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    The Emperor 'Hoody'

    Caracalla (AD 198-217). Orichalcum sestertius (32mm, 23.13 gm, 12h).  Rome, AD 210. M AVREL ANTONI-NVS PIVS AVG, laureate head of Caracalla right / PONTIF TR P XIII COS IIII, Caracalla (on right, facing left), Septimius Severus (center) and Geta (on left, facing right) standing around flaming altar, holding paterae; Caracalla and Septimius are veiled, Geta bareheaded, S C in exergue. RIC 452a (R2). BMCRE 205. Cohen 489. An impressive sestertius, well struck and beautifully patinated, with a commanding portrait. Choice Extremely Fine.

    Born in Lugdunum in A.D. 188, while his father was serving as governor of Gaul, Lucius Septimius Bassianus started out life as a cheerful, affable youth whose character deteriorated as he gained more prestige and power. His father, Septimius Severus, seized the throne and defended it against all rival claimants during the civil wars of AD 193-197. Bassianus was named Caesar, or heir apparent, in AD 195 and was further elevated to co-Augustus with his father three years later, when he was only 10. His name was changed to Marcus Aurelius Antoninus in honor of the revered Antonine dynasty, but the boy preferred barbarian manners and fashions, and he soon earned a nickname after a type of hooded Germanic cloak he liked to wear- Caracalla (or, in modern terms, "Hoody"). His sibling rivalry with his younger brother Geta intensified with the years, and in 208 Severus took both young men  on campaign with him to Britain in an effort to clear their heads. But Caracalla began to show signs of severe mental imbalance, which only worsened when Severus made Geta co-Augustus in AD 209. With Severus' death at York in February of AD 211, the brothers' mutual hatred threatened to tear the Roman Empire apart. Their mother, Julia Domna, managed to patch together a detente and the family returned to Rome, but in December, Caracalla arranged to have Geta brutally murdered as he sought refuge in Domna's arms. A general massacre of Geta's friends and supporters followed, the first of many slaughters that indelibly dyed Caracalla's reign in blood. He much preferred the company of soldiers to the aristocracy of Rome and soon embarked on a series of military campaigns to divert attention from his atrocities. The German wars of AD 213 achieved little, so he developed an obsession with Alexander the Great that led him to prepare a massive invasion of Parthia. A trip to Egypt to visit Alexander's tomb in AD 215 led to another massacre of the populace, who had dared to make jests at his expense. With the Parthians divided by civil war, Caracalla's invasion the following year at first met with success, but resistance soon stiffened and he began to look for scapegoats among his staff. One of these officers, the praetorian prefect Macrinus, struck first, and Caracalla was assassinated as he stopped to relieve himself on a roadside near Carrhae on April 17, AD 217.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2013
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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