Roman Imperial coin, silver, AR antoninianus. Struck during the reign of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (Emperor Elagabalus) in Rome, 219-220 C.E. The laureate head of Elagabalus faces right in profile, on obverse with the inscriptions "IMP CAES M AVR ANTONINVS AVG" surrounding image. On reverse, the standing figure of Victoria, the goddess and personification of victory, faces right with a wreath in her right hand and a palm frond in her left with the inscriptions "VICTOR ANTONINI AVG" surrounding image.
Date range: 219-220 C.E.
Remarks: Born at Emesa about 205 C.E., Elagabalus was the son of Sextus Varius Marcellus and Julia Soaemias, the daughter of Julia Maesa. In his boyhood he was appointed priest of the Sun-God Elagabalus, and it is by this name that he is best known. On May 16th, 218 he was proclaimed Emperor by the troops stationed in the district around Emesa, and the revolt soon spread to the rest of the Syrian army. Julia Maesa, his grandmother, was the true instigator of the rebellion: taking advantage of the growing unpopularity of Macrinus she spread the rumour amongst the soldiers that Elagabalus was the son of Caracalla, whose memory the soldiers held dear. Following Macrinus' defeat, Elagabalus was accepted by the Senate as Emperor and began a leisurely journey to Rome. His reign was notorious for religious fanaticism, for cruelty, bloodshed and excesses of every description, and there was general satisfaction when, on March 6th, 222, Elagabalus and his mother Julia Soaemias were murdered in the praetorian camp. Their bodies were dragged through the streets of Rome and thrown into the Tiber. Elagabalus' coins were minted in Rome and Antioch and possibly other Eastern mints too.
Reference: David Sear, "Roman Coins and Their Values" , London 2002 (Vol II), #7500, pg 602.
|Credit line||Gift of Arthur G. and Roswitha Haas|