egypt and into Syria. At last arriving on Mount Palatine, she threw aside her wings and casting away her wheel, entered Rome where she took up her abode forever. It appears, however, she kept her wheel. She just hid it under her seat.
RS89488. Silver denarius, RIC IV 189b; RSC III 461; BMCRE V p. 240, 432; Hunter 49; SRCV II 6334, VF, nice portrait, well centered, light tone, edge cracks, weight 2.912 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 203 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XI COS III P P, Fortuna seated left, feet on low stool, holding rudder by tiller in right hand, scepter in left hand, wheel under seat; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73, part of lot 970; $110.00 (93.50)


Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Petra, Arabia

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UNESCO describes Petra as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage." The BBC selected Petra as one of "the 40 places you have to see before you die."
RP84854. Bronze AE 25, Spijkerman 32, Rosenberger 19, SGICV 2281, SNG ANS -, VF, attractive earthen fill, weight 10.019 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 0o, Petra mint, 9 Apr 193 - 4 Feb 211 A.D.; obverse AV K Λ CEΠT CEOYHPOC IN ΠEP CEB (or similar), laureate bust right; reverse METPOΠOΛIC A∆PIAN ΠETRA, Tyche seated left on rock, turreted and veiled, right hand extended and open, trophy over shoulder in left; $100.00 (85.00)


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Bonus Eventus, the god of good outcomes, was originally worshiped by the Romans as a deity especially presiding over agriculture and successful harvests. During the Imperial era, he was associated with other types of success. The epithet Bonus, "the Good," is used with other abstract deities such as Bona Fortuna ("Good Fortune"), Bona Mens ("Good Thinking" or "Sound Mind"), and Bona Spes ("Good Hope," perhaps to be translated as "optimism"), as well as with the mysterious and multivalent Bona Dea, a goddess whose rites were celebrated by women.
RS87227. Silver denarius, RIC IV 347 (R); BMCRE V p. 83, 321; RSC III 66; cf. SRCV II 6267 (Emesa), aVF, tight flan cutting off parts of legends, small encrustations, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.853 g, maximum diameter 17.6 mm, die axis 180o, Alexandria mint, Feb - Aug 194 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG, laureate head right; reverse BONI EVENTVS, Bonus Eventus standing left, basket of fruit in right, stalks of grain downward at side in left; rare; $100.00 (85.00)


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The flattering appellation "the restorer of the city" was doubtless given not for either rebuilding or embellishing Rome, but rather for restoring the honor of the "Eternal City" by avenging the death of Pertinax, securing domestic tranquility to the empire, and reestablishing respect for the Roman name by victories over the Parthians.
RS89485. Silver denarius, RIC IV 167a, BMCRE V 194, RSC III 599; Hunter III 41; SRCV II 6357, Choice VF, well centered, tiny edge crack, weight 3.372 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 150o, Rome mint, 201 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS AVG PART MAX, laureate head right; reverse RESTITVTOR VRBIS (the restorer of the city), Severus standing left in military attire, sacrificing over flaming tripod altar from patera in right hand, inverted spear vertical behind in left hand; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73, part of lot 970; $95.00 (80.75)


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The reverse announces that Septimius has completed vows (prayers and sacrifices) to ask the gods for 20 years of rule. In a religious context, votum, plural vota, is a vow or promise made to a deity. The word comes from the past participle of voveo, vovere; as the result of the verbal action, a vow, or promise. The votum is an aspect of the contractual nature of Roman religion and sacrifice, a bargaining expressed by "do ut des" (I give that you might give).
RS87222. Silver denarius, RIC IV 308, RSC III 791, BMCRE V 375, Hunter III 103, SRCV II 6393, VF, well centered, toned, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.624 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 201 - 210 A.D.; obverse SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse VOTA SVSCEPTA XX, Severus (his pointy beard well visible) sacrificing left over a lit tripod altar; $90.00 (76.50)


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In 194, Septimius Severus marched with his army of 12 legions to Cilicia and defeated Pescennius Niger, governor of Syria, at the Battle of Issus. Pescennius retreated to Antioch where he was executed by Severus' troops.
RS87232. Silver denarius, RIC IV 344; BMCRE V p. 83, 319; RSC III 18; SRCV II 6258, VF, excellent Alexandria style portrait, tight flan cutting off much of the legends, worn reverse die, edge cracks, weight 1.931 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 200o, Alexandria mint, 194 A.D.; obverse IMP CAE L SEP SEV PERT AVG, laureate head right; reverse AEQVITAS II, Aequitas standing left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; rare; $90.00 (76.50)




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

DIVOSEPTIMIOSEVEROPIO
DIVOSEVERO
DIVOSEVEROPIO
FELICITASPVBLICA
IMPCLSEPSEVERVSAVG
IMPCLSEPSEVERVSPAV
IMPCLSEPSEVERVSPAVG
IMPCLSEPTISEVERVSPPAVG
IMPCALSESEVERAGCOSII
IMPCALSEPSEVPERAVGCOSII
IMPCALSEPSEVPERTAVGOCS
IMPCAELSEPPERTAVGCOSII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERAVGCOSII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVG
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCIIC
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCOII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCOIII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCOSI
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGCOSII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGII
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGIIC
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTAVGIICO
IMPCAELSEPSEVPERTIAVGIIII
IMPCAELSEPTSEVPERTAVG
IMPCAELSEPTSEVPERTAVGNC
IMPCAESLSEPSEVERVSPERTAVG
IMPCAESLSEPTSEVPERTAVG
IMPCAESSEVEPERTINAXAVG
IMPLCAESSEPTSEVPERTAVGTRPVI
IMPPINVICTPIIAVGG
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGIMIMPXI
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGIMPXI
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGPVIMPXIPARPM
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGPMIMPXI
LSEPSEVERVSPERAVGPMIMPXIPARDN
LSEPTSEVAVGIMPXI
LSEPTSEVAVGIMPXIPARTMAX
LSEPTSEVPERETAVGIMPI
LSEPTSEVPERETAVGIMPII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMP
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPI
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPIII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPIIII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPV
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPVI
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPVII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPVIII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPVIIII
LSEPTSEVPERTAVGIMPX
LSEPTSEVPERTEAVGIMP
LSEPTSEVPERTEAVGIMPII
LSEPTSEVPRTEAVGIMPII
LSEPTSEVERPERETIMPI
LSEPTSEVERPERTAVGIMPVIII
LSEPTSEVERVSAVGPARTMAXPMTRPVIIII
LSEPTSEVERVSPERAVGPIVIMPXIPARTMAX
LSEPTSEVERVSPERAVGPMIMPXI
LSEPTSEVERVSPIVSAVG
LSEPTSEVERVSPIVSAVGBRIT
LSEPTIMIVSSEVERVSPERTINAXAVGIMPIIII
LSEPTIMIVSSEVERVSPIVSAVG
SEVERPAVGPMTRPXCOSIII
SEVERPAVGPMTRPXICOSIII
SEVERVSAVGPARTMAX
SEVERVSAVGPARTMAXPMTRPVIII
SEVERVSAVGPARTMAXPMTRPVIIII
SEVERVSPIVSAVG
SEVERVSPIVSAVGBRIT
SEVERVSPIVSAVGPMTRPVIIII
SEVERVSPIVSAVGPMTRPX
SEVERVSPIVSAVGPMTRPXI
SEVERVSPIVSAVGPMTRPXII
SEVERVSPIVSAVGVSTVS


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Bickford-Smith, R. "The imperial mints in the east for Septimius Severus: it is time to begin a thorough reconsideration" in RIN XCVI (1994/1995), pp. 53-71.
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).

Catalog current as of Wednesday, May 22, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Septimius Severus