EGYPT, Caracalla, 198-217 AD, bronze drachm


EGYPT, Caracalla, 198-217 AD, drachm, year 21 (212 AD), Alexandria mint, Obverse: laureate bust R, AUT K MAUR S ANT WNINOC M P B REM EUSEB, Reverse: Hera standing L holding scepter, peacock before, bronze, 29mm, 12.83g, E2834, corrosion has destroyed the date, cleaned aG

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Caracalla was a nickname for Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, for a kind of cloak he liked to wear. His reign was troubled from the beginning by the unfortunate antipathy between him and his brother Geta, who he eventually murdered. He did a bunch of civil building, and granted citizenship to all of the inhabitants of the Empire. He also liked war perhaps a bit more than he should have, picking unnecessary fights. Eventually he was assassinated on his way to a war with Parthia.

The Romans, as they were building their empire, preferred to let the local coinage arrangements remain in place. As they developed their political system into the Cult of Personality that was the Empire, they started putting imperial portraits on the local coins. Later, as the Empire began to shrink, they preferred to centralize their coinage operations, eliminating local control. There were also allied and client states, some of which, at times, issued coins celebrating the alliance or subservience. The reference we use on this web site for coins of Roman Egypt is Alexandrian Coins, by Keith Emmett.

Ancient Coins includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.