A Lovely Portrait of Julia Mamaea

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by robinjojo, May 25, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    This is a coin that occurs quite frequently in nice condition. While going through the collection, in a semi-feudal effort to organize it, I came across this example of her sestertius, an example that I find appealing for its patina and lovely portrait of the mother of Emperor Severus Alexander.


    Julia Mamaea (180-235 AD) was originally from Syria. She and her mother served as regents of the Severan Dynasty when her son, Severus Alexander (208-235 AD), at age 14, was elevated to Emperor, following the murder of Elagabalus in 222 AD.

    Her tenure as regent was characterized as one of dominance over her son, and, with the help of 16 other senators and another Syrian, the famous lawyer, Ulpian, she was able to reverse Elagabalus' controversial policies that scandalized Rome, including his elevation of the deity Elagabalus, replacing Jupiter as the head of the Roman Pantheon.

    (Note: Caligula did many of the same things, nearly two centuries earlier. If anything, he was more repressive and bloody, but then he had a few bolts loose, to say the least).

    Eventually, Julia Mamaea and her son fell out favor with the Praetorian Guard, which wheeled the greatest power in Rome during the third century AD and beyond, the emperors mere puppets, basically doing their bidding. Both mother and son were murdered by Maximinus Thrax in 235, while both were in Germany leading campaign against local tribes.

    Roman Empire AD 222-235
    Æ Sestertius
    Julia Mamaea (mother of S. Alexander)
    Obv. IVLIA MAMAEA AVGVSTA, diademed and draped bust right.
    Rev. VENVS GENETRIX, Venus standing left, holding apple and sceptre, child standing right before her.
    RIC 704 (Alexander).
    VF with nice brown and tan patina
    Ex Roma E-Sale 53, lot 830

    D-Camera Julia Mamaea, Sestertius, Roma 53, 19.49 grams  5-25-20.jpg
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That's lovely, @robinjojo . I have been trying to acquire all of her imperial issues in silver and bronze -- it's actually an achievable goal for one so inclined. Here's one of my favorites because it came with an old Seaby tag!

    Mamaea IVNO AVGVSTAE sestertius.jpg
    Mamaea IVNO AVGVSTAE sestertius Seaby tag.jpg

    And here's the listing in the Seaby price list:

    Mamaea IVNO AVGVSTAE sestertius Seaby listing.JPG
  4. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    Nice @robinjojo .

    I am not sure if Thrax murdered them, or just helped take the Empire out of its misery...

    Julia Mamaea Ar. denarius, IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, diad. dr. bust r., rev., PIETAS AVGVSTAE, Pietas stg. front, hd. l. dripping grains of incense into lighted altar and holding a box of perfume (Seaby, 48).
    3.4 g
    Ex: CJMartin
  5. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    That's a nice coin and the old Seaby tag is really cool.

    I know that the portraiture on later Roman coinage, especially going into the 3rd century AD, is often characterized as being "severe", and that is the case in many instances, such as Caracalla's coinage, but I also think that the style for some members of an emperor's family can be more sensitively rendered, as in the case of Julia Mamaea.
    DonnaML and Roman Collector like this.
  6. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Khnum-Hotep

  7. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Nice sestertius Robin, congrats.

    P1180980 (3).JPG
  8. robinjojo

    robinjojo Well-Known Member

    Thank you all for the posts and great examples of her coinage.

    Please post other Severan Dynasty coins, if you wish.
  9. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Here's my Julia Mamaea, if it's not too late:

    Julia Mamaea (mother of Severus Alexander), AR Denarius. Obv. Bust draped right wearing diadem (stephane), IVLIA MAMAEA AVG/ Rev. Venus stdg. front, head left, holding helmet & scepter, shield leans against her at left. VENVS VICTRIX. RIC IV-2 358, RSC III 76 (ill.), Sear RCV II 8216 (ill.), BMCRE 713. 20.5 mm., 2.88 g.

    Julia Mamaea AR Denarius.jpg
    While I'm at it, here's her sister, Julia Soaemias. They both had the distinction of being murdered together with their Emperor sons.

    Julia Soaemias (mother of Elagabalus). AR Denarius 220-222 AD, Rome Mint. Obv. Draped bust right, IVLIA SOAEMIAS AVG / Rev. Venus standing facing, head left, holding apple & scepter; large star in right field, VENVS CAELESTIS. RIC IV-2 241 (Elagabalus); RSC III 8b. 18 mm., 2.85 g.

    Julia Soaemias Denarius - Venus Caelestis - jpg version.jpg
    nicholasz219, galba68, TheRed and 8 others like this.
  10. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

    Nice sestertius. I only have denarius:
    nicholasz219, galba68, TheRed and 8 others like this.
  11. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    That is indeed a lovely portrait of my mama! :D

    Here's an as with a decent portrait:
    Screen Shot 2020-05-26 at 9.33.05 PM.jpg
    nicholasz219, galba68, Edessa and 7 others like this.
  12. curtislclay

    curtislclay Well-Known Member

    The front of the old Seaby ticket is in the characteristic handwriting of David Sear. I was buying regularly from Seaby in those days.

    The 306 at the top is presumably the number under which the coin was offered in one of Seaby's monthly Bulletins. If I remember, I'll try to find the relevant Bulletin in Harlan Berk's bound set, next time I visit the office.
  13. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Thanks, Curtis! I have two coins with old Seaby tickets from the '60s with that handwriting. Glad to now know to whom the handwriting belongs!
  14. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Some nice coins I think she was probably a beautiful lady in her time...Cool tag!
    No bronze here but do have a nice Denarius...
    MAM BLACK.jpg
    Julia Mamaea. Augusta, 222-235 AD. AR Denarius (2,81 gm, 19mm). Rome mint. Struck 222 AD.
    Obverse: IVLIA MAMAEA AVG, bare headed, draped bust right.
    Reverse: IVNO CONS-E-RVATRIX, Juno standing slightly left, holding patera and scepter; to left, peacock standing left.
    RIC IV 343 (Severus Alexander); BMCRRE 43-5 (Severus Alexander); RSC 35.
  15. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    I've posted this one before, but here it is again :meh:.
    RIC IV 676, obv..JPG RIC IV 676, rev..JPG
  16. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I find it interesting that the 1962 coin was graded Fine which seems correct by older standards. I do not recall seeing many rough coins in the earlier period of my hobby. I expected good surfaces unless noted in unillustrated lists but today we get photos of every coin and leave it up to the buyer to see the problems. In 1990 my sestertius was called aVF with special notice of the bad scratches on the reverse.
  17. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    My sestertius was graded "good V.F." by CNG. Maybe good F., with scratches would be more appropriate for your coin o_O?
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