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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Commemorating Severus’s Eastern Campaigns

Sale: CNG 82, Lot: 829. Estimate $1000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 16 September 2009. 
Sold For $1100. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MYSIA, Hadrianothera. Septimius Severus. AD 193-211. Æ 35mm (27.62 g, 6h). Moscianus Attalus, strategus. Struck AD 193-198. Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; c/m: ΔIOΓ monogram in incuse square / Severus on horseback right, raising hand; to right, trophy with bound captive seated left at base. For coin type: SNG France -; AMNG IV 575; SNG von Aulock 7246; for c/m: Howgego 615. VF, dark brown surfaces. Extremely rare.

During the civil war between Septimius Severus and Pescennius Niger, those allied people in Mesopotamia — the Osrhoeni and the Adiabeni — took advantage of the situation by capturing Roman garrisons there and launching an unsuccessful attack on the Roman-allied city of Nisibis. In return for peace and a return of Roman captives, these people demanded that the remaining Roman garrisons there be removed. Refusing to do so, Severus marched into upper Mesopotamia in the spring of AD 195. Almost immediately, the Osrhoeni and the Adiabeni surrendered, and much of the upper Mesopotamia was organized into a Roman province, while Osrhoene remained autonomous, but much diminished.

Now with the situation in the east temporarily under control, Severus returned to the west to deal with Clodius Albinus. In the meantime, however, the eastern frontier became destabilized when, in AD 197, Nisibis was again besieged. Severus used returned east to deal with the situation. This time, however, in addition bringing the rebellious eastern territories to heel, Severus also marched against a much-weakened Parthia. The Romans easily swept through upper Mesopotamia, and down the Euphrates, sacking Seleucia, Babylon, and the capital, Ctesiphon, which the Parthian king Vologaeses V had abandoned. For this, Severus adopted the title Parthicus Maximus and elevated his son Caracalla to Augustus, and Geta to Caesar.