Featured Severus Alexander: a mummy's boy.

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, Sep 30, 2020.

  1. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Severus Alexander, born OCTOBER 1st 208 AD in Phenicia and died in 235 near Mainz (present-day Germany), was Roman Emperor from 222 AD to 235. His complete name is Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander. He is the cousin of Emperor Elagabalus, whom he succeeded at the age of 13. He leaves the management of the business to his grandmother Julia Maesa and her advisers. Alexander is the last of the Severan dynasty. He is named Alexander because he was born in a temple dedicated to Alexander the Great. It was the army that would give him the name Severus. On the day he's born, let's examine the good and bad sides of his reign :

    Musée Le Louvre, Paris.

    Good points :

    • the first nine years of Alexander’s reign were peaceful and free from foreign wars.
    • His advisers were men like the senator and historian Cassius Dio and it is believed that he initiated a select board of sixteen senators. He also created a municipal council of fourteen who assisted the urban prefect in administering the affairs of the fourteen districts of Rome.
    • Alexander did much to aid the right of his soldiers. He confirmed that soldiers could name anyone as heirs in their testament, whereas civilians had strict restrictions over who could become heirs or receive a legacy.
    • the people paid under his reign thirty times less taxes than in the days of his predecessor Elagabalus.
    • he was a reformer and respected all religions including the Christians.
    Bad points :

    • Severus was completely dominated by his mother, Julia Mamaea. Like many of the women from the Severian dynasty, a dominating personality seems to be a strong trait. Herodian went on to remark that Severus “did exactly as he was told". A real mummy's boy.
    • Severus Alexander is still too young and weak to be able to effectively oppose the often criminal demands of the Praetorians; these execute Ulpien before his eyes in 228 AD.
    • The fatigue of the expedition against the Persians irritated the dissatisfaction of the troops. The bad success of this war caused the emperor to lose his reputation as a general and even as a soldier, and later it would cost him his life...
    His Coinage :

    Alexander attempted to reform the coinage somewhat during his reign, and increased the issue of Dupondii while the production of the Antoninianus is mysteriously suspended and will not be re-introduced until the reign of Pupienus and Balbinus to finance the war against Maximinus.
    Upon his accession he reduced the silver purity of the denarius from 46.5% to 43% — the actual silver weight dropping from 1.41 grams to 1.30 grams; however, in 229 he revalued the denarius, increasing the silver purity and weight to 45% and 1.46 grams respectively. The following year he decreased the amount of base metal in the denarius while adding more silver – raising the silver purity and weight again to 50.5% and 1.50 grams. For the gold, Alexander struck aurei weighting between 5.38 g to 7.25 g. He also had coin minted in electrum (a natural alloy of gold and silver).

    Annona denarius
    Annona is a very common theme in his coinage; it appears that the delivery system fir North African grain was reformed in some manner, maybe involving the regulation of the ship-owners and merchants guilds.

    IOVI STATORI denarius
    The transformation of Imperial emphasis from expanding the frontiers to simply defending them is showed and publicized in the introduction of Jupiter Stator (Jupiter, the stayer of flight), a highly defensive manifestation of that god.

    And why not a Provincial too ?

    And a "RED" one

    Severus Alexander
    Rome 233 AD
    Sol advancing and raising hand & whip
    Please search your Collection and show us your coins of Severus Alexander !
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  3. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    Happy birthday to the unlucky fellow!

    My Severus Alexander Annona Denarius.
    Severus Alexandar Denarius.jpg

    Severus Alexander
    AE20 of Arabia, Bostra
    Obverse: IMP CAES M AVR SEV ALEXANDER AVG, laureate bust right
    Reverse: COLONIA BOSTRA, draped bust of Zeus-Ammon right wearing solar disk
    (this one needs a new picture!)
    Severus Alexander, AE20 Bostra.jpg
  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That's a fun and informative write-up, @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix! What do you mean Annona was common on his coins?! ;)

    Severus Alexander, AD 222-235.
    Roman AR denarius, 2.95 g, 19.4 mm, 1 h.
    Rome, issue 12, AD 231.
    Obv: IMP SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate head, right, with drapery on left shoulder.
    Rev: ANNONA AVG, Annona standing left, holding corn-ears in right hand over modius at feet and holding anchor in left hand.
    Refs: RIC 188; BMCRE 674-76; RSC 29a; RCV 7859.
  5. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Last edited: Oct 2, 2020
  6. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Great post, interesting write-up. I can share a couple of big bronzes of Severus and his mom:

    Severus Alexander, AE sestertius. (28mm, 19.2g.), Rome, 235 AD. Laureate, draped & cuirassed bust right./ Rev. Sol standing left with whip. RIC 538.

    Julia Mamaea, Sestertius (30mm., 20.27g.), Draped bust r., wearing stephane. Rev. Felicitas standing l., holding caduceus and leaning on column. RIC 676.
  7. Bradley Trotter

    Bradley Trotter Well-Known Member

    That was a very interesting write-up @Ocatarinetabellatchitchix. Here is my only coin bearing the portrait of Severus Alexander; I bought it from Victor Clark a few months back.

    Severus Alexander Dernarius.jpg
    Severus Alexander
    AR Denarius
    223 A.D.
    Obverse: IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG; laureate and draped bust right.
    Reverse: PAX AETERNA AVG; Pax, draped, standing left, holding olive-branch in right hand and sceptre in left hand.
    RIC 165, Sear 7886
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  8. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    I LOVE your Deultum Artemis coin. I have a similar example too!
  9. octavius

    octavius Well-Known Member

    Nice post to celebrate Alexander's birthday.
    here are two denarii and three of his sestertii...

    18176LG.jpg 4460374.jpg GQa8mY5m3zCHW2NcAxq6eQ7E9jiRw2.jpg h7250LG.jpg lexiLG.jpg
  10. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

  11. ominus1

    ominus1 Well-Known Member

    uh...he's 15 days older than me..give or take 1750 years or so :p...i believe we concluded both these are of SA...when i was on my Cappadocia kick a while back:) scotty tribble purse Cappadocia Severus Alex Mt Arg. coins 002.JPG scotty tribble purse Cappadocia Severus Alex Mt Arg. coins 003.JPG
  12. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Deultum "As"-sized provincial
    Moushmov 3583
    Severus Alexander Deultum Moushmov 3583.JPG
  13. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

  14. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Nice write up thanks....I'm a sucker for Mars reverses...
    Severus Alexander. 222-235 AD. AR Denarius (2.89 gm, 20mm). Rome mint. Struck 228 AD.
    Obv.: IMP SEV ALE-XAND AVG, laureate head right.
    Rev.: PM TRPVII COSII PP , Mars standing right, holding shield and spear.
    RIC IV 83; BMCRE 503; RSC 337. aEF.
    SEV BLACK.jpg
  15. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Nice write up!

    Overall, the rule of SA was marked by a deterioration of military discipline, success, and bravoure. Mostly due to incompetent leadership by SA and his entourage, but I think things were set in motion before already, and culminated at the end of the reign of SA.


  16. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

  17. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    Happy Birthday from the provinces!

    Severus Alexander - Alexandria Tet - Tyche 2598.jpg
    Potin Tetradrachm. 14.14g, 23.2mm. EGYPT, Alexandria, RY 2 (AD 222/223). RPC Online Temp #10249; Emmett 3139.2; Dattari (Savio) 4373. O: Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right. R: Tyche standing facing, head left, holding rudder and cornucopia; L B (date) to upper left.
    Ex Hermanubis Collection

    Severus Alexander - Alexander Troas 2017 new.jpg
    AE24. 6.97g, 24.6mm. TROAS, Alexandria Troas, 222-235 AD. RPC Online Temp #3994; cf. Bellinger A338 (obv A338, rev A225 Type 44). O: IMP SEV ALEXANDER AVG, laureate, draped & cuirassed bust left, holding spear & shield decorated with head of Medusa. R: COL AVG, horse grazing right, the herdsman Ordes behind holding pedum (shepherd's crook), tree to left, TROAC in exergue.

    Severus Alexander - Alexandria Troas Drunken Herakles.jpg SEVERUS ALEXANDER
    AE25. 6.37g, 25mm. TROAS, Alexandria Troas, circa AD 222-235. RPC Online temp #3987 var. (obv legend); Bellinger A335. O: IM AR ƧE AΛEXANDROS, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right. R: COL AV-G TROA, drunken Herakles stumbling right, an arm around the shoulder of Pan to his right, a satyr on his left holding his hand and another behind him supporting (or restraining) him with both arms.
  18. Alegandron

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

    Great write up. I like the bullet points best... easy to read. Coins are super!


    RI Severus Alexander 222-235 CE AR Denarius laureate Victory stndg VOT shield foot on helmet RIC 219

    RI Fouree Denarius Severus Alexander with Annona Avg reverse
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2020
  19. Alegandron

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


    RI Julia Mamaea AR denarius Pietas incense altar perfume Seaby 48
  20. Alegandron

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


    RI Julia Maesa AR Denarius Pudicitia 3.1g 19mm Sear 2183
  21. Alegandron

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


    RI Elagabalus 218-222 CE AR Antoninianus Radiate Roma seated
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