(111) Septimius Severus and Antoninus ("Caracalla")
- AV aureus, A.D. 204, 7.14 g. (inv. 91.199).
Obverse: Jugate busts of Septimius Severus and Antoninus r., both laureate, draped, and cuirassed; IMPP (IMPERATORES abbreviated) INVICTI PII AVGG (AVGVSTI abbreviated): invincible imperators, pious Augusti.
Reverse: Victoria advancing l., with wreath in r. and palm in l.; VICTORIA PARTHICA MAXIMA: Greatest Parthian victory.
Provenance: Ex Ryan collection; Patrick Doheny collection; Sotheby's, 1979.
Bibliography: H. Mattingly and E.A. Sydenham, The Roman Imperial Coinage IV.1: Pertinax to Geta (London 1936) 311; P.V. Hill, The Coinage of Septimius Severus and his Family of the Mint of Rome AD 193-217 (London 1964) 30.
In the period of the civil wars following the murder of Pertinax, Septimius Severus had to contend with several rivals for the throne. One was Pescennius Niger, who had been proclaimed emperor by his troops in Syria. Once he had dealt with Niger, Severus moved against his allies in the region, including one of the empire's oldest and most intractable enemies, the Parthians. In this campaign Severus defeated them and annexed Mesopotamia. When the Parthians attempted to recover it in A.D. 197, Severus marched deep into their territory and in A.D. 198 captured the Parthian capital, Ctesiphon. For this victory Severus was awarded the title Parthicus maximus, greatest conqueror of the Parthians, and the victory was celebrated for some years after the actual event. The reverse of this coin hails the victory and appropriately depicts Victoria, the personification of victory, with her usual attributes, the wreath and palm.
The jugate busts of Severus and Antoninus (Caracalla) are indicative of their joint rule. This coin is unusual in its omission of their names from the obverse legend.
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