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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Severan Period ▸ ElagabalusView Options:  |  |  |   

Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.

Elagabalus came to power through the scheming of his grandmother Julia Maesa. Elagabalus repeatedly shocked the population with increasingly bizarre behavior including cross-dressing and marrying a vestal virgin. Eventually, his grandmother replaced him on the throne with Severus Alexander, and Elagabalus and his mother were murdered, dragged through the streets of Rome, and dumped into the Tiber.


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Dium, Coele Syria

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Rosenberger describes the altar as a "figure (?) with plumes headdress, on pedestal." The Rosenberger coin is worn and the "figure" is a bit taller and thinner than our altar, but the coin does seem to be this same type.

The site of ancient Dium (Dion, Decapolis) has not been conclusively identified. The four leading candidates for Dium are Tell al-Husn and Edun, both near Irbid, in north Jordan, Kufr Abil, near Pella, and Tell al-Ash'ari, near the Syrian border town of Der'a.
RY77849. Bronze AE 22, Rosenberger 9 corr., Spijkerman 10 var. (legends), Sofaer 10 var. (legends), Meshorer -, SNG ANS -, SNG Hunterian -, BMC Galatia -, aF, earthen deposit highlighting, tight flan, corrosion, weight 7.701 g, maximum diameter 22.0 mm, die axis 180o, Dium mint, 219 - 220 A.D.; obverse AV KAI MAV ANTWNINO, laureate and draped or cuirassed youthful bust right, from the front; reverse hexastyle temple, flaming altar within under central arch, ΓΠ-C (year 283) divided above roof, ∆IHNWN in exergue; very rare; $225.00 (200.25)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Philippopolis, Thrace

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Philippopolis today is Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
RP63960. Bronze AE 28, BMC Thrace p. 167, 44; Varbanov III 1712; Moushmov 5404; SNG Cop -, F, nice green patina, weight 13.097 g, maximum diameter 27.5 mm, die axis 225o, Philippopolis (Plovdiv, Bulgaria) mint, obverse AYT K M AYPHΛ MA ANTΩNEINOC CEB, laureate bust of emperor right; reverse MHTPOΠOΛEΩC ΦIΛIΠΠOΠOΛE/ΩC NEΩKO/POY, two wrestlers grappling; USA import restricted type, ex Mark Staal Collection; scarce; $180.00 (160.20)


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Pax, regarded by the ancients as a goddess, was worshiped not only at Rome but also at Athens. Her altar could not be stained with blood. Claudius began the construction of a magnificent temple to her honor, which Vespasian finished, in the Via Sacra. The attributes of Peace are the hasta pura, the olive branch, the cornucopia, and often the caduceus. Sometimes she is represented setting fire to a pile of arms.
RS77585. Silver denarius, RIC IV 125; RSC III 120; BMCRE V p. 564, 223; Hunter III 63; SRCV II 7527, Choice EF, lustrous, nearly as struck, well centered, some die wear, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.919 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 220 - 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, no horn, from behind; reverse PAX AVGVSTI (to the peace of the emperor), Pax advancing left, raising olive branch in right hand, long scepter in left hand; $180.00 (160.20)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Dium, Coele Syria

Click for a larger photo
Rosenberger describes the altar as a "figure (?) with plumes headdress, on pedestal." The Rosenberger coin is worn and the "figure" is a bit taller and thinner than our altar, but the coin does seem to be this same type.

The site of ancient Dium (Dion, Decapolis) has not been conclusively identified. The four leading candidates for Dium are Tell al-Husn and Edun, both near Irbid, in north Jordan, Kufr Abil, near Pella, and Tell al-Ash'ari, near the Syrian border town of Der'a.
RY77847. Bronze AE 22, Rosenberger 9 corr., Spijkerman 10 var. (legends), Sofaer 10 var. (legends), Meshorer -, SNG ANS -, SNG Hunterian -, BMC Galatia -, aF, uneven strike, tight flan, porous, corrosion, weight 8.737 g, maximum diameter 22.2 mm, die axis 180o, Dium mint, 219 - 220 A.D.; obverse AV KAI MAV ANTWNINO, laureate and draped or cuirassed youthful bust right, from the front; reverse hexastyle temple, flaming altar within under central arch, ΓΠ-C (year 283) divided above roof, ∆IHNWN in exergue; very rare; $180.00 (160.20)


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Hilaritas, the personification of rejoicing, is usually depicted as a matron, standing with a cornucopia in her left hand and a long palm frond on the ground in her right. Green branches were a sign of gladness and for special occasions, both public and private, it was the custom in ancient times to ornament streets, temples, gates, houses, and even entire cities, with branches and leaves of trees. This tradition carries on today in the form of wreaths and Christmas trees.
RS84945. Silver denarius, RIC IV 190, RSC III 54, BMCRE V 281, Hunter III 116, SRCV II 7517, EF, light bumps and marks, dark spots, weight 3.090 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, c. 218 - 219 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse HILARITAS AVG, Hilaritas standing front, looking left, patera in right, long grounded palm frond in left, flanked by two nude children standing at her feet reaching up to her, the child on the right touching the palm frond; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 2377 (Mar 2016), lot 1972; $160.00 (142.40)


Click for a larger photo
Pax, regarded by the ancients as a goddess, was worshiped not only at Rome but also at Athens. Her altar could not be stained with blood. Claudius began the construction of a magnificent temple to her honor, which Vespasian finished, in the Via Sacra. The attributes of Peace are the hasta pura, the olive branch, the cornucopia, and often the caduceus. Sometimes she is represented setting fire to a pile of arms.
RB84426. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 366, BMCRE V 358, Cohen IV 121, Thirion 298, Banti 20, Hunter III, SRCV II 7569, F, edge split, bumps and marks, areas of corrosion, weight 21.555 g, maximum diameter 32.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 219 - 220 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M AVR ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse PAX AVGVSTI (to the peace of the emperor), Pax advancing left, raising olive branch in right hand, scepter in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking near her waist; scarce; $140.00 (124.60)


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In July 221, Elagabalus was forced to divorce his new bride, the Vestal Virgin Aquilia Severa. He then married Annia Faustina, his third wife. After five months he returned to Severa claiming the divorce was invalid. Meanwhile, according to the historian Cassius Dio, Elagabalus had a stable homosexual relationship with his chariot driver, the slave Hierocles.
RS74521. Silver denarius, RIC IV 78, BMCRE V 201, RSC III 44, SRCV III 7514, VF, some marks, light corrosion, weight 3.019 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 220 - 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse FIDES MILIT (the loyalty of the soldiers), aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, shield at base of each standard; $135.00 (120.15)


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The star in the field, a symbol of the sun-god, stands for the mint of Rome.
RS77436. Silver denarius, RIC IV 40b, RSC III 184, Hunter III 49, BMCRE V p. 567, 244; cf. SRCV II 7533 (TR P III), VF, well centered, nice portrait, toned, some die wear, porous, weight 3.150 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, Rome mint, 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P IIII COS III P P, Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for cloak over shoulders and left arm and flying behind, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, whip vertical in left hand, star in left field; $130.00 (115.70)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D., Perga, Pamphylia

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Perga was the capital of Pamphylia. Today it is a large site of ancient ruins, 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) east of Antalya on the southwestern Mediterranean coast of Turkey. During the Hellenistic period, Perga was one of the richest and most beautiful cities in the ancient world, famous for its temple of Artemis. It also is notable as the home of the renowned mathematician Apollonius of Perga.
RP83671. Bronze AE 24, BMC Lycia p. 127, 41; SNG BnF 462 (plate numbered 642 in error); SNGvA 4685; SNG Cop -, VF, tight flan cutting off parts of legends, green patina with highlighting buff earthen deposits, weight 9.73 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 0o, Perga mint, 218-222 A.D.; obverse AVT K M AV ANTWNINOC CEB, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse ΠEPΓ-AIΩN, a simulacrum of Artemis Pergaia, crescent above left, star above right, phoenix on cippus flanking on each side, all within distyle temple, eagle in pediment; $125.00 (111.25)


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Elagabalus was actually named Varius Avitus Bassianus at birth and assumed the name Marcus Aurelius Antoninus upon becoming emperor. Today we know him as Elagabalus because he is best known for his bizarre behavior as high priest to the Syrian sun god Heliogabal (Elagabal).
RS84189. Silver denarius, RIC IV 167; RSC III 22; Hunter III p. 125, 110; BMCRE V p. 580, 307 var. (obv leg.); SRCV II 7508 var. (same), Choice gVF, well centered, toned, weight 3.191 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 218 - 219 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse CONSVL II P P, Aequitas standing facing, head left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; $120.00 (106.80)




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

ANTONINVSFELPIVSAVG
ANTONINVSPFELAVG ANTONINVSPIVSAVG
ANTONINVSPIVSFEL
ANTONINVSPIVSFELAVG (ALSO USED BY CARACALLA)
IMPANTONINVSAVG
IMPANTONINVSPIVSAVG
IMPANTONINVSPIVSFELIX
IMPANTONINVSPIVSFELIXAVG
IMPCAESANTONINVSAVG
IMPCAESMAVRANTONINVSAVG
IMPCAESMAVRANTONINVSPFAVG
IMPCAESMAVRANTONINVSPIVSAVG
IMPCAESMAVRSEANTONINVSAVG
IMPCMAVRANTONINVSPFAVG
IMP M AVR ANTONIN PIVS AVG


REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calic, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
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, May 27, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Elagabalus