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    Description

    Divus Caracalla (died AD 217). AE sestertius (32mm, 27.19 gm, 12h). NGC Choice VF 4/5 - 3/5, Fine Style, smoothing. Rome, ca. AD 218 or AD 222. DIVO ANTONINO MAGNO, bare head of Divus Caracalla right / CONSE-CRATIO, five tiered ustrinum - the lowest most of which represents a plain podium with three festoons; the next tier forms the sepulchral chamber for the reception of the dead body in the center, flanked by two niches on each side with statues and surmounted by a cornice; the tier above has four arch-headed niches with statues and a cornice; the tier above with three arch-headed niches with statues and a cornice; and the upper forms a lofty plain attic with hanging drapery in front, a lit torch flanks each end of the upper tier, which forms a pedestal surmounted by the quadriga of the deceased, with his statue in the chariot. All the tiers diminish in width from the base upwards so as to assume a pyramidal form; S C in exergue. RIC IV.II (Severus Alexander) 719. Banti 11. BMCRE pg. 589, || (Elagabalus). Cohen 34. Extremely rare type for Caracalla, this specimen the only example in sales archives.

    From the Morris Collection. Ex Michael Weller Collection (Triton VIII, 11 January 2005), lot 1046; Gorny & Mosch 112 (17 October 2001), lot 4359.

    A fantastically detailed reverse type, which is often simply called a 'funeral pyre'. Marvin Tameanko, specialist in ancient architectural coinage, elaborates: "To cremate a body, bones and all (but not the teeth) you need lots of sustained heat. The Romans used a pyre, called a 'rogus', which was built with log cribworks, like a hollow log cabin, erected in stages, getting smaller at the top where the body was placed. The rogus was filled with straw and kindling and set alight. It acted as a chimney and funneled the heat to the top, incinerating the corpse. Herodian, the Roman historian describes the rogus in detail. After the cremation, the ashes were placed in a stone building, called an ustrinum, made to look like the wedding-cake shaped rogus or the Maussoleum of Hailcarnassus and built near the cremation site. The remains of these have been found in Rome as early as 1907."


    View all of [The Morris Collection ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 237

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