Roman Empire, Caracalla, AE 27

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Roman Empire, Caracalla, 198-217, AE 27 (Pentassarion)

Obv.: Busts of Caracalla and Julia Domna

Rev.: Snake of Glykon with halo


Condemned by historiography - unjustly? Buy a coin of the Roman emperor Caracalla from Emporium Hamburg now!

He was Roman emperor from 211 until his death in 217. His official emperor name was - in connection with the popular emperor Mark Aurelius - Marcus Aurel(l)ius Severus Antoninus.

Caracalla's father Septimius Severus, the founder of the Severan dynasty, elevated him to co-ruler in 197. After his father's death on February 4, 211, he succeeded him together with his younger brother Geta. He had Geta assassinated as early as December 211. He then ordered an empire-wide massacre of Geta's followers. From then on he ruled unchallenged as autocrat.

Caracalla was mainly concerned with military matters and favored the soldiers. In this way he continued a course already taken by his father, which pointed ahead to the era of the soldier emperors. Because of the murder of Geta and his partisans, as well as the general brutality of his actions against any real or supposed opposition, he was judged very negatively by contemporary senatorial historiography. Among the soldiers, on the other hand, he apparently enjoyed great popularity, which lasted beyond his death and contributed to the failure of his successor.

While preparing a campaign against the Parthians, Caracalla was murdered by a small group of conspirators. Since he was childless, the male descendants of the dynasty's founder Septimius Severus died out with him. Later, however, the emperors Elagabal and Severus Alexander were counterfactually passed off as illegitimate sons of Caracalla.

The measures by which Caracalla was primarily remembered by posterity were the construction of the Baths of Caracalla and the Constitutio Antoniniana, a 212 decree by which he granted Roman citizenship to almost all free inhabitants of the empire. Modern research largely follows the unfavorable assessment of his reign by the ancient sources, but reckons with exaggerations in the statements of historians hostile to him.

Additional product information

Origin Roman Empire
Mint Moesia Inferior, city Marcianopolis
Grading a VF
Material Bronze
Full weight


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