roman imperial coinage

Septimius Severus & Caracalla AV Aureus. 201-202 AD. IMPP INVICTI PII AVGG, jugate busts of Septimius and Caracalla right, both laureate & draped / VICTORIA PARTHICA MAXIMA, Victory advancing left, holding wreath & palm. RIC 311

The Severan dynasty puts forward a number of its important messages in this fine aureus. Septimius Severus appears with his son Caracalla, who was co-ruler with his father (since 198 AD). Family was incredibly important to the Severans, as a dynasty that had to more-or-less manufacture its claims to legitimate rule and compensated through displays of family unity and its promise of stability (no matter how untrue that actually was).

On the reverse, we see a celebration of Septimius Severus’ Parthian campaign, which was also displayed large in Rome on Severus’ arch in the forum, still visible in Rome today. The campaign itself, though advertised here as “the greatest,” was actually fairly lack-luster. Severus received hostages from several eastern kings, including Khosrau I of Parthia, but the two-season campaign led to little to no territorial gain and to no lasting peace in the region.