Featured The Thunderstruck One: Marcus Aurelius Carus

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by ancient coin hunter, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Not very confused

    Carus (Latin: Marcus Aurelius Carus Augustus; c. 222 – July or August 283) was Roman Emperor from 282 to 283, and was 60 at ascension. During his short reign, Carus fought the Germanic tribes and Sarmatians along the Danube frontier with success.

    He died while campaigning against the Sassanid Empire, probably of unnatural causes, as he was reportedly struck by lightning. He was succeeded by his sons Carinus and Numerian, creating a dynasty which, though short-lived, provided further stability to the resurgent empire.

    Two traditions surround his accession to the throne in August or September of 282. According to some mostly Latin sources, he was proclaimed emperor by the soldiers after the murder of Probus by a mutiny at Sirmium. Greek sources however claim that he rose against Probus in Raetia in a usurpation and had him killed. The often unreliable Historia Augusta is aware of both traditions, although it prefers the former.

    He does not seem to have returned to Rome after his accession, contenting himself with an announcement to the Senate. This was a marked departure from the constitutionalism of his immediate predecessors, Tacitus and Probus, who at least outwardly respected the authority of the senate, and was the precursor to the even more despotic military autocracy of Diocletian.

    The Sassanid King Bahram II, limited by internal opposition and his troops occupied with a campaign in modern-day Afghanistan, could not effectively defend his territory. The Sasanians, faced with severe internal problems, could not mount an effective coordinated defense at the time; Carus and his army may have captured the Sasanian capital of Ctesiphon. The victories of Carus avenged all the previous defeats suffered by the Romans against the Sassanids, and he received the title of Persicus Maximus. Carus was the last Roman emperor to carry, according to Gibbon, Roman arms beyond the Tigris and even hoped to replicate the success of Alexander the Great. Rome's hopes of further conquest, however, were cut short by his death; Carus died in Sassanian territory, probably of unnatural causes, as he was reportedly struck by lightning.


    Relief at Naqsh-i-Rustam, Iran depicting the supposed victory of Bahram II over Carus.

    Carus AE Antoninianus. (283 A.D.) 21 mm, 3.3 grams

    Obverse: IMP CM AVR CARVS PF AVG, radiate, draped, cuirassed bust right

    Reverse: VIRTVS AVGGG, Carus standing right, receiving Victory from Jupiter, Carinus or Numerian, standing left. officina letter Δ below. Mintmark XXI.

    Reference: Sear 12190.



    Note the use of AVGGG representing the time when Carus, Carinus, and Numerian all had been elevated to Augustus, hence the coin was struck in 283 A.D.

    Feel free to post your coins of this short-lived dynastic family. Thanks for looking!
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  3. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    Some scarce ones


    Obv:– IMP C M AVR CARVS AVG, Radiate, helmeted, cuirassed bust right
    Rev:– VICTORIA AVGG, Victory, standing left on globe, holding wreath, two captives beneath
    Minted in Lugdunum (A in left field) Emission 4 Officina 1. 1st quarter A.D. 283
    Reference:– Cohen 100. Bastien 474 (11 examples cited), RIC 24 var (Not listed with this bust type in RIC)


    Magnia Urbica

    Obv:– MAGNIA VRBICA AVG, Draped bust right on crescent, hair brushed in straight lines, plait carried up the back to top of head and running under stephane
    Rev:– VENVS GENETRIX, Venus standing facing, head left, apple upward in right hand, vertical scepter in left
    Minted in Lugdunum (A in left field).
    RIC V pt. 2, 337 var (not listed from this officina). Bastien -, Bastien Supplement -, Bastien Supplement II 613α (2 examples cited)
    23mm, 3.16g



    Obv:– IMP C M AVR CARINVS AVG, Radiate, bust right in imperial mantle
    Rev:– SALVS AVGG, Salus standing right, feeding snake
    Minted in Lugdunum (_|D / LVG), Emission 7, Officina 4. early A.D. 284
    Reference:– RIC 216 var (not listed with this bust type in RIC). Cohen -. Bastien 574 (1 example cited)

    This would appear to be only the second example of this bust type for Carinus known.



    Obv:- IMP C NVMERIANVS AVG, Radiate bust right wearing imperial mantle and holding eagle-tipped scepter in right hand
    Rev:- MARS VICTOR, Mars advancing right with spear and trophy
    Minted in Lugdunum (C in right field)
    References:- RIC - (not listed with this bust type in RIC). Bastien 562 (3 examples cited)

    The consular busts are scarce for this dynasty

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  4. zumbly

    zumbly Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana Supporter

    The one I've always liked from this dynasty is the Numerian issue that brags about "victories everywhere."

    Numerian - Vindiqve Victores 2206.jpg
    AE Antoninianus. 3.58g, 22.4mm. Rome mint, 6th officina. 5th emission, 2nd phase, September AD 283 - January 284. RIC 423. O: IMP NVMERIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right. R: VNDIQVE VICTORES, Numerian standing facing, head left, holding globe and scepter; KAS in exergue.
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  5. Sulla80

    Sulla80 one coin at a time Supporter

    An interesting coin & a nice write-up @ancient coin hunter - Here's a Carus that hasn't appeared yet:
    Carus Restitutor 2.jpg
    AE Antoninianus Marcus Aurelius Carus Aurelianus
    Mint: Pannonia Superior, Siscia
    Obv: IMP C M APR CARVS P F AVG Radiate, cuirassed bust of Carus facing right, seen from 3/4 forward. "Imperator Caesar Marcus Aurelius Carus Augustus Pius Felix"
    Rev: RESTITVT OR-BIS, * above P in field, XXI in exergue, Carus standing to the right turned to the left, in military dress, holding a globe and a spear or scepter being presented a wreath by a female figure, draped, standing right. "The Restorer of the World"
    Size: 4.0g, 21mm
    Ref: RIC 106
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  6. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks for the earworm ... :sour:

    Here's a couple from Carus to keep it numismatic:

    Carus, AD 282-283.
    Roman billon antoninianus, 3.46 g, 21.1 mm, 1 h.
    Ticinum, 1st officina, 2nd emission, AD 282.
    Obv: IMP CARVS P F AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: PAX EXERCITI, Pax standing left, holding branch and signum; PXXI in exergue.
    Refs: RIC 75F; Cohen 56; RCV --; Pink VI/2, p. 28.

    Carus, AD 282-283.
    Roman billon Antoninianus, 3.54 g, 21.5 mm, 7 h.
    Antioch, AD 282.
    Obv: IMP C M AVR CARVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust, right.
    Rev: VIRTVS AVGG, emperor standing right, holding parazonium and receiving Victory on globe from Carinus (or Jupiter) standing left, holding scepter; A//XXI .
    Refs: RIC 124C; Cohen 116; RCV 12188; Pink VI/2 p. 43; Venera 4258-70.
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  7. Pellinore

    Pellinore Supporter! Supporter

    From Egypt, Carus:

    3303 Carus ct.jpg

    Tetradrachm Carus (282-283). Obv. Laureate draped and cuirassed bust right. Rev. Dikaiosyne ('Justice') standing. Year A = 282. 17 mm, 7.69 gr. Emmett 3396.

    And the kids, Numerianus (top, 2 x) and Carinus (bottom):

    Carinus Num a.jpg

    Carinus Num b.jpg
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  8. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    I can not accept your level of certainty with the GGG matter because coins exit with GGG reverse but Numerian as Caesar obverse. Perhaps the GGG here only meant there were three important people of varied ranks or that the mint did not pay close attention to the matter.
    rs3140bb1400.jpg rs3150bb1530.jpg
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  9. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Not very confused

    Very interesting Doug. Thanks for sharing the coin! It looks like something for further numismatic research.
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  10. PeteB

    PeteB Well-Known Member

    Carus. 282-283 AD. Double Antoninianus. Siscia mint. 1st emission, November 282 AD . Obv: DEO ET DOMINO CARO AVG, radiate and draped bust of Sol right and radiate and cuirassed bust of Carus left, vis-à-vis. Rev: FELICITA S REIPVBLICAE, Felicitas standing facing, head left, leaning left elbow upon column to right, holding caduceus in right hand and transverse scepter in left; (X·I) in ex. RIC V 99; Pink VI/2 p. 42. Very rare. Earthen deposits. CarusFacingSolHeavyAnt.jpg
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  11. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Not very confused

    Great coin @PeteB ! Must be quite rare. The appellation "God and Lord" foreshadows Diocletian's foray into elevating the status of the Augustus to include new titles and proskynesis.
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  12. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

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  13. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Not very confused

    I've been thinking about this Doug. Any chance that they were using an older obverse die with a newer reverse die? The old obverse die might reflect the position of Numerian as Caesar before new ones listing Numerian as Augustus were used by the celator - in this case, a little bit of disorganization at the mint. Just a thought.
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  14. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Wow, what a great thread! GGG, consular busts, a boardwalk flan, and DEO ET DOMINO!

    DIVO CARO (apologies for the photo). I also recently got one of the early eastern issues with the "KARVS" legend, no photo yet though.
    Screen Shot 2019-04-15 at 11.20.26 AM.jpg
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  15. maridvnvm

    maridvnvm Well-Known Member

    A slightly scarcer reverse type!


    Obv:– IMP C NVMERIANVS AVG, Radiate, cuirassed bust right
    Rev:– PACATO-R ORBIS, Emperor advancing right, holding shield and sword, captive, cowering beneath
    Minted in Lugdunum (C in exe) Emission 9 Officina 3. Summer A.D. 284
    Reference:– Cohen 41 (30 F). Bastien 618 (2 examples). RIC Unlisted.

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  16. roman99

    roman99 Well-Known Member

    Dang that's a massive planchet.
  17. roman99

    roman99 Well-Known Member

    I just happen to be carrying a Carus as a pocket piece, I wasn't able to upload images from my phone earlier because I was in a deadzone. Anyways, here is the coin.
    IMG_20190415_112846 (1).jpg IMG_20190415_112856 (1).jpg
    Carus, AE antoninianus. Ticinum mint. IMP CARVS PF AVG, radiate, cuirassed bust right / ABVNDANTIA AVG, Abundantia standing right, emptying cornucopiae. Mintmark TXXI. La Venera IV 317-319; Cohen 2 var (bust type); RIC V-2, 69 var (ditto).
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
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  18. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

  19. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Not very confused

  20. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    I think Doug has it. As far as I know, Carinus and Numerian were Caesars until Carus’ death so they weren’t all Augustus at the same time. Therefore the AVGGG must include those as Caesar too, rather than just as Augustus.

    We talked a bit about this in this recent thread: https://www.cointalk.com/threads/brought-to-you-by-the-letter-g.335554/
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  21. gogili1977

    gogili1977 Well-Known Member

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