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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Severan Period ▸ CaracallaView 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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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.
SL89804. Silver denarius, RIC IV 194, RSC III 195, BMCRE V 39, Hunter III 6, cf. SRCV II 6829 (TR P XVI COS IIII), NGC AU, strike 5/5, surface 5/5 (4163650-006), weight 3.93 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 212 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate bearded head right; reverse P M TR P XV COS III P P, Serapis standing half left, draped, head left, kalathos on head, raising right hand, scepter in left hand; from the Martineit Collection of Ancient and World Coins; $185.00 (162.80)


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; $160.00 (140.80)


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Fortuna Redux, one of the many aspects of Fortuna, was in charge of bringing people home safely, primarily from wars - redux means "coming back" or "returning." She may be one of the later aspects of Fortuna, as the earliest mention of her is on an altar dedicated by the Senate in 19 B.C. for the safe return of Emperor Augustus.
RS87269. Silver denarius, RIC IV 189; RSC III 84; BMCRE V 1 p. 419, G1; SRCV II 6802; Hunter III -, Choice VF, superb portrait, well centered and struck, toned, slightly frosty, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.698 g, maximum diameter 18.8 mm, Rome mint, 211 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right; reverse FORT RED P M TR P XIIII COS III P P, Fortuna Redux standing facing, head left, cornucopia in right hand tip outward and top inward, drapery over left arm which is resting on a grounded rudder, wheel at feet on left; $135.00 (118.80)


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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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Libertas (Latin for Liberty) was the Roman goddess and embodiment of liberty. The pileus liberatis was a soft felt cap worn by liberated slaves of Troy and Asia Minor. In late Republican Rome, the pileus was symbolically given to slaves upon manumission, granting them not only their personal liberty, but also freedom as citizens with the right to vote (if male). Following the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., Brutus and his co-conspirators used the pileus to signify the end of Caesar's dictatorship and a return to a Republican system of government. The pileus was adopted as a popular symbol of freedom during the French Revolution and was also depicted on some early U.S. coins.
RS89491. Silver denarius, RIC IV 161, RSC III 143, BMCRE V 511, SRCV III 6817, Hunter III -, VF, excellent portrait, well centered on a tight flan, frosty surfaces, edge cracks, weight 2.981 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 208 - 210 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse LIBERTAS AVG, Libertas standing half left, head left, pileus in right hand, long rod vertical behind in left hand; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73, part of lot 970; $110.00 (96.80)


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Salus was the Roman goddess of health. She was Hygieia to the Greeks, who believed her to be the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine and healing, and Epione, the goddess of soothing of pain. Her father Asclepius learned the secrets of keeping death at bay after observing one snake bringing another snake healing herbs. Woman seeking fertility, the sick, and the injured slept in his temples in chambers where non-poisonous snakes were left to crawl on the floor and provide healing.
RS89492. Silver denarius, RIC IV 82; RSC III 422; BMCRE V p. 251, 484; Hunter III 28; SRCV II 6860, Choice VF, excellent portrait, full borders centering, high points flatly struck, edge cracks, weight 3.287 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 205 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse PONTIF TR P VIII COS II (priest, holder of Tribunitian power for 8 years, consul for the 2nd time), Salus seated left, feeding snake coiled around altar, left arm resting on side of throne; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 73, part of lot 970; $110.00 (96.80)


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

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Serdica prospered under Rome. Turrets, protective walls, public baths, administrative and cult buildings, a civic basilica and a large amphitheater were built. When Diocletian divided Dacia into Dacia Ripensis (on the banks of the Danube) and Dacia Mediterranea, Serdica became the capital of Dacia Mediterranea. The city was destroyed by the Huns in 447, but was rebuilt by Justinian and surrounded with great fortress walls whose remnants can still be seen today. Although also often destroyed by the Slavs, the town remained under Byzantine dominion until 809. Serdica is today Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria.
RP91960. Bronze AE 29, Unpublished obverse legend variety; H-J Serdica 12.18.46.2 (R6) var., Ruzicka Serdica 365 var., Varbanov III 2464 (R5) var. (all ...AVP SEVH...), F, porous, edge crack, central depressions, weight 14.918 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 0o, Serdica mint, obverse AVT K M AVPH CEVH ANTΩEINOC, laureate bearded head right; reverse OVΛΠIAC CEP-∆I-KHC (the last three letters in exergure), tetrastyle temple of Asklepios, statue of Asklepios standing in center holding snake entwined staff, coiled snake in pediment; rare; $100.00 (88.00)


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

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Thessalonica was founded around 315 B.C. by Cassander, King of Macedonia, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma. He named it after his wife Thessalonike, a daughter of Philip II and a half-sister of Alexander the Great. In 168 B.C. it became the capital of the Macedonia Secunda and in 146 B.C. it was made the capital of the whole Roman province of Macedonia. Due to its port and location at the intersection of two major Roman roads, Thessalonica grew to become the most important city in Macedonia. Thessalonica was important in the spread of Christianity; the First Epistle to the Thessalonians written by Paul the Apostle is the first written book of the New Testament.
RP83478. Bronze AE 24, Touratsoglou 158 (V25/R55), McClean 3793, Varbanov 4416 (R6), Moushmov 6753, SNG Cop -, SNG ANS -, BMC Macedonia -, F, green patina, a few minor scratches, edge bump, weight 6.654 g, maximum diameter 23.8 mm, die axis 90o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, obverse AV K M AVP ANTΩNINOC, laureate head right; reverse ΘECCAΛONKEΩN, Nike standing right, left foot on helmet, shield held with both hands and resting on left knee; $80.00 (70.40)


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

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Tyche (Greek for luck; the Roman equivalent was Fortuna) was the presiding tutelary deity that governed the fortune and prosperity of a city, its destiny. Increasingly during the Hellenistic period, cities had their own specific iconic version of Tyche, wearing a mural crown (a crown like the walls of the city).
RP83502. Bronze AE 23, Varbanov III 3277 (R4); BMC Macedonia p. 59, 128; SNG Hunterian 778; SNG Cop 112 var. (obv. leg.); SNG ANS -, VF, green patina, weight 6.845 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 180o, Amphipolis mint, 28 Jan 198 - 8 Apr 217 A.D.; obverse AVT K - ANTΩNOINOC, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse AMΦIΠOΛEITΩN, city goddess enthroned left, wearing turreted crown, patera in extended right hand, left hand at her side; $80.00 (70.40)




  



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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 Thursday, June 20, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Caracalla