Septimius Severus sestertius (try saying that five times quickly)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Parthicus, Sep 30, 2023.

  1. Parthicus

    Parthicus Well-Known Member

    Septimius Severus sestertius.jpg
    Roman Empire, Rome mint. AE sestertius (20.1 g, 27 mm). Septimius Severus (193- 211), struck 196. Obverse: Laureate and cuirassed bust of Severus right, legend around [L SEPT SEV] PERT AVG IM[P VIII]. Reverse: Emperor on horseback right, led by a soldier, legend around [ADVENTI AVG FELICISSIMO], in exergue S[C]. RIC IV 719. This coin: Purchased from Marc R. Breitsprecher, 2023.

    (note: Historical section below contains reused text.)
    Septimius Severus was born in 145 CE in Leptis Magna (in what is now Libya), of mixed Italian and Punic (and possibly Berber) ancestry. Little is known of his early career, but in 191 he was appointed governor of Upper Pannonia by Commodus. Commodus was assassinated on the last day of 192 and Pertinax proclaimed emperor, but was killed by the Praetorian Guard just three months later. The Praetorians then blatantly auctioned off the emperorship to the highest bidder, Didius Julianus. Meanwhile, on hearing of the murder of Pertinax, Severus' troops proclaimed him emperor, and he began a march to Rome. Julianus proved unable to raise the huge sums he had promised, and his support quickly fell away; he was killed after a reign of 66 days, and Septimius Severus entered Rome unopposed. Severus, realizing that the Praetorians were trouble, had Pertinax' killers executed and dismissed the rest of the Praetorians, replacing them with men from his own legions whose loyalty he could trust.

    Meanwhile, the legions in Syria had proclaimed Pescennius Niger as emperor, and he had received encouragement from Parthia and its allies, including Osrhoene. Severus first shored up his rear by proclaiming his commander in Britain, Clodius Albinus, as Caesar, then moved against Niger. He defeated Niger in 194, then fought in Mesopotamia against Niger's allies the Parthians, Arabs, and Adiabenians. As a result, Severus annexed most of Osrhoene as a Roman province. Albinus rebelled in 195, upset at being passed over as Severus' designated successor in favor of Severus' own son Caracalla. Albinus was killed in Gaul in 197, leaving Severus free to launch a more extensive war against Parthia. This went well for the Romans, including the sacking of the Parthian capitol Ctesiphon and temporary expansion of the Roman provincial border to the Tigris. However, he failed twice to take the key fortress town of Hatra and (like all Roman armies) made no headway into the Iranian heartland of Parthia. Content with the new territory in Mesopotamia, he moved on to other campaigns in North Africa and in Caledonia (Scotland). While campaigning in Britain he fell ill, and died at Eboracum (York) in 211 CE, leaving the empire to his two sons Caracalla and Geta. He left the Roman Empire with its greatest territorial extent ever, as well as founding the Severan Dynasty.

    This coin was struck in 196 and commemorates Severus' return to Rome after defeating Niger and his allies. Although it is well-worn and most of the legends are missing, I nonetheless find it an attractive piece that appealed to me as soon as I saw it. On the obverse, the emperor is wearing lorica squamata (scale armor), and you can still see the individual scales clearly. It's also an interesting historical type, as the reverse commemorates a specific event and isn't just some deity or personification. Please post your coins of Septimius Severus, or whatever else is related.
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Nice find, don't see too many sesterce of his.
  4. Curtis

    Curtis Well-Known Member

    That's a cool reverse design and an interesting portrait on that Septimius. Unfortunately my only Septimius Sestertius isn't at home and I only have the rough draft photo (from a group shot). I'm hoping to get one of the PART AIDAB PART ARAB ones with two captives & trophy reverse.

    This one has Genius holding patera & corn ears (prob. RIC 743 or similar, apparently scarce):
    Septimius Severus Genius Sestertius.jpg
    I do have a handful of Septimius Denarii on horseback but the PROFECTIO type, not ADVENTVS. This is one of the better ones (I bought them about 10 or 20 years ago and sold some, so I think I still have this one, anyway!):
    Septimius Profectio Denarius.jpg
    Curtisimo, robinjojo, Bing and 3 others like this.
  5. GinoLR

    GinoLR Well-Known Member

    27 29 mm 20 56 g.jpg

    It's one of the last ancient coins I acquired, recently.

    I have another one, too :

    Septimius Severus, AE sestertius (Rome, 195)
    Obv.: L. SEPT. SEV. PERT. AVG. IMP. VII, laureate bust right with drapery on left shoulder.
    Rev.: DIVI. M. PII F. P.M. TR.P. III COS. II P.P. / S C , Felicitas standing left, right foot on prow, holding cornucopiae and caduceus.
    RIC 701 ; BMC 572
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2023
    Curtisimo, Curtis, Parthicus and 4 others like this.
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