E-Auction 39

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Closed May 12, 2021
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    E39, Lot 75:

    ROMAN BRITAIN. Septimius Severus. A.D. 193-211. AR denarius. 2.77 gm. 20 mm. Rome mint. A.D. 210-211. His laureate head right; SEVERVS PIVS AVG BRIT / Victory seated left on shield, holding shield and palm frond; VICTORIAE BRIT. RIC IV.1 335. RSC 731. S. Eng. 651C. Extremely Fine; light iridescent tone; fresh surfaces; well centered on a broad even round flan.

    In A.D. 208 Septimius Severus together with the entire imperial family (his wife Julia Domna and their sons Caracalla and Geta) set out for Britain where the situation on the northern frontier demanded urgent attention. He was to spend the last two and a half years of his life in the island province and was destined never to return to Rome. He restored Hadrian's Wall, the northern frontier of the province, which was in serious need of renovation more than eighty years after its original construction. Septimius Severus waged his last military campaign against the Caledonians in northern Britain, now called Scotland, campaigning vigorously beyond the imperial frontier. The line of their marching camps can still be detected today by aerial photography. It was a long and bitter slog that took its toll on the aged Emperor's health, and only deepened the bitter sibling rivalry between his two sons, Caracalla and Geta, who accompanied him on the campaign. Upon Severus's death at York in February A.D. 211, Caracalla and Geta made a hasty peace with the Caledonians on less-than-favorable terms, which required the Romans retreat to the agreed border of Hadrian's Wall. Little is known of the success of these military operations, though they were to bring peace to the area for the remainder of the third century and an extensive issue of coinage in all metals was produced to commemorate the British victory.


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