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    Description

    Early Severus Aureus

    Septimius Severus (AD 193-211). AV aureus (21mm, 7.09 gm, 6h).  Rome, AD 193. IMP • CAE • L • SEP • SE-V • PERT AVG, laureate head of Severus right / VICT • AVG TR P COS, Victory walking left, holding laurel wreath in right hand and cradling palm front in left arm. RIC 22. BMCRE 27-29. Cohen 681 (legend SEPT in error). Calicó 2546 (this coin illustrated). Rare, with an exceptionally bold portrait. NGC (photo-certificate) AU 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.

    From The Andre Constantine Dimitriadis Collection. Ex Philip DeVicci Collection (Triton IV, New York, 5 December 2000), lot 610; NFA XXXIII (3 May 1994), lot 528. 

    This attractive aureus is one of the first issues of the first Roman emperor of African descent, Lucius Septimius Severus. Born on 11 April AD 145 in the North African city of Lepcis Magna, he entered the Roman Senate during the reign of Marcus Aurelius; he also served as an officer in the Roman Army under the general Pertinax. During a tour of duty in Syria, he met the beautiful and brilliant Julia Domna, who became his second wife in AD 187. Talented and hardworking, he rose rapidly in the Senate hierarchy, becoming consul in AD 190 and governor of Pannonia the following year. The assassination of Commodus on January 1, AD 193 brought his old patron Pertinax to the throne, but within three months Pertinax had been murdered by the Praetorians, who sold the throne to Didius Julianus. An outraged populace demanded that Pescennius Niger, governor of Syria, or Clodius Albinus, proconsul of Britain, depose Julianus and seize the throne. But Severus was much closer, with three legions, and he struck first. Placating Albinus with the junior title of Caesar, Severus led his legions on a lightning march to Rome and easily disposed of the hapless Julianus. After obtaining Senate recognition as legitimate emperor, he next marched against Niger and crushed his rebel regime in a brutally efficient campaign. Returning to Rome in AD 195, he raised his elder son Caracalla to the rank of Caesar, thus severing his pact with Clodius Albinus and igniting another civil war, which ended with Severus' victory at Lugdunum (Lyons) in AD 197. A bloody purge of Albinus' supporters in the Senate led many to call him "the Punic Sulla," but with his position secure, he ruled with competence and moderation. Like Hadrian, Severus was restless and traveled incessantly, but his policy was expansion through conquest. The Parthian War (AD 198-200) gained the province of Mesopotamia, and in AD 208 he led an invasion of Scotland with the object of securing the whole of the British Isles. But the campaign turned into a long, bitter slog, which took its toll on the emperor's health. On his deathbed in York, Severus begged his quarreling sons to "be good to each other, pay the soldiers well, and the rest can to go to hell." In many ways, his reign marked the absolute apogee of the Roman Empire. 

    All Roman gold coins from the Dimitriadis Collection have been issued a photo-certificate by NGC. These may be sent in for encapsulation after the auction at the request of the buyer, free of charge. Please e-mail SamS@HA.com if you would like to utilize this option.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2014
    10th-16th Thursday-Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
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