Severan Dynasty Coins for sale [Part 2] (197 - 217 AD)

Severus returned to Rome in AD 197 determined to enforce his authority. He did so by murdering 29 senators of ‘dubious’ loyalty to the new regime. From now on Severus could never rely on the Senate for support. He set a dangerous precedent for the future by encouraging the army to become the power behind the throne. His reign was marked by an aggressive foreign policy. He successfully invaded the Parthian Empire that year, not returning to Rome until AD 202. Furthermore, he embarked upon a vast building program in Rome and the provinces, especially at Leptis Magna in North Africa. Despite the outward success of his reign, his family life was in turmoil. His two sons, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and Publius Septimius Geta had become bitter enemies. Better known to history as Caracalla and Geta, their public enmity threatened to destroy the dynasty. A sick and ageing Severus took his wife and two sons to Britain in AD 208 on a major campaign to punish the northern tribes who had invaded the province. He may have been hoping for a reconciliation between the two brothers as they campaigned together. On his deathbed in York on February 4th AD 211, he advised his sons to look after each other, to care for the army, and to trust no one. The advice was ignored. Caracalla and Geta became joint emperors, but the tension increased. The palace in Rome was partitioned as the two men could not even bear to see each other. The conflict was only resolved in late December AD 211 when Caracalla murdered his brother with his own hands in front of their weeping mother. Another round of purges and executions soon followed. Caracalla, alienated by the Senate and mistrusted by the people in Rome, decided to emulate his father by launching military campaigns on the frontiers. The emperor left for the German provinces in AD 213, never to return to Rome. Caracalla launched a series of campaigns over the Rhine. They were so successful the Senate gave him the title ‘Germanicus Maximus’. The imperial party travelled eastwards where Caracalla fought a brilliant series of battles in Dacia, Thrace and Asia Minor. His main aim, however, was to continue his father’s campaign against the Parthians, who were currently weakened and distracted by civil war. The Romans surged across the frontier and decisively trounced the Parthian army east of the river Tigris. Caracalla began to plan further campaigns against Parthia during the winter of AD 216 but it was not to be. A plot to murder him was hatched by Macrinus and Martialis, two senior officers in the imperial guards. As Caracalla was relieving himself by a road near Carrhae on April 8th 217, Martialis stabbed him and the emperor fell. He was only 29 years old. The body was cremated, returned to Rome, and laid to rest in the Mausoleum of Hadrian. Caracalla had been an enigma as emperor; cruel and insecure, yet displaying real ability as an administrator and leader. The Empire would soon regret his passing… James R. Wadman B.A., M.A. [History and Archaeology] for TimeLine Originals

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Select from the coin links below to navigate around our catalogue:

Caracalla CoinsCaracalla [Antoninus] (198 - 217 AD)
Plautilla CoinsPlautilla (Died 212 AD)
Geta CoinsGeta (Autumn 209 - 211 AD)


Example of a Severan Dynasty coin we have sold recently:

Caracalla 007623

Caracalla 'Leaping Lion' Denarius
Silver, 3.33 grams, 19.06 mm. Rome 204 A.D. Obverse: ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, Laureate, draped bust of Caracalla right. Reverse: INDVLGENTIA AVGG IN CARTH, Deo Caelestis, holding thunderbolt and sceptre, seated facing, head right on lion leaping right over water which gushes from rock on left. RIC 130a; BMCRE 208, 280; RSC 97; RCV 6806. Almost extremely fine.

more info
Caracalla 007623


Main Roman Coin Book and Other References:

RIC = Mattingly, Harold    The Roman Imperial Coinage
BMC = Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum
RSC = Seaby, H A    Roman Silver Coinage
RCV = Sear, David R    Roman Coins and Their Values
Cr = Crawford, Michael    The Roman Republican Coinage
SB = Sear, David R    Byzantine Coins and Their Values
S = Coins of England and the United Kingdom
WW = Wildwinds.com (reference & attribution site)



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