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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
641150
Sale: CNG 64, Lot: 1150. Estimate $2000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 24 September 2003. 
Sold For $2000. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

CARACALLA. 198-217 AD. Æ Sestertius (22.73 gm). Struck 214 AD. M AVR ANTONINVS PIVS FELIX AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right / Caracalla standing right on low platform with two officers, addressing three soldiers standing before. RIC IV 525c var. (draped); Banti 59; Cohen -. Nice VF, green-brown patina, some smoothing in fields. Very rare. ($2000)

Before a battle, or on parade, the emperor would address his troops in an event known as an adlocutio cohortium (address to the cohorts). This was an important opportunity for the emperor to be present among his troops and inspire morale and esprit de corps among them. A sestertius of Gaius (Caligula), issued on behalf of a donative for the Praetorian Guard, was the first to employ the adlocutio as a reverse type. Similar subsequent issues were minted to emphasize the emperor's perceived, if not actual, role as military commander. The present specimen commemorates Caracalla's victory against the Germans and his preparations for a Persian war. Caracalla idolized Alexander the Great and, as other emperors before him, wished to recreate his successes in the east. Thus, in 214 AD, after having been proclaimed "Alexander" at Philippopolis in Thrace, he assembled his troops, who had been outfitted as Macedonians, and proceeded into Asia Minor. Caracalla's ambitions were, however, hampered by his own unfit physical and mental state; over the next three years the campaign degeneratged into near-chaos and ended with Caracalla's murder.