Friday, 1 January 2010

Dating Coinage & Inscriptions of Septimius Severus

Hey.

I wrote up this list of title dates to help me with dating coins and inscriptions of Septimius Severus so I thought I'd put it up here.

Consulships:

COS = 193AD
COS II - 194AD ->
COS III
- 202AD ->

Tribunician's Powers:

TRP I
- Accession -> end 193AD
TRP II - 194AD
TRP III - 195AD
TRP IV/IIII - 196AD
TRP V - 197AD
TRP VI - 198AD
TRP VII - 199AD
TRP VIII - 200AD
TRP IX/VIIII - 201AD
TRP X - 202AD
TRP XI - 203AD
TRP XII - 204AD
TRP XIII - 205AD
TRP XIV/XIII - 206AD
TRP XV - 207AD
TRP XVI - 208AD
TRP XVII - 209AD
TRP XVIII - 210AD
TRP XVIIII/XIX -January 1st - 4th Feb 211AD

The trinunician's powers of Septimius Severus are interesting as, unlike earlier emperors, there is no evidence to suggest that the tribunician's powers were renewed on the 10th of December prior to the consulship. One will never see coinage of Severus with the legend TRP X with COS (minted until the end of 201AD) only COS III. This either implies that no coinage was struck in December of 201AD or that his 10th tribunician's power was granted at the same time as his third consulship that is the beginning of the year 202AD. The same can be seen on the coinage of Caracalla whose TRP V coinage always bears the title COS, which was granted in 202AD, and is never seen without.


Imperial Acclamations:

IMP (I) - 9th April 193ad
IMP II - Late November/December 193AD
IMP III - Jan 194AD
IMP IV - Spring 194AD
IMP V- VII - Summer of 195AD
IMP VIII - End of 195AD
IMP IX - 19th Feb 197AD
IMP X - Late October 197AD
IMP XI - Late 197AD
IMP XII - Jan 205AD
IMP XIII - Before Feb 206AD

Honorary Titles:

ARAB*:
"Arabicus" Summer 195AD
ADIAB*:
"Adiabenicus"
Summer 195AD
PART MAX: "Parthicus Maximus" Jan 198AD
BRIT: "Britanicus Maximus" 210AD

*Although Severus claims he officially denied the title Parthicus at this time these titles are often found on coinage as "PART ARAB" "PART ADIAB"

Congiarium (Imperial Largess) :

LIBERALITAS I: June 193AD
LIBERALITAS II: 196 AD
LIBERALITAS III: 9-15th April 202AD
LIBERALITAS IV: Spring 203AD
LIBERALITAS V: 1 Jan 205AD
LIBERALITAS VI: 1 Jan 208AD (although this is not certain)



Examples

I know most of you already know how this all works but I thought I would run through a few examples below to help anyone who doesn't.

Septimius Severus, AR Denarius, Rome Mint (RIC IV 60)


Obv: L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP V, laureate head right

Rev
:
P M TR P III COS II P P, Mars advancing right with trophy over shoulder & spear



This coin is perfect for dating as, instead of a topical reverse legend, it had the extended titles of Severus giving us all the information we could possibly need. The TR P III first narrows the date range down to 1195ad, which would normally be close enough but IMP V allows us to date this coin even closer. Severus' 5th imperial acclamation was in the summer of 195ad so that means this coin must be after that but before his his IMP VII, which appears on coins from the end of summer 195ad.

So essentially this coin could only have been minted during a few months of Summer 195ad.

SEPTIMIUS SEVERUS. AV Aureus (RIC IV 278a):


Obv:SEVERVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right
Rev
:LIBERALITAS AVG VI, Liberalitas standing left with coin counter & cornucopiae





Severus' Imperial title here lacks any datable evidence, no TRP, no COS and no IMP. It is however still a datable to within a relatively short period through the reverse legend "
LIBERALITAS AVG VI", as this legend celebrates Severus' 6th imperial largess or congiarium, which we can date to 208ad menaing that without checking any other sources this coin could be dated to between January 208AD and Severus' death in February 211AD.


Roman milestone from St. Margarethen Austria
(CIL III 5714, CIL III 11834):



Imp(erator) Cae(sar)
L(ucius) Sep(timius) Severus
Pius Per(tinax) Augu(stus) Ar
ab(icus) Adiab(enicus) Parthicus max(imus) pon(tifex)
trib(unicia) po(testate) VIIII Im(perator) VII
c(o)n(sul) II p(ater) p(atriae) pro
c(o)n(sul) et imp(erator) Caes(ar)
Mar(cus) Aurelius
Pius Aug(ustus) trib(unicia) pot(estate)
IIII proco(n)s(ul)
a T(eurnia) m(ilia) p(assuum)
IIXXX






In English that is (roughly):

Imperator Caesar Lucius Septimius Severus Pius Pertinax Augustus, victor over the Arabs, Victor over the Adiabene, greatest victor over the Parthians, Pontifex, with tribunician's power for the 9th time, acclaimed imperator 7 times, consul twice, father of the fatherland and with proconsular power. Also Imperator Marcus Aurelius Pius Augustus, with tribunician's Power for the 4th time and proconsular power.

28 Roman miles to Teurnia

Looking at the most exact dating evidence, namely the tribunicians power, we see Caracalla is TRP IIII and Severus TRP VIIII. This means that this milestone dates to 201ad.

The trouble with milestones is that many provincial engravers can make mistakes with titles so one must always check every title and ensure that the latest title is taken as the teminus post quem, even if another title could confuse you.

Here one could easily look at the IM(P) VII and assume that this milestone was erected before Severus' eighth imperial acclamation dating it to Autumn 195ad but this cannot be true given the later dates of the tribunican's power and the title PARTHICUS MAX.


Well anyway that is it for today, I hope its useful to someone.







2 comments:

  1. hats off for your dedication and effort to enlist all the history of coinage. As a history student I appreciate your work and I'm glad that people like you are providing free info.

    ReplyDelete