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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Severan Period ▸ Julia DomnaView Options:  |  |  |   

Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

Julia Domna was the second wife of Septimius Severus and mother of Caracalla and Geta. An intelligent, talented and beautiful woman, Julia Domna exercised great influence during her husband's reign and practically administered the empire for her sons. In 217 A.D. after the assassination of Caracalla, she possibly committed suicide by starvation or she died of breast cancer.


Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Cyzicus, Mysia

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This is the finest of only two specimens of this type known to Forum, the other example in SNG Von Aulock. Although we can't quite agree, NAC graded it extremely fine.
RP86162. Bronze AE 26, SNGvA suppl. 7377, SNG BnF -, SNG Cop -, SNG Tbingen -, SNG Hunterian -, SNG Righetti -, SNG Leypold -, BMC Mysia -, McClean -, Mionnet -, gVF, nice dark green patina, marks, small patina chips, reverse slightly off center, weight 10.976 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 180o, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 194 - 217 A.D.; obverse IOYΛIA CEBACTH, draped bust right; reverse KYZIKHNΩN NEOKOPΩN, man sitting right on rocks under a tree, milking goat standing right, goat's head turned back looking left; ex Numismatica Ars Classica auction 100 (29 May 2017), lot 1212; ex Gorny & Mosch sale 237 (7 Mar 2016), 1656; ex Gitbud & Naumann auction 34 (2 Aug 2015), lot 581; extremely rare; $1500.00 (1275.00)


Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217 A.D., Hadrianopolis, Thrace

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Hadrian refounded a Thracian tribal capital, changed its name to Hadrianopolis, developed it, adorned it with monuments, and made it the capital of the Roman province. The city is Edirne, Turkey today. From ancient times, the area around Edirne has been the site of no fewer than 16 major battles or sieges. Military historian John Keegan identifies it as "the most contested spot on the globe" and attributes this to its geographical location. Licinius was defeated there by Constantine I in 323, and Valens was killed by the Goths during the Battle of Adrianople in 378.
SH65237. Bronze AE 25, Jurukova p. 157 & pl. XXII, 244 (V137/R244); Mionnet, Suppl. II, 658; BMC Thrace -, SNG Cop -, SNG Hunterian -, VF, green patina, weight 7.837 g, maximum diameter 24.7 mm, die axis 180o, Hadrianopolis (Edirne, Turkey) mint, obverse IOYΛIA ∆O CEBACTH, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, looped plait below ear and on neck; reverse A∆PIANOΠOΛEITΩN, galley left with four oarsmen and steersman in stern; very rare; $360.00 (306.00)


Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Julia Domna and her children as Terra and the Four Seasons! "The flatterers of Julia Domna pretended that all things were owing to her. The star-besprinkled globe represents the Roman world, which with her husband Septimius Severus she governed; and to the empire of which she destines her two sons, Caracalla and Geta, who, together with as many daughters, are the proof of her fecundity." -- Rasche, T. ii pl l p 932.
RS85789. Silver denarius, RIC IV S549 (R), RSC III 35, BMCRE V S21, Hunter III S22, SRCV II 6579, F, well centered, slightly rough with light even corrosion, edge cracks, weight 2.369 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, bun at back of head; reverse FECVNDITAS (fertility), Terra reclining left under a vine, nude to the waist, right hand set on globe spangled with stars, leaning on left arm on basket of fruits, in background four children representing the four seasons; rare; $250.00 (212.50)


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Hera (Juno to the Romans) is the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Hera's mother is Rhea and her father Cronus. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. The cow, lion and the peacock were considered sacred to her. Portrayed as majestic and solemn, often enthroned, and crowned with the kalathos. Hera was known for her jealous and vengeful nature against Zeus' lovers and offspring, but also against mortals who crossed her. Paris earned Hera's hatred by choosing Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess.
RB79848. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV C585, BMCRE V C208, Hunter III , Cohen IV 90, SRCV II 7114, F, scratches, areas of corrosion, weight 21.909 g, maximum diameter 30.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 211 - 217 A.D.; obverse IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane, hair in horizontal ridges, small flat coil at back of head, looped plait on neck; reverse IVNONEM, Juno standing slightly left, veiled head left, patera in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, peacock at feet on left standing left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; scarce; $205.00 (174.25)


Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Venus in her aspect as the divine ancestress of the Roman people was known as Venus Genetrix. According to legend, and as recorded in Virgil's Aeneid, Aeneis was the son of Venus who fled Troy after its destruction and founded the city of Rome. Julius Caesar, being of the Gens Julia, claimed direct descent from Venus Genetrix and Aeneas. Julius Caesar built a Temple of Venus Genetrix in his new forum. Most depictions of Venus Genetrix on Roman coinage are of the statue in the Forum, and do not directly refer to pregnancy or fertility.
RS79617. Silver denarius, RIC IV C388c, RSC III 212, Hunter III 13, BMCRE V C25, SRCV II 7106, Choice EF, fantastic portrait, mint luster, tiny green spots of encrustation, weight 3.246 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, reign of Caracalla, 216 A.D.; obverse IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, flat coil at back of head, looped plait on neck; reverse VENVS GENETRIX (Mother Venus), Venus enthroned left, extending right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand; $200.00 (170.00)


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Cybele, called mother of the gods, was originally Anatolian mother goddess. In Rome, Cybele was known as Magna Mater ("Great Mother"). Roman mythographers reinvented her as a Trojan goddess, and thus an ancestral goddess of the Roman people by way of the Trojan prince Aeneas. With Rome's eventual hegemony over the Mediterranean world, Romanised forms of Cybele's cults spread throughout the Roman Empire.
RS85214. Silver denarius, RIC IV C382 (S); BMCRE V p. 432, 14; RSC III 137; SRCV II 7401, Choice gVF, bold well centered strike, light toning, weight 3.517 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, reign of Caracalla, 211 - 215 A.D.; obverse IVLIA PIA FELIX AVG, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, flat coil at back of head, looped plait from ear and on neck; reverse MATRI DEVM, Cybele standing facing, legs crossed, leaning with left arm resting on a column, head left, towered and veiled, drum in right hand, long scepter resting against left arm, lion left at feet half visible from behind legs to left; scarce; $180.00 (153.00)


Julia Domna, Augusta, 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.

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Victory seems an odd attribute for the goddess of love but both Sulla and Pompey dreamed of Venus Victrix. Julius Caesar, who claimed Venus as his ancestor, sacrificed to her and she ensured he was always victorious. The use of Victrix on the reverse of Julia Domna's coinage at this time, not only appealed to the goddess for aid against Pescennius Niger, but also reminded the Romans that the empress too was in Syria with the legions on campaign. It was during this time that Julia Domna was given the honorary title, MATER CASTORVM, or mother of the camp.
RS85793. Silver denarius, RIC IV S536; RSC III 194; BMCRE V p. 27, S49; Hunter III S3, SRCV II 6608, VF, toned, some porosity, edge cracks, weight 2.041 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 193 - 196 A.D.; obverse IVLIA DOMNA AVG, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges and large bun at back of head; reverse VENERI VICTR (victorious Venus), Venus standing right, facing away, seen from behind, naked to the buttocks, resting left elbow on waist high column, transverse palm frond in left hand, apple in extended right hand; $160.00 (136.00)


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Cybele was born a hermaphrodite, but castrated by the gods, she became female. Heeding the Sibylline oracle, the senate brought her worship to Rome in 204 B.C. as the first officially sanctioned Eastern cult. After approval, they were dismayed to learn that the priesthood required voluntary self-castration, which was abhorrent to the Romans. Romans were barred from entering the priesthood or even entering the priest's sanctuary. The eunuch priests, recruited from outside Rome, were confined to their sanctuary, leaving only to parade in the streets during festivals in April. Claudius removed the bans on Roman participation, making worship of Cybele and her consort Attis part of the state religion.
RS85130. Silver denarius, RIC IV S564; RSC III 123; BMCRE V p. 163, S51; Hunter III p. 42, S11; SRCV II 6593, gVF, choice obverse, struck with a worn reverse die, edge cracks, weight 3.229 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 205 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges; reverse MATER DEVM (mother of the gods), Cybele seated left between two lions, wearing towered crown, branch in right hand, scepter in left hand, resting left arm on drum; scarce; $125.00 (106.25)


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Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.
RS79616. Silver denarius, RIC IV S572, BMCRE V S165, RSC III 150, Hunter III 16, SRCV II 6600, VF, nice portrait, full circles centering on obverse and reverse, some die wear, flan cracks, weight 3.543 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 204 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges, flat coil at back of head; reverse PIETAS AVGG (to the piety of the two emperors), Pietas standing half left, veiled, dropping incense on altar with right hand, box in left hand; $110.00 (93.50)


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Cybele was born a hermaphrodite, but castrated by the gods, she became female. Heeding the Sibylline oracle, the senate brought her worship to Rome in 204 B.C. as the first officially sanctioned Eastern cult. After approval, they were dismayed to learn that the priesthood required voluntary self-castration, which was abhorrent to the Romans. Romans were barred from entering the priesthood or even entering the priest's sanctuary. The eunuch priests, recruited from outside Rome, were confined to their sanctuary, leaving only to parade in the streets during festivals in April. Claudius removed the bans on Roman participation, making worship of Cybele and her consort Attis part of the state religion.
RS84676. Silver denarius, RIC IV S564; RSC III 123; BMCRE V p. 163, S51; Hunter III p. 42, S11; SRCV II 6593, Choice VF, nice portrait, well centered and struck, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.747 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 205 A.D.; obverse IVLIA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair in horizontal ridges; reverse MATER DEVM (mother of the gods), Cybele seated left between two lions, wearing towered crown, branch in right hand, scepter in left hand, resting left arm on drum; scarce; $110.00 (93.50)




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

DIVAIVLIAAVGVSTA
IVLADOMNAAVG
IVLIAAVGVSTA
IVLIADOMINAAVG
IVLIADOMNAAVG
IVLIADOMNAAVGVSTA
IVLIAPIAFELIXAVG
IVLIAPIAMATERCASTR


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
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).
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 Saturday, November 18, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Julia Domna