Featured April 4th: CARACALLA the tyrant is born.

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, Apr 3, 2021.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you. You have some interesting questions.

    The reverse is, as you observed, is of a much higher level of die engraving compared to the reverse, but that happens quite often with denarii and other denominations.

    The reverse is crude and it is possible I suppose that there might be an over-strike: the centering is off and the fields are quite irregular. There's nothing that really sticks out, such as a letter or design element from the original reverse, but the absence of these signs do not mean there is no overstrike, it really is just a muddle, as is quite often the case with these hammer-struck coins that are nearly 2,000 years old.

    If someone were to overstrike just the reverse, I am not sure how that would be accomplished without affecting the obverse. In order to create a decent strike, the flan needed to be heated to a considerable temperature, so surely there would be signs of that on the obverse.

    I don't know. Maybe this coin is a modern effort to create something exotic, but it seems that someone went to considerable trouble to achieve this, but I suppose such as creation is having the desired effect: a coin that people are talking about.

    Another scenario: Could someone at the Laodicea mint have created this mule? Or, could someone at the mint in Rome have done this?

    The coin weighs 2.6 grams, which I assume is within the correct range but definitely on the light side.

    As for the corrosion, yes, it can indeed be artificially introduced with acid, but there are also some deposits on the reverse, along with the corrosion. Again, I guess that could be simulated by a clever forger.

    Anyways, I think, when weighing the condition of the coin and its odd mixing of reverse and obverse, that it is not from a mint, but instead a contemporary imitation or fake that was not meant to be scrutinized too closely.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2021
    Spaniard and DonnaML like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    A recent purchase of mine (sorry for the crude photos - just took them with the phone)
  4. JPD3

    JPD3 Well-Known Member

  5. svessien

    svessien Senior Member Supporter

    Nice write-up, @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix , thank you.

    I don’t like Caracalla, but I tend to like his coins. I’m currently waiting to receive this one:


    Caracalla, 198-217. AR Denarius, ca. 215 AD

    Obverse: Laureate head right.

    Reverse: Apollo, naked, standing facing, holding branch and resting hand on lyre set on altar.

    Reference: C 282. RIC 254.

    Size: 20mm. Weight: 3.28g.

    I have two antoninanii:
    Caracalla ant.jpg

    Caracalla 198-217 AD, AR antoninianus, Rome 215-217 AD,

    Obverse: ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM; radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right.

    Reverse: VENVS VICTRIX; Venus standing facing, head left, holding Victory and scepter, leaning on facing oval shield set on helmet.

    Reference: RIC IV P1 p259, 311c; RSC 608.

    Weight: 4.98gm Diameter: 24.0mm. Conservation: aEF

    Sear 6777 Caracalla.JPG

    Obverse: ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right. Reverse: PM TR P X VIII COS IIII P P, Sol standing left, holding globe and raising right hand. Reference: RIC IV 264c; RSC 287; Hill 1468.

    I also quite like the INCARTH denarius, with Dea Caelestis riding the lion:

    And as we’re talking about his lousy monetary standard:


    Caracalla, 198-217, Denarius circa 210-213

    Rev. MONETA AVG, Moneta standing l., holding scales and cornucopiae.

    Reference: C 165. RIC 224.

    Weight: 3.g. Diameter: 20mm Conservation: VF

    To equal the scale as pictured: If there were 8 denarii in one cup, Moneta would have had to put 6 double-denarii in the other.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2021
  6. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Here's the only one I was able to find :

  7. curtislclay

    curtislclay Well-Known Member

    That one looks to be TR P XVIII not XX, and with Cerberus.

    The two I meant were Dionysos, eBay, 26 May 2014 and Besancon Num., Oct. 2015.
  8. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks for the write up!
    The coins of the Severan dynasty contain some spectacular types and good quality specimens are quite accessable. Caracalla is no exception.

    Two of mine:


    This sestertius commemorates his 'domination' of Alexandria... Herodian, via livius.org:

    [4.9.1] [216] When they saw what the emperor was doing, the people rejoiced and celebrated, making merry the whole night long, but they did not know his secret intent. In all his actions Caracalla was playing the hypocrite; his true plan was to destroy most of them. The source of the enmity he was concealing was this.

    [4.9.2] While he was still living in Rome, both during his brother's lifetime and after his murder, it was reported to him that the Alexandrians were making endless jokes about him. The people of that city are by nature fond of jesting at the expense of those in high places. However witty these clever remarks may seem to those who make them, they are very painful to those who are ridiculed.

    [4.9.3] Particularly galling are quips that reveal one's shortcomings. Thus they made many jokes at the emperor's expense about his murdering his brother, calling his aged mother Jocasta, and mocking him because, in his insignificance, he imitated the bravest and greatest of heroes, Alexander and Achilles. But although they thought they were merely joking about these matters, in reality they were causing the naturally savage and quick-tempered Caracalla to plot their destruction.

    [4.9.4] The emperor therefore joined the Alexandrians in celebrating and merrymaking. When he observed that the city was overflowing with people who had come in from the surrounding area, he issued a public proclamation directing all the young men to assemble in a broad plain, saying that he wished to organize aphalanx in honor of Alexander similar to his Macedonian and Spartan battalions, this unit to bear the name of the hero.

    [4.9.5] He ordered the youths to form in rows so that he might approach each one and determine whether his age, size of body, and state of health qualified him for military service. Believing him to be sincere, all the youths, quite reasonably hopeful because of the honor he had previously paid the city, assembled with their parents and brothers, who had come to celebrate the youths' expectations.

    [4.9.6] Caracalla now approached them as they were drawn up in groups and passed among them, touching each youth and saying a word of praise to this one and that one until his entire army had surrounded them. The youths did not notice or suspect anything. After he had visited them all, he judged that they were now trapped in the net of steel formed by his soldiers' weapons, and left the field, accompanied by his personal bodyguard. At a given signal the soldiers fell upon the encircled youths, attacking them and any others present. They cut them down, these armed soldiers fighting against unarmed, surrounded boys, butchering them in every conceivable fashion.

    [4.9.7] Some did the killing while others outside the ring dug huge trenches; they dragged those who had fallen to these trenches and threw them in, filling the ditch with bodies. Piling on earth, they quickly raised a huge burial mound. Many were thrown in half-alive, and others were forced in unwounded.

    [4.9.8] A number of soldiers perished there too; for all who were thrust into the trench alive, if they had the strength, clung to their killers and pulled them in with them. So great was the slaughter that the wide mouths of the Nile and the entire shore around the city were stained red by the streams of blood flowing through the plain. After these monstrous deeds, Caracalla left Alexandria and returned to Antioch.
  9. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Caracalla wasn't always a scowler, when he was young he looked like such a nice kid.
    IMG_E7241 (2020_11_18 03_38_31 UTC).JPG
  10. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Just came in the mail yesterday - my first and possibly only Caracalla sestertius. These don't come along in my price range very often.

    This is also my only Telesphorus - that weird little guy in the hoodie.

    I've included a link to a post by @Julius Germanicus back in 2017 that provided some great information on this Asclepius issue of Caracalla, which I found very helpful when attributing this. Thanks JG!

    Caracalla Sest. Asclepius RIC 538a Mar 2021 (0).jpg
    Caracalla Æ Sestertius
    (215 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    [M AVRE]L ANTONINVS PIVS AVG GERM, laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right / [P M TR P] XVIII IMP III [COS IIII PP] SC Asclepius standing facing, resting on serpent-entwined staff, Telesphorus standing left, globe on ground to right.
    RIC 538a.
    (23.61 grams / 31 x 29 mm)

    "Before establishing his military headquarters at the Syrian capital of Antiochia in 215, Caracalla...found time to visit the shrine of Asklepios in Pergamum...This visit was of such importance to Caracalla that it was commemorated by a special emission of coins in all three metals from the Rome mint in 215..."
    Julius Germanicus Coin Talk Sep. 2017


    I do have another Imperial AE of Caracalla - Serapis on this one. Another lucky find:

    Caracalla - As Serapis Feb 19a (0).jpg
    Caracalla Æ As
    (213 A.D.)
    Rome Mint

    [ANTONIN]VS PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate head right / PM TRP XVI COS IIII [P P]
    S C Serapis standing front, head to left, raising right hand, holding scepter in left hand.
    RIC 505; BMC 257;
    (9.33 grams / 22 mm)
  11. Tony1982

    Tony1982 Well-Known Member

    My best two Caracalla’s :

    AR Denarius
    ( 3.76 gm).Struck 212 AD.
    Hercules standing left, holding branch, club and
    lion's skin. RIC IV 192; RSC 196
    AR denarius
    C 213 AD
    Moneta holding scales and cornucopia
    RIC 236 RSC 166
  12. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Two that are a bit different from the fine coins shown above:
    They made rather few sestertii honoring his consecration. There is dispute as to which of his successors produced them. Mine is the worse of the two I have seen. I kick myself for not buying the other one as well.

    I believe this is an ancient barbarous coin copying an antoninianus but anything is possible.
    The reverse is retrograde PM TRP XVIII (COSI)III PP. I bought the coin from CJ Martin in 1988 with the note it was found in Lincolnshire. I have not seen another. I need to take a better photo. The coin looks about 1% better than this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page