"Someone Standing There" on the Reverse? It's the Emperor!

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Orielensis, Apr 23, 2021.

  1. Orielensis

    Orielensis Supporter! Supporter

    Most Roman Imperial coins show an emperor or an empress, but they usually do so on the obverse. Yet some also depict the ruler once more again on the reverse. For me, these coins are premium items that stick out among the not-so-spectacular "someone standing there" types showing allegorical figures or deities.

    Recently, I picked up two more Severan denarii showing the current emperor on the reverse when I bid on a number of items from an old German collection that was dispersed. I'll take this opportunity to show them both.

    Septimius Severus is clearly identifiable by his impressive beard on this coin:
    Rom – Septimius Severus, Denar, Vota Suscepta XX.png
    Septimius Severus, Roman Empire, AR denarius, 202–210 AD, Rome mint. Obv: SEVERVS PIVS AVG; head of Septimius Severus, laureate, r. Rev: VOTA SVSCEPTA XX; Septimius Severus, veiled, togate, standing l., sacrificing out of patera in r. hand over altar. 20mm, 3.76g. Ref: RIC IV Septimius Severus 308.

    And here is Geta as "Prince of the Youth" in military attire, with trophy and holding the attributes of Providence. The same type exists for Caracalla, too:
    Rom – Geta, Denar, Principi Iuventutis.png
    Geta, Roman Empire, denarius, 200–202 AD, Rome mint. Obv: P SEPT GETA CAES PONT; bust of Geta, bare-headed, draped, r. Rev: PRINCIPI IVVENTUTIS; Geta, holding baton and sceptre, standing l. next to trophy r. 18mm, 3.40g. Ref: RIC IV Geta 18.

    Please show your coins, Severan or not, with an image of the emperor on the reverse!
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2021
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    I quite like the laureate Septimus! I’ll see if I can find an example in my own group later today
    Orielensis likes this.
  4. Ed Snible

    Ed Snible Well-Known Member

    Here is one of Gallienus playing with a little dolly:

    Gallienus, Antioch mint. 13th emission, AD 266. Antoninianus 4.07g, 21mm
    Rev: IVBENTVS AVG; emperor standing left, holding Victory and spear; VIIC.
    Ref: RIC V 615
    acquired from Sam Sloat coins, NYINC coin show, Jan 2018

    I have no clue how the spear-bearer plays-with-dolls figure on the reverse was identified as his lordship Gallienus. Is it just because of the "AVG" on the reverse?
  5. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Interesting theme for a thread.

    This one fits the bill:

    Antoninus Pius, AD 138-161.
    Roman orichalcum sestertius, 24.27 g, 31.4 mm, 6 h.
    Rome, AD 158/9.
    Obv: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XXII, laureate head, right.
    Rev: VOTA SVSCEPTA DEC III S C, Antoninus, veiled, standing l., sacrificing from patera over tripod-altar and holding roll by side; COS IIII in ex.
    Refs: RIC 1010; BMCRE 2068-2069; Cohen 1124; Strack 1171; RCV 4262.
  6. DonnaML

    DonnaML Supporter! Supporter

    Here's one I've posted recently, an ADVENTVS coin with a reverse showing Hadrian being greeted by Roma upon his return to Rome. You can sort of see that Hadrian has mildly bushy hair and a little beard:

    Hadrian Adventus Roma jpg version.jpg

    Here's a Gordian III with a reverse showing the young emperor on a horse:

    Gordian III Denarius - jpg version.jpg

    And here are a couple of examples of the common later Roman reverse theme of Jupiter handing Victory on a globe to the emperor. In both cases, Jupiter stands left holding a long scepter, and the emperor stands right.


    Carus denarius jpg version.jpg

    NEW COMBINED Diocletian Ant - Concordia.jpg

    Edited to add: I forgot this one, with a reverse showing a horned Elagabalus standing left, sacrificing from a patera over a lit tripod altar:

    Elagabalus - bearded with horn - jpg version.jpg
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2021
  7. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    Septimius Severus 7.jpg
    AR Denarius
    OBVERSE: SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right
    REVERSE: FVNDATOR PACIS, Septimius, togate and veiled, standing left holding olive branch
    Struck at Rome, 202-210 AD
    3.3g, 18mm,
    RIC 265, RSC 205, BMC 330
  8. Shea19

    Shea19 Supporter! Supporter

    Cool theme for a thread, I like it. Here is my favorite "emperor on reverse" coin, with Commodus sacrificing in front of a bust of Serapis.

    Commodus, Alexandria, BI Tetradrachm,(24.2mm., 10.19g), circa 183-185 (RY 24 of Marcus Aurelius), Laureate head of Commodus right/ Rev. Commodus, in priestly attire, standing left before bust of Serapis set on low cippus, sacrificing and dropping incense over lighted altar, L-K-Δ. RPC Online 16005 (this coin), Dattari-Savio Pl. 207, 9553 (this coin)
    From the Dattari Collection
  9. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

  10. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    @Orielensis.....Really like the reverse on the Septimius Severus!
    Here's Geta being attacked by a HUGE python!
    GETA BLACK.jpg
  11. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark standing on the shoulders of giants Dealer

    here's Constantine as Prince of Youth--


    Constantine I
    A.D. 310- 312
    21x22mm 4.3g
    CONSTANTINVS P F AVG; laureate and cuirassed bust right.
    PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS; Prince standing facing head left, in military dress with spread cloak, holding globe, left reverse spear; ✶ in right field.
    In ex. PLN
    RIC VI London 222 var (cloak spread); LMCC 7.07.003

    and Constantine on horseback--


    Constantine I
    A.D. 311- 312
    22x23mm 4.4gm
    CONSTANTINVS P F AVG; laureate and cuirassed bust right.
    SPES REIPVBL; Emperor riding left, r. raised, l. holding up spear, on horse pawing seated captive to left, ✶ in right field.
    in ex. PLN
    RIC VI London 241; LMCC 7.08.014
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2021
  12. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    Septimius Severus
    Severus Alexander (as Romulus)
  13. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper









    Magnus Maximus:


  14. Limes

    Limes Supporter! Supporter

    Great coins @Orielensis, congratulations on the win. Out of curiosity, was the collection identified? Or simply "from an old Bavarian/German/Hanseatische collection/collector"?

    Good question, I wonder that too. What led to the reverse to be identified as emperor? Is it the same for other coins as well (except for obvious give-aways, like the beard). See e.g. my coin of Commodus

    @maridvnvm, that Probus is an absolute beauty, amazing! It has most of the silvering still intact, I presume?

    To add some of mine:

    On a horse:
    Obvious beard-match:
  15. hotwheelsearl

    hotwheelsearl Well-Known Member

    Is Diocletian wearing a sombrero
    DonnaML likes this.
  16. ambr0zie

    ambr0zie Dacian Taraboste

    The younger brother of the coin presented by @Roman Collector

    RIC III Antoninus Pius 1020
    From Date: AD 158 To Date: AD 159
    Type: Head of Antoninus Pius, radiate, right
    Type: Antoninus Pius, standing left, sacrificing with patera over tripod, left arm at side
  17. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Ah, yes. Thanks for reminding me. :)




    Ssh! Just try to ignore the acrylic coffin, if it bothers you. ;)
  18. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I agree that the aversion to 'someone standing there' is less when the 'someone' is really recognizable by facial features. Certainly it helps when the person in question has a distinctive face (or beard). My Septimius is different in attire but the face is not easily mistaken for others.

    Caracalla and Geta are harder to separate in appearance. We assume that each appears on the reverse of his own coins but this is hardly a certainty.

    Is this harsh faced reverse Caracalla or a soldier?

    Is there anything about this figure that proves it is Caracalla?

    Is there anything about this figure that proves it is (or is not) Geta?

    Thank go to Septimius for that beard!

    This was until recently my coin. The face is 99% likely to be Antoninus Pius but I decided to sell the coin since I had other Pius bronzes that were not just standing there. Perhaps I am too hard on the standers???
  19. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Fun thread with lots of interesting coins.

    Do I win the prize? Lousiest-looking coin, but the most emperors - three of 'em standing on the reverse (Arcadius, Honorius, Theodosius II).

    My apologies for the lousy photo - I just got this in a batch and am still working on some photos...

    Arcadius - 3 Emperors Lot Apr 2021 pic.jpg

    Arcadius (?) Æ 16
    (395-401 A.D.)
    Unknown Mint (off flan)

    D N AR?[CADI-VS P F AVG] pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right, star behind / [GLORI-A ROMA]-NORVM, Arcadius, Honorius, Theodosius II standing. Mintmark off flan.
    Nicomedia RIC X 62
    (1.50 grams / 12 x 16 mm)

    Attribution Note:
    Not sure of obverse inscription; "AR" for Arcadius possibly there, but could be Arcadius, Honorius or Theodosius II.

    Mintmark off flan; six locations possible for this issue.
  20. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    As promised:
    Anc-09b-R3-k0202-Plautilla-DE-I-361.jpg Imperial Rome
    Plautilla, r. 202-205 A.D. (202 A.D.)
    Rome Mint, AR Denarius, 18.82 mm x 3.15 grams
    Obv.: PLAVTILLAE AVGVSTAE. Draped bust right, hair coiled in vertical ridges and fastened in bun on back
    Rev.: CONCORDIAE AETERNAE. Caracalla standing left, clasping hands with Plautilla standing right
    Ref.: SRCV 7069, RIC IV-1 Caracalla 361, p. 269

    to Doug’s point, I think Plautilla’s hair is a pretty good visual identifier here
  21. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Or IS it? ;)
    dougsmit likes this.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page