Sunday 7 June 2020

Gold aureus of Septimius Severus

A circa A.D. 202 to 210 gold aureus issued by Septimius Severus recalls the measures he took to keep his sons Caracalla and Geta from fighting. The boys were then in their mid to late teens. All three appear on horses on the reverse of the aureus, raising their right hands as if receiving an ovation. The coin appeared at ANA World’s Fair of Money.

Severus took his wife and two sons to wage war against the Caledonians of northern Britain. Severus sent his sons to lead the troops. While in Britain Severus fell ill and died in A.D. 211, leaving behind two sons who were intent on eliminating one another.
The Romans never campaigned deep into Caledonia again: they withdrew south permanently to Hadrian's Wall. Upon his death, Severus was deified by the Senate and succeeded by Caracalla and Geta, who were advised by his wife Julia Domna. Caracalla had Geta murdered later that year. Caracalla persecuted and executed most of Geta's supporters and ordered a damnatio memoriae. It became a capital offence to speak or write Geta's name.
Severus was buried in the Mausoleum of Hadrian in Rome. His remains are now lost. Severus' currency debasement was the largest since the reign of Nero.

The coin is among the best known. It has an estimate of $24,000 to $30,000.