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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Severan Period| ▸ |Caracalla||View Options:  |  |  |   

Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, better known as Caracalla, was the son of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna, born in 188 A.D. He was named Caesar in 196 and Augustus in 198. Shortly before his death, Severus advised his sons, "Agree with each other, give money to the soldiers and scorn all other men." But the brothers hated each other and soon Caracalla had Geta murdered and massacred thousands suspected of supporting him. Although a capable military commander, the actual running of the government was left to his mother. He gradually slipped more and more into paranoia and delusions of grandeur before being murdered on his way to an Eastern campaign aimed at fulfilling his belief that he was the reincarnation of Alexander the Great.


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In 215, Caracalla introduced the double denarius, or antoninianus. This coin was one of the earliest of the, then new, denomination. The weight of the new denomination was less than that of two denarii. The orichalcum and copper coinage disappeared gradually, and by the middle of the third century, with Rome's economy in crisis, the antoninianus was the only official currency.
RS91597. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 258(a) (S), RSC III 279, BMCRE V p. 453, 110, cf. Hunter III 33 (Jupiter head left), SRCV II 6775 (same), Choice gVF, nice portrait, full borders strike, toned, flow lines, light marks, slight porosity, reverse die wear, tiny edge cracks, weight 3.653 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 215 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bearded bust right, seen from the front; reverse P M TR P XVIII COS IIII P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for 18 years, consul for the 4th time, father of the country), Jupiter standing half right, head right, left foot forward, nude but for chlamys over left shoulder and arm, thunderbolt at side in right hand, long vertical scepter in left hand; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; scarce; $200.00 (176.00)


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The ancients did not all agree on the attributes of Serapis. A passage in Tacitus affirms that many recognized in this god, Aesculapius, imputing healing to his intervention; some thought him identical with Osiris, the oldest deity of the Egyptians; others regarded him as Jupiter, possessing universal power; but by most he was believed to be the same as Pluto, the "gloomy" Dis Pater of the infernal regions. The general impression of the ancients seems to have been that by Serapis, was to be understood the beginning and foundation of things. Julian II consulted the oracle of Apollo for the purpose of learning whether Pluto and Serapis were different gods; and he received for an answer that Jupiter-Serapis and Pluto were one and the same divinity.
RB92485. Copper as, RIC IV 505 (S); Cohen IV 214; BMCRE V p. 478, 257; SRCV II -, VF, nice portrait, dark patina, scratches encrustations, weight 9.619 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVI COS IIII P P, Serapis standing slightly left, head left, draped, kalathos on head, raising right hand with fingers spread, transverse scepter in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking below center; from the Errett Bishop Collection; very scarce; $160.00 (140.80)


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Juno was the chief female divinity in the Roman pantheon. She was the wife of Jupiter and a member of the Capitoline Triad. She had many different aspects, such as Juno Regina, Juno Sospita, and Juno Lucina, but here she is depicted as Juno Moneta, holding the scales symbolic of equity and a cornucopia indicating plenty. This surname was given to Juno because she counseled the Romans to undertake only just wars in which case she promised that they would never be in want of money. The first mint in Rome was within the temple of Juno Moneta.
RS91584. Silver denarius, RIC IV 224; RSC III 165; BMCRE V p. 372, 90; Hunter III 15; SRCV II 6821, Choice EF, light tone on mint luster, excellent portrait, well centered, weight 3.225 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, Rome mint, 210 - 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse MONETA AVG, Moneta standing left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $150.00 (132.00)


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In 214, Caracalla's victories in Germany secured his popularity within the Roman army.
RS89493. Silver denarius, RIC IV 240; RSC III 239; BMCRE VI p. 449, 94; Hunter III 25; SRCV II 6832, Choice gVF, superb portrait, excellent centering, weight 3.576 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 214 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVII COS IIII P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for 17 years, consul for the 4th time, father of the country), Jupiter standing facing, head left, nude but for cloak over left shoulder, thunderbolt at side in right hand, long scepter vertical in left hand, eagle at feet on left standing left with head turned back right; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73, part of lot 970; $160.00 SALE |PRICE| $144.00


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Amasia, Pontos

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According to Strabo the Greek name Amaseia comes from Amasis, the queen of the Amazons, who were said to have lived here. The name has changed little throughout history: Amaseia, Amassia, and Amasia are all found on ancient Greek and Roman coinage and continue to be used in modern Greek. Modern Turkish Amasya represents the same pronunciation. Amaseia was captured by the Roman Lucullus in 70 B.C. from Armenia. Pompey designated it a free city and the administrative center of the new province of Bithynia and Pontus. Amaseia was a thriving city, the home of thinkers, writers, and poets. Strabo left a full description of Amaseia as it was between 60 B.C. and 19 A.D.
RP88308. Bronze AE 29, Dalaison, type 25, 471; SNGvA 36; Waddington 18; Rec Gn I p. 38, 75; BMC Pontus -; SNG Cop -; SNG Tbingen -; SNG Leypold -, aF, dark patina, highlighting earthen deposits, porosity, a few light scratches, legends weak, weight 14.100 g, maximum diameter 29.1 mm, die axis 180o, Amaseia (Amasya, Turkey) mint, 206 - 207 A.D.; obverse AY KAI M AYP ANTΩNINOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, seen from behind; reverse A∆P CEY ANT AMACIAC MHT NE ΠP Π (NT, MHT, NE, and ΠP ligate), Caracalla standing slightly left, wearing military garb, head bare, spear vertical in left hand, sacrificing from a patera in his right hand above a flaming altar on the left, star above left, ET / CΘ (year 209) in two lines in right field; ex Gerhard Rohde Ancient Coins; very rare; $140.00 (123.20)


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Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian. He was the father of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. In early Rome, he was second in importance only to Jupiter, and the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began and ended the season for military campaigning and farming.
RS91589. Silver denarius, RIC IV 88; RSC III 431; BMCRE V p. 265, 542; SRCV II 6862; cf. Hunter III 29 (TR P VIIII), Choice aEF, excellent style, old cabinet tone, well centered, flow lines, edge cracks, weight 3.073 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 207 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate bust right; reverse PONTIF TR P X COS II (priest, holder of Tribunitian power for ten years, consul for the 2nd time), Mars advancing right, nude except for helmet and cloak tied in belt at waist and flying behind, transverse spear in right hand, trophy over left shoulder in left hand; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $140.00 (123.20)


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In 213, Caracalla summoned Abgar IX Severus, King of Edessa (Osroene), with his son to Rome and then ordered them murdered. A year later, Caracalla incorporated Edessa as a Roman province. Caracalla would be assassinated by his legionaries near Edessa in 217.
RB92488. Copper as, RIC IV 506 (R1); BMCRE V p. 479, 259; Cohen IV 234; Hunter III -; SRCV II -, VF, excellent portrait, centered on a tight flan, porosity, weight 7.778 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse P M TR P XVI IMP II COS IIII P P (Pontifex Maximus, Tribunicia Potestate XVI, Consul IIII, Pater Patriae), emperor standing in a slow quadriga right, wearing military dress, holding reins in right, eagle tipped scepter in left hand, crowned by Victory behind him standing right, S C (Senatus Consulto) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; rare; $140.00 (123.20)


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In 212 A.D. construction began on the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. These were the second largest Roman public baths, or thermae. Completed in 217 A.D. They would have had to install over 2,000 tons of material every day for six years in order to complete it in this time. Records show that the idea for the baths were drawn up by Septimius Severus, and merely completed or opened in the lifetime of Caracalla. This would allow for a longer construction time-frame. They are today a tourist attraction.
RS88434. Silver denarius, RIC IV 227, RSC III 529, BMCRE V 99, Hunter III 20, SRCV II 6879, Choice VF, excellent portrait, full borders on a broad flan, flow lines, toned, small edge splits, weight 3.641 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 210 - 213; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse PROVIDENTIAE DEORVM (providence of the Gods), Providentia standing half left, wand in right over globe at feet, long scepter vertical in left; ex Harlan J Berk, ex Seaby with round tag handwritten by David Sear c. 1966; $120.00 (105.60)


Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D., Hadrianopolis, Thrace

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The figure on the reverse is sometimes identified as Eros (Cupid) or a generic winged Genius. The inverted torch represents a life extinguished, indicating the figure is Thanatos (death). By the Severan Era, there was increased hope for an afterlife in pleasant Elysium rather than in dismal Hades. Thanatos was associated more with a gentle passing than a woeful demise. Thanatos as a winged boy, very much akin to Cupid, with crossed legs and an inverted torch, became the most common symbol for death, depicted on many Roman sarcophagi.
RP89895. Bronze AE 20, Jurukova Hadrianopolis 390 (V199/R379), Varbanov II 3526 (R4), SNG Cop 571, BMC Thrace -, VF, brown tone, attractive style, slightly ragged flan with small edge splits, weight 3.986 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 30o, Hadrianopolis (Edirne, Turkey) mint, obverse AVT K M AVP C EV - ANTΩNEINOC, laureate head right; reverse A∆PIANOΠOΛEITΩN, Thanatos standing right, winged, legs crossed, leaning on inverted extinguished torch; $120.00 (105.60)


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Providentia is the personification of the ability to foresee and to make provision for the future. This ability was considered essential for the emperor and providentia was among the embodiments of virtues that were part of the imperial cult. Cicero said that providentia, memoria (memory) and intellegentia (understanding) are the three main components of prudentia, the knowledge what is good or bad or neither.
RB92486. Bronze as, RIC IV 519 (S); Hunter III 83; BMCRE V p. 412, 259; Cohen IV 533, SRCV II -, VF, nice style, corrosion, small edge splits, weight 9.631 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 211 - 213 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse PROVIDENTIAE DEORVM (to the foresight of the gods), Providentia standing facing, head left, baton in right hand held over globe at feet, long scepter vertical in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $120.00 (105.60)




  



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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

ANTONINVSAVGVSTV
ANTONINVSAVGVSTVS
ANTONINVSPIVSAVG
ANTONINVSPIVSAVGBRIT
ANTONINVSPIVSAVGGERM
ANTONINVSPIVSFELAVG (ALSO USED BY ELAGABALUS)
DIVOANTONINOMAGNO
IMPCAEMAVRANTAVGPTRP
IMPCAESMAVRELANTONINVSAVG
IMPANTONINETGETACAESAVGFIL
IMPCMAVRANTONAVGPTRP
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSAVG
IMPCMAVRANTONAVGPTRP
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSAVG
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSPONTAVG
IMPMAVRANTONINVSPIVSAVGPMTRPXIII
MAVRANTCAESPONTIF
MAVRANTONCAESPONTIF
MAVRANTONINVSCAES
MAVRELANTONINVSPIVSAVG
MAVRELANTONINVSPIVSAVGBRIT
MAVRELANTONINVSPIVSAVGGERM


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).
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 Tuesday, October 22, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Caracalla