Featured Geta looking a lot like his father, styling a long beard. VOTA PVBLICA sestertius

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Salaethus, Feb 25, 2020.

  1. Salaethus

    Salaethus Well-Known Member

    I am happy to have struck a major coin off my bucket list much sooner than I thought I would.

    2. Geta example.jpg

    Geta Æ sestertius. Rome, late 211 AD. P SEPTIMIVS GETA PIVS AVG BRIT, laureate and bearded bust of Geta right / VOTA PVBLICA, Geta, togate and veiled, standing left, sacrificing out of patera over tripod behind which a bull reclines; S-C across fields. RIC 187a; C. 232; BMCRE 235. 27.16 g, 31 mm.

    On this sestertius, Geta is depicted in pleasing style with a newly grown, long and curly beard, with an unmistakable resemblance to Septimius. Cassius Dio relates that the troops felt kindly towards Geta since his appearance was very similar to his father's. It must have been a point of contention or even an outright provocation to Caracalla when Geta began fashioning himself so overtly in their father's image.

    The reverse celebrates the vota publica, or public vows to the emperor. Every year on January 3rd the people assembled to offer their collective vows for the good health and safety of the emperor. January 3rd 211 AD seems too early for this issue, since Septimius would still be alive. On the other hand, we are told Geta was murdered in late December 211, so just before the annual ceremony of 212. Did another vota publica take place on the occasion of Geta and Caracalla's return to Rome and their accession to co-rule? Or could this coin possibly be minted for the 212 AD ceremony, presumably just before or after the famous fratricide?

    There is this article by Andreas Pangerl which is very relevant:
    However, I can't read German. I hacked through it with Google translate and I think I got a lot of it, somehow. The article details how the portrait styles of Caracalla and Geta, on coins and plastic busts, can be dated and quite closely linked into a chronology of types. For Geta, whose marble and other plastic portrait busts are very limited compared to his brother's (due to a thorough damnatio memoriae), his imperial coins are the most essential pieces of evidence when examining and recreating the chronology of his portrait styles. In the months following the death of Septimius in early February 211 AD, Geta's portraiture on imperial coins became quite distinct from his brother's, most notably showing the growth of a full, curly and multi-tipped beard in the distinct style of his father.

    The linked article has a lot of pretty pictures by the way, so its well worth a scroll through if you like Severan coins (and would likely be a lot better if you speak German!)

    I noted a number of examples of obverse die links of this sestertius (RIC 187a) to (RIC 171a). An example of such a die match is photographed in the article (p.109 fig. 4)).


    I'd like to ask if anyone has suggestions for some good reading material about the Severan era, any recommendations from scholarly works to historical fiction are appreciated! Also feel free to post your coins of Geta - especially examples with Geta growing out his beard! Please chip in with your thoughts about the coin. :bookworm:

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    Last edited: Feb 26, 2020
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  3. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Gorgeous! Don't have a bearded Geta to share, though.
    Salaethus likes this.
  4. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  5. Salaethus

    Salaethus Well-Known Member

    An additional point regarding the vota publica question, Susann Lusnia briefly mentions the type in her 1995 work:
    Julia Domna's Coinage and Severan Dynastic Propaganda

    quoted from page 135:

    "The final new coin issue [of the fourth phase] for Julia commemorated the Vota Publica celebrated in 211 for the victory in Britain and the return of Caracalla and Geta to Rome (66)(Fig. 21). There were VOTA PVBLICA issues for Caracalla, Geta, and Julia."

    "(66) DIO LXXVII, 1, 4-6 mentions that the senate voted to offer sacrifices "on behalf of their concord" - (ὑπὲρ τῆϛ ὁμονοίας αὐτῶν). For vota publica as a coin type, see I. S. Ryberg, Rites of the State Religion in Roman Art, Rome, 1955, p. 178-182."

    The author suggests that there was an additional Vota Publica mid year in 211 AD that celebrated Caracalla and Geta's British victory and their return to Rome, and cites Dio's passage about how the Senate voted for sacrifices to made to the brother's concord. According to Dio the ceremony was thoroughly muffed and for the Romans, a seriously bad sign of what was to come. @curtislclay, I would love to hear any input you have about the dating of this issue!
  6. Gary R. Wilson


    Here's a Geta As. Looks like he had started his beard recently.


    Geta (Augustus)
    Coin: Bronze AS
    P SEPTIMIVS GETA PIVS AVG BRIT - Laureate head right
    FORT RED TR P III COS II - Fortuna seated left, holding rudder & cornucopia, wheel under chair, S C in ex.
    Exergue: SC

    Mint: Rome (211 AD )
    Wt./Size/Axis: 11.30g / 24.4mm / 360
    RIC 175a
    Cohen 53
    BMC 273cf
    Acquisition/Sale: imporatorcoins-and-estatesales eBay $0.00 05/18
    Notes: Jun 13, 18 - The Gary R. Wilson Collection

    Geta, 209 - c. 26 December 211 A.D.
  7. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Salaethus, No doubt about it, the portrait on your Geta sestertius could pass for Septimius Severus ;). I only have one coin with a fully bearded Geta that I posted a number of times but will post again to compare with yours.
    Geta, MA 719, 14.45 gm.jpg
    Geta as Augustus, AD 209-212, Antioch Mint: AR tetradrachm, 14.45 gm, 26 mm, McAlee 719.

    A book I think you would enjoy is pictured below, it was an interesting & fast read. The copy I bought is a 1988 reprint of the 1972 1st edition. The book is 290 pp. & has just a few black & white illustrations. Anthony Birley was a professor of ancient history at the University of Manchester. This book doesn't make any of the ridiculous claims often seen on the internet that Severus was a negro.

    Septimius Severus, The African Emperor, by Anthony R. Birley.jpg
  8. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Geta, as Caesar. 198-209 AD. AR Denarius (18mm; 2.22 gm; 6h). Struck 209 AD. Obv: P SEPTIMIVS GETA CAES, bare head right, bearded. Rev: PONTIF COS II, Genius standing left, holding grain ears in left hand and patera in right hand over burning altar to left. RIC IV 59b; RSC 114.
  9. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Nice coins all! Here is my nicest Geta Geta 4.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: GETA CAES PONT COS, draped bust right
    REVERSE: VOTA PVBLICA, Geta standing left, sacrificing out of patera over tripod & holding roll
    Struck at Rome, 205 AD
    3.18g, 18mm
    RIC IV 38b
  10. Salaethus

    Salaethus Well-Known Member

    Nice coins of Geta everyone. @Al Kowsky Thanks for the recommendation, I'll seek it out. (also I probably should've said I enjoy reading any and everything about the Severans besides all the "Hotep" nonsense).:vomit:
  11. curtislclay

    curtislclay Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure whether the VOTA PVBLICA type of 211 was struck c. March 211, commemorating vows undertaken at Rome for the new joint reign, though both Caracalla and Geta were already Augusti, so their rank hadn't changed; or towards the end of the year, looking ahead to the regular Public Vows of 1 and 3 Jan. 212.

    Geta's VOTA PVBLICA type shares an obv. die with his very rare TR P IIII Elephant type on both the unique sestertius and on asses. That suggests production of the VOTA PVBLICA type late in 211, but not conclusively, since dies could remain in use for spans of a couple of months and more.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2020
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  12. Salaethus

    Salaethus Well-Known Member

  13. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    He certainly looks much older than his 22 years, there! Interesting.

    He's young looking and mostly beardless on the only coin of his I've had. (Growing in those sideburns, though.)


    (It was a pretty nice example- better than these old washed-out scans indicate.)
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